Complete Reloading Tool Sets
If you want to reload some cartridges, you will need a few tools to get the job done. The tools you will need, depend on the type of firearm and cartridge you are wanting to shoot.
All the old Firearms Companies produced Catalogs. Those old price lists and catalogs were all we had. The Old Time Riflemen had all died. The Great Depression and World War II scrap drives had wiped out a lot of our History.
So, HOW did Great Grandpa Reload his Cartridges?
Buffalo hunters had to have a sturdy box to carry their tools in. If you find a box of tools from an old buffalo hunter, do you Save it or sell off pieces?
Harry Pope rode on trains to Schuetzen Matches. ($20,000 prize in money!) He carried clothes, rifle and all those tools to reload 100 shots or more. He had to have some sort of Shooting Box to get his equipment to the Rifle Match!
Great Grandpa had Reloading tools for his favorite Rifle. Did Grandma throw them away cause they were Skeerie? They might Explode and kill those precious Grand kids?
Stop The Damage! The Tools are part of the Firearm someone bought. Keep them together!
The rifle is worth more with it's tools!
You are lower than a snakes belly if you break the set apart!
Bridgeport Gun Implement Co. or B.G.I Co.
This price list is a good example of what Great Grandad had to look at. This page is from an 1882 Bridgeport Gun Implement Catalog. (B.G.I.Co.) You could buy individual Reloading Tools, or a Reloading Tool Set.
I Guarantee Great Grandpa knew what each of these items were. He would have thought You were really Dumb if you did not!
Jim suspects this is the 1202 set mentioned at the bottom of the Price list above. The Bullet Mold is polished and blued. Is it Malleable Iron or Steel? My guess is Steel. Iron does not Blue well like this. The rest of this set is hard to find in the list.
In " Reloading Tools of The Black Powder Era" on page 196, a 38-40 bullet seater is illustrated. They say, "Some question exists", if this is a BGI tool.
Without a box with an illustration on top, that is very true. Since the book was published, I found a partial set on Ebay in 38-40. When Jim sent me this picture of a 44-40 set. I saw this as fair verification these are indeed BGI seaters.
The bullet mold in this set is stamped on the side, 168. Jim Zupan says he has not seen any mention or meaning for this number in catalogs or ads. Many BGI tools had a Model number stamped on them, and the number was mentioned in a catalog or ad. A different Catalog, from a different time may give us answers.
The mold cavity shows a nice Flat nose bullet which matches the shape of the plunger on these bullet seaters. This is the classic Mold Shape for the Winchester 44-40 and Colt 44-40 Pistols.
The capping tool is also interesting. Years ago Ed Curtis told me BGI was so cheap they would often put an insert into a shotgun capping tool.
The insert would have a hole to fit a rifle or pistol cartridge. I never came across one until I saw the capping tool on page 199 in "Reloading Tools," by Rowe and Curtis. The tool illustrated looks like it has not been used. All the paint is still there, including some goopy paint which stuck to the tool when they dipped it to cover all surfaces.
Jim's capper has lost some paint. The traces of paint are a good indication it is original and not messed with. Saving money was on their mind!
The little decapping pin and punch were interesting to me. I had a punch along with my 38-40 set and I thought it was something someone made for an unknown purpose. After looking close, I came to the conclusion it was a case mouth expander or Flaring tool, to help the soft lead bullets enter the case. I mention this in the bullet seater section. The turned end of the punch, with a shoulder stop, will flare the case about 3 or 4 thousandths consistently. Just right for helping a lead bullet start into the case without tearing the base.
This is a great set of Reloading Tools. Seeing these had answered some questions for me. It is a shame there is no box with instructions.
James Zupan sent these pictures. B.G.I made a lot of these sets and there is enough variation to be really interesting. Ed Curtis has a set in 50-70 Government. The 45 government cartridge was popular. So far I have not seen a boxed set for either of these big cartridges.
By far, I see boxed sets by B.G.I. in the smaller caliber cartridges as indicated in this 1882 list. Check out the B.G.I. section in " Reloading Tools", Volume 1 p. 196 to 206 for great pictures. Really look at the pictures! There are a lot of variations in the tools. You might find a rare item in a box of junk.