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Remington Reloading Tool Sets

    It is not always easy to read the old Gun catalogs and understand exactly what they mean by a full set of tools. It changed over time and with the cartridges available. A Rifleman would have to study that catalog and try to figure out just what he needed. Some Riflemen used the Berdan primed cartridges. Others wanted to use the American style primers often erroneously called Boxer primers.

    This is an ad from an 1885 Remington catalog. They were still selling the Rolling block rifles.

    The Hepburn was the featured rifle. The latest thing.

    Here they list Rifle-Loading Implements,  per set.                 $6.00

    At first glance, you might think this meant the tools listed just above this set. Look close and you will see some of the tools were for different purposes. Tools for both Berdan or Regular American Primed Centerfire Cartridges were all mixed in together.

    It is not entirely clear what a Rifle-Loading Implement set might consist of. This catalog assumes you know the difference between the different cartridges, primers and tools. 

    What is a Rifle-Loading Implement Set? You had to decide.

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     Below, you see what a Remington Tool Set might look like. These are generally accepted to be a proper set for a Hepburn Rifle. They could also be for a late production Rolling Block Sporting Rifle which was still offered in that 1885 catalog at a reduction in price.

    This set is for the 40-50 straight case with the 310 grain bullet.

    You can see 40 and 1 7/8 on both the bullet seater and the mold. The capping tool has no Berdan chisel. Instead, this fellow ordered tools for American style primers. Usually these capping tools are just marked 40. They could press in a primer in any length case, as long as they were the straight sided case.

    De-capping was done with the mushroom handled pin. Place the base of the cartridge case in the hole of the round base. Then press or tap the primer out with the de-capping pin.

    The powder measure and wad cutter are Remington products. They are excellent examples. 

    You would push out the old primer. Clean the cartridge case. Press in a new primer. Put a powder charge in the case. Put a cardboard wad on top of the powder. Then push in a new bullet with the bullet seater you see on the right.

    Remington seemed to favor grooved, lubricated bullets. You could order molds for paper patch bullets. Mostly, I see grooved bullet cavities in these molds. You had to order a set of tools just for the paper patched bullets. Riflemen of the time would have known what to ask for.

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The photo below shows the Shell Reducer & Expander and a Reducing Die. The latter in 44-77. The long slender rod is to knock the sized case out of the die. If you try to size any case in any die like this, take care. The die should be clean inside. Use a small amount of Ideal Case lube to ease the process along. Just wipe a little on the outside of the cartridge case. With no case lube, the case could easily stick in there.

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    The neck sizing tool shown above and below was listed in the Loading Implements price list. It also had it's own page in this particular catalog. Check out that ad below and the description of how to use the tool. 

    If I wanted to get a set to reload any type of cartridge, I can go down the list and pick out a set of Implements like the set above for $4.00, or $4.50 with a powder measure. The extra two dollars might be for these Neck Reducers and Expanders. At least it adds up! The only thing missing from the list is a wad cutter. Maybe they threw that in if you bought a complete set.

    The powder and shot measures are way down at the bottom of the list. Often, a Rifleman would already have a measure of some type. A non-adjustable powder scoop was not convenient. Simple, Muzzle-loading powder measures were available . You could adjust the charge. Ballard offered the Wilkinson bench mounted measure from 1878 on.   

    Modern cartridge re-loaders are very familiar with neck sizing tools. RCBS and all the other modern manufacturers include a neck sizing and expanding tool in their die sets.

    This is a very advanced tool for reloading. The tool would squeeze down the neck, then the plug would expand the neck to the correct size for the bullet. I can think of many times I could have used one of these tools, back in the old days!

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    Below is another photo of  these reloading tools. Everything is present for a $6.00 implement set except the bullet mold. These tools load the 40-45, or 40-50 straight case, which was extremely popular in the Sharps Borchardt and the Remington Hepburn Rifle.

    You did not have to have a mold. You could order bullets and save yourself the trouble of casting. Factory made bullets were very high quality.

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    Great, Great, Grandad was not just looking at Rifles and Reloading Tools in that catalog. Below you see a super group of components. Notice the earlier E. Remington & Sons labels. These were made before the company became Remington Arms Co. and long before U.M.C. bought everything. The latest components will be marked Remington and U.M.C. for The Union Metallic Cartridge company.

    If you collect the Rifles, buy some old catalogs. Reproduction catalogs are very inexpensive. "Fourteen Old Gun Catalogs", by Satterlee is easily available and inexpensive. You would be amazed what you can learn from the catalogs.

    All these items were listed in the old catalogs. Reloading tools. Loaded ammo by the case. Primed brass. Primers. Bullets. Powder. Cleaning equipment. Gun cases.

    I don't know about you, but I find these items just as interesting as the Rifles themselves.

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    It is not unusual to see these little rubber stamps (below left) on early ammunition and component boxes. Some have manufacturing dates stamped on the bottom or sides.

    You never know what you might find. It is interesting to see when something was made and where it was shipped. With a few Remington catalogs, you can get hints of when these were offered. 

    The cartridge brass can also be very interesting. The cases below right are my favorites. I am always looking for examples of these. From left to right you see a 50-70, 44-77, 44 Remington Special ( 2 7/16 case) and the 40-50 bottleneck. These are the only calibers I have found so far. There are rumors of other calibers, but I have not seen them. I think these are very early cartridges. They are formed in one piece, with a reinforcing cup pressed into the bottom of the Cartridge case. Each size has a slightly different, raised head stamp. All these cartridges use a normal primer with a central flash hole. They are probably for the Smoot Patent, American Primer.

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     Below you see a couple of Remington Primer tins. They do not mention a patent on the label. I do not have primers from these tins, so it is hard to determine the manufacturing date or which patented primer they held.

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     This is a sealed box of E. Remington & Sons Bullets. The previous owner wrapped it in heat sealed plastic and I never took it out. It is hard to find these in decent condition so I left it the way I got it. The little string you see on the bottom was used to tear the box open.

    There is very little information on the box. These are probably paper patched bullets for the Long Range target rifle. I don't plan to open the box. I will never know for sure.

    If you did not want to cast bullets, these were a nice alternative.

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    These long paper patch bullets may have been made for that 44 Remington Special Cartridge mentioned above. There are reloading tools around for this odd cartridge. I am hoping to get some rubber castings of the inside of these tools and their bullet seating chambers. I want to see what the heck they look like inside. So far, no one knows!

    Remington started making Long Range Target Rifles in 44-77 caliber. ( 2 1/4 inch long case)

    Then They introduced this 2 7/16 inch cartridge called their "Special cartridge". It is interesting because the paper patch bullet was seated Way Out in front of the case mouth. It rested more in the Rifling than in the case. The case was full of powder and the bullet barely went into the case. It was more like a breech seated bullet from the later Schuetzen era.

    Later they offered the more familiar 44-90, 2 5/8 inch case. This allowed more room for the base of the bullet in the cartridge case.

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    I offer all these extra RELOADING ITEMS from the catalogs for a reason! All of these things are part of a RELOADING TOOL SET! Often our Grandfathers had a box, with all these tools right there in the box!              He ordered them from the catalog and Reloaded and Fired the Finest Target Rifles in the World from these Boxes of Stuff!

    If you are a Dealer or Auction House, Keep Them Together

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