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Thread: Marlin 1881 combo loading tool.

  1. #1

    Marlin 1881 combo loading tool.

    there is a Marlin 1881 combo loading tool that went on E-bay in the last couple days and I was trying to see if anyone has any information on them. Did Marlin make them or were they made by some other company (Ideal)? The guy lists a ser.# on it. Was it part of a package with a rifle and was that also the ser.# of the gun? In what time period were thet made? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    There's a very good writeup on the Marlin 1881 Tool in the second edition of Chamberlain and Quigley's Cartridge Reloading Tools of the Past. A writeup is also in the December 1986 Gun Report and one on the predecessors made by the Browning Brothers in the November/December Man At Arms.

    The short answer is, yes, the Marlin Company made the combination reloading tool. They were serial numbered, but not to a given gun. The functioning is what you could expect if a genius like Browning decided to design a loading tool. They were superlatively well made and finished, of the best materials; as good or better than the Winchester tools. They could not compete pricewise with the Ideal combination tool-and-mould, which was priced at $3.00 to the Marlin tool's $4.00. C&Q (and anybody who has inspected one) are convinced the company must have lost money on every one sold at that price. They showed up after the 1882 Marlin catalog was printed and were gone from the catalog by 1888, when the Ideal tools were recommended. The highest serial number reported in C&Q was 7600, but if that many were made, they disappeared somewhere as they are only rarely encountered.

    How much did the E-Bay one go for?

  3. #3
    It's up to $99. I think there was one on 2-3 weeks ago in brass that went for about $290. Were are you located at? I'm up in Appleless Valley

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    I'm up in Ridgecrest. Centrally located--everything is 2-1/2 hours away, minimum.

    That tool will go much higher, methinks.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check