www.cartridge-corner.com

  SHOT SHELL HEADSTAMPS Page 1

 

       GENERAL SHOTSHELL                         
HEADSTAMP IDENTIFICATION

 

Note: Exact  Shotgun Cartridge Identification requires the identification of both the headstamp, primer and the shell case. Many companies, such as Winchester may only place a "Winchester" headstamp on the cartridge base for various models of shot shells which are very different from each other. For example, the "Winchester" only headstamp is used on Winchester Standard loads, Winchester Magnum Loads, Winchester Duck and Pheasant Loads and various other Winchester shot shells as well as shells loaded by many different companies. Small companies often buy hulls from the larger manufacturers to reload and sell themselves. It is therefore important to note what is written on the shell casing itself (either on the top wad or written on the casing) to aid in the identification of the shell. The color of the plastic or paper hull as well as the case size and the size of the brass rim must also be taken in to consideration for identification purposes. The color, size and type of primer used may also be an indicator of manufacturer or if reloaded. Primer size, color, type and size have changed over the years and can sometimes give an idea to the age of a shell.

    The contents of the shell is also of great importance to proper identification. Sometimes the contents are marked, other times not. (If you look at the very top of the shell, on most older paper shells, there should be a paper cap that displays the powder and shot type). This may require further inspection and research by the collector to determine just what you have. Shells may be made with Black Powder or smokeless powder. The casing may be paper, plastic or Metal (usually brass, steel or Aluminum). The shell may be loaded with a slug or shot (size 0000 all the way up to #12 or dust shot), with the shot being made of either lead, steel, copper, bismuth or tungsten etc.

On some headstamps (Especially Brass) there may also be an A or a B after the gauge. This is mainly used to represents the shell type or lot by some manufactures, for others it indicates the ability of the shell to be reloaded. For other manufactures, the A or B has represented the powder (Smokeless or not). Also keep in mind, that in some cases, the Letter can actually represent an alternate gauge. An example is a 20A UMC shell that has been found to actually be the rare 18 Gauge shell. The 20A also exists in greater quantities in the 18 Gauge. The guess is that UMC used surplus 20 gauge shells to make the experimental 18 gauge shells. Many gauges also have various lengths. There are a lot of variable to shotshells and often the box is the only surefire way to date the shell.  

Metal Detectorists often find shell heads and I am often asked for values on these shells. Unfortunately to cartridge collectors, just the heads of these shells generally have no value. Shells that are collected by collectors need to be shells with the full paper or plastic casing and in good shape by most collectors. Full shells are even more desirable than empty shells.

Gauge can also vary, and include both standard and Metric Sizes, as well as a Collath system of gauges which is entirely different.

Some more common "known" gauges are:

0 gauge 1 gauge 2 gauge 3 gauge (rare)
 
4 gauge 8 gauge 10 gauge 11 gauge (rare)
12 gauge 14 gauge 16 gauge 18 gauge (rare)
20 gauge 24 gauge 28 gauge 32 gauge
410 gauge 6mm (CF and Rimfire) 7mm (CF & RF) 9mm (CF&RF)
12mm 14mm .310 Remington skeet 5mm Wingo


 

USA SHOTSHELL  HEADSTAMPS

(Please note: Headstamps may have one or both of the markings listed. EX: A Western Field shotshell  may have just "Western" on the brass, while the same type of shell may also be marked "Western Field" on another base). The second name generally represents the brand name or purpose of the shotshell and may be either stamped on the base or written on the cartridge case itself. ** Some US shotshell manufacturers used a steel base instead of brass, during WWII.

( Dates after shells indicate dates of known manufacture. Dates after company name indicates known dates of the company being in business.  An * after the shell represents the shell is generally a brass shotshell, but the headstamp may be found on others)

 

ALCAN (Alcan Cartridge Company) 
1951 - 1971 purchased by Fiocchi and S&W

(See More shotshells after the Company Listings)

Double Eagle (Alcan)

Alcan Incorporated

 

Alcan Basic

Alcan

Alcan Alcan

Alcan Italy

 
Alcan USA

                 

AMERICAN AMMUNITION Co. 
(1910 - 1922)

A.A Co. Long Brass 

A.A Co. Nitro

American Jackrabbit

Automatic Ejector 

Red Devil 
 

Red Devil's, A.A Co.

Steel Lined

A.A Co. Jackrabbit

 

 

AMERICAN BUCKLE and CARTRIDGE CO 
(1884, purchased by the Ammunition Manufacturers Assoc,  (Winchester, and USC Co.)

A.B.C No (gauge) Diamond 

A.B. &C Co.

 

 

I.X.L No (Gauge)

Special (Gauge)


 

A.B.C No (gauge) Cross, Diamonds

 

 

some have circles and designs around lettering. Others are plain

 

AMERICAN CARTRIDGE and AMMUNITION CO.

(1922-?)

Standard 

American 

American Eagle

Black Prince

 

AUSTIN CARTRIDGE Co.

(1895 - 1909, purchased by Western Cartridge Co.)

AC Co. 

AC Co., Advance 

AC Co., Eagle

AC Co., Alert 

AC Co., Bang


 

AC Co., Crackshot


 

AC Co, Invincible

Austin Ct'ge Co. 
 

A.C Co., Flash


 


 

AC Co., Reliance 

A.C Co., Winner

               

BROWNING USA

 

CLINTON CARTRIDGE COMPANY 
(1904 to 1930's, owned and operated by Sears Roebuck, shells usually made by Federal) 
 

C.C Co., Pointer 

C.C Co. Mallard 

C.C Co. Extra Range

C.C Co. Star

 

 

COLT FIREARMS 
  Colt                                              Colt Industries

 

 

DELAWARE CARTRIDGE Co. 
(1860 - 1888) 
 

 

D in a diamond

D.C Co. Wil Del

X
(raised)

ST

 

FEDERAL CARTRIDGE COMPANY 
(1922 to present. Prior to 1922 was called Federal Cartridge and Machine Co. with same Federal Headstamps)Currently owned by ATK (along with Speer, Estate, RCBS, Weaver etc) 
 

Duck Symbol Made in USA

Duck Symbol Gold Medal

Made in USA

Federal Top
   

Federal Bottom

Federal Cartridge

Federal Gold Medal

Federal Hi Power 

circa 1920's to 1950's

 

Federal Monark

Circa 1950's to mid 1960's


  

Federal

Federal Tungsten Circa 2010's

Federal Reliable

Federal Steel

 

GAMBLES Stores 
(1956 -) 
     

Gambles S&G

 

Gambles  Ace

Gambles, Tiger

Hiawatha Airway


 

Hiawatha Ace

 

 

HERTERS 
(1959 -present, although now the Company name is being used by Cabela's, it is not the same as the original Company and thy use a USA headstamp)

Herters
 

Herters Universal

Herters USA

Johnson

Herters Pat


 

-

 

HUNTER ARMS COMPANY 
(1888 - ?, formerly L.C Smith)

Made By WRA Co for them

H.A Co.

Hunter

L.C Smith

 

INDEPENDENT CARTRIDGE Co.

(1910 - 1913) 
  I.C Co.                                          I.C Co. Rocket

 

MERIDIAN FIREARMS CO 
(1904 - ? usually made shells for the Early Sears Roebuck Co.) 

Pointer, MFA Co.

 

MONTGOMERY WARDS

Pictures of Wards Headstamps

 

OLIN Corporation 
(purchased Winchester Western in 1944) 
  Olin                                             Olin, Red Meteor

 

OLYMPIA Cartridges 
  Olympia                                      Olympia, USA

 

PETERS 
(1887 to 1934, combined with Remington in 1934)

Pictures of Peters Headstamps

 

 REMINGTON 
(E Remington: 1870-1890. Remington 1890-1911 then Combined with UMC to form 
  REM-UMC from 1911-1934. 1934 Dupont buys out Rem-UMC & Peters to form Remington Arms Co. as it still stands today)

Pictures of Rem-UMC Headstamps

 

 

ROBIN HOOD POWDER COMPANY 
(Later Robin Hood Arms Co.) 
(1887 to 1916) 
Pictures of RHA Headstamps


 

SEARS 
Pictures of Sears Headstamps


 

  SOUTHERN CARTRIDGE CO (Savannah, GA) 
1909 - 1914

S.C Co. 

 

 S.C Co., Star

S.C Co., Dixie

 

 

SOUTHERN CARTRIDGE CO  (Houston, TX) 
1923 - 1929 shells only made from 1923-1924

So. C. Co. 

SO. C. Co Retriever

SO.C. Co. Dixie
 

 

UNION METALLIC Co. 
(1867-1911. Combined with Remington to form REM-UMC from 1911-1934. 1934 bought out by Dupont to from Remington Arms Co., as it still stands today) 
  (Headstamps may have periods in between letters.)

Pictures of UMC Headstamps


 

US CARTRIDGE COMPANY 
(1864 to 1926, then purchased by Winchester Western) 
  (Headstamps may have periods in between letters.)

Pictures of USC Co. Headstamps

 

WANDA CARTRIDGES 
1965 - 1972 

Marked "Wanda" in either Red, Blue, Green or Yellow plastic casings. 
  Tri Test           or                     M (with lines over each column of the M to signify T's)


  

 

WESTERN AUTO 

(1955 to ?)

 

 

WESTERN CARTRIDGE COMPANY 


(1898 to 1932. In 1932 Western purchased WRA to form  Winchester Western which lasted until 1944. In 1944 Olin Industries re-organized the company in to Winchester Western Division of the Olin Industries)

Pictures of Western Headstamps


 

WINCHESTER

(formerly New Haven Arms from 1860 to 1866. From 1866 to 1932 operated as The Winchester Repeating Arms Company until it was purchased by Western in 1932. 1932 became Winchester Western which lasted until 1944. In 1944 Olin Industries re-organized the company in to Winchester Western Division of the Olin Industries)

Pictures of Winchester Headstamps


 

MORE US Headstamps 
 in brackets is the company name who makes the shell, 
a "?" denotes that I can not find who the actual maker is. 
 * = mainly all brass shells

AAI (Teargas)

Acme (Acme GI Company)
Acme GI Company* (same as name)

A.C Hobbs (patent date)* 
  

Activ (Activ Industries 1985-)

 

Adams

AF & Co New York

(Abercrombie & Fitch Co)

A.H Fox (snap caps)

 

A.L Howard or Standard  (A.L Howard Company)* 1887-1884 
Also used headstamps: N.Y.C and NY Club

Allen's Pat (Ethan Allen 1860-1872)*

American Standard (Cussins & Fern Co.)

Amer.Rock Express

Amron (1956 -present)

A-Zoom (Snap Caps)

 

Baker & Co. (W. H Baker & Co. 1870-1888)*

Bailey Gas-Leak Proof (Charles A Bailey) Ballistic Tools Inc.

Best (Best Ammunition Co.) 1905 - 1912*

 

B.E.L.L (Brass Extrusion Labs Ltd. ) Reproduction of obsolete cartridges 1975- 2007

Bismuth Cartridge Co.

 

Blue Chest (Chicago Shot Tower Co.)

Blue Rival

Boss

Boss (New Company)

 

BRI  (Ballistic Research Industries, Ca.)

Buffalo (Tryon-Supple)

C.A Bogardus Champion (Blachford Cartridge Works,, cases by WRA Co. 
(1894-1900)

C.A Co. (Chicago Arms Co.) 1880 -1915 owned by Meridian Firearms Comp

 

Carlsbad Ammo Co (Carlsbad Ammunition Inc., Sacramento, CA)


Cassady (Bridgeport Brass Co. and WRA Co. made) 1884-1894* 

Catron (Catron, Carmel, CA)

   

 

 

C.C.C Mandan (Creedmore Cartridge Co.)1890 - 1892, sold to the Ammunition Manufacturers Assoc.

12 ga shell pic by: Bradley Bergholtz

C.C & T & C.C & T Co (Chamberlain Cartridge and Target Co.) 1883 - 1932, purchased by Remington*

C.D Leet or C.D.L Springfield (Same name)

(1862-1867)

 

C.F.C Co. (C.F Cook Co.)

-

Champ

 

Charles Daly

Club

Colt Industries

Conical Base, St Louis

 

Daws Patent

CH Daws Patent

Dircks - Beath Ammo Co  

 

Double Eagle

Dri Bore Snap Caps

 

 

Eclipse (Eclipse Cartridge Co.) All Plastic.1980-1985, sold to CAVIM, Venezuela. also some brass shells

E.C Meacham, & Co. (same as name) *

E. Hart Patd.

 

Estate (Estate Cartridge Co..modern ammo)

Eureka (California Powder Works)

1861 - ?*

Everlasting (Ideal?)

Excelsior "patent date" (?)

Frankford Arsenal

F 6 92 No 20

Frankford Arsenal (Forager shell. Observed

with many different dates)

 

F.D & Co. (F Draper & Co.)  
1864 -?*

F E. Boyd Co. (1860's)* 

Fiocchi USA (Fiocchi USA Division) 

GF (Fiocchi)


 

Fort Dearborn (Fred Biffar & Co.)

Fowler (American Gun Implement Co.)

Fowler Plating Co. 1885 - ?

Frankels

 

GPS Premiun (Snap Caps)

 

G&H Omaha

Gun Exchange (Modern Snap Caps)

Hunter Arms Co (Made by Wra)

 

Harts Pat (date) Newark, NJ or E Hart (Geo Hart & Co.)1873 - ?

E Hart case (Patented)

H.B Fisher (Same as name) some have Phila, Pa also on stamp

Henry Industrial

Hevi Shot (Modern)

H. Sears & Co. *

HORNADY (Hornady Manufacturing) 

Henry Squires Kynoch (Squires NY)

HC&S NY

Hodgdon (1946-1996)* 

Holiday (Holiday Stores) 1971 - 1975

 

Hoppes (Penguin  Industries)

H.S.B & Co. (Hibbard, Spencer and Bartlett)

Ideal (Hibbard, Spencer and Bartlett)

I.F.S Co. (International Flare Signal Co.)

Imperial USA
Interarms USA

K & Co (Unknown)

K.C & Co. (Kelsey Cartridge Co.)1884 - ? *

Kelsey Pat.Apd for (Kelsey Cartridge Co.) 1884 - ?* 

Kent ( Kent Cartridge Co., WV)

Keystone (Keystone Ammunition Co., 1879 - ?)*

Krider Phila Eley (John Krider)

LC (Lake City Ammunition)

 

L.C Siner & Co. (same name)

 

L.D.F No. (Liberty Display Fireworks Co.)Flare Cartridges

 

Liberty Bulk (Liberty Cartridge Co.) 1908 - 1917 equipment purchased by Federal 

Liddle & Keading 
(same as name)

Lightfield (Lightfield, NJ)

LM Co. * * (Elm City Manufacturing Co.) 

Lowell & Co. (Lowell Cartridge Co.) Later part of USC Co.

Mercury, New Trap

Mercury, Victoria (?)

Mercury (?)

Meyers Bros. (Meyers Brothers, Minnesota)
 

MH Inc

Micro Hunter

Moran (Moran Electric)

Mullerite (?)

NA&A Co New England Arms and Ammunition Co. 1980's


Nimrod, made by Alcan and WRA for White Stores.

Norwestern (Northwest Cartridge Co.)1956-1957

Noramco (Northwest Cartridge Co.)

N.Y.C gauge (A.L Howard) or N.Y Club

Oath

 

Orion Red Meteor

Orion White Meteor

Pac Meteor

Pacific

 

Pachmayr (Snap Cap)

 

Paragon, (Paragon Shell Reloading Co.)

Parker Bros West Meriden (some just say Meridian, some West Meridian and some W. Weridian), CT (same as name)*(1880 - 1934) purchased  by Dupont (Rem-UMC)

PC

Flare Cartridge

Penguin (Penguin Industries {Flares, teargas and Twinshot})

 

PMC

Red Star ?

RF

Flare Cartridge

R.G MFG Co. (same as name)*
 

 

Salvo

 

Savage Superior ( M.W Savage factories Inc.)

 

San Francisco Gun Exchange

(snap caps)

 

SC (Carlson's Snap Caps)

 

Schaefer (WM R Schaefer & Son)

 

SELBY (Selby Smelting & Lead Co.)1865 - ?

 

Selby, Standard (Selby Smelting and Lead Co.) 1865 - ?

S.G (S.G Brown Co.)*

S.I.C Co.  Star  or Rocket (Sportsman International Cartridge Co.)
Smiths (Smiths Graphited Cartridge Co.)1916 - ?

Squires (Henry G. Squires)

 

Special (By IXL)

 

 

Standard Arms Co.

Star (Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co.) Superior Mogul or Superior Guaranteed (M.W Savage Factories Inc)

Steel Lined or Steel Nitro or Steel Special (Chicago Arms Co.)

Stoeger New York (Stoeger Arms Co.)

Sultan Patent 1885

 

S&W-F (Smith & Wesson)
1973 - present. Made by Fiocchi


Taylor Arms

TEI

UF

Flare Cartridges

 

 

Traditions (Snap Caps)

 

Tri-Test

United Cartridge Co

USA stars (Herter's by Cabela's)

 

Vawter Inc. (Vawter Inc)
VFM (Flare cartridge)

V.L & A, Chicago (Von Lengerke & Antoine)

V.L & D = Von Lengerke & Detmold

V.L &D Lightning (WRA Co)

V.L &D Lightning (Kynoch, UK)

V.L &D Nitro

 

White Powder No. (Fred Biffar & Co.)

Whitney

 

Wood New York (Waterbury Brass Co.)

 

W.V Clow Co. (Same) 

W.V Clow Co., Sentinel


 

 

 

Made by ICI England for Scott Powder, USA

                         

  SWAN

 

Back (Home)  

 

Shotgun 1 USA

 

Shotgun 2 Canada & UK

 

Shotgun 3 France, Italy & Germany

 

Shotgun 4 Spain & Eastern Europe

 

Shotgun 5 Other Europe

 

Shotgun 6 Africa, Asia & Middle East

 

Shotgun 7 Central & South America, Oceania & Unknowns

 

Headstamp Start Page

 

 Curtis Steinhauer

cartridgecorner13@gmail.com


www.cartridge-corner.com