12 ga CLIMAX shorshell


I have a 12 ga shotshell with the following head stamp:
At 12 o’clock: 'No. 12, made in USA
At 6 o’clock: 'CLIMAX’
at the 9 and 3 o’clock: ‘U and S’, respectively

The cap disc is marked CLIMAX, 1-Buck, HEAVY
It is a red paper shell.

Is this a military shotshell? Any information about date and/or value would be appreciated.


Climax shotshells were made by the U. S. Cartridge Company (Lowell, MA), so the “US” was probably for that. I can’t address date or value, but I think USCCO ceased to exist as a brand in the late 1920’s after it had been taken over by Winchester.


The headstamp you describe is indeed one of many used by U.S. Cartridge Company (USCCo.) but I’m not sure what the dates of this specific one may be. There is a flat head and a dished one too. USCCo. headstamps were used to 1935, even though the last few years were under WRA ownership.

I doubt this was for military use as they didn’t use #1 Buck much, if any. Shotgun shells were rarely uniquely stamped, like metallic cartridges, for military use. Boxes were generally marked in someway but not individual shells, as far as I know. During WWII a lot of shotgun shells were purchased by the U.S. Government and they were standard production runs of shells with standard boxes, marked as government owned. Even though this box (pic) was made for a military contract late in WWII, note the shells are standard Winchester Ranger trap shells.

Value, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. Look around at some of the online auction sites and you may get a comparison.


I have several 25-round boxes of Winchester WWII-era 12 Ga military shells (00 Buck) in one-piece boxes. The only way they are distinguishable from those made for the civilian market is the box has a small “U. S. Property” legend printed on it. I imagine the amount of shotshells purchased by the military between the World Wars was very small, and #1 Buck was something unlikely to have been used by the military.


A red shell body is definitely post WW-I. USCCo was an independent company who contracted all manufacturing to Winchester after leaving Lowell in 1926. USCCo was a registered Massachusetts corporation until 1935, owned completely by National Lead. .After Olin purchased Winchester in 1931. Olin exorcised a contract clause to buy USCCo approx 1936.


Is this a store display shell?


Many years ago, I had a box of paper Winchester shotshells that were marked ‘Government Property’ in the label area where the load information was printed. The shot size was #1 Buck. It would be interesting to know what they were used for. I have seen more than a few individual 12 gauge shotshells, with 00 Buckshot loads, that had red sealant on the primers. I always thought those were military issue.
I thought Winchester acquired U.S. Cartridge in 1926 and continued the line until 1936. The address change from Lowell to New York was during those last ten years.


It’s usually / commonly called a window shell and could have been used in a number of ways. Most likely usedby a USCCo salesman, as a single or in a set of different windows & inert shells to display the different brands US offered to a store, or it could have been used by a retailer to show customers what a certain brand of powder or load looked like.


These U.S. Property shells were used / issued as Guard loads, training or in combat. The all-brass shells were also used as they overcame the moisture and repeated loading and unloading problems that usage of paper hulls exhibit.
Yes most likely the ones with a primer sealant were government.
Boxes with the U.S. Property print are found by Western, Winchester, Federal, Peters, U.SC.Co, and Remington, in short all the major makers and in several brands within some makers.

I think uscartco has the exact time line correct.


Thanks, I’d never seen one before. It’s pretty old.


Actually that shell is a third generation Climax circa 1923-1927, so in the scheme of things not all that old. Not even an official antique. (100 years old)

Oh & I should add that window shells were made by all the major ammunition makers, and some of the minor makers. Collections of just window shells can include over 100 shells in almost all gauges, and they are being made now with the plastic hulls. Both paper and plastic versions can also be found by European and UK makers.