256 Newton head stamps

Hello, recently on a lark I bought a bag with 14 pieces of 256 Newton brass, I didn’t know if it was new or old or reformed. Anyway, it’s old primed brass and it appears to be unfired. Most of it is the typical Western brass, there are 3 REM-UMC pieces and one which says WESTERN 6-17.
I know that Western produced Newton ammo from 1921-1939ish, but I’m curious when the REM-UMC brass is from? I’ve read that the 6-17 head stamp is from military brass but I’d like to know when it was produced.
If anyone has any info, it would be greatly appreciated.

The Western made case was manufactured in June of 1917 as a .30-06 for a WW1 contract with the U.S. Goverment.


PS- Welcome to the IAA forum!

Dick Fraser did a dated checklist of REM-UMC headstamps in the IAA journal. If someone can access that for you they can answer that part of your question.
I would but it’s not currently handy.

Following Pete’s lead on the Dick Fraser article, the REM-UMC 256N headstamp starts in 1916 and ends in 1921.

Pete was one of the top contributors to this article by the way.


Thank You very much!
If the Remington brass was available from 1016-21 and Western started making it in 1921, I’ll bet the 6-17 brass was Westerns first production of Newton brass and they used what they had around to make it.

I don’t think the Western 6-17 was made originally as a Newton. That headstamp is typical of WW I era Cal .30 (30-06) ammunition and my guess is that the Newton cartridge was a handload made with re-formed brass. The 256 Newton was his (Newton’s) spin-off of the 25 Niedner wildcat which was also made from Cal .30 brass.

But, that’s just my opinion.


You may be right Ray and I guess there is no way to be certain, but the Western 6-17 head stamp is among the known Newton head stamps. Below is a photo from Lawrence Wales book, “The Newton Rifle”, showing the various versions.

Since the .256 Newton was developed because Newton was not satisfied with the smaller caliber .25 Niedner, and since the .25 Niedner was a wildcat using Cal .30 brass, it would follow that Newton probably did make (or had made) his first ammunition using the same case. My point was that I’m not convinced that Western made new cases for the first of the Newton cartridges. Later, yes, with the proper Newton headstamp.

I’ve not seen Wales’ book. What does he say? Does he happen to say who made the first cartridges in .256 Newton? Newton hisself? Possibly Niedner?

It’s interesting that Newton did not like the .25 Niedner (25-06) and yet it is still alive today, whereas the .256 Newton is ancient history.


I don’t think it was so much that he didn’t like the .25, as I recall from reading “The Newton Rifle”, the immediate predecessor to the 256 Newton was the “25 Newton Special”, it was changed to a 6.5 mm as a matter of practicality, he could order Mauser rifles in 6.5 mm and re-chamber them rather than have to special order .25’s.

Regarding the brass, under the above photo, it says:
" “Western 6-17”, from a lot of 30-06 cases intended for government use. The cartridges that have appeared with this head stamp are in.256 Newton."

Anyway you may well be correct and it’s just a piece of 30 cal brass that someone re-formed into a Newton cartridge.

There are enough .256, 6-17 Newton cases known that it wasn’t just ‘somebody made them’.

They are uncommon, & i haven’t seen a factory box with them, not to say Newton didn’t package them. As a guess it might have been when he had troubles getting brass from other suppliers.

It’s interesting how different versions of the, supposedly, same events surface after so much time has passed. I admit that I haven’t read Wales’ book. In fact, I don’t even know who he is/was. But, I have read several accounts of the evolution of the 25-06 cartridge (see my article in JOURNAL #461) by Niedner, Mann, and others. Newton is mentioned only in passing and I get the impression that he (Newton) didn’t play a big role but sorta attached himself to the development of the cartridge, like the entrepeneur that he was. He was more a salesman than a shooter.

The first cartridge iteration was the 25-50-117, developed by Mann and Niedner, which resembles the later .256 Newton. But there is no evidence that I’ve seen to indicate that Newton had anything to do with the design. Is this the 25 Newton Special that Wales mentions?? My understanding is that Newton was planning his own big-game rifle design and he thought the 25 caliber bullets were too light so he simply appropriated the 25-50-117 necked to 6.5mm. After Dr. Mann died, Niedner inherited further development of the cartridge and since he was more interested in higher velocities he stayed with .257 bullets, eventually using the full size Cal .30 (30-06) case.

Pete - Back in those days, military brass was about all that was available to experimenters and wildcatters so you will find many, many cartridges made from Cal .30 M1906, 30-40 Krag, 7mm Mauser, and others. It was a common practice for rifle makers such as Niedner to furnish loading dies and a supply of hand made cases to their customers. So, they really did just “make them”. I have 3 or 4 boxes of 25 Roberts cases made from 7mm Mauser, still in the original cartons. Back when I was into wildcats, I had many examples of 25 Niedner and 25 Roberts cases made from Cal .30 cases with 1920s and 1930s military headstamps. And, of course, most of Dr. Mann’s experiments used Cal .30 (30-40 Krag) U.S. military brass, altered to suit his particular requirements at the time.


I believe the 7mm was Roberts original case. What happened to be around when he made them.

What I tried to say was Newton, as your probably know had several up’s & down’s business-wise. So he used what he could find. It would be cheaper to buy ‘surplus’ brass than have it made & headstamped? Although uncommon there are enough around that it wasn’t just a case of Joe Handloader Newton-rifle-shooter making some to shoot. If that was the case why aren’t their also lots of other .30-06 based 256 Newton variations? Why not a REM-UMC 30-06 or M1906, or a Winchester headstamp. I’d think those might be easier for Joe H. to find?

Not near the collection but I seem to remember only, Newton, 6-17, plain, REM-UMC, Western & N.A.Co. 256’s
His 30-06 does exist with this 6-17 & N.A.Co. headstamps plus one other which escapes me at this moment.

OK, So I’ve got this old brass, I’m not a collector, when I bought it, I was thinking it might be brass I could reload for my Newton rifle. Clearly it isn’t that, so now my question is, how do I store it? Is a ziplock bag with a couple desiccant bags in it OK? In my gun safe with a dehumidifier in it? How do I store it until I figure out where to get rid of it?

I believe the 7mm was Roberts original case. What happened to be around when he made them. . .[/quote]


Roberts actually started his experiments with the 30-40 Krag case, following the footsteps of Dr. Mann, but quickly decided on a rimless case that had nearly the same capacity and shape of the .25 Krag-Mann. He used re-formed 7x57 cases (or Cal .30 cases ala Niedner) with a sloping 15 degree shoulder and 2.1" case length that he called the .25 Roberts. Niedner made the rifles and hand-formed cases for Roberts, and shooters of the day often called it the .25 Niedner Roberts. Later, Griffin & Howe got into the act with their version, and even later, Remington and Winchester with theirs. The end result was the .257 Roberts as we know it today, simply the 7x57 necked down. However, there were many a 25 Roberts case made from Cal .30 GI cases which were plentiful at the time.

Back to the Newtons, I don’t think anyone can say with certainty what went on in Newton’s mind or what the original cartridges consisted of. I know I can’t. The entire Newton experiment was full of poorly designed rifles and poor marketing and deserved to be put to sleep.



Ray, I have one of those .256 Newton rounds headstamped WESTERN 6-17 loaded with a Newton patent protected soft point 129 gr bullet, and same headstamp and bullet type also exists in .30-06. Both were found in boxes with a “Newton Arms Co., Inc., Buffalo, N. Y.” address, which evidently means Newton had acquired a batch of these to load both calibers. The true is that when these boxes are opened and cartridges are dispersed we just have anecdotical evidence to identify them.

To my knowledge no other .256 Newton original round made from a .30-06 case with a different headstamp was ever reported by collectors, either coming from a Newton box or not.

Here is an advertisement dated November 1914 which describes an early .256 Newton loading using a 123 gr bullet:

Isn’t this what I said?

[quote]I believe the 7mm was Roberts original case[quote]


I don’t want to get into a pi$$ing match but the 7mm was not the first case he considered. He first tried the 30-40 Krag case in a shortened and re-formed shape. He turned to the 7mm in order to get a rimless case to work in bolt action rifles but the case was still re-formed into a different shape and length.

I suppose we could argue endlessly over semantics and when a case, such as the 7mm used by Roberts, is no longer a 7mm Mauser but a new and different one. By simply necking a case up or down you can say it is the same case, but completely reforming it means that all you are retaining is the head and rim. At that point, IMHO, it becomes it’s own case.


I concede. There appears to be enough evidence to support the conclusion that the first .256 Newton cartridges used the WESTERN 6 17 cases, exclusively.


I found mention of the use of military cases made in 1917 in an article about the .256 Newton published in July 1918.