30-40 Krag Box, WW2

I find this box interesting and thought I would share. There are many examples of boxes and labels like this, but they don’t appear very often. Western Cartridge Company introduced Lubaloy (Lubricating Alloy) in 1922. Unlike the “standard” gilding metal alloy used for bullet jackets, (approx. 90% copper and 10% zinc), Lubaloy consisted of 90% copper, 8% zinc and 2% tin. I assume that the strategic material eliminated from the alloy in the bullet jackets in these cartridges was the tin. Outwardly, they appear as any other GM bullet. The code on the inside of one of the flaps indicates box filling on January 25, 1945.



Great box.

I was just a wee lad in 1945 but I do remember that ammunition of any kind was harder to get than gasoline. My brothers were all in the service and I was the only one left at home who was interested in shooting. Mostly 22 RF.

I’m surprised that Western was making commercial cartridges at the time but I suppose everyone felt the war was nearing an end and the restrictions could be eased a little. That, plus there were billions of military cartridges in store.

I wonder how Western decided who would be first in line to buy such a carton?

Thanks for the photo.


Over 25 years ago, I bought two full boxes of Winchester .348 cartridges at a flea market, in the Standing Grizzly Bear box, and they also had the same (or a similar) insert about Lubaloy bullets. Wish I hadn’t sold them shortly thereafter.

I was also a tiny tot during WWII, but remember stories from later about how difficult it was to get any ammunition during the war if you didn’t already have some in your personal inventory at the beginning of hostilities. But I expect there was a lot of GI .45 and .30 ammo around from military people who brought some home with them on leave.

One of my fondest Christmas memories was from 1944. My older sister gave me a CARTON of 22 Longs! Can you imagine? That was 500 cartridges! I have no idea how she got them and I didn’t care.

Dennis - The only problem with that military ammo that some GIs brought home with them was that few people had a rifle or pistol to shoot them in.

Randy, that box is making us all look older than we really are. ;)


Ray and Dennis…

Thanks for the compliments…The box pre-dates me by 9 years and 15 days…

During the war, manufacture of ammunition for civilian use was severely restricted. Is it not true though, to some extent, the ammunition makers were allowed to make small runs of ammunition for civilian use during the war…?? I would assume this box falls into that category…

I have in the collection, box bottom only, no cartridges, a Western box that is plain manila cardboard with black printing, which I assume was made during WW2, when inks and dyes were also critical materials, and restricted, so the cartridges were put up in these rather plain boxes for a couple of runs until more of the standard boxes could be produced…



I have one box like that also, in .257 Roberts. It probably dates from the late WWII period from the Olin Industries legend, and, strangely, is a 2-piece box, very plain. It is just a box, no cartridges or cases. As it was not military, I also assumed there may have been some limited production for civilian consumption.

Was there not some production of sporting rifle calibers in the U.S. during the second war intended specifically for animal control purposes? Jack

Jack - Yes, it’s covered briefly in HWS II.


This is a picture of my Western .257 Roberts 2-piece box. Unfortunately, it’s been taped up at one time, and the tape cannot be removed. In addition to what can be seen, there is a liability disclaimer notice on the bottom and extending up the reverse side, and a stamped (lot?) number on the reverse side of the lid which seems to be IMF (or 1MF) 42. I can’t tell more as it is partially covered by tape. I can imagine that in .257 Roberts, it may have been sold for predator control use during the war. The Olin Industries, Inc. legend would date it from no earlier than 1944. Any other ideas as to what else it could be? I’ve had it for a long time, and never attempted any investigation as to its origin. Maybe it’s a rarity, maybe not. Nonetheless, it would be interesting to explore the US production of ammunition for civilian use during WWII, as I don’t remember ever reading about that part of Home Front life. Regarding automobiles, I believe Chrysler was the only manufacturer allowed to produce some few wartime civilian automobiles. I wonder if something similar applied to Western for civilian ammunition? The wartime issues of The American Rifleman may contain such information, but I don’t have any that old.

Couple of tan boxes with white or now off-white labels. Interesting to note that the bottom (sealed) one has the top section, front and back label identical, but the upper (empty) one’s back has the “For U.S. Rifle Model 1898” line also below the "BALL CARTRIDGES " line, but not on the side shown.
Sorry neither is available, but your welcome to use the photos.

Masking tape might be removed by use of 3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner part No. 051135-08984 & found in automotive parts stores. Also I think that Roberts box may well be post war, but could be wrong, just a guess without checking into it. As you say post 1944, but think it might be late production just packaged cheaply with out buying/making full printed boxes. I’ve seen a number of Western/Olin products done in this manner. From .22 R.F’s to .458 Win Mag. Some have a different / later Olin call-out.


There is some disagreement with the date “Division Of Olin Industries, Inc” first appeared. Some say late 1944 but others say 1946. Olin Industries Inc. was not organized until Dec 31, 1944.

That label is very similar to much later cartons of primed empty cases and pre-production cartridges. Winchester used the same carton and label style but theirs were labeled from New haven, CT. I have several, both Western and Winchester, ca. 1950s, that include the liability warning on the bottom and back. A clue may lie under that tape.


One more thing. I not positive on this but I think the designation “257 Roberts” did not come along until after WW II. Before that, the cartridges were known as the 257 Remington Roberts and the 257 Winchester Roberts.ray

I have a large assortment of solvents, and will see if any of them can dissolve the adhesive so the tape can be removed to see if anything of interest exists under it. It is really stuck on tightly. I’ve had that box since sometime in the 1960s, and it looks now as it looked then.

It seems strange to me that a cheap two-piece box with such a plain label would have been used by any US ammunition manufacturer in the late WWII or post-WWII era, unless there was a stockpile of old but unused two-piece boxes remaining in inventory. I’d think that just for general marketing principles such a box would not have been used for ammunition being sold through normal retail outlets, unless there was an ammunition shortage to the extent that customers wouldn’t have cared about the appearance of the packaging used.


What does the liability warning say on your carton? On mine it refers to liability from using the components, i.e., empty cases.


I have this 30-06 box in my collection. The headstamp of the cartridge inside is: W C C 5 4


Ray - I can’t read all of the disclaimer on the .257 Roberts box due to damage. This is about all I can make out: “CAUTION We assume no liability…any damages which may result…from the use of…which may be loaded…” It’s probably something about hazards of reloading, but I can’t be sure of that.

I have another very plain box (but Winchester) from that same “Olin Industries” era in .303 British. There are no other markings, and it is a conventional one piece box. HS of contents are WRA 303 British, not in military style. I guess they could be military, but I don’t know. I’m sure all the .303 experts will tell me what this one is.



We assume no liability for any damage which may result from the use of ammunition which may be loaded by using the components contained in this carton.[/i]

That from a carton of 243 W empty primed cases. Stamped number on back of carton is A 17 24



I have both boxes you show…The headstamp on the cartridges is WESTERN 29 . I believe these were for a National Guard contract and of course, pre-date WW2.


Here is the Krag box where I have just the bottom…K1435C is the index number for 30-40 Krag 180 grain Soft Point, same as the box that started this thread…In case the printing appears unclear, it says:



I soaked the .257 Roberts box lid overnight in lacquer thinner. It loosened the masking tape adhesive enough that I could scratch much of the tape off with my fingernail. On the front side, there was no printing beneath the “.257 Roberts Super-X.” I had expected it to say “Primed Cases” under the tape, or maybe a bullet weight, but it did not. Also, there are clear impressions of bullet noses in the cardboard base of the bottom half, indicating that at one time there were loaded cartridges contained in it (but not necessarily from the factory). On the back side of the lid, removal of the tape revealed that the lot number stamped is actually 89MF 42. Any way to date the box from that number? And would a box of primed cases even have a lot number?

The lack of “Primed Cases” identification, and bullet nose impressions suggests that this box probably originally contained loaded cartridges. But it’s odd that, if so, the bullet weight would not have been shown somewhere on the label.