308 WIN Cartridge Case, Winchester Headstamp With Dots

A friend was sorting fired brass and asked about some .308 Winchester brass with nickeled cases and a WINCHESTER headstamp that has a dot before and after the WINCHESTER, photo below:


Researching previous threads here on the forum the subject of dots in headstamps on Winchester cases has been discussed a few times before and all involve cases made for Winchester.

  1. Winchester steel cased 9mm Winchester steel cased 9mm , Winchester 9x19mm steel case cartridges with 2 dots in the headstamp made by National Machinery LLC, see: 9x19 “WIN” steel case - manufacturer ID
  1. [quote=“dArtagnan, post:1, topic:8648”]
    Considering the S&B-made .WINCHESTER. (dot WINCHESTER dot) -headstamped 45 AUTO and 380 AUTO ammo in the mid 2000’s,…
    [/quote] S&B-made HORNADY-headstamped 30.06

  2. [quote=“AKMS, post:4, topic:8031”]
    Also, Israeli made .223 Rem with the “WINCHESTER” commercial headstamp has a dot on either side of the “WINCHESTER”. 5.56 x 45 Headstamps

Can anyone confirm who made these .308 WIN cases?



Can’t answer you question but can perhaps point to a lead to the maker.
On the way home from SLICS I bought this 5.56 box & it states Made In USA, and the company listed is Hornady Manufacturing Co., PO Box 1848,Grand Island NE, 68802.

The box lot code is: SMQ18A840-001

I think this SMQ prefix is found on Federal Military production overruns or on 2nds packaged for public consumption.

I hope someone will correct this if I’m wrong.

As you can see this 5.56 has similar dots.

So perhaps Federal or some other company is making brass for these two companies?

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Well I managed to find an answer to my question about the .308 WIN headstamp in a previous post here on the forum Hornady .45 Auto headstamps - lots of them. Located therein are a number of posts by " dArtagnan " demonstrating his extensive investigation into headstamp variations.
Here is one of dArtagnan’s posts which indicates the Winchester case is indeed a product of S&B:

dArtagnan’s headstamp photo

Quoting dArtagnan " Top row are in-house production; blackened 308 Winchester (left), 308 match (middle) and a second type 308 match (right).
Bottom row: nickel-plated S&B-made WINCHESTER 308 (left) and nickel-plated S&B-made HORNADY 308 (right)."


Thanks for the response and you now raise another “who done it” question with the 3 large dots in the Frontier headstamp. Plus the lot designation using the SMQ prefix is most interesting!

Is the lot number on the outside of the box?

Below is the Frontier cartridge intro page in the 2018 Hornady catalog.


PS- Defenition for SMQ (SMQ in saa lot number)

Apr '10

SMQ lot numbers on LC ammunition have had us scratching our heads for years now. SMQ is a U.S. Govt/Military abbreviation for Statement of Minimum Qualification. You will find SMQ lots of M80/XM80, M118LR/XM118LR, M193/XM193A, M855/XM855, M856/XM856, etc. The ammunition is always LC headstamp ammunition dated since Federal/ATK took over production at LCAAP…"

thanks Brian

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Brian, I don’t know the meaning of the dots of this .308 Win case, but in my opinion it doesn’t look like a S&B product; in fact, it looks like a regular Winchester made headstamp but having additional dots. Also, you can find it in cartridges of many different brands, like Ballistic Silvertip (nickeled), Razor Boar XT (nickeled), PDX1 (nickeled), or Match (brass), so I don’t think that it is likely that Winchester would be using Czech cases in so many different brands.

Pete, great to see pictures of the new box, thanks. In the following link you can read more about the relationship between Hornady (Frontier brand) and Orbital ATK (Lake City): https://www.orbitalatk.com/news-room/insideOA/SmallCaliberAmmo/default.aspx?prid=283

The meaning of SMQ as “Statement of Minimum Qualification” has been mentioned before, but can’t be correct because it is part of a Mil-Std-1168A/B lot number where it indicates the manufacturer’s identification symbol. I assume that the identity of the later would be Alliant Techsystems, Inc. (now Orbital ATK), LCAAP Operations, but the exact designation will only be confirmed when an updated edition of Mil-Hdbk-1461 comes to light.



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Thank you for your insight on the .308 WIN case headstamp, the Frontier/Hornady/ATK relationship and the unknown aspects of “SMQ” meaning.