45 ACP Box USCCo from Lowell, Mass?

Can anyone give me a date of manufacture for this box.
Thank you.

Am not sure what you want to know from the question. I can tell you that your box of .45 Auto Ammunition is a product of the United States Cartridge Company, of Lowell, Massachusetts, but you must know that from the label.

If you want to know who actually made cardboard boxes for the U.S.C.Co., I cannot be of any assistance.

It is a nice box by the way, not often seen these days.

John Moss

Thanks John.
Any idea when it was made?

As it has the Lowell Mass. address before Winchester took it over or perhaps shortly after as Winchester continued to use older boxes. before switching to the new (blue) boxes with the New York address.

The question John was asking was: Are you asking when the box was made or when the ammunition was offered for sale?

Hi Pete.
When the box was made ?

Vickers - I am not sure. Pete’s general answer was certainly correct, but I don’t recall the time frames involved with the move by USCCo from Lowell, Mass, to New York. They had facilities all over the place, and it is hard to keep them in mind. I don’t even recall when Winchester took them over. They even had some sort of facility in San Francisco, my city of birth, but that may have been simply offices.

I have the same exact box as yours, including, unfortunately, illegible purple markings on the the bottom of the box, which may be a lot number and therefore could possible have told us when this box was fill and moved on from production to sales.

I thought I had a book on U.S. Cartridge Company, but I was looking during the lull between this answer and my first one, and could not find it. My file on the company had a lot in it, but nothing that could pin down this box’s date of production.

Just in passing, is there a book on USCCo that anyone knows of? I mean here a book slanted towards the ammunition, not a company history produced by them. Lots of company histories for manufacturing companies are more about the company itself than about the why, when and where of the products they produced.

John Moss

In April 2010, Ron Merchant wote a message about USCCo on this forum.
According to him, Winchester in September 1926 bought the equipment and continued to manufacture ammunition for them, which USSCo sold under its own brand through its own channels. Which happened at least well into the thirties.

His source is the bookm by Williamson: Winchester, The Gun That Won The West.

An approximate date for this box would be 1912-13, because you can also find it with the 230 gr load with U. S. C. Co. 3-13. headstamp (the 1912 catalog only list the 200 gr load). Don’t know what box was used between 1914 and 1916, but by 1917 they were already using the new orange/blue box style.



Thank you for this information.

Unfortunately, the date code USCCo used before the Winchester purchase is a total mystery as far as I know. If anyone knows how to read this code, please let me know even if you can’t or don’t want to share it! At least I will know some really smart guy figured it out.

Very nice box.


A little off topic,but what is the reason they used codes on these boxes…?
Why not just print the date?

Vickers - Fede brought up a good point. While the dated-headstamps were military contracts, with specifications demanded by the Government (ie: 230 grain bullet), and therefore can’t precisely tell us when the commercial production of 230 grain loads began at USCCo, it would be nice if someone has a commercial catalog for that company dated after 1912 and before the end of WWI in 1918.

I tried to pursue this based on cartridge weight/headstamp using about a dozen specimens from my own collection. While I could easily identify two rounds as having 200 grain bullets, with an overall cartridge weight of around 291 grains, from there the weights of the other specimens were all over the map. There was about a 20 grain spread to the others. Still, if Vickers could weigh a couple of the rounds out of his box, and report them here, perhaps we can tell if they are the 200 grain loads, or the 230 grain loads. Unfortunately, my own box identical to that shown by Vickers was received into my collection empty.

John Moss

Hi John,

The 1914 and 1916 catalogs list both the 200 and 230 gr loads, but no clue as to the box style used at those dates, while the 1917 edition shows the new orange/blue box style.



1 Like

Dates on ammunition tend to make folks not want to buy it if it’s what they feel is old. That it is or isn’t old has little to do with if it’s good or not, storage and handling being the major factors in it working or not.

Plus they can often add a letter or two to tell which machine or line it was made on.

1 Like

I can verify this personally, from 1970 to today! People go to a store- or a gun show- looking for ammo, there is one box on the shelf/table, they ask when you are getting more, and do not buy the one box, as if it is past expiration date, like milk.
I have never understood this particular ignorance…
I am sure John Moss can also verify this behaviour.

1 Like

I have just weighed five cartridges and the weight varies between 316 and 322 grains.

Badger, I sure can. I witnessed lots of incidents in our store where people would not buy the last item (the item on display), regardless if it was absolutely brand new with original packaging. Many of them were satisfied if we ordered in the item for them, not giving any thought to the possibility that it was the last item on the Jobber’s shelf. I always considered that very odd behavior but, then, “the customer is always right” and we tried to stand by that old axiom unless the customer was just of an attitude beyond satisfying him.

Pete is right on about the “old” part, as well. Some folks, and it is usually regarding ammo, seem to think that if it is a year old, it is somehow going to be no good anymore. I, personally, have shot ammunition 40 or 50 years old, normally with perfectly good results. Of course, I will not put a beat-up, corroded cartridge in any gun regardless of its age.

John Moss