45 ACP Headstamps USGI Chasing Information


#1

An interest of mine is drawing military packet labels of various calibres and attaching the appropriate headstamp. At present I am working on 45 ACP M1911 packets and would like to find out the following:
Winchester - what year did the headstamps go from WRA 45AC to WRA and Date format and for how long? Was all production in WW2 with the WRA 45AC hstp?
Remington - after RA 4 hstp, what years were produced with RA and date format, I have an empty packet with Lot No. 33083, would like to know the hstp. Most early info I have is on the 20 rd packets with a 1xxx Lot No. and on the 50 rd boxes with a 5xxx Lot No.
Frankford Arsenal - when did they cease producing 45M1911 ammunition.
Western Cartridge Co. - after hstp WCC 42 20 rd packets Lot No. 6XXX what was next? I have information on packets from the 1950’s but seem to have this gap.
I hope these don’t sound like trivial questions but I like to have correct information. Thanks in anticipation.

Les


#2

Winchester used different Headstamps depending on whether the ammo (in this case .45ACP) was for US Military use or for Overseas sales or “lend-Lease”

During WW II, all the “lend lease” and pre-1941 overseas sales used the WRA commercial headstamp (for both 9mm and .45ACP.) and was packed in Winchester’s “White Box” with Black printing. The packets were packed in Tarpaper-lined Winchester 1930s Embossed wooden crates ( Red and Black lacquer). These Wooden crates were continued into the 1950s Contracts (Europe, Middle east, SouthEast Asia). I have several crates from Indonesia (1953 delivery of .45 and 7,9mm)

When the USG gave out contracts for Military .45ACP, Winchester used the “WRA Date” system on all ammo for the US Military procurement ( some was actually “WCC date” as it was made at East Alton, Western Cartridge Co. ( Olin Industries)being the owner of Winchester by the late 1930s, even though both plants were still running. There is some interchange between the two plants, especially in the China Contract ammo ( .45ACP, 9mm, and 7,9mm).

AS to when WRA changed from “.45AC” I don’t know; Ammo made after WW II (Indonesian Contract) still had the “.45AC” headstamp.

I have no info regarding 20 round packets (likely a requirement for the early 20 round TSMG magazines.)…All I have seen is the 50 round packets ( 9mm and .45ACP) of Lend Lease ammo (British Empire, China, and Postwar…)

The majority of WW II .45 Ammo for the US Gov’t was produced by EC and ECS (Evansville Chrysler, and Evansville Chrysler-Sunbeam) and these were in steel cases…Winchester and WCC concentrated on Lend-Lease Production of Pistol calibres, although some lots would have been ( with WCC Date) for USGI use. FA and Remington and other “Army Ammunition Plants” would have made .45ACP only to maintain the technology in house, rather than for any Imperative need reasons.

Good on you for undertaking this particular Packet and Lot research…it all goes to the production History of .45ACP in the USA, and also to the History of Wartime production administration. ( ie, who made what, why, when, and for whom)

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics
Brisbane Australia.


#3

For Doc Av: Both EC and ECS produced brass .45 cases in 1942, loaded at EC. EC also produced at least one lot of copper-washed steel case in 1943.

Twenty-round US Military .45 boxes predate the Thompson SMG or the use of any SMG by the United States military, going back to WWI and before, including the packaging for the M1906 .45 cartridge.

For Les et al: Production ceased in 1944 at Evansville Chrysler and Evansville Chrysler Sunbeam Plant.

Aside from the FA 4 06 and FA 4 08 cartridges, which are not .45 ACP case types, but rather both the 1906 case type, Frankford’s serial production seems to have started in September 1911 (F A 9 11) and ended in 1956. The last known FA .45 round to show the month of production on it was 10 17 (October 1917).

The last known Peters headstamp was from 1927.

Maxim only made .45 ammo for a short time (possible even that subcontracted out) with the earliest known date of 5 17 and the highest known date of 10 17. Headstamps with no month, just the year “17” are known with the date offset, as with a bunter that has had the month ground off of it, and with the date centered.

The earliest U.S.C.Co. date known is 3 13. The latest with month 7 17 and the then without month in 17 and 18.

Winchester used the headstamp “W” during WWI and headstamps of 17 and 18 are known. There was also a small lot headstamped “W.R.A.Co. 18”, very rare today, where a .30-06 bunter was used to stamp the headstamp. They resurrected the “W” headstamp in the years 1938-1940 on ammunition made for China, and perhaps other countries. They are very scarce as well.

Regarding the WCC headstamp, the earliest use of which was in 1941 with “WCC 41”, I do not know exactly what year it ceased to represent the Western Cartridge Company and became representative of the Wincherster Cartridge Company (Olin). The headstamp appeared in WWII with dates 41, 42 and 43. It was resurrected during the Korean War with dates of 51, 52 and 53, and continued on with the date 54 with dates as high as 99 (1999) known, although some dates from the year 1956 to 1999 are missing.

The first use of “RA” on .45 is R A 41 and continued with the years 42, 43. 4 (the single digit representing 1944 - ground bunters for economy purposes) and 45. There si also a “R • A 42” headstamp with dot representing a different case-drawing process. There was not dated “RA” production between 1945 and 1952, and then 52 and 53 dates are known. After that, the next known date is 60 with the last known date for the “R A ##” headstamp being R A 6 9. There is a headstamp “+ RA 70” probably made with a 7.62 NATO bunter (the “+” I thyped represents the NATO Mark of a cross within a circle, which I cannot reproduce here). In the WWI period Remington used the REM-UMC headstamp with dates know of 2-13, 17, 18 and 19.

I cannot mate headstamps to lot numbers on boxes. Someone else will have to do that. In my own collection, I do not collect dates on headstamps, only one of each style, and in boxes, I collect only physical and visual differences in the boxes, not every lot number.

Headstamps with the word “MATCH” or the initials “NM” were not considered in the above compilation.

Federal did not start producing .45 ammunition with military headstamp until 1953, so I did not consider them either. However, I might as well mention that they produced date rounds with the “FC” headstamp in the years 53, 54, 5 (representing 1955), 60-65, and again from 96-99. although that group include the caliber of “45 AUTO” on the headstamp and were probably actually made as Federal’s “Generic” (lower priced) offering on the civilian market.

Hope this is of some help, and not too confusing. The information was taken from my own collection, and then, for the major part, from the wonderful list of known .45 auto headstamps put out by Butch Daubner, the one used being dated August 20, 2009.

John Moss


#4

To Doc AV and John Moss, thank you both for your detailed responses, it is much appreciated.

Les