.45 ACP WCC 71 Bright Case

Once again, may be a repeat, but I can’t find it… In stark contrast to the last .45 ACP I posted questions on, this one is very bright and smooth. Headstamp is WCC 71. Just what is the case material and does this have a designation assigned to it? Also, were other caliber tried with this case material?

45Expcase003 45Expcase007


Dave, is that an aluminum case?


The picture isn’t great but it has a bright yellow/gold color. It is not magnetic, (bullet is) and could well be aluminum with a surface treatment.


Am I missing something here? It looks like plain 'ol polished brass to me.

If it were anodized aluminum, the cartridge would weigh less I would think…



Good point. Total weight is 271 grs. vs. 319 for a WWII vintage ball with brass case. It ain’t just polished. My photography leaves room for improvement no doubt, but the color seen in the extractor groove area in the photo on the left is a good reference to the overall look. Don’t know the actual bullet weight (or powder charge for that matter) so didn’t think the weight would tell all.

Me thinks it’s other than brass…


The case is absolutely aluminum. There are four variations of this round, at least:

Plain unanodized aluminum, no case cannelure. Mine is a fired case with the spent primer removed.

Gold-anodized aluminum, kurled case cannelure, magnetic bullet, gray primer (tinned or frosted nickel - I don’t know which)

Gold-anodized aluminum, no case cannelure, magnetic bullet, gray primer

Gold-anodized aluminum, no case cannelure, magnetic bullet, gray primer with red primer seal

There is a whole series of rounds, mostly by not all unheadstamped, from Winchester in 1969 as well, with aluminum cases. Most found are dummies. I have over a half-dozen variants. Some are headstamped “W R A 6 9.”

The picture posted is very good - it really captures the look of the cartridge.

John Moss


Thank you for the info and once again, you are the man! There I have something I’ve never seen another of and you can rattle off a whole batch of variations you have…I stand humbled.

Thanks again,


when you say Gold-anodized aluminium, do you mean anodised a gold colour or actually anodised with Gold?

If the latter, why would thay have done that? Surely there are cheaper metals that could have been used, brass / copper / zinc / etc…


Magpie - No, I am simply referring to the color as I see it. It is really a true “Golden” color, not yellow, as the beautiful picture on the thread shows. I am not even sure that real gold would be a suitable finish for a real cartridge, if it had no monetary value.

Dave - don’t be humbled. I got lucky with that group. In the overall scheme of things, my .45 collection is rather mediocre. Like any collector of 45 years of accumulating, I have some good items, but there are plenty that I don’t have! I have looked at few collections in my life that I didn’t find interesting due to new items I didn’t even know existed, much less had myself. That includes several so-called “beginner” collections I have seen.

John Moss

As a general note, “anodizing” is not a plating process where a different material is added to the surface. The name comes from using the item as the positive anode submerged in an acid solution and electricity is applied. The intent is to form a layer of oxide on the surface that is harder (though not tougher) than the base material and won’t further corrode. This layer is typically porous and allows for coloring with dyes but is usually seen with a matte finish. The item at hand is very smooth so being that John has identified the material as anodized aluminum, I assume it is also treated with a coating/dye that “hydrates” the porous oxide and leaves a smooth finish. There is a process that naturally colors the oxide pale yellow/gold by using a different electrolytic solution (acid) but I don’t know what that looks like or if that would be used here.

There’s probably a lot more to the processes of anodizing but I have a need to keep things simple in my mind. “A man’s got to know his limitations.” (Dirty Harry quote thrown in there for John). Would love to hear more about the specific process used here if anyone knows more about it.


I am not even sure that real gold would be a suitable finish for a real cartridge, if it had no monetary value.
John Moss

In 1988, the Palencia plant of the Santa Bárbara company received a contract for silver plating of some parts of the surface-to-air Roland missile’s fuze.
To put the plating machinery to test, they plated quite a bunch of empty cartridges in .22 LR, 5,56 x 45 and 7,62 x 51 calibers.

So there exist silver-plated cartridges… and, although I don’t know what its purity was, it is real silver.

Reference: Molina-Orea, Cartuchería Española (Spanish Ammunition), Palencia, 1992.

All I know about anodizing is that it is often done to provide a protective coat to aluminum. While aluminum doesn’t rust, it does form a crusty surface under some conditions (aluminum oxide?). I don’t know if anodization can be made in any color, but it is done in lots of colors. Aluminum pistol frames are often anodized black, for example.

All that said, and you guys know I am a moron when it comes to this sort of scientific stuff, I can’t honest say that the WCC .45 cases are really anodized. I simply don’t know what process is used to form a protective, colored coating on them. I am afraid that if aluminum is any color other than silver/gray, I refer to it as “anodized,” although I know there are other aluminum finishes and sometimes they are just a protective coat, and don’t really “color” the casing, as in most CCI aluminum-cased ammo.

I should have qualified my remark about “anodized” in my original answer, or used more general terms. Sorry about that. To paraphrase “Dirty Harry,” I do know my limitations, and they are many!

Thanks for the explanation. It was fairly clear even to me, and interesting. I am not sure that even the huge amount of expertise and talent that exists on this Forum can help a dolt like me, but I enjoy the answers regardless.

Schneider - thanks for the information on the use of silver. I know that silver especially, and sometimes gold, have industrial uses beyond its use in jewelry.

John Moss

A common use that people don’t know about is electronics. Most electrical equipment we throw out ends up in China where they extract metals such as gold, silver and platinum from the circuit boards.