.45 ACP WWII wooden crate


This crate was a part of ammo lot I got at an auction. I found an almost identical ammo crate at this site
ammogarand.com/45-acp-600rd- … 01944.html
It has the following description:
Product Description
Excellent condition original WWII Spam can of .45 ACP ammo. Ammo is Evansville Chrysler contract and steel cases. Headstamps should be “EC 44” based on lot. Super add for the collector. Only one spam pictured is available, wood case does NOT come with ammo.
How did he know the cases were steel? Mine is open and filled up with unrelated ammo.


Because Evansville Chrysler (EC) only made them with steel cases?


Did not know that, thanks. Going through boxes of ammo, I found 2 Evansville boxes. One has an overstamp. Why did they overstamped the box if only steel cases were made?


Interesting overstamp. I have never seen that before, or at least not that I can remember. Odd since again, the lot number on the box tells they are steel cases.


Do we know if the “Steel Case Ammunition” overstamp was applied by the factory or could it have been added by some dealer selling this surplus ammunition so people would know it was “Steel Cased” without opening the box? I don’t reload ammunition myself, but I would think those who do would prefer brass not steel cartridge cases.


John, maybe because the simple soldier could not know all this?


EOD - I don’t think the simple soldier would have cared about all this. Most soldiers would have no idea why some ammo was steel-cased and why some was brass-cased, and probably would not have cared a bit as long as both worked, and in the case of EC (and ECS) .45 ammo, it did! I have fired scads of it in .45 pistols and in tommy guns, and a little bit of it in the M3A1 SMG, and never a jam, misfire, etc. Aside from being corrosive, it shoots as good today as it did over 50 years ago when it was made.

Of course, Ordnance personnel would be the exception, especially those concerned with rifle and MG caliber ammunition destined for aircraft use. I am sure they would be well informed and knowledgable about the differences.

To tell you the truth, when I was in the army, I don’t recall ever seeing any cartridge box (other than cans) other than .45 auto boxes, as all the rest of the stuff came to us, even in a peacetime army, "ready to use (in M1 Clips, the .30 Carbine in 10-shot strippers) and usually packed in bandoleers, from which we removed it, of course. I don’t recall ever carrying a bandoleer full of ammo, again, due to beining the service in peacetime. We did use two empty bandoleers as an aid to carrying the .30 Browsning M1919A4 MG though, making a redimentary sling out of them. The gun is all sharp edges and very uncomfortable to carry on the shoulder.
If you put the barrel jacket on the shoulder, and let the whole action hang out the back unsupported, the weight distrubtion is poor and even the round jacket starts to hurt.


Evansville made brass cased .45 A.C.P. in 1942 and 1943.
I’ve not seen the “STEEL CASE AMMUNITION” overstamp either


A couple of Evansville 50 rd boxes of 45 M1911, one with the overprint “STEEL CASE AMMUNITION” and one without. Having seen a number of boxes with this overprint, I am inclined to believe that rather than an overprint it was part of the original printing. However the box illustrated in a previous post has an obvious rubber stamping overprint.



Evansville also made steel-cased .30 Carbine ammunition. About 7 or 8 years ago, I bought about 20 boxes of EC43 .45 Auto ammunition for a giveaway price at an estate sale. All boxes had the front lid flap glued to the front of the box. I shot up most of them, but am keeping a couple of boxes unopened. Most of the rounds were perfect, but some had rust on the cases, and almost all had tarnish on the tips of the bullets where they were in contact with the cardboard box. Functioning was fine in a M1911, but not in a Colt M1917 revolver. Fired cases stuck in the chambers every time making extraction difficult, so I didn’t try that again.

The EC .45 ammo uses a slightly smaller diameter primer than standard Large Pistol. You can ream out the primer pocket for reloading, but it’s not really worth the effort. Carbine steel cases seem to use the standard small rifle primer and reload OK. Some EC ammo is headstamped ECS instead of EC, meaning that the cases were made at the Sunbeam plant on the other side of Evansville for loading at the Chrysler plant.

I’ve heard stories that the steel cased ammunition was restricted to training use during WWII, with brass cased ammunition used for combat. However, I’ve had WWII vets tell me that they definitely were issued steel cased .45 and Carbine rounds in combat. If anyone knows more about this, please post the story.

I have some TW steel case .45 rounds headstamped from the 1950s, but the metal finish on them appears different from WWII EC steel cases, sort of a light golden color. They may have been chromated.


I have a .45 auto cartridge with steel case, dug up by an employee of our store, a young man from France, at one of the battlefields. It is in awful condition, but is one of my favorite cartridges, because I know it WAS there! Rather than commit to memory, I will write what I put on one of our little store string tags at the time he gave it to me, so I wouldn’t forget the details. “E C 43. Found in the vicinity of St. Mere Eglise c. 1969, in a 20 rd TSMG magazine.Found by Ralph Pineda. Magazine was half buried, with the top sticking up out of the ground.” Efidently it was drop from a gun by accident, or however got discarded. From the condition of the cartridge, it was probably completely buried for years, and came to surface as a result of weather or some other reason.

It leaves no question in my mind that steel-cased .45 ammo was issued for cmbat. And, why not. I have fired hundreds of rounds of this EC and ECS stuff and never had a malfunction in a TSMG or a pistol. Firest a little of it in the Army in a M3A1 Grease gun with the same results.
I would have trusted my life to it anytime. Considering what you find today is still generall “sure-fire” and reliable, I will cause an uproar and say I think it was probably the finest steel-case ammunition ever made in any country in the world. The corrosive primers were simply a matter of US Military policy on small arms primers at the time, and have no bearing on the overall quality of the ammunition.


JM, on the quality side I completely agree with you. I have had several EC and ECS Packets of Steel case .45 come thru my collection and gunshop table. Several were salt-water damaged ( probably “rescued” from submerged cargo or others in the Pacific Islands,) other packets like new. Even though the submerged stuff had external rust, the contents were intact ( Powder) although the primers were cactus.

I still have the good box, complete. ( ECS 43)

The Steel cased .45 was distributed all over the world in 1944-45, and used for several years after the war.

Several years ago, there was an article in one of the US Magazines, about an officer (non-combat) who carried a M1917 with half moon clips in ETO, and always searched for brass .45ACP for his revolver, as the “steel cases” had extraction issues and corrosion issues in his Revolver. I suppose the “Immediate use” feature of Subguns and Auto Pistols avoided the “long stay” problems in Revolver cylinders, especially if the user was a Combat soldier; also, the magazine feed is more forgiving with slightly corroded ammo than a revolver cylinder…

Reminiscent of chambered 5,56 in M16s during Vietnam ( overnight corrosion and fouling)
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


I have read a few accounts of steel cased .45 ACP being issued to front line combat units. I can’t recall exactly what book (s), but as I think, it was associated with the “Band of Brothers” genre. What sticks out in my mind was that the case finish was the weak link and the soldier had to manually cycle the ammunition through his M-1911A1 pistol every day to ensure it would not stick in the chamber due to rust or oxidation of the case finish.



Doc - Could be. I have no experience at all with the M1917 Revolvers, Colt or Smith and Wesson, with steel-cased ammo. I have had a few of them go through my hands. My fingers are too short for the Colt, which I otherwise prefer. Have to thumb cock them. Always shot them with reloads. About being used for a few years after the war. All the .45 ammo I saw in the Army and Army reserve as late as about 1963 or 64 was primarily WWII, mostly EC, ECS or REM, with just a smattering of Korean War vintage round. Some brass-cased, mostly steel-cased.

Regarding an other comment, I have never heard before of having to cycle steel .45 rounds through the weapon each day for corrosion. My FBI friend and two of us fired a potato sack full of lightly rusted EC .45 ammo through a TSMG and never had a malfunction. I thought he was crazy, as he dumped all the ammo onto another sack and then squirted oil on it before firing, but he laughed and told me to remember it was not a high-power bolt action rifle we were shooting, but rather a ten pound + Tommy Gun with pistol cartridges. It worked like a dream.

I weould think that any corrosion or oxidation that would cause any problem in a M1911 or 1911A1 would be detected by visualy examination. I have shot some pretty dirty ECS .45 ammo through an old, beat up M1911 I had years ago, with nary a malfunction.