.45 Colt Dummy headstamp


My friend gave me a .45 Colt Dummy with headstamp



That is most likely one of the cartridges from the estate of the Lone Ranger.


That is a memento or souvenir cartridge dreamed up by the marketing folks at the old Railway Express Agency. From the 1960s, I believe, and supposedly made by Remington. It evidently didn’t work since REA was eventually put out of business by the likes of UPS, FedX, etc.

They are not rare but not that common either.



Thanks Ray for the info. Allways nice to have a story by the cartidge.



While I don’t know the occasion for which these rounds were made, they were made a long time ago for the Railway Express Agency, a shipping company in the United States that, as I recall, took over Adams Express. The Railway Express Agency eventually changed its name to just its initials, I believe, “REA” and dealt primarily with shipments going by rail and by air. My mother worked in the Air Express offices of REA for years, in San Francisco, California.

I have four variations of this dummy. I have the headstamp you show with both chromed bullet (I believe they used .45 auto bullets in the making of these) and GM bullet. I have another with the chromed bullet, but the headstamp adds an exclamation point (!) after both the “REA” and the “AWAAAY” so it reads “HI-YO REA!AWAAAY!” Then, I have an all plastic version with the headstamp style without the exclamation points, and with raised letters (Probably made off of a mold of one of the original metal cartridges). Of course, the wording on the headstamp is a take-off on the words of a Western mythical character, The Lone Ranger, as he “rode off into the sunset” - “Hi-yo Silver, awaaay!”

If anyone knows what these commemorated (I am inclined to think some promotion for a new shipping program, rather than a milestone in the Company’s history, but I could be wrong), please let us know. I have a sentimental attachment, since my mother worked for 40 years for that company. I seem to recall that I found my first one among my mother’s stuff when she passed away in the early 1960s, but that could be wrong. Time plays tricks with the mind, especially since I am now older than she lived to be,


These were made for Railway Express Assoc. Company. in about 1970. The headstamp is the advertising slogen they were using at that time. It come in 3 varieties

Here is a scan of my page in my catalog of over 300 .45 Colt’s.


I have one of these “Lone Ranger” cartridges in my collection. I seem to recollect that when I originally researched it the story was that Railway Express had them made for promotional reasons. The Lone Ranger TV series was then popular and they wanted to cash in on it. When a package delivery was made, the driver would leave a “silver bullet”, along with the package. This was to remind the customer that REA was the good guy.

I found my cartridge in the clearing barrel at a Police Pistol range. I always wondered if the officer had tried to fire it. Did all of them come with a “spent” primer?



John–Thanks for the posting. had not known of the varaiation with the plain GM bullet before.


Hey Ron

You must have one of those hollow aluminium 45 “cartridges” headstamped LONE RANGER 45. I’ve had one for years and have always wondered - is there supposed to be something inside or was it just a secret compartment to hide things you didn’t want your parents to find?



Ray–Yes, I do have one of those. I have seen a number of them, but have never seen one that contained anything. I am not sure, but I think they came as part of a cap pistol and belt for kids about mid-1950’s.

I can do one better than this “toy” Lone Ranger round. In 1986 I was visiting Ellis Merchantile in Los Angles and was allowed to rummage through their large collection of gun belts for the movie industry. Got maybe 20 different dummy 45 colt cartridges. The guy in charge asked if I had a “Lone Ranger dummy”. I figured he was talking about the above round. But, no, he meant one of the Lone rangers silver bullets. I was allowed to take one of the originals from the gun belt used in the TV production, a REAL Lone Ranger Silver Bullet. Actually, it is a Rem-UMC headstamped case, silver plated.



Great story.

I suppose you also have one of the NRA Charlton Heston Silver Bullet Brigade key chain “cartridges”.

If you go on e-bay under “bullets” there are all kinds of toy bullets for the different toy pistols. I’m sure you already know about that though. It looks like it could be an entire collecting field (probably is).



Ray–No I do not have the Charlton Heston round, in fact did not even know about it.

At one time, for about 10 years, roughly 1975-1985, I collected .45 or larger Revolver, no automatic pistol, in a big way. I have not activly collected this area for many years now.

I never thought to look on Ebay for toy cartridges before, but I will now. Thanks for the info.



Tomorrow when the sun comes up (and you’re still in bed) I’ll take a photo of the Heston “cartridge” and post it. Unless somebody has a photo to post now.

E-bay will not sell ammunition so everything has to be inert or just components. There are a lot of bullets listed as well as the toy “cartridges”, and a LOT of Washington Bullets basketball stuff.

Someday I’m going to buy one of the inert cartridges just to see what the guys do to them. I have seen 50 Sharps 3 1/4" inert cartridges advertised and I wonder, first, are they really original Sharps cartridges, second,why would somebody inert something like that, and third, how bad of a job could they do. maybe there’s some bargains there?



Ray–What makes you think “Tomorrow when the sun comes up (and you’re still in bed)”, that I will still be in bed. By the time the sun makes it over the horizon in Arizona
I will be almost ready to eat lunch here in Michigan. How late do you think I sleep in? I may be RETIRED", but I’m not DEAD yet. I’m normally up by 6:30 AM EST.

Anyway, I would very much appreciate the picture of the Heston cartridge, regardless of what time you post it.

As for Ebay I was aware of their trict policy on live ammo. That is the reason I quit looking on Ebay for cartridges. Never thought about “Toy” cartridges through until you mentioned them. I do collect these if they are .45 Colt.replicas.

I can’t imagine any knowledgeable collector inerting a 50 Sharps 3 1/4 inch unless asked to do so for one of the European collectors AFTER they had paid the price for a loaded round. However, it would not be difficult to do so as these are paper patched bullets that are not crimped into the case. You can ordinarlly remove these bullets with the fingers and then you could remove the powder and oil the primer, and Viola, an inert .50 Sharps and it would not be mangled in any way.


[quote=“Ray Meketa”]Hey Ron

You must have one of those hollow aluminium 45 “cartridges” headstamped LONE RANGER 45. I’ve had one for years and have always wondered - is there supposed to be something inside or was it just a secret compartment to hide things you didn’t want your parents to find?


The aluminum LONE RANGER hollow dummies were made by Speer for General Mills as a give-a-way & used the .45 M-1911 bullet tooling for the hollow jacket. Not sure of the time.
Hope this is of help


I dread to think what the media would make of this harmless but “politically incorrect” promotion nowadays.



Well that relentless Arizona sun finally came up so here’s the photo I promised.

On the left is a standard 45 Colt for scale. Next is the Charlton Heston keychain “cartridge”. Third and fourth is one of the Lone Ranger 45 cases and bullet for those who wonder what it looks like. Last is another NRA keychain “cartridge”, the 45-110 Tom Selleck.

The NRA “cartridges” are solid brass, heavily plated. They were given out as souveniers to members who made contributions to fund raisers. There are others that I do not have. They have the honoree’s signature “engraved” in the side of the case. The Selleck is headstamped NRA 45-110 and the Heston is AMERICA’S NRA, along with the wording SILVER BULLET BRIGADE on the side of the case.

They may look good in the photo but are actually a POS. A collectable POS, none-the-less.




What kind of photo setup do you have for your pictures? Type of lights and camera?





My camera is a FujiFilm Fine Pix F700. I take my photos at 6 mega pixels, close up or macro setting, auto focus, no flash. I take them in my garage with the door open so that there is no direct sunlight but as much diffused light from the outside as I can get. I then work them over on my PC with my photo-shop program, FinePix Viewer.

I don’t think my photos are particularly good. I see a lot better here on this Forum. I could probably do better but don’t want to take the time to learn how. I’m very computer/camera/electronics ignorant, and lazy.

Isn’t there a FAQ right here on the IAA site that gives hints on taking good photos??



Thanks all for the info. (I never thought this dummy would bring up so much info) !!