Why was there a need to code the year of production of hunting ammo in 1966?
A more expansive question is “Why did DWM decide to hs date code their sporting rifle ammo from 1925 to 1972 ?”
Probably for the same reason that military ammo has dates !?
Dates on headstamps are part of quality control. The reason that so many commercial rounds use some sort of date codes on the boxes or headstamps is to protect the sale of what some people, who don’t realize the very long shelf life of most ammunition, would consider to old to buy, if the dates were plainly shown in numerals.
There may be other “in house” reasons for these codes, but that is one of the reasons.
But German military producers never coded the date, all rounds have actual year of production.
Commercial cartridges may have arange of bullet weights/types, some of which are not in great demand. It may take a few years before a production run is sold out. Some buyers insinst on “new” ammunition. They would be less than enthusiastic if it were obvious that their newly bought ammunition is, say, five years old.
So the date is coded; many makers even code the day of production on the package for the reason John explained.
P.S. German military production for some time before 1936 actually had coded years, like G for 1935. But this was an attempt to hide the amount of production to outsiders.
The date code on the headstamp may have very little to do with the date the cartridge was loaded. Collectors of 9x19mm have been confused for years by the Polte 1936 dated rounds with black mE bullets These bullets were still in the early stages of development in 1936 and it seems improbable that these test cartridges would have had black bullets Eventually, a box turned up and it became obvious that these were 1936 cartridges which someone lost track of or were being held in the event that extra cases were needed. The box label clearly identified them as Polte cases from 1936 but they were loaded by emp in 1943, after Polte stopped production of 9mm P08.
There is evidence that DWM pre-WWII dating cases were still being loaded by DWM and sold commercially after WWI.
I believe John is correct that the dates, both those on the headstamp and those on the box showing date of packing, were for quality control. But, the date on the headstamp is sometimes a poor indicater of the date of manufacture.
Lewis correct. A headstamp only tells us about the case itself, especially in the instance of German military ammunition. Without the box label, it is near impossible to say anything about who actually loaded the ammunition, and when.