7.62 x 51 or .308 round with odd projectile / no headsatmp

I have this 7.62x51 or .308 round with odd projectile / no headsatmp. Round is annealed and non of the typical notices of reloading. Non magnetic.

Thanks for looking, Joe


The bullet is an old O.P.E. (Open Point Expanding). Usually seen as made by Western but copied by others such as Peters, Winchester, etc.

The bullet pre-dates the case by several years. The case is very similar to prototypes made by Western/Winchester which were often not headstamped.

So, it could be a prototype of the 308W (then known as the 30-80 WCF). Or it could be a handload. Or it could be a dingbat. Take your choice. I’d call it a prototype because that’s a lot cooler and worth more too.

Take a careful measurement of the case length and let me know what it is.


Somewhere around this place, I have a bunch of unstamped 30-06 cylindrical cases. The seller provided the story (but no proof) that they are left overs from Col. Whelen’s development of the .400 Whelen. I figure that if I managed to snag a bag of them, then there are probably others floating around and would be a prime candidate for forming to make this case.

It’s not absolutely clear to me from the angle, but the cartridge case appears to have the wide .308-type extraction cannelure rather than the narrower .30-06 type. Jack

Ray I was just going to email you and could not find your address in my saved items folder. Doesn’t matter now, so here are the measurements. I put it in a Dillon case check die for .308 and the headspace is perfect.

Overall is 2.783"
Case length is 2.006"
Projectile diameter id .3085
Rim is .470
Rim thickness is .054
Neck diameter is .340

Extraction grove seems to be standard. Must be just the poor picture.


There’s no doubt in my mind that the case is a 308W. The rim is exactly the same as found on the Western prototype cases. I don’t have a photo of the 308W handy, but here’s one of the 243W which used the same case, only necked down.

Given the Western case and Western bullet, I’m going out on a limb and saying that your cartridge is a 30-80 WCF prototype. My article on the cartridge is in JOURNAL # 463. The article on the 243W prototype is in #465.



Thanks Ray, I will dust off the Journals and start reading. If I have and question I will email you per the IAA directory.


A quick and dirty shot of several Western prototype cases.

408 Winchester
356 Winchester
307 Winchester
6mm Winchester
30-80 WCF
30 Magnum
338 Win Mag