7.63 Mauser Cartridge Date

Can anyone give me a bit more info on this round? I’m still new and haven’t been able to pinpoint a time frame for this one. What was W.R.A. Co.? And about how old is this cartridge? Head stamp is W.R.A. Co/7.63 Mauser. Also, it’s a hollow point.

Thanks, I know this will be easy for some of you experts here!

W.R.A. Co. is one of the many headstamps used by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. I’m not sure of the age but I think they stopped using W.R.A. Co. prior to WWII.

Well yes… timeframe… The 7,63 Mauser appeared at the end of the nineteenth century with the Mauser C96 autopistol. About the use of the headstamp itself: I have different sources with different timeframes. Ian Hogg: from 1866 till 1940. White and Munhall: till the early sixties…
Anyway: this caliber fits in every collection.

In my opinion, the most scholarly record of ammunition bearing the W.R.A.Co. headstamp is the two volume set of books by Dan Shuey, assembled with intense research and the use of many factory records. Volume II, “W.R.A.Co.”, pages203 and 204, chronicles the use of the W.R.A.Co. headstamp on the 7.63 mm Mauser cartridge, showing a life-span for that particular headstamp from 1900 until 1941. Certainly, it was not used as late as the 1960s.

The W.R.A. Co. headstamp was followed by simply “W.R.A.” and then “W-W” and finially by “WIN” or “WINCHESTER” depending on the caliber of ammunition. However, to my knowledge, the only later headstamp used on the 7.63 mm Mauser (.30 Mauser) was “W.R.A. .30 Mauser”. I have never seen the W-W headstamp on that caliber. It appears that in the later years of production, all of the cartridges of that caliber were made by the WESTERN division of Olin Corporation, with the “WESTERN .30 MAUSER” headstamp.
Winchester and Western were both divisions of Olin Corporation in later years.

Your round with its copper primer, apparently without any primer marking such as “W” was pre-WWII manufacture, perhaps from the 1920s or 1930s. It is hard to date these without a date-coded original box.

the latest catalog I have from Winchester that shows their “Winchester” manufacture of this cartridge is from December 15, 1954. A 1955 catalog shows the cartridge, but marked as available in the Western Brand only, as do all later catalogs I have.

Edited to include catalog information.

John Moss

The 7.63mm Mauser cartridge is listed in the 1903 Winchester Catalog, but is not listed in their 1897 Catalog, which is not a surprise. I don’t have catalogs between these dates. The headstamp illustrated in the 1903 catalog is the WRACO on your cartridge and it was offered with both the FMJ and HP bullets. The HP bullet is still offered in the 1938 catalog but is not offered in the 1941 catalog.

The WRACO was still being used on the rounds in a box dated 12 Dec 1941 which is reportedly the last lot of this ammunition produced by the New Haven CT plant. This caliber apparently was not produced by Olin (Winchester or Western) during WWII. Production after the war was by Western, but with Winchester box labels and headstamps. The earliest known postwar production is dated 26 May 1948 in East Alton IL. These rounds have the postwar WRA headstamp.

Your cartridge appears to have a “W” impressed into the primer. This is consistent with early production but this “W” does not appear on rounds from a box dated 1923.

This information indicates your round could have been produced as early as 1903, or perhaps a bit earlier, but not later than 1923, though the headstamp continued in use until 1941.

It is interesting that this ammunition was packed in a two piece full height boxes, (both the top and bottom of the box were the height of the cartridge) from about 1923 when this style was adopted by Winchester on other calibers. Prior to the early 1920s, Winchester pistol boxes prior to this time-frame were in two piece boxes where the top was only half the height of the box. In the late 1920s these full height, two-piece boxes were replaced by the one piece blue boxes with a tray, but apparently Winchester must have had quite a store of these 30 Mauser two piece boxes because they continued to use them through the termination of New Haven production, and these boxes were still used for East Alton production until late 1957. I have an article on this story that I have sent to the IAA Journal.

Cheers,
Lew

Gentlemen, thank you. I suspected as much but couldn’t find anything concrete. I picked it up for a buck at an antique place and I knew it was worth at least that.

You guys are great and thanks again for the education!

Lew,

I mentioned that Dan Shuey shows the Mauser cartridge as being first produced in 1900, with the use of the WRACo headstamp on it ending in 1941.

I still can’t discern a “W” on the primer. Perhaps hfhubbard can clarify that detail for us by checking the cartridge and reporting whether or not it is there. The scuffing could be concealing it from me, so I acknowledge that it could be there, although I can’t see it. My date estimate was based on it NOT having a “W” on the primer.

The .30 Mauser cartridge was introduced by Winchester in the April 1900 Catalog and Price List. It is not shown in catalog 94, August 1899, where the only cartridges for semi-automatic pistols listed are the .32 Browning Auto and the .38 Colt Automatic. The hollow point bullet for the .30 Mauser, the type shown in this thread, was introduced in the June 1904 catalog and price list. If the round shown has a “W” on the primer, that would indicated production from 1904 to c,1822/early 1923.

John Moss

John,
I read your post where you quote Dan. I was simply providing the information in my documentation. I do have a copy of the March 1903 catalog which offers this round in both Full Patch (FMJ) and Soft Point (which is what Winchester called the HP at that time). I don’t have a catalog of either the 1899 or 1900 catalogs. Wish I did!!!

On my monitor it appears that there is a “W” in the 2 O’Clock position on the primer, but I could be mistaken! I’m sure the owner of this cartridge will let us know!

Happy New Year,
Lew

All, great eye! Yes, after further scrutiny I can see a W on the primer… again, many thanks!!!

Finally I am on a computer and not on my phone. I just wanted to thank everyone again for all of the information that I just read through. I picked this round up for a buck, so I guess, as a collector I am very happy with it. I’ll have to go back and look for more.

As I stated before, upon further examination through a stronger magnifying lens I could make out the “w” on the primer, just to kick that horse one more time…

V/r Henry Hubbard

Henry - Lew is correct in his evaluation of the date spread, since there is a “W” on the primer. I still cannot see it, but my computer isn’t the best, nor is my close vision, even with reading glasses.

Lew - what is the documentation for Winchester calling a hollow point round “soft point?” I ask, because I have a Winchester round with a flat-point lead-tipped bullet of correct characteristics for c.1903. It is NOT a hollow point, but has a very flat meplat which might have caused some feeding problems, although I don’t know why, and a fairly long lead tip. There must have been some reason for dropping it almost immediately, as the June 1904 catalog and price sheet describe the two bullet options as “Met. Pat. Hollow Point” and “Full Metal Patched…86 grains.” Clearly, in that time-frame, the were not referring to a HP as simply “soft point.” On box labels, for reasons I don’t actually understand, they did refer to the bullet as a “Hollow Soft Point,” but the operative word there is the inclusion of “Hollow,” which does not appear in the 1903 description of the bullets available in this caliber. Actually, these “hollow soft point” bullets have a full jacket that even rolls over at the tip down to the core. It is an odd design for a hollow point pistol bullet in that there is very little “hollow” about it; the cavity is very, very shallow, so perhaps that is where the box designation comes from. I have three different boxes for that loading, all variations of the red label boxes. One has no label date, but has “Patent Pending” on the bottom line of the top label. The other two have label dates of 6-15 and 6-22, respectively. Again, though, this “Hollow Soft Point” is not described as such in the catalog, and is not the same as simply “Soft Point,” which is only described in the 1903 catalog as such.

I have about eleven W.R.A.CO. 7-63 MAUSER headstamp variants (later ones actually show the numerical caliber as “7.63” with a period instead of a dash, and are included in that count), and in my experience, the true Soft Point round is the scarcest of the lot.

John M.