A very interesting Winchester 30 Mauser box


#1

I have recently found a very unusual Winchester 30 Mauser box. To explain the nature of the box, a brief history of Winchester Autopistol boxes is in order. From the very early 1900s Winchester labels for autopistol ball ammunition had orange labels with a drawing of the round. In the 1920s a green wraparound label on the ends and back was introduced. These were all two piece boxes and were all marked “WINCHESTER REPATING ARMS CO.”

In about 1930 a new box style was introduced. This was a one piece box with a slide in tray. It was blue with a white banner across the top with a red “WINCHESTER” inside. It retained the bullet drawing on the label. A white banner on the bottom of the label had the W logo and “STAYNLESS” in red. In December 1938 Winchester became a division of the Western Cartridge Company and the labels were so marked. About this time the box was changed again. The top half for the label was blue with a red “WINCHESTER” and a yellow lower half with a cartridge drawing. They all identified Winchester as a division of WCC.

In 1944 both Winchester and Western became separate divisions of the Olin Corporation, and subsequent Winchester labels again said “WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO.” but added “DIVISION OF OLIN INDUSTRIES INC.”

Commercial ammunition was generally not made by Winchester or Western during WWII. After the war they both began production using pre-war components and boxes. In 1947 Winchester introduced the well known Red and Yellow box with the cartridge drawing on the side. This box remained in use until about 1960.

Some box styles on low sales ammunition like 30 Mauser and 9mm Luger before WWII could stay in use for some years after the introduction of a new box style until the old boxes were used up. In addition, occasionally Winchester would make ammunition with the Western headstamp and box label and Western would do the same for Winchester. Immediately after WWII this practice appears to have become more wide spread.

Recently I picked up two of the boxes below. Initially, I saw one of these boxes on an auction and I thought it a product of the 1920s, then I noticed the label included the Division of Olin marking!

The code on the back of these boxes was “A 107 7” which indicated they were loaded by Western on 7 October 1947 or 1957. Amazing for a 1920s style box. The box on the auction was dated 2 October of the same year. The cartridges in this box were headstamped “WRA 30 MAUSER”. Another box exists that with a date code indicating it was made by Western in May 1948 using pre-war cases (WRACO) and boxes. This ruled out the 1947 date for this box.

It is truly amazing that in 1957, Western was loading 30 Mauser ammunition in a 1920s style box. I have a 30 Mauser red and yellow Winchester box, but the end flap is torn off so there is no date code. I have no idea if it is from before or after 1957; however, the use of the K7931T product code indicates it was likely loaded before 1955.

If anyone has any documentation or theories why Olin was loading 1920s look alike boxes as late as 1957, please share.

If anyone has similar boxes, or any orange label Winchester 30 Mauser boxes, please let me know so I can fill in some of the holes.

Finally, if you have a red and yellow Winchester 30 Mauser box, I’d be extremely interested in the date code.

I have written an article on this box with more detail for the IAA Journal and plan on a display at SLICS.

Cheers,
Lew


#2

Lew - not sure which “red & yellow” Winchester box style you are speaking of. At any rate, if it is the box that on the top is about 3/4 red with a yellow bottom and side, and on the top, a white stripe with the red-ink word
"Winchester in it, with the strip crossing a large “W”, then I have two of them. They are identical except that one of the end tabs (labels) has a product number K 7631 T and the other does not. The one with the product number has inside one end tab “A 1287” while the one with no product number has “A 12011.” I assume both of these were actually made by Western, because of the “A???”

And yes, that product number on mine is K 7631 T and not K 7931 T.

Don’t know if this is what you were after or not.

John M.


#3

John,
They are the boxes I’m talking about. Many thanks John! Both are Western made.

A128 7 was loaded on 7 Dec 1948.

A12011 was loaded on 11 Dec 1950. I think it will have the K code on the side of the box, not on the end. The codes after about 1953 were W9LP and should be some similiar “W” code on 30 Mauser. All boxes should have either a K or W code.

This is great information. It proves conclusively that Western was loading 30 Mauser in the red and yellow boxes for some years before they made a batch in the 1920s style boxes in 1957!

Cheers,
Lew


#4

You were correct about the K-code being on the side of the box.

I have a yellow Western box for 7.63 Mauser too. I think it came after the box style of the two mentioned in
my reply to you. It is Index 30MP. The code inside the end flap is 19XK22. I have some other earlier Western boxes as well. The headstamp on the Index 30MP is WESTERN 30 MAUSER.


#5

Thanks John. The post-1953 (or so) product codes used just the caliber for Western labelled ammo and added a W prefix for Winchester ammo, regardless of who made it.

From the boxes I have documented (mostly 9x19mm) it looks like Winchester added a W prefix on their Date Code for ammo made in New Haven. In 1958 it looks like Winchester adopted the Western Date Code format and after 1958, all 9x19mm in Winchester boxes was actually made by Western in East Alton, and the “A” prefix was dropped.

Again, thanks for the box data. It helps date my 30 M red & yellow box.

Cheers,
Lew


#6

Lew - Can you tell me what is represented by the code I
mentioned above, on my Western box - 19XK22 - ?

john moss


#7

John,

That is the Western/Olin date code. It goes back to the early days of Western and evolved some over the years. Your code X=Year, K=Month, 22=day (if there are two numbers then they are the day inverted so 51= day 15 of the month). This box was loaded on 22 Sep 1966 or perhaps 1986.

The use of product code 30MP keeps it from being earlier than 1966.

Cheers,
Lew


#8

Lew, I have an identical box but marked “Division of Western Cartridge Co.”. Code is A5826.


#9

Fede,
A5826 identifies the box as leaded by Western in East Alton IL on 26 May 1948 or perhaps 1938. I’m pretty sure it was a 1948 load.

What is the headstamp. If it is WRA 30 MAUSER then it is definitely 1948.

Many thanks!

Lew