Archaeological .22 Casing Find


#1

Hello All,

While working at an archaeological site today we uncovered some .22 casings that I would like to get some more information about. A few of the casing were Winchester Super-X and a few were stamped with a U, which I believe corresponds to Remington. Would someone be able to tell me the dates of manufacture of Winchester Super-X .22 cartridges? The headstamp on the Remington cartridge looked like this: afte.org/forum/smf1/index.ph … 3769;image What years were such cartridges manufactured? If there is anything I can do to help anyone date these casings please let me know.

Thank You,
nick


#2

Will be tough to date with any precision. The U headstamp has been used on rimfires virtually forever, although there may have been some variations in the typographic design of the U over the years. Someone may be able to date it by a picture. Likewise, the Super-X HS also goes back a long way (to the introduction of high-velocity 22s), but again there may be some differences in the HS design that could possibly be identified to approximate dates by someone. But I am not that someone.


#3

Thank you for the info Dennis. I will get pictures posted as soon as I can. We would at least like to know the earliest dates these cartridges were manufactured. Does anyone know what these dates are?


#4

Nick,

The UMC cases, if the U is raised it would be between 1877 and 1878. If the U is impressed it is from 1885 and onward.

The Super-X cases by Western Cartridge Company would have been sometime after 1927.

Pictures would allow some of the more advanced rimfire collectors (which is definitely not me) to more accurately date it.

This information came from one of the best books on rimfire cartridges, The Rimfire Cartridge in the United States and Canada by John L. Barber


#5

The U headstamp (and its variations) was common up to the 1980’s, and it may or may not still be used on some types.

As noted, Super-X was originally a Western Cartridge Company trademark, now used by Winchester. Many earlier Winchester RF cartridges carried the H headstamp.

You should also include cartridge case lengths, as there are a number of different .22s (short, long rifle, WRF, Extra-long, WMR, and others.) and that could assist in establishing dates. e.g., the .22 Short came first, and the Long Rifle came about 30 years later (but the earlier .22 Long has the same case length as the .22 Long Rifle). The .22 WMR is much more recent.

Keep in mind that ammunition has a very long shelf life, and it’s easily possible someone could have fired 50 year-old (or even much older) ammunition last week, so the firing date determination from the headstamp is always very iffy.

Condition could also be significant, as depending on soil chemistry (such as pH) and climate, fired cases left on the ground or buried can weather rapidly, and even those that are not very old can become old-looking quickly. So just because they look old may mean absolutely nothing, as they could have been fired only a year ago.


#6

Thanks for the additional information. I will get those measurements along with the pictures. Based on the depth at which these casings were found it is likely they have been there for over 50 years, but anything is possible.


#7

Another important piece of information is case material. Is the Super-X brass or nickled? Is the U copper, brass or nickled.


#8

Hello Everyone,

Sorry for the delay. I now have pictures and measurements from the casings:

(Measurements in inches)

Remington:
Cartridge width: .2250
Cartridge inside diameter: .2020
Cartridge length: .6165
Cartridge wall thickness: .0105
Rim width: 0.2720
Rim lip thickness: .0390

Super X:
Cartridge width: .2255
Cartridge inside diameter: .2000
Cartridge length: .6070
Cartridge wall thickness: .0120
Rim width: .2725
Rim lip thickness: .4000

The cartridges are brass or copper (I think brass), not nickled.

Does this info help? Let me know if more is needed. Thanks.


#9

All the cases shown are either .22 Long or .22 Long Rifle. Once they are fired there is no way to tell these apart as the both used the same case. The .22 Long used a 29gr. bullet and the .22 Long Rifle used a 40gr. bullet. These are most likely .22 Long Rifle as few people used the .22 Long

As for dating them, it is almost impossible. The brass case .22 with the “U” was introduced by Remington for their “Hi-Speed” brand in 1931 and was used until the mid-1980’s. The “SUPER-X” headstamp was also introduced in 1931 by Western Cartridge Co. and was in continuous use until the 1980’s. Before 1931 all .22 cartridges by these companies were copper cases.


#10

Not that it’s particularly relevant to the question, but didn’t the high velocity Remington .22 LR loads have a headstamp of “Hi U Speed” with standard velocity loads having just the U?

As I mentioned earlier,there may be slight differences in typography of the HSs that might make a closer estimate of the date of manufacture possible, but that’s pretty arcane information, and even then, it wouldn’t help in determining the date of their firing, other than establishing an earliest possible date.

Not being a forensic analyst, I’d say anything close to precise dating as to when these cases were placed is not possible based upon the headstamps alone, beyond saying something general like mid-20th century. It might be possible to judge the date more closely by the degree of corrosion, but then one would need cases buried for various periods of time in the same type of soil for comparison, and those likely do not exist. I bet if something like this showed up on “CSI Miami”, they’d have an exact answer before the show was over.


#11

Dennis–The “Hi-U Speed” headstamp was first used in 1946 on the new Nickle Plated cases in the Red & Green boxes. All the earlier “Hi-Speed” cartridges were just “U” on a brass case. These are found in the “Dog Bone” and Dark Green boxes of the 1930’s.


#12

Ron: Was Remington standard velocity .22 in brass cases from 1931 like the HV or later? Jack


#13

Jack–Yes, all the .22’s were switched over to the brass case in 1931. Remington continued to use copper cases for the .25 Stevens and larger rimfires for a few more years.


#14

I’m reaching back a long way here, but weren’t the nickel-plated cases stopped during the Korean War? I seem to remember seeing a stamping or notice on Remington boxes of that period to that effect, something like “due to wartime emergency conditions we are no longer nickel-plating cases.”


#15

Dennis–Yes, that is true. The inside of the end flaps state “Due to Nickle Shortage, case plating omitted. Superior performance unchanged”