Austin Cartridge Company Question


This is a family keepsake that comes form my Grandmothers side of the family that were the owners of the Austin Powder company for many years. It’s a salesmen sample for there shotgun manufacturing that contains six shells.

  1. A.C.C.O. Crack Shot
  2. A.C.C.O. Advance
  3. Winchester Ranger
  4. US Defiance
  5. Western Xpert
  6. Peters Victor

I was hoping you folks could tell me a little about it and anything you may know about the Austin Powder Company.


Numbers 1&2 are Austin headstamps, what is printed on the over shot card on the other shells? I suspect that they are either new primed empties loaded by Austin or not the correct shells for the box. I am only guessing though as I can not locate my headstamp info at the moment. If the card has Austin or ACC on it it would confirm that Austin loaded the shell.

Not much help but hopefully it will get people started responding. Either way thats a nice box.

Doug D

  1. Winchester Ranger has: Staynless 3 4 1/4 - 7 1/2 C Minimax

  2. US Defiance has: Self Clean 3 4 1/4 - 7 1/2 C Red Dot

  3. Western Xpert has: Western 3 1/4 1 1/8 - 7 1/2 C Smokeless

  4. Peters Victor has: Smokeless 3 1 1/4 - 7 1/2 C

I tried to put gaps in where specfic words were on different lines of the printing, I hope that helps?

That is a nice box but not sure the contents are original.
Austin Powder is still in business, as a commercial explosives firm.
They would be a good place to start a history search.

JLaughl - you inquiry asks about the “Austin Powder Company,” but your sample package bears the name Austin Cartridge Company. I am not sure which phase of their business you are most interested in, so here is a capsule history from the beginning. I have no idea if the current Austin company referenced on this thread is related or not.

Austin Cartridge Company had its roots in 1832, and did evidently start out as a powder company. There were five brothers named Austin - Daniel H., Alvin, Lorenzo B., Henry M. and Linus. They were originally from Vermont but set out to go west to build a powder factory.

They started a powder mill on the Little Cuyahoga River near today’s Akron, Ohio, the community having the name “Old Forge” at that time. The settled there because it was close to water transport and wagon routes, and there was already a coal industry there, a major user of explosives.

The firm grew, and in 1867, acquired the Cleveland Powder Company who operated a mill at Cleveland. Both locations were used until 1871 when all of the powder production was moved to Newburgh Township (Cleveland outskirts). In 1867, because of growth, they placed a stock issue on the market. Now incorporated, Daniel was the President and Linus was the Secretary. The three other brothers were officers and stockholders.

Daniel died in 1874, and the Presidency went to Linus. During his time as President, a shift in mining occurred from the east to the south (in the Kentucky and West Virginia areas) as well as an increase in demand for sporting powder.

The first venture into cartridges was in 1880 with a large investment in, and the sale of a magazine and keg factory to the Chamberlin Cartridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio. This made Austin the sole powder supplier to Chamberlin. The Austin family era ended when Linus died in 1887.

R. T. Coleman became President and began an extensive investment program, which included the purchase of many shares in various powder companies, as well as in Chamberlin Cartridge Company and the Standard Cartridge Company of New Jersey. This program was completed by late 1889.

In 1892, due to the growth of the city of Cleveland, Austin Powder Company purchased a 1,000 acre tract of land in Glenwillow, Ohio. The Newburgh facility continued to operate until 1907, however, when it was closed permanently. With the Glenwillow location came a new phase of business, the Austin Cartridge Company, a factory built for the production of shotgun shells. It was started in 1895. Originally, cases were purchased and loaded by Austin. Due to problems in expansion of the blasting powder facilities, labor troubles in the coal mining industry and a decline in the sale of black powder, the Austin Powder Company sold its interest in the Austin Cartridge Company to F.W. Olin’s Western Cartridge Company of East Alton, Illinois, in October 1907.

The short span of the actual Austin Cartridge Company has made its products sought after by collectors today.

Reference: “Advance Flash Bang” by George G. Kass, ARMS GAZETTE Magazine, October 1976 Issue, Pages 32 - 34.

Old IAA Forum thread October 30, 2002

Old IAA Forum thread, August 13, 2002

Mr. Moss thank you very much for an amazing response, my question was primarily about the Powder company because it was in the Family. My Grandmothers father Ventrey Morehouse was president or CEO (He owned it!) of Austin Powder and the salesmen sample was passed down from Ventrey to my Grandfather who gave it to me.

At the time he could not say if the non ACCO shells were loaded by Austin or if they were in the case to be used by the salesmen to show the difference in quality. But what I do know is that their supposed to be there.

Does anyone know how many different types of shells did Austin Cartridge produced?

I want to thank everyone who responded in assisting me in filling in this portions of my family’s past, thank you all!


Mr. Moss does it again!

Threw me off there at first, though, John.

First line, second paragraph, you note "Austin Cartridge Company had its roots in 1932, , , ,

I know you meant 1832

Doesn’t take away from the story, but knowing your sense for accuracy, I expect you’ll do a little edit on that. For posterity’s sake.



Iverson’s book “Shotshells in the U.S.” shows headstamps of eleven different shells.

Rick - well, hombre, you caught me again. Your wish is my command, and the error committed by the world’s second worst typist (don’t know who the first worse is but someone HAS to be worse than I am) is duly corrected.

Thanks for the sharp eye, Pard. I don’t like these errors, but get in a hurry and don’t proof read well enough. Apologies to all.

A way to identify an Austin product with another hull makers headstamp is a single punch crimp on the brass base (side not head). Sometimes Austin headstamped shells also exhibit this crimp / punch mark. This punch / crimp is not always found, sometimes just the topwad is the tell-tale. However the combination of the two is a fo-sure.

The topwad is somewhat distintive with thin letters (set in the shape/pattern of a triangle) noting the three load factors.

Be interesting to hear if all (or some) the shells in this sample set show the crimp. The two non-Austin shells (Winchester New Rival 10 bore & a UMC Nitro Club 12 bore with the impressed petals around the primer) in my collection and other non-Austin brand hulls I’ve seen, do not show a powder type, just a topwad format and crimp as mentioned above.
The US, Win, Western & Peters shells do not appear original to Austin’s ‘form’ of manufacturing, but exhibit normal topwads of the respective manufactures, and so I wonder do they show the punch crimp?

{See below for this punch crimp being a manufacturing process (they must have had a reason to do it, as it cost money to do it!) perhaps the crimp being to somehow get around the patent to prevent head seperations, or perhaps done originally by them, but not pateneted?}

The book I WANT SOME BLACK SHELLS by the Shotshell Historical and Collectors Society dates the yellow and black DEFIANCE brand shells as circa 1900 to 1910. With the red paper Defiance shells being loaded 1924 to 1938. From the photo and judging from base corrugations, the US shell appears to be third from the right as a typically faded, red paper shell. The topwad listed here shows the Self-Clean ‘brand’ which was a 3rd generation Defiance noted as being in production from 1932 to 1938 and on page 139 the Self-Clean /RED DOT load/topwad is shown.

Also I think Austin’s production was before the corrugated base was in public domain. (The corrugation(s) ca. 1896? or so, by Winchester + 17years patent life = 1913. These corrugations helped secure the paper body to the brass head to prevent head seperations after firing. A common period happening both in the U.S. and abroad, and a great product impovement.

Another question, which comes to mind, is the lack of window shells in the set. Now I’m not questioning the provenance, but wondering why the lack of windows which is usually very common in sample sets. Does the inner lid have a list of contents or the remains of any such list?

So Judging from the U.S. shell, not all of the shells were original/period to this set. Still it’s a GREAT set & THANKS for sharing.

Austin’s Brands (as shown in Iverson revised) were: Bang, CRACKSHOT, Advance, Alert, Flash, Invincible, and Winner with the CO. name as “A.C.CO.” plus just the headstamp of AUSTIN CT’GE CO. (+ the gage)
Some of these brands are VERY, VERY, RARE.

Hope this is of help.