Canadian 20mm Hispano (fired) shell case

  • There is a fired 20 X 110 Hispano shell case made of brass which shows on the head (with a diameter of 24.7 mm) the correct marks from the extraction and ejection process. Around the fired nickel primer, green sealant is still visible. Two flast holes are also visible inside of the shell case at the very bottom. The impressed headstamp markings are (starting clockwise from the 12 o’clock position):
    —> D.A.C. (the last letter “C” has an arrow inside) showing the Canadian shell case maker “Dominion Arsenal Canada”;
    —> 44 (for 1944 the year of the shell case manufacture);
    —> 20 MM (caliber).
    My questions are:
  1. Where in Canada the “Dominion Arsenal Canada” was located in 1944 ??? From where can I get more info about this Canadian ammo maker ???
  2. Is it possible to know what type of 20 X 110 Hispano round was it according with the green primer sealant ???
    Thanks in advance for any help, Liviu 06/29/12

I think it was made in Brownsburg Quebec…

With the exception of early Ball Mark Iz, British and Commonwealth Hispano rounds used “universal” cases without any load indicator. Identity was by projectile colour, the primer sealant not being indicative of any particular load.

Later, the load and filling details was often stamped into the side of the case just above the extractor groove, but this did not appear to start until late war.

Pete - I think you are confusing the Dominion Cartridge Company (privately owned) with Dominion Arsenal which was a government owned facility in Quebec.


  • So far I was able to find out only this info at … on-arsenal which in fact it isn’t too much. I would like to know if the WW2 Canadian made 20mm Hispano rimless rounds (20 X 110) were fired by the guns of the American planes or the British planes. Any ideas ??? Liviu 07/01/12

Certainly many more British aircraft than U.S. were armed with 20 m/m Hispano Suiza cannon in the Second World War. Jack

  • @ Jack: I actually wanted to know if the Canadian made 20 X 110 Hispano rimless rounds were directly exported to UK in order to be used ONLY by the British planes or were also exported to US to be used by the American planes (the 20 X 110 Hispano ammo was also made during WW2 in USA and UK). My question can be put in this way too: Was my 1944 Canadian made 20 X 110 Hispano brass shell case fired by a British aircraft or possibly by an American one ??? Liviu 07/02/12

Hi Liviu and all,
Don’t mean to throw a twist into the thread, but I’m curious about the headstamp -are there period marks after the letters D-A-C as you typed it?

The history link was interesting. I’m wondering about the 1928 entry, when the name was changed from DCCo to Dominion Ammunition Company. Could this be linked to the headstamp D.A. that I have seen on some M2 ctgs.
I realize the broad arrow within the C means gov’t ownership…anyone know what the pre-WWII headstamps of the private Dominion Ammunition Co. looked like? thanks, lee

[quote=“LeeT47”]Hi Liviu and all,
Don’t mean to throw a twist into the thread, but I’m curious about the headstamp -are there period marks after the letters D-A-C as you typed it?

The history link was interesting. I’m wondering about the 1928 entry, when the name was changed from DCCo to Dominion Ammunition Company. Could this be linked to the headstamp D.A. that I have seen on some M2 ctgs.
I realize the broad arrow within the C means gov’t ownership…anyone know what the pre-WWII headstamps of the private Dominion Ammunition Co. looked like? thanks, lee[/quote]

  • @ LeeT47: Yes, after each letter of the headstamp mark (D.A.C.) there is a period and the letter “C” has inside an arrow head. The letter “C” with an arrow head inside is also stamped on various models of knife bayonets made in Canada and it means “Canadian Government Ownership Mark” (since I collect bayonets I know this). Liviu 07/02/12

DA Dominion Arsenal was a Cdn govt owned crown corporation established in the 1880s to make small arms ammo for the Cdn military. IIRC it was located in Quebec City until after WWII.It had nothing to do with the Dominion Cartridge Co which was a private corporation. The prewar Dominion Cartridge hs was DCCO at 12 and the calibre at 6.

As I pointed out in my post above. Also, the headstamp style orange mentions only applies to their commercial ammo.

Dominion Cartridge Company did make military ammunition in both World wars but not AFAIK any cannon ammo. Headstamp on the .303 was typically “DC 16 VII” in WWI and “DC 40 .303 VII” or “DC 40 .303 VIIz” in WW2. They also made limited quantities of military contract ammo in the inter war period.

One of the nicer quasi-military rounds they made was a .303 inch contract for the RCMP in the twenties headstamped “D-1922 .303”.


  • As I mentioned in the very beginning, the Canadian made 20 X 110 Hispano fired brass shell case (headstamped “D.A.C.”, “44” and “20 MM”) has two flash holes with a Berdan primer. All the other 20 X 110 Hispano fired shell cases from my collection and listed below, have only one flash hole with a Boxer primer:
    DURA 1942 (brass case);
    DURA 1943 (steel case);
    NESCO 1944 (brass case);
    NESCO 1953 (brass case);
    R.S. 1943 (steel case);
    G.M.S. 1943 (brass case);
    S.M.C. 1944 (brass case);
    LC 1951 (brass case);
    STON 1951 (brass case);
    no headstamp markings (brass case).
    Since the ignition of the powder charge (inside of the shell case) must be fast, uniform and reliable, there is a very precise relation between the type of primer (Boxer, Berdan or electric), the diameter and lenght of the flash hole(s), the type and quantity of the propellant used and the caliber of the round. Liviu 07/03/12

In the context of this thread even the question of what constitutes an American aircraft in the second war is murky. The USAAF in the Mediterranean theater used many mk.V Spitfires as first-line fighters in the middle years of the war. I would think that the ammo for their Hispano Suiza 20 m/m was supplied by Great Britain. So possibly this represents a use of British (or Commonwealth) 20 m/m in American aircraft. Jack

Liviu - All your 20mm Hispano cases appear to be of American manufacture and are therefore Boxer primed. All British and Dominion manufactured rounds were Berdan primed with two flash holes. There is nothing unusual about your DAC berdan primed case.

As Jack says, the nationality issues were blurred in WW2. The RAF used many types of American aircraft whilst the USAAF used Spitfires, Mosquitos and others. Your DAC round could have been fired in an American aircraft in RCAF or RAF service or a British aircraft in USAAF service.


There were several “Aresnals” or “Ammunition factories” within the “Dominion Arsenals” control during WW II.
The Major one, “DA C^” was the original one set up back in the late 1800s; then there was “DAQ” ( Dominion Arsenal Quebec ( ?Brownsberg/ Montreal?) and “DAL” (Lindsay)

The “Dominion Cartridge Co” ( a part of CIL–Canadian Industries Ltd, part of Imperial Chemical Industries, the British “Munitions consortium” set up after WW I) Initially made Boxer Primed cases for Canadian Commercial use, and during both WW I and II made Boxer-primed service ammo (SAA), both for Pistols and Rifles.

An offshoot, Defence Industries, used DCC Technology (Boxer priming) and Canadian Gov’t Capital/ equipment to manufacture ammo for the Commonwealth and China. “DI” was eventually absorbed into the DA corporation in the 1950s.

The Gov’t Arsneals (DA) all used Cordite for SAA; (and Berdan primers) whilst the DCC and DI used Boxer (Non corrosive) primers and US-made IMR Powders.
( hence the “z” mark on all DCC and DI ammo).
DA eventually used IMR Powders in .303 7z in 1950 ( still with the British Berdan .250 primer), but by the end of the 1950s, had adopted the Boxer Primer for all New ammo ( .,303,.30/06, 7,62 Nato etc)…30/06 had been supplied by DCC since WW I, but only was largely used by Canada during WW II ( AFVs etc).

There have been other more detailed posts on the subject of Canadian SAA manufacture on this board.

Doc AV
Doc AV

I don’t think Dominion Arsenal Lindsey was operational in WW2. I believe it finished in about 1921. Paul, can you confirm?

Also Doc, although DAQ is often quoted as DA Quebec, have you ever actually seen that as a headstamp?


It’s interesting to me that you asked "have you ever actually seen " the DAQ headstamp. I’m hardly an authority, I just know what I’ve seen and come across. I acquired some DAC^ in the 80’s. For a long time I mis-labeled them as DAQ because, unless you look closely or with a magnifier, the broad arrow inside the C makes it look like a Q. When this board came into existence I learned better. So I wonder if through time the C was lelieved to be a Q by some shooters/collectors? There may be examples, I’m just saying that I for one thought I had DAQ’s and actually have never seen one.

Thanks Lee, that was exactly my point.

Although many sources list “DAQ”, in fifty years of collecting I have never seen one.


Years ago, in Australia ( about 1970s) our Gun trade received very large quantities of Canadian-made .303 Ammo, both in Linked belts and in 1248 round crates (48 round packets). The headstamps were “DAC^, DAQ, DCC, DIz,” with dates going from 1941 to 1944 (“44”).

I fired a lot of this ammo, and reloaded the cases (Both Boxer and Berdan) for many years. Once I got really into Movie work, a lot of the Berdan cases (DAC^, DAQ, were made into “Mark L9Z” type blanks, and used up.

Some of the ammo was actually “Pulled down” and the Corrosive Berdan primers replaced with Non-Corr RWS#6000, for better Bore wear.

I could probably find some of the Blanks still about, or even empty cases…I just have to look for them. The “Q” is quite definite ( a O with a curly bottom, and is NOT a Badly stamped “C^” ( C-arrow) and the Packets were quite clearly marked “DAQ dd-mm-yy” as in normal Commonwealth practice.

AS to years of DAQ production, my only recollection is “Full year” dating, for 1942 and 43; I don’t remember anything earlier, and definitely no “44” ( the DAC^ was only (in my experience) “DAC^ 44 VII”).

Some Canadian ammo came out of Greece also, in 1980s, along with the British, Aussie, Indian and South African Mark VII ammo ( 1944-50s Mil aid), but, afaik, it was mostly DIz and DAC^ for the Canadian).

Will keep looking for the “DAQ” headstamped cases…I need to clear out a lot of .303 cases for an upcoming WW I Movie which woill require “000s” of Blanks…

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

DAL was only used from 1918-1921 They usead an LAC headsatmp in 1917. As far as DAQ markings, it has been reported on .303 cartridges but I have only seen on boxes thus far but they bore the headstamp of just DA. The only DAQ headstamp I have seen has been on a 9mm cartridge dated 1962.

A question on the topic of the 20mm Hispano. I know the origin of the casing, as i bought it recently from Antique Armoury in the UK. (stamping reads ‘LOT 2 81 20MM’ ) It came with a dummy resin projectile, which I removed in favour of an original that I picked up in an antique store about 10 years ago. The store owner had no idea what it was, and begged me to take it from her store when I ID’d it as a 20mm shell. My question is: what type of shell would it be if it’s brass tipped, and plain steel body? No sharp tip, so I know it’s not AP, but no colouring or stamping on the body. End cap looks like that of an HE. I can provide pictures if anyone would like to see.