Dating a WW shotshell box?


I found this box (1st photo) at a flea market and suspect it is a first generation box for WW steel shot production loads. It appears to match the box in the 2nd photo, taken from a 1978 era article in Gun Digest except for a slight difference in the product number which can be attributed to a difference in the shells (a latter discussion?)
The number on the lip of the top flap is G78NF12. Does anyone understand Winchester’s lot numbering system enough to date this box from that number? Could the 78 be the year it was made?


Although I haven’t played around with WW shotshell lot numbers, the NF12 part should equate with 21 June of 1978 or 1998. So about when did WW start loading steel shot and was Western still a shotshell brand in 1998? The G78 should be the production line it rolled off of.


Your date of 1978 is probably correct because that was the 1st year of production, as I recall. This box was long out of use by 1998 as was the WW headstamp on these shells. So, based on your info, this box most likely contains the 2nd production run of the steel shot loads and the box is the 1st generation… as I suspected. Thanks much!