DOMINION brand ammunition questions

fellow collectors,
Would any one happen to know when the headstamp was changed from D.C. CO. to DOMINION? …and when DOMINION ammunition was discontinued?

It appears (?) that IMPERIAL replaced DOMINION for a time before it was discontinued (yr?) as well.

Thank you,

The DCCo headstamp was used until 1947 when the Dominion headstamp was introduced. In 1969 the Imperial headstamp was introduced which reflected the growing pressure from C-I-L’s parent company/ majority shareholder Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). Changing headstamps wasn’t an overnight event and would have taken quite a while to use up old stocks. In 1976, C-I-L sold its commercial ammunition production facilities to IVI who also took over the Imperial headstamp (in Canada only). C-I-L continued to produce larger caliber military ammunition into the 1980s.
Chris P.

Chris P.
THANK YOU very much for that information.
Do you know if the IMPERIAL brand of commercial ammunition is still being produced?


Chris’s information is correct for metallic cartridges,however if you mean shotshells," D.C.Co" was replaced by “Dominion” in 1906-7.

Thank you for the additional information.


Chris P, do you have a list of of the years when D.C.Co. headstamped rounds, were discontinued, I am sure that some of their, slow or non selling, calibres would have been dropped before the change to Dominion in 1947 Randy

I don’t have any such listing since my research was restricted to .30-06.

Someone with a full set of catalogs could do some analysis but they only tell you when they stopped OFFERING a load and do not give an idea when they actually stopped MAKING it so the word “discontinued” does need to be clarified for anyone doing the research.

The local “folk-lore” is that C-I-L dumped a lot of their factory records when they sold the Brownsburg production line to IVI. If that was the case they would be somewhere in a land-fill near Montreal. However, I did find some C-I-L Ammunition Division administrative records in an ICI storage facility near Richmond England that indicate that some of the records were sent back to ICI (the majority shareholder). Never found any factory production records though. It is possible that they were sent to IMI (Imperial Metal Industries) who were running the ammo production but by the time I joined C-I-L, ICI had sold its shares in IMI and there was little contact between the two companies. Chris P.

I cannot answer the questions asked here, but for those interested in D.C.Co/Dominion/Imperial metallic-case cartridge information, I would recommend the following articles:

“Dating Dominion Cartridge Co and C-I-L Ammunition,” by Alan R. Capon, ARMS COLLECTING magazine, Volume 24, No. 3, August 1986, pages 88-92

“Dating the Packages of the Dominion Cartridge Co, Its Successors, and their Proprietary Brands, 1901-1954,” by S. James Gooding, IAA JOURNAL, Issue 404, Nov/Dec 1998, pages 8 thru 12

“C-I-L Box Dating - an Update,” by Don Blyth, IAA JOURNAL Issue 412, Mar/Apr 2000, Page 10

“Dominion Cartridge Company Checklist,” by John Witzel, IAA JOURNAL Issue 417, Jan/Feb 2001, Pages 10-13

D.C.Co. Headstamp Checklist, (Metallic Cartridgtes only),” by John Wizel, IAA JOURNAL Issue 423, Jan/Feb 2002, Pages 8-13

D.C.Co. Headstamp Additions (Addemdum to IAA Journal 423, Page 8),” by John Witzel, IAA JOURNAL Issue 426, Jul/Aug 2002, Pages 10-11

“C-I-L IMPERIAL IVI,” by Brian Oldfield, IAA JOURNAL Issue 428, Nov/Dec 2002, Page 12

“Back to Basics, Dominion Cartridge Co./C-I-L Box Codes,” Anonymous, IAA JOURNAL Issue 443, May/June 2005, page 52

Between all of these articles is a huge volume of information on Canadian metallic ammunition, although unfortunately, nothing to date the introduction/discontinuance of any specific calibers.

Years ago I borrowed every Dominion/CIL/IVI catalogue I could find,not a complete set,& spent months copying the calibers by date & collating the information into a list. The result? A list of informed guesses.Chris mentions one of the problems is that catalogues only say when a cartridge was last offered,not made.I accepted that as “close enough”. But a bigger problem with Dom/CIL/IVI is is that they apparently didn’t issue a catalogue every year.For instance Cat # 18 was 1924
" # 20 " 1935
" # 22 " 1948
Who knows what was added or dropped between catalogs? Not me.
A caliber like 257 Roberts was “not in” 1954,“is in” 1956,“not in” 1977.Without a full set of Cats,just using this information,it could have been made for as little as 2 years or as much as 21 years.

Dominion shotshells on the other hand can often be dated quite accurately by using headstamps,primers,topwads etc,etc.

DCCo didn’t make everything they sold. I’m told that Dominion first offered 9x19 in their 1935 catalog. I have box of 9x19 with truncated bullets and headstamped K 22, The box is marked


Based on the date on the cartridges, I have to believe that these date from the period of the DCCo headstamp and are the loads advertised in the 1935 catalog.

A 9x19 was produced headstamped


It was reportedly produced in 1947 & 1948, but I have never documented a box for this cartridge. Perhaps someone on the Forum has a box they can post.

The only other DCCo headstamp I have, or know of on 9x19mm is

D.C.Co. .351 S.L.R.

It is an extended case blank with 6 crimps. It came the collection from the guy who use to run Frankford Arsenal or at least the Lab there (I think his name was Walt Kramer - Suffering from failing memory). There was a tag on it that said “Dominion Blank Test”. He gave it to me in about 1968. I assume it dates from WWII or just at the end of the war, but that is just a guess. Walt mostly had Frankford Stuff and the impression I have is that it was sent to Frankford for testing, but I don’t have a discrete memory of Walt saying that.

Jim Houlden told me that the first run of 9mm ammo made in Canada was in 1942. I asked him that in relation to a some notes he sent me, one of which was an excerpt from his plant daily record bookss: "Feb. 26/42. Starting first trial run, (lot 50,000), in C-I-L plant with 9mm Luger tools. Destined for use in new “Sten guns.” I had asked him to clarify whether this was simply the first run for Defence Industries Ltd., or in Canada by anyone.

Lew - I have a Candian Industries Limited, Sominion ammunition Division, 50-round box for 9mm Para. It is blue print on a bove box, with a lift lide opening from the bottom edge of the top of the box. It was originally printed for 115 grain bullets, but is overstamp “124.” It mentions a host of pistols on the top of the box, which includes the Walther P-38 and both the Browning (Canadian) and Belgian Browning pistols, in my opinion guaranteeing this is a post-war box. Some of the pistols, like the “Polish FB” were barely known in the Western Hemisphere before the War. I can scan the box if you want.

For those that know the box lot numbers, there may have been two under the lid, but if so, one line is totally gone, while the other appears to read “17P52.” Researching these numbers in some of the articles i mentioned above, I find that there was two lines of print, and that the visible like is the loading code, not the date. In fact, the first entry of that code could be “1” as I show above, or even a “T.” I absolutely cannot read the first two entries of the upper line. The 3rd entry appears to be a “G” which would be the date code for the month of July. The final entry has what appears to be only the bottom half of a letter but it is a straight, vertical line, more or less, and I think it could only be an “I” or a “T”. Since “T” in this case would have to represent 1962, and I believe the box is earlier, I suspect it is an “I” and representing 1951. I could be totally wrong - it is very, very hard to deciper since it is so lightly and poorly stamped.

The box is not ghastly,but it isn’t in the greatest condition and unfortunately was received totally empty, so I cannot comment with certainly on the headstamp appropriate to the box. There is a warning on the box, by the way, “Do not use Sten Gun Cartridges in you pistol.” Interesting.

Hope this is of some interest and assistance.

Thank you all for the additional historic information.


John, I suspect the first production in Canada that Jim Houlden referred to was the DC military headstamp you and I both have. That is supported by a British Ordnance Board Proceeding (OBProc) from 1941 as I remember noting that the Board went out to members of the Commonwealth asking if anyone had produced 9mm Para. The lack of a follow on OBProc is a strong confirmation that none of the Commonwealth had produced 9mmP before 1942.

I would appreciate a scan of your Dominion box. Jim was the source reporting the DCCo 9MM headstamps were from 1947/1948 as I remember. The information is in a very old note and Jim is the only Canadian I corresponded with back then.
Thanks John!

Lew - no need to “suppose” on the DC 42 headstamp. That was the first Canadian headstamp for 9mm Para. Jim sent me a round of ball ammunition, along with three different dummies, which he referred to as “try dummies” which I assumed meant they made them for a look-see by whoever approved such things. Twoi of the patterns were rejected, and I guess they are pretty scarce items now. Evidently, they were only made in a handful quantity.

He also sent me at the time one of the Maple Leaf decals that appeared on every case of ammunition that DI sent to other countries - has “Canada” in English, Chinese and Russian. A smaller version of the same decal was put on the front grip strap of the Inglis 9mm HP pistols and perhaps other weapons as well.

I will scan that box in a little while and have Joe post it here, although I will also send it direct to you. I suspect, if I am reading the tiny bit of the date code that is left correctly, that it is not the D.C.Co. box though, but rather an early one for the “DOMINION” headstamp. I think the date may be 1951 which would be too late for the D.C.Co. headstamp. Still, it is so light, I really have no confidence in any interpretation of what is there.

I cannot tell from the date code, which we will show along with this worked over in photo shop to the best of our ability, when this box dates from. However, it is post-WWII and the form of the “Bent D” logo indicates it was made 1950 or before. The date code is just above the lot code, and was almost totally invisible to the naked eye. Photo shop and turning it into a black and white photo, basically, made some of it viewable. The alfanumeric entries do not seem to be in the right order for a normal Dominion date code. The last entry, to me, appears to be the bottom leg of a “7” (see the clear “7” in the lot code below it.).

I received the box empty. Perhaps one of our Canadian members has this box with a legible box code, and a cartridge specimen still in the box.
It can’t be a “one of a kind” box!

See entry for the box photo. Nothing more to say about this. Anyone else’s interpretation of what that top line says is as valid as mine. I did the best that I could do with it. As I said, to the naked eye, it was almost imperceptible.

This is, from the form of the C-I-L logo, a post 1956 box label. The headstamp for the ammunition is “DOMINION.”

Collection of John Moss

I remember buying one box of Dominion 9 m/m at a local hardware store .
They did not have this in stock and I had to wait a week for the next order to arrive .
I shot it all in a P-38 .

I still have the box and fired brass.


I had hoped someone would have some idea of the date of the early blue-print Dominion box I posted. Any ideas from any of our Canadian members? The style can’t be unique to just this one box in this caliber? I think it is early post-WWII, but since I can’t read the date code, I don’t know?

Any ideas, anyone?

Glenn, what does the box look like??? Is it like one of the two that John Moss posted??? What was the headstamp???


I got a personal email from a Mr. Collins who said he had a similar designed box to the blue-print Dominion box I posted, except in rifle caliber, and that it was date from 1952.

Well, we are back to square one. Mr. Collins sent pictures of the box he was referring to, and I had misunderstood him. It was one of the blue and yellow Dominion box, like the second 9mm box I pictured. It is not the buff box with blue print, which is earlier than the blue and yellow ones.

Further, it turns out the date “1952” was not derived from a manufacturer’s date code, but is simply a patent reference, which actually has no impact on the date of the box printing or the manufacture of the ammunition within the box, but simply on when some feature of that ammunition was patented.

Sorry for the false alarm. Mostly my fault.

Someone in Canada or the U.S. must have a similar box to the picture of the completely unfolded, blue print on buff, Dominion box I posted as the first picture, or some idea of what the very hard to read date code on the box, also pictured and enhanced to the best of my ability, might signify.

Help, please. If you know any Canadian collectors that don’t usually look at this Forum, please ask them to. It shouldn’t be this hard to date a North American cartridge box made in the second half of the 20th Century.