Earliest 308 w

This box contains the very first 308W cartridges that were initially named 30-80 WCF. No headstamp.

This box would date to 1952 or possibly 1953. Does anyone know when the very first properly headstamped 308 Winchester cartridges appeared? We know that 1954 cartridges were headstamped SUPER X 308 WIN so the first ones must have been made in 1952 or 1953.



The 1953 SHOOTERS BIBLE does not list the 308W cartridge either as a chambering for the Winchester rifles or as loaded ammunition. It was probably introduced too late for publication in the 1953 edition.

Does anyone have a 1954 SHOOTERS BIBLE? Could they look at both the rifles & ammunition and tell me what info is there??


I have not looked in my Gun Digests - they are a good source of information but not the best source. However, I have a Winchester 4-page advertising flyer with code “10-52-10” which I believe means it was issued in October 1952, introducing the then-new Winchester Model 70 Featherweight rifle and the then-new .308 Winchester cartridge. The date October 1952 squares with a Winchester price sheet I have from September 26, 1952, that lists the .308 Winchester cartridge available in 110 grain Soft Point Super Speed (Index W3081), 150 grain Silvertip exp. Super Speed (Index W3082); and 180 grain grain Silvertip exp. Super Speed (Index W3083).

This price sheet has an appended factory “pink slip” announcing that “The attached list shows the new and old Winchester Ammunition Symbol Numbers.” In short, it introduced a new code system as of September 26, 1952. Under the “Old symbol” column on the price list, there are no old symbols listed for the .308 Winchester, indicating to me that this was the first factory price list that this cartridge appeared on. It is the only cartridge, RF, CF or shotshell, that is listed without an old product symbol.

The four-page brochure on the Model 70 Featherweight and the .308 has a layman’s history of the cartridge included in it. It is an interesting document. It shows the same three loadings with the new product symbols, by the way. The recommended list price for the ammunition was $3.70 per box of 20 rounds, and the recommended price for the Model 70 Featherweight was $120.95 with either a Monte Carlo Stock (Product code G 7060 CN) or a standard straight comb stock (Product code G 7020 CN). I’ll take two of each, thank you!

Hope this is of some help and interest.

John Moss


That is great info and I appreciate your time in researching it. I had been doing a search on E-Bay hoping to find some of the Olin advertising flyers from late 1952 and early 1953 but had no luck. My next best choice was a 1954 Shooters Bible. I located a couple of them but have not bid on them.

In one of Ackley’s books I read an article that indicated that the new 308W was used for the first time in a late fall elk hunt in 1952. So it appears that October 1952 is the date that I was looking for. That would date those unheadstamped 30-80 WCF cartridges to early to mid 1952.

I did find it interesting that the first cartridges were Super Speed rather than Super X. Of course, it’s likely that there were also Super X cartridges listed concurrently in a Western flyer. (More research for me) This would also tend to support my assumption that the 2 Super Speed boxes of empty brass that I showed on another thread are from the 1953 year, and possibly (but not likely) even 1952.

All of this may seem like nit-picking to those who don’t collect cartridges, and it probably is. But putting together all the little pieces is one of the enjoyments, in my opinion.

Thanks again John.


Ray - there is nothing “nit-picking” about what you are doing - trying to establish the date of introduction of a cartridges as closely as possible. Some factories, due to poor record keeping and a long life in the industry, can’t even do it for all of their own products. It is the difference between an accumulation of cartridges, and a reall student-collector in my view. That is not a criticism of the fellow who saves cartridges just because he enjoys having them. We each collect for our own reasons.