Eley .22LR headstamps

I’m starting this new thread because a previous thread on the subject (dating back to 2007) is locked. The 2007 question was about Eley plain-E and circle-E headstamps without serifs. I assume the reference was to headstamps like these, which were made in the 1980s for the UK market:

The plain-E headstamp indicates standard velocity, and the circle-E is high velocity. I’d welcome an answer from anybody at all, but my question is specifically directed towards the member who wrote this…

[color=#FF0000]Along with George Kass, I was the co-author and photographer for the “Rimfire Headstamp Guide”. We documented over 1000 rimfire headstamps. However we quit working on it in 1988 for a variety of reasons. I can probabily identify almost any rimfire headstamp before that date, but I have not kept up on them since then.[/color]

In the early 1980s, Eley UK had some .22 ammunition made in the Philippines, and badged as Eley. It was sold in boxes like this:

What I need to know is whether the headstamp on the Philippines cartridges was identical in every way to the circle-E in my photograph, or whether a different punch was used?

I’m not an expert in this sort of thing, or a collector, but I really need an answer to this question. (I did try to buy a copy of the Rimfire Headstamp Guide, but oh boy! it’s prohibitively expensive - must be good!)

Before you ask - Eley can’t help me with this.

First of all, welcome to the forum.
.22 headstamps and boxes are extremely well documented in this reference work:
cartridgecollectors.org/?page=22 … tification (link to outside page)
Note that there are a page for US boxes and one for the rest of the world. Your Eley cartridges can be found in the last one.


eta: Various spelling issues

Maggie - I do not collect .22s at all and I checked my meager shooting supply of them and have no Philippine-made .22 left. However, I have the Kass work on .22s and another book B. W. Gracia on the subject. They are both old now - the Gracia book was published in 1998 and the Kass book in segments - as I no longer have the space or resources to buy every book on ammo that comes out.

The .22" Rimfire Cartridge, a Headstamp and Identification Guide, by B. W. Gracia, First Edition publisheded in New Zealand in 1998, page 50, headstamp #14 has this note with the drawing of the headstamp: "14. Impressed. Eley-IMI Australia. Contract manufacture by Arms Corp., Philippines. c. 1980-1988.
The headstamp shows a very plain “E” with no serifs or other embellishments, formed by rather thin lines with very sharp, square corners at the top and bottom of the vertical stroke of the letter. It is unusual in that, if the drawing is accurate, the center horizontal stroke is longer than those at the top and bottom of the “E,” quite the opposite of the way this letter is normally written.

Rimfire Headstamp Guide, by George Kass with M. E. Whitely credited with the illustrations, but also with R. Merchant credited with some of the photography, and initially offered c. March 1979, but published in over time in parts, shows about the same information as the Gracia book on page E-27. "ELEY Ammunition Australia, REMARKS: Made on contract by Arms Corporation of the Philippines, Philippines. It is shown as .22 Long rifle only, and made from the “early 1980’s to present.” The drawing shows the same sharp-cornered, thin lined “E” but with the center horizontal stroke being a very, tiny bit shorter than the upper and lower strokes.

Since in both cases the headstamps are drawn, and since i have no experience in the detailed study of this caliber of ammunition, I cannot comment on the accuracy of the headstamp drawings - that is, are both correct, or is one incorrect while the other is right, or are the both wrong.

Don’t know how much help this will be.

Thanks so much to both of you for your replies.

22box-id.com/world/Philippines.pdf has an image showing a white Made In The Philippines label just like the ones on “our” boxes, but our box design isn’t there. Eley told us that they “imported Philippino ammunition badged as Eley”, and this was distributed in the same boxes as the UK-made ammunition but with the white Made In The Philippines sticker on it. Apparently, “this was sold in the UK for a short time in the early 80s, but withdrawn in 1985 as it was an inferior product.” When I asked whether the UK and Philippines cartridges would have had identical headstamps, Eley said, yes, they would both have been circle-E - but I don’t think they realised that I meant “identical in every way”.

Our problem is that we have 1988 reports from two firearms experts who both said that the headstamp on spent cartridge A matched the cartridges in box B, not the ones in box C. Neither of the experts photographed the headstamps, or even thought to describe them, but we have since got hold of photographs of the B and C boxes - both of which should have had circle-E contents. So why did the experts say they were different? The only straw we can clutch at is that the B catridges were made in the Philippines, while the C cartridges were UK-made. My photo of headstamps comes from (UK) box C. I have no idea what headstamp was in the B boxes, but your description, JohnMoss, of the different style of letter E (with the longer centre stroke) is exactly the sort of thing that I had in mind. Or perhaps a different size of circle.

Normally, if two experts on opposing sides of the question say the same thing, that would be an end of the matter, but in this case there are many other indications that there were problems with firearms exhibits, particularly with the contents of box C. If we could establish what headstamp our Philippines Eley had, that would really help. But it looks as though, at this distance in time, it’s probably too much to ask!

Thanks to both of you for your information, and the leads you have suggested.


Your reference to:

[color=red] Along with George Kass, I was the co-author and photographer for the “Rimfire Headstamp Guide”. We documented over 1000 rimfire headstamps. However we quit working on it in 1988 for a variety of reasons. I can probabily identify almost any rimfire headstamp before that date, but I have not kept up on them since then.[/color]

I believe this is a statement that probably was made by Ron Merchant. Ron has just moved to a new home and is having some problems getting his phone and Internet hookups. I believe he still is monitoring the forums using his brothers computer so he may chime in here sooner or later.

Thanks for that info, Rogereh - as he was the photographer for that book, he might be able to check his back-catalogue of pictures, if I’m lucky.

I have no idea if Ron kept any of the photos. He told me that he photographed the headstamps, which were then sent to the M.E Whiteley to reproduce for the Rimfire Headstamp Guide.

Oh dear. Well, Amazon has a copy of the book for $385 - I’ll just have to start saving up!

Look at the ENGLAND catalog on my website. It has many of the Eley headstamps in the front. These all came from the original Dunn catalog and were originally in the Kass h/s book. E-2 through E-9 are all Floberts so they would not be of interest to you. I think you are looking for E-10 and E-26.


There are also a few in the Australia and New Zealand catalogs. But I think they are the same as in the England catalog.

You might also want to check out Curtis Steinhauer’s website at http://www.cartridge-corner.com/. His DVD has several Eley headstamps in color. He sells it for $50 + $5 S&H. You will need to also purchase the rimfire section ($40).

Rogereh, your Boxes of the World document raises many new and interesting points that cast doubt on everything we thought we knew.

This is what Eley told us: (1) red boxes always indicate solid point (2) blue boxes always indicate hollow point (3) high velocity always has a circle-E headstamp (4) standard velocity always has a plain-E headstamp

First, I didn’t know that Eley cartridges were made by different manufacturers. Boxes like “ours” are in your section on Imperial Metals Industries (Kynoch) Ltd. I don’t know whether this makes any difference in practical terms, but it’s interesting for us to know.

Next, on your page ICI-3, there is a red Eley box marked Hollow Point, and on page IMI-1 there is a blue Eley box marked Solid Point. Does this mean that the red=solid and blue=hollow rule given to us by Eley is not really a rule at all?

“Our” red boxes are like your LR-4 on page IMI-1. There is a date on this page - 1962, when IMI first came on the scene. Were these products still being made for the next couple of decades? Eley say that our version of this box with the Made in the Philippines sticker dates from the early 1980s. Also, “our” boxes are one-piece cardboard jobs, a style which I imagine predates the clear plastic boxes. Have you any idea when the plastic boxes came on the scene?

Now for the most important things, the headstamps. Your LR-4 on page IMI-1 looks like our red box, and your description says it used an E-10 headstamp. E-10 is circle-E, and the box is labelled High Velocity, so that seems right. However, your LR-5 on page IMI-13 looks like our blue box, but your description says the headstamp was E-24, which looks like a plain-E to me. High Velocity with a plain-E - how can that be?

Finally, a new issue which might not be something this forum can advise on: a lead bullet enters a human skull, and breaks into two fragments. Is it possible to say whether it was solid point or hollow point?

PS. I don’t know if you’re still updating your PDF, but if so you might like to have a colour version of LR-5 IMI-1 to replace the one in your document:

i287.photobucket.com/albums/ll15 … -1LR-5.jpg

I’ve made it the same size as the ones in the PDF, but I can resize it if you prefer.

First, all the “colored” images in the Dunn upgrades are actual photos or scans so the box colors will be correct. Those are actual red boxed hollow points. All the descriptions are from either Tony’'s book or from descriptions accompanying images sent to me. Due to import restriction many of the non-USA type boxes are empty with no actual cartridges to verify earlier descriptions. We have uncovered many incorrect descriptions in the original Dunn. They were fixed as we found them. For many .22 box collectors it is the “box” that is most important so they sometimes refill them with non-original rounds. Sometimes that is accidental and sometimes it is from unscrupulous sellers. For those very reasons I was told that Illustration in the Kass book were only included if they could be verified as being correct, normally by only using boxes that came from fresh bricks. The E-26 in his book shows a plain heavy “E” (no circle), shows a photo of an Eley “High Velocity” box with a child warning on it (making it 1962 or later), and the description states that it was made on contract by Remington, Bridgeport, CONN USA.

To the best of my knowledge CCI started the plastic box craze in 1968 with their 100 round boxes with sliding lids. Other manufactures copied them in short time to stay competitive.

PS: Thanks for the box image. I will use it.

I promise you it’s my own photo of a real box - it’s the only Eley box I own. I’ve been watching eBay for secondhand boxes so that I can get the actual ones I need, but so far that’s the only one I’ve been able to get.

I’ll try to absorb what you’ve told me, and if necessary get back to Eley on it. If your information is right, it’s great news for us!

Okay, I had to go dig mine out of my collection. Eley1 is overall photo of boxes and Eley2 is closeup of the top two boxes in question with headstamps. These are original boxes. Top two are post-1962 (child warning) and bottom two are pre-1964.

Interesting stuff. Neither the work by Gracia nor that by Kass shows any Philippine-made cartridge with the “E” headstamp having the “E” enclosed in a circle. In both works, it is shown plain. I’m glad I don’t collect rimfires. I thought CF Pistol headstamps could get complicated!

Two boxes from my collection. The HV has a lot code of VR-237 & the HV HP has a lot code of XP- -40, stamped on the inside of the right side end-flap.
Perhaps C. W. (Bill) Harding at the Brimingham Proof house might be of help? You sound as if you might be in Merry Olde.

Perhaps these will help.

I have about 9 or 10 boxes in this Eley series, most are unfortunately empty. All say MADE IN ENGLAND & none have the Made in the Philippines overlabel.

As far as being able to tell if a bullet was originally a hollow point after impact with a skull I would think it would be doubtful as lead is a soft material, but a lot of things would/could enter into that; clothing, distance, angle, firearm & it would be a completely individual case as to what things influenced the projectile & to what degree.

I also have an I-C-I red hollow point box with the ELEY-KYNOCH Factories of Imperial Chemical Ind. Ltd. Metal Division Witton address on the bottom & it is full of the same headstamp that Roger shows in his bottom HV Solid box, the arrow point design, with ICI inside the arrow point.
This ICI box looks graphically very much like those your inquiring about but has ICI in place of Eley on the top & an Impala in place of the rabbit on the end flaps.

Good luck, the only Phillippines boxes I have show a T headstamp.

The more I learn, the less I know, but from the photos you’ve posted, I now have no doubt that there is more than one kind of circle-E.

These are the contents of “our” hollow point box:

Left to right: six spent cases (fired by forensic experts in their tests), two plain-E hollow point and one plain-E solid point live rounds, six hollow point live rounds.

Comparing the headstamps in Rogereh’s blue box of hollow point (A) with PetedeCoux’s red box of solid point (B) and my box of hollow point ©…

…the headstamps are superficially the same, but not identical. To my amateur eye, A and B are pretty much alike, and the headstamp of C is rather bigger. This doesn’t help discover what was in the Philippines boxes, but it’s fascinating stuff, and more than I’ve ever known before. I’ve never heard of the Birmingham Proof House - thanks for the tip. Birmingham is “just down the road” from where I live (well, less than a hundred miles, anyway).

I can’t thank you enough for the trouble you’ve all gone to - it’s much appreciated.

All firearms in England have to be proofed, this is done (simplified explanation) by putting a much higher (30% - 50%) than normal load into it & firing it. If the firearm survives this it is accepted as proofed & so marked & allowed to be sold / used. There are two houses, London & the one less than 100 miles from you. They have a web site, I can’t find the address but you should be able to google it.
Bill is a retired copper who has written three great books about British ammunition. He is also, I believe, the official historian at the proof house.

Perhaps you should also be looking at the bullets themselves in these. Sometimes the lubrication grooves change position, the number of them or width as does the part that is solid and mostly takes the rifling. This is a factor of manufacture & can change somewhat even with the same headstamp usage.

Anyhow hope this is of help.

I will certainly try to contact him. Today the Birmingham Proof House web sites have been down, but I hope that’s just a weekend thing and I’ll be able to get on to them tomorrow. Failling that, I’m sure they have a phone.

I wish! The one surviving exhibit (the blue box in my pics) is held by the police, and it has a chequered history - it’s been shown to us twice, and the contents have been different each time. Not good. The red boxes bit the dust long before we got involved in the case. First we were told that they no longer existed, then fifteen years later two spent cartridges were produced, allegedly from one of those boxes. It would be so good to have independent evidence of the original contents. I hope your friend Bill may be able to help.