Headstamp Dates

Can anyone help me with the following headstamp information? I am trying to find out when these stamps were first and last used.

I can try to help. These dates are approximent as the change from one headstamp to another did not occur overnight.

U.M.C.CO. was first used Nov. 1884
U.M.C. was first used about 1886 or 1887
U.M.C. was last used in 1911 with the merger of Remington Arms and U.M.C. It was replaced with REM-UMC

PETERS was first used in about 1895
PETERS was phased out in 1960 and replaced with R-P.

U.S.C.Co. was first used about 1890
U.S.C.Co. was last used in 1936.

WRA was first used about 1931
WRA was last used on some cartridges along with SUPER SPEED until 1969 with the change to W-W.

WESTERN was first used about 1898
WESTERN was last used on some cartridges along with SUPER-X until 1969 with the change to W-W.

Hope this helps.

Ron - I am glad you made the excellent observation that headstamps don’t change over night. I guess it has been ten to fifteen years since Winchester (Olin) dropped the W-W headstamp in favor of “WIN” and “WINCHESTER” and yet last time I looked, very low production calibers like .30 Luger still had the “W-W” headstamp. The particular changeover from the W-W headstamp spanned years, even with some popular calibers like .45 auto.

Good list. You are doing really good work in this field of “changeovers” in various cartridge related items.

I can pin down the UMC headstamp even further. On center fire cartridges, U.M.C.CO. was first used beginning in November, 1884. The first use of U.M.C. occurred in 1886-1887, the first cartridges being so headstamped also with the S and H (for Solid Head) I once owned an 1888 UMC cartridge board, and many of the cartridges had UMC S H headstamps. Mine was an early board, made in 1888. This cartridge board was made from 1888 - 1891…Randy

Randy-Thanks for the refinement of the U.M.C. dates. I have edited my post above to reflect the new information.

Ray–I could add several, but they were not among the headstamps that Spring 1934 asked for information on.

Sorry Ron. I looked at the REM-UMC as a continuation and final iteration of UMC.


Ray–Even 1960 is not the last. There is R–P (Long Dash), R-P (Short Dash) and R.P (Dot). and in the W-W there is W-Super-W and WIN and WINCHESTER, but as I said, these were not headstamps that Spring 1934 wanted information for.

I’m a recently joined member and subscriber. I just thought this thread hit me as a good time to say - what a great pile of info and knowledge is posted by you people to this forum. The photographic record here alone is priceless. I’ll keep lurking without much to add but I sure enjoy reading every day.

North Bender–Welcome to the Forum. Sharing information is what the Forum is all about. Do not hesitate to post ANY question about cartridges you might have. No question is too “Dumb” or “Trivial”. ALL questions will be discussed.

What do you collect? As you have likely noticed already, the range of collecting interests on the Forum is wide and international with members from China, Russia and many other countries. Some of us have 50+ years of experience collecting cartridges, while others have only a few months.

Please DO NOT feel you have nothing to add. Every collector has something of interest to someone else. Tell us your collecting history, post some boxes, even new ones are of interest, tell us about your favorite find or purchase, ask questions. Feel welcome.

Ron; thanks for the reply, and I’m sensitive to derailing the topic, but …

I’ve always loved ammunition! … I came back from VN with a pile of ammo I didn’t realize I had until I unpacked at home so that’s still with me. I’m sure customs would like to know about that. Fast forward 30 years and I wanted a pistol. A friend recommended a Makarov. I bought the pistol, and that re-kindled my ammo interest.

I collect the 9x18 ammo that has been imported for the Makarov (and the later imported variations of the 9x18 pistol). I post for shooters benifit:


I’ve read where John collects the cartridges. I’m mostly interested, at this point, in helping the shooters who find 9x18.

That’s my short story! Coming from an Army background I enjoy all ammo posts. This forum has been a fascinating read.

Thank all of you for the great responses.

Very helpful info here; thanks for posting the question Spring1934.

What is the accepted date for the start of WRA Co commercial rifle and pistol headstamps. I am aware of the WRA Co headstamp on shotgun shells as early as 1878, and appearing on rifle and pistol ammo in 1884 in the catalog.

And while we are at it, can anyone take a shot at the introduction date of the U.S. on centerfire ammo.

It seems to me the United States Cartridge Co. didn’t begin headstamping its ordinary centerfire production until well into the 1890s. I can cite nothing more specific than the absence of headstamping in their 1891 catalog, together with the infrequency with which US/USC headstamping is seen on the blackpowder calibers. JG