HELP! Need Data to Date Boxes

I’m doing some research and need to date a number of different boxes. Thanks to d’Artagnan we have some great data on box dates for Remington back to 1973; Federal since 2004 (probably extendable back to 1996 or so) and Olin back to 97 9probably extendable back to 1987). This is a great start.

At some time in the past, I have had some data on Kynoch codes to date boxes in the Pre -WWII timeframe. I have also had similar data on DWM. I also had someone date the Western box that I showed on a recent thread. My problem is that in the past years, I have moved and packed and repacked so often that I have no idea where any of these lists have gone.

I think it is important that we as a community capture/discover/create as much of this data as we can put our hands on regarding these box codes.

Step One: Does anyone have the codes for Kynoch, DWM or any other country. I think there are lists floating around for some of these. I also think the .22RF guys have some code lists.

Step Two: Start collecting the existing codes off of the various boxesand see if we can make some sense of it. The first priority are boxes that can be dated one way or another. If somebody has a box with one of these date codes by any manufacturer, that can be dated, please post it. If we get a few of these perhaps we can begin figuring out the codes.

Many thanks!!! All help appreciated



OK, first attempt

DWM 22lr box stamped code on back: 29.E.H.W.42.b 50
The box dates from the 1930s.

The GeCo boxes also have interesting lot codes stamped on the inside. Was there any study on these?

There were articles in the Journal on dating boxes made by Eley (419/38), Kynoch (449/38 and 442/50), and Dominion (404/8 and 443/52).

It does seem strange that nobody would have these lot-number reference systems figured out on paper completely somewhere, like wouldn’t Bill Woodin? And call me crazy, but doesn’t anybody know anyone or can’t a contact simply be made with these companies which are still in business? I would think that knowing who we are and being that we are ammunition enthusiasts that there would be some type of historian at Winchester, Remington, Federal, etc… who would help with this? Unless they just don’t care which seems too bad. I did notice however, that at SLICS 2009 (my first) there were no tables set up by any ammunition manufacturers at all, which I thought strange since it would be a great chance for them to reach out to collectors and give out promotional material, new-headstamps, etc… I know that S&W, Colt, and the Winchester and Remington firearms divisions all have people who do outreach and research for people in this manner. Maybe somebody should reach out to the big (and little) ammo manufacturers and butter them up with the notion of promotion and contact-creation with the IAA to benefit everyone… Who knows, maybe one of these industry big-wigs is a Cheese-head?

DK - I will tell you, and stand by it, that by and large, the ammunition factories, both civilian and government, and almost universally (all over the world) do not like collectors at all! Exceptions among individuals at companies, and perhaps some companies as well. They see collectors as amateurs and as people asking questions that “are none of their business.”

By and large, they are very secretive about lot numbers in particular. That is why they are codes, and not just straightforward dating! It goes back to our discussion of dated headstamps on this Forum very, very recently.

I could tell you a story of a company that considered turn of the century (19/20th, not 21st) records from a no longer existing subsidiary as being still highly confidential, although I can’t or it would break a confidence.

Well in that case, we’ll just have to de-code the lot number system, make a key for them all, and publish them online. BATF contacts should be a good start since their investigators have access to all of the code dating keys for investigative purposes. It only takes one friendly agent… I’ll look.

Guy, I will get a copy of the lists published in the Journal and put them on my website next week and make it available to everybody. I will publish the URL for the list here.

DK, I wish I had thought about inviting ammo manufacturers to SLICS when I was the IAA President. It is just one of a long list of things I wish I’d have done. The fact is that it was never brought up, but I will bring it up. Thanks. Having said that, I would be very surprised if they spent the money to show up. If they are like the aerospace guys I know, the companies get long lists of invites to shows and the business development guys review to decide which will have the greatest benefit to sales. We are a very small show and there are no ammo dealers to talk to so I can’t imagine that they would show up. I recently attended the annual meeting of AFTE (Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners) and only one ammo company had a table and that was Olin and all they had was a cartridge board on display.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Vlim, Thanks for the DWM data. The format is close to some 9mm box codes I have. Yes, lets include Geco boxes, or any others that use codes.

If any of you know people who may be able provide date codes from a manufacturer, please see what they can provide.

If you know somebody who may know somebody who can provide this information, please contact them. There are over 1000 people who at least occasionally read the Forum. At least some of these people who have the contacts to obtain this data. Please push on people!!!

I think this is a very important thing for the community to work. Lew[/b]

Here’s the GeCo stuff:

Dark blue box. 50 Patronen Kal. 9 mm Parabellum (Luger) with NSN-number, so obviously post-1945 and most likely post-1951 (Bundeswehr foundation). Stamped H6c.

Dark blue box. Pre-war. 50 Patronen zur Selbstladepistole Parabellum Kal. 7,65 mm. Stamped SS. (yeah, no SS-jokes, plz. Unless you are a ‘believer’, in that case give me $1000 and I’ll send you the box :D ).

Light blue with red sides. Specially loaded for Henk Visser. No stamps.
Light blue with red sides. 1006 PL2
Light blue. 1005 PL2

Regarding manufacturers being sensitive about collectors asking questions, my experiences fall in line with what John has stated. After having cultivated a very productive relationship with the curator of a company’s museum, I was about tossed out of the place when I asked what I thought was an innocent question regarding 15-20 year old production figures. (I believe Mr. Green at that moment thought I was working for Mr. Red). In the case of ammunition lot numbers, they could be used to generate information on quantities manufactured.

While all businesses are careful to not give the competition any info on what’s hot and what’s not for them or what’s in the pipeline, the firearms industry seems to be very wary of commercial espionage. This may be validated by the past history of the industry.


Re: Ammo company representation:

Perhaps the right people have not been found.
We are not potential customers for huge quantities of new ammo, so the sales people couldn’t care less. A logical economic decision.

Historians or curators are a good match (unless they think we are all spies). Most companies probably don’t even have historians or curators.

Maybe the advertising or public relations folks would be better targets, if they have any serious interest in the products the deal with.

How about people in the R&D end of things? Everything old is new again, and they may enjoy/benefit from exposure to some of the stuff at SLICS. They would have an opportunity to view an unbelievably wide range of ammunition types from all countries and periods in a very brief period.

I don’t know if they would want to set up a table, but perhaps just an invitation to attend as a “guest” would get some interest.

Regarding the ammo company reps, it may be more productive to try to invite the R&D folks rather than those who do the marketing. Several years ago, I was contacted by a Hornady engineer who was looking for samples of a particular cartridge that the company was considering putting into production. For my minimal trouble and expense, he sent me a few prototype and early production samples of several different cartridges that they were tooling up for. Obviously, that particular engineer didn’t have the attitude towards collectors that John referred to, although I suspect if I had asked for information on production numbers or their coding system for box dates, I may have seen another side of them. They have brought back a number of old cartridges, and seem to be a good source for wildcatters to get properly headstamped cases made for their new cartridges, which those of us who collect headstamp variations appreciate.

Guy - As I said, there are exceptions. I have made some great friends over the years with a few factory people, although all are retired or gone now. The Engineers seem to be the friendliest from all of the manufacturing side of the industry, and many of them recognize that some cartridbge collectors are knowledgeable at various levels, and that they are another resource. I too, supplied some ammunition specimens to a company, but got nothing in return in my case. This is not a complaint. I was hoping to open the door with them, but in truth, I asked them for nothing for the specimens, and they did not end up making the caliber in question (8mm Nambu).

There are some great people in the firearms industry as well as some who don’t even belong in it - just like the firearms industry and I guess almost any industrial activity.