Stonewall’s post asking for pictures of proof cartridges and boxes has got me thinking about the history of proof cartridge marking systems.

While I do not collect Proofs as anything other than just another cartridge, I am interested in marking systems for different classes of load types, such as AP, Incendiary, etc. through out the world. I think it would be interesting to compile a list of the methods of identification of Proofs of all types, especially Non-Military types, and to determine when they were used. For instance, when did the U.S. Commercial companies change from the blackened case (which is now often used to identify a Dummy) to the tinned case (which was used to identify a Dummy at the time that the Black case was a Proof load) with a red or magenta bullet and head. I suspect this change took place in the 1950’s, but I am not sure exactly when.

S.A.A.M.I. was established in 1926. Was that when the blackened case for commercial proofs was first used? Before that, how did the commercial companies mark their proof loads. There is quite a bit of information on Military proofs, but I have read very little about commercial proofs in general.

Until the advent of Smokeless Powder, was there any way to make a proof cartridge with Black Powder other than by increasing the bullet weight?

What is the current C.I.P. standard marking for Proof Loads?

While we often talk about “High Pressure Test” (Proof) loads, there are also “Low Pressure Test” loads for testing the functioning of Semi-Automatic and Full Automatic weapons. How are these marked?

I think this could make an interesting article for the IAA Journal.