Hornady 50 AE headstamp

In a newly purchased box of Hornady .50AE with 300gr XTP bullets I noticed the headstamp was different from all the previous Hornady headstamps I had seen in this caliber. Previously I had always noticed HORNADY 50:AE , but this new one had slightly different font, and there were no dots between 50 & AE. Would this be new as of late, or around for a while now? I notice that the proof mark on this newly purchased box (off the shelf from Cabelas recently) is the German bullet symbol, whereas most all of the other boxes seen in online images show the headstamp with dots coming from boxes with the Austrian Eagle proof mark.

As compared to the old style:

A little background: When I first started looking at 50 AE, there were two manufacturers – IMI and Starline. All IMI cases were not-nickel-plated brass, in the IMI some I’s had serifs others not, some cases had brass primers others nickel-plated primers, brass primed had light crimps, all the zero’s were racetracks, the flash holes were not deburred. The IMI-made SPEER-headstamped cases had a dash between the caliber designator (50-AE) like other IMI-made SPEER-headstamped cases, no crimp, racetrack zero’s, flash holes not deburred. Although I do not have an example, at that time Starline advertised both brass and nickel-plated 50 AE cases. The Starline-made SPEER-headstamped cases had a colon in the caliber designator (50:AE), cases were nickel-plated, nickel-plated primers, small lettering, and deburred flash holes. Later MRI-headstamped cases, which came in the same SPEER, INC-marked plastic boxes as the SPEER ammo, had the same colon in the caliber, brass cases, brass primers, small lettering, and deburred flash holes – Starline-made. Your HORNADY-headstamped cases with colon in the caliber I have no doubt are Starline-made like similar cases in the Hornady line with the colon. The HORNADY-headstamped cases I have have a single dot after HORNADY (HORNADY.), brass cases, brass primers, small lettering, and deburred primers – I’ve no doubt they, too, are Starline-made. (This, however, contradicts drawing a Speer-Hornady parallel as a second type of IMI-made SPEER-headstamped cases had a single dot after SPEER (SPEER.), which according to rumor means they were produced on IMI’s US-supplied SCAMP (Small Caliber Ammunition Modernization Program) machinery.) Although your HORNADY cases have the racetrack zero/O they don’t look like either Starline or IMI to me. Look inside to determine if they have deburred flash holes like Starline or have an unusual rise around the flash hole like those found in CBC, S&B, MFS, or PPU cases. I cannot imagine there is enough demand for 50 AE to justify Hornady tooling up to produce a run of 50 AE cases but there are some eager-to-get-into-the-American-market Eastern European firms who might.


It is amazing, with the limited appeal of the .50 AE pistols and ammunition, how may variations there are. I have 29 of these rounds in my collection, plus the A.A.L.-headstamp early version in ball and dummy, and yet I had never even seen the IMI headstamp with plain letters “l” (no serifs) nor the Hornady headstamp with the single dot, much less, unfortunately, having them in the collection.

Makes one wonder how many speciments in this caliber it would take to make up a truly good collection of them.

Thanks for posting that good photo of the empty-case headstamps d’Artagnan. It is very helpful. No one can look for specimens of something they don’t even know exists. If someone had a table full of those plain “l” rounds with “iMl” headstamp, I probably would not have even noticed the difference. The Hornady round stands out more, of course.

Bringing stuff to the attention of the collecting fraternity is one of the great benefits of this forum!

Because there are more Hornady calibers with the single dot (HORNADY.) headstamp, it looks like I need to seriously sort through my few examples to determine which supplier uses which headstamp variation, including those similar to DKConfiguration’s. To complicate things further, Starline illustrates its present 50 AE headstamp as star-dash-star-dash-star over 50 dash AE (50-AE). 50-AE?!? Could the 50-AE mean that IMI is supplying Starline?

dArtagnan - It looks like it has the rise around the flash hole that you describe. Hopefully these photos will help: