HSM, BVAC, Armscor USA


#1

BVAC 38 SPL

Now that I have your attention:
Initially, in response to a question about Armscor USA, I was just going to list my Armscor-USA (Stevensville, MT) lot numbers as evidence for production as early as 2012. For the big picture, however, I had to compare them with those of Hunting/Hunters Shack Munitions (HSM) and Bitterroot Valley Ammunition (BVAC) also of Stevensville, Montana – population 1,809 according to the 2010 census; and Arms Corporation of the Philippines/Armscor Precision (ACP/AP). What I take away from these lot numbers is that the last one or two digits is the year: -4 (2004) to -13 or 13 (2013), except HSM Missoula; and the previous 4 digits, except Armscor Precision, are a one-up lot number by year probably recorded on some master list. Because their lot number systems are virtually identical, I conclude that HSM, BVAC, and Armscor USA are all closely associated.

HSM - Missoula, MT
The earliest HSM boxes I have indicate HSM Missoula, MT, and are “POLICE AMMUNITION” meaning remanufactured. Their lot numbers are:
0098 (orange bulk pack box, orange label)
2608 (orange bulk pack box, orange label)
5614 (black bulk pack box, orange label)

HSM - Stevensville, MT
Later HSM boxes indicate HSM Stevensville, MT. All except the last are in dedicated HSM orange boxes with black 50-rnd plastic trays. The first indicates the company as The Hunting Shack, Inc., all others indicate H. S. Munitions, Inc. Their lot numbers are:
1229-4 BD (30-30 Win Police Ammunition, generic styrofoam tray)
1171-5 GB (HSM-headstamped 44 Magnum)
2609-7 SS
0213-9 DH/DT
1509-9 KR
1520-9 WW
0452-10 CH/PL
0946-10 CH
1535-10 WH
358-12 DP/TN
0094-13 CJ/SLS (black bulk pack box, orange label)

It was the HSM box of HSM-headstamped 44 Magnum brass that got me into ammo collecting. The box had 48 once-fired brass cases and I sent an E-mail to HSM asking for another 2 cases or what brand of cases would be interchangeable. My E-mail went unanswered, so I had to figure it out on my own – a recurring theme in my experience with ammo companies. Anyway, turns out my HSM-headstamped 9mm Luger, 38 Special, 357 Magnum, and 44 Magnum cases were all made by Starline. Later I would find HSM boxes with Starline 44 Magnum cases – cases with the same distinct indicators as my HSM-headstamped 44 Magnum cases – and Starline 45 Colt cases. I also have a single HSM-headstamped 30 Carbine case but no Starline case to compare it with, and read some years ago on HSM’s website that their HSM-headstamped 223 Remington cases were made by Arms Corporation of the Philippines.

BVAC
BVAC’s black bulk pack boxes are the same distinct box used by HSM. Until recently BVAC also used the same type of orange labels used by HSM. Last BVAC bulk pack label I saw was red. Most of the other BVAC boxes are dedicated BVAC red boxes with the same plastic trays used by HSM. I also have a BVAC 45 Colt box with Starline brass which is black with a red label and 50-rnd black plastic tray.
0922 9 (bulk pack, also dated 08/10/09)
0249-10 AS/LJ
0425-10 AS/TK (bulk pack)
0427-10 LJ/JS (TOP BRASS 38 SPL-headstamped brass)
0522-10 LJ/KS
1047-10 AM/SL (bulk pack)
L07R25-10 SP/JG
0145-11 JS/LW
0235-11 YS/LJ
0674-11 LW/ARM (ARMSCOR USA 38 SPL-headstamped brass)
0944-11 KTS/EDJ (bulk pack)
0562-12 LW/KC (bulk pack)
0901-12 JW/ST
0385-13 TH/ST (Top Brass or Starline-made BVAC 38 SPL-headstamped brass)
0397-13 BB/KS (bulk pack, red label, the single case recovered was headstamped JAG 9mm LUGER)

Armscor Precision
The lot numbers of Armscor Precision ammo boxes I have are:
01060509 (40 S&W)
05061610 (38 Special, headstamp AP 10)
02030511 (380 Auto)

Armscor USA
The first is a bulk pack box like those used by HSM and BVAC, the rest are dedicated ARMSCOR USA white, yellow and black boxes usually with black plastic trays identical to HSM and BVAC. The lot numbers of Armscor USA ammo boxes I have are:
-12 (357 Magnum, ARMSCORP USA-headstamp, black bulk pack box with white ARMSCOR USA PRECISION label)
010612 (10mm, A-USA)
021012 (45 Auto, A-USA)
021212 (10mm, A-USA)
027312 (10mm, A-USA)
030112 (9mm, A-USA)
035412 (40 S&W, A-USA)
000713 (223 Rem)
015713 (9mm)
020313 (40 S&W)

The Armscor USA lot numbers before the last two digits – 0007 to 0354 – might be the Julian date 7 (7 January) to 354 (19 December). But why the leading zero? I think, like HSM and BVAC lot numbers, they are just one-up lot numbers by the year and I just haven’t yet observed a one-up lot above 365 (31 December, non-leap year) or 366 (31 December, leap year).

In July 2012 I ordered 100 ARMSCORP USA-headstamped 9mm Luger brass cases from Graf & Sons, they were also selling other calibers of Armscorp-USA brass. At the same time, MidwayUSA was selling several calibers of Double Tap brass and I bought 100 9MM Luger +P cases. It indicates both Armscor USA and Double Tap were selling off excess brass in July 2012. I’m presuming ARMSCORP USA was changed to A-USA because the company name doesn’t have the “P” but there is a Armscorp USA company here in Maryland.

I would also point out that virtually ALL the HSM, BVAC, Armscor Precision, and Armscor USA ammo I’ve seen has been primed with CCI primers. Armscor Precision, A-USA 10mm AUTO and 45 AUTO, and the TOP BRASS cases in BVAC box with nickeled CCI primers; and HSM, BVAC-headstamped 38 Special, BVAC, and Armscor USA ammo with not-nickel-plated CCI primers. The only exceptions were my HSM-headstamped 44 Magnum cases, which I recall were primed with nickeled Federal LP primers; and BVAC 45 Auto ammo headstamped FC 10 with crimped nickeled primers and red factory primer sealant.


#2

Wow! Great research!

HSM has actually used two different headstamps on 9mm, “HSM 9mmLUGER” and “H S M 9MMLUGER” which look to me like Armscorp and Starline headstamps. Boxes are both orange and marked Stevensville (from ~ '09) and Missoula (from ~ '08). Current address is The Hunting Shack, Inc., 4406 Rathbun Lane, Stevensville, MT 59870, (406) 777-2106

I recently bought a box of Bitterroot Valley 9mm and was delighted to find it was headstamped "B R V A 9MMLUGER. I don’t know when they introduced their own headstamp on 9mm, but on my last trip to the ShotShow about three years ago, their representative told me they did not use their own hst on 9x19mm. The box code on the past-on end label is 0186-13 GU/VH

There is also a new company, Prograde Ammunition in Stevensville (ProGrade Ammunition™, 3616 Eastside Highway, Stevensville, MT 59870, Phone: (406) 777-5670) which apparently owned by the same company that owns Bitterroot (accordingly to the lady who answers the phone at Bitterroot). This makes sense since their phone numbers and address are the same as BVAC. The lady told me that Porgrade has their own headstamp also. This one looks like a RUAG/RWS made case “ProGrade 9 mm Luger”. The box code is 0001 13 and I suspect this is lot 1 of 2013 since this us just entering the market.

Again, thanks for your research!

Cheers,
Lew


#3

On reflection, the BVAC 38 Special has a wide relief cut above the rim like Armscor Precision and Armscor USA 38 Special/357 Magnum cases. So even tho it has a deburred flashhole, like Starline and Top Brass cases and unlike the Armscor products, I’m on board with it being made in the Philippines.
ProGrade 357 Magnum case: deburred flashhole, narrow relief cut and small font. Pretty sure it’s Starline.


#4

Your ProGrade headstamp does look like Starline. The 9mm I have has upper and lower case letters, more like RUAG/RWS. I will send you a couple.

Cheers,
Lew


#5

Scored three boxes of Armscor USA 9mm Luger today. All lot 030112. All cases headstamped A USA (over) 9MM LUGER but one; it was AP 12 (over) 9MM LUGER. I was pretty sure the Armscor USA cases were made in the Philippines, now I’m sure. Now I need to prove the Hornady cases with the small diamond in the caliber (i.e. 9MM <> LUGER) are supplied by Armscor Precision.


#6

Great stuff! Thanks

Lew