Interesting Shot Shell - Indian (Window)

I am not a shot shell collector but still find them very interesting. I saw this cool round with a window cut in the case that shows all the internals for sale on a web site. I had to post the pics thinking JP and other shot shell collectors may find it interesting. I have no idea if it is rare or special in anyway. I like the headstamp :-)


thanks Jason

Hi Jason
VERY Nice shell. It has not, though, what a shotshell collector would call sectioned, although it has been cut, but is what is known as / called a 'Window" shell. A large number of companies made window shells in the past, and they are also currently found / made with a plastic hull.
The one you show is by the Robin Hood Powder Company, and is very diserable & quite rare. Due to the fact that almost any dummy / or sales sample (which this was) was made in much smaller quanties than normal production, thus making them much more (to some) desirable than normal production.

Thank so much Pete! Really interesting information on a subject I know almost nothing about. I just was drawn to that shell thinking it was neat. I loved the arrows on the head-stamp and the window. If I collected shotshells I would nab it for sure.

Jason - you should nab it anyway. It is an excellent trade item. Might bring you something you need some day, or part of something you want, anyway.

That is good advice, John. Thank you for the idea :-)


Its a very good cartridge. Factory window cartridges are always sought after and this is quite a rare cartridge anyway so its a beauty.

The details on the top wad are interesting and to me shows that its actually more unusual than it first appears.

(1) The “3” I take it indicates 3 drams of black powder or a smokeless equivilent equal to 3 drams. I can’t see if its BP or one of the early bulk smokeless powders which all looked a lot like BP. I suspect the latter but if it was smokeless they usually made a big point of saying so.

(2) The “1” I take as indicating a 1oz shot load. This was a significantly light load for a 12ga for the era. Today its common but not then. they liked heavier loads 1 1/8 or even 1 1/4 oz loads were the norm.
Certainly the shot charge does look like 1oz. With 3 drams of powder it would be mildly hot for the time.

(3) the shot size 7 1/2 again is unusually small for the era but not really worth a comment except in conjunction with the other factors. The half size ties it to US/ Canada.

All in all an interesting cartridge with a few unanswered questions about the loading to tempt us even more.

It looks like it was a bit off the mainstream to serve some perceived need and that make it more unusual to a collector. It possibly explains why it was windowed.

I know nothing about the Robin Hood Powder Co but I love the name. Can somebody fill in some of the details?

Even the fact its not red makes it more desirable to some.

Thanks Vince! Learning allot from that. Just curious, what does the word “DRAMS” mean?


[quote=“APFSDS”]Thanks Vince! Learning allot from that. Just curious, what does the word “DRAMS” mean?


DRAM(S) is a unit of weight

Factory sectioned shells like this are always desireable and this is a nice early example. The shotshell boys might be able to tell you what the earliest factory sectioned “window shell” known is but this is an early one. ROBIN HOOD is a popular manufacturer and some of their shells and boxes sell for big money.

The value of all of this is , of course , determined by market conditions. Buttweiler told me of one of his clients who was a big time buyer of window shells. He drove the market prices up with his collecting and when he went to sell the prices took a dive. The worst thing for collector ammo prices is for many of the items to come to market at the same time.

I have always tried to buy 2 basic types of items to hold; 1) unique specimens , and 2) items in popular demand . These are the easiest to market.

If you plan to die with your collection and leave the heirs to sort it out that is another thing. If you plan to have residual value in your collection and to harvest some or all of that when the time comes buy wisely.

SHOTSHELL collectors seldom find the kind of items which you like BUT it does happen and it doesn’t hurt to have more than one arrow in your quiver EVEN IF IT IS A FLECHETTE. A $10 shotshell can get you a $100 item at the right time.

Free advice : don’t spend more than $25 for items which you don’t know the value of unless you plan to live with it. Ammo collecting is compartmentilized and actual values are difficult to determine.

Lots of collectors carry around the old Buttweiler guides as well as the prices from “Gun Report” and the “Journal” looking for buys at those prices. I knew a fellow who carried 2 copies of the “prices” from “Gun Report” ; an old one to show to sellers and a newer one to use as his buying guide.

Actually , if you have to carry price guides you don’t know enough about the market to be set loose with money.


Good luck with that !

For a real leg up marry the widow of a cartridge dealer or major collector BUT get a prenup. That seemed to have worked for a couple of guys in the game.

Of course there is nothing better than inheriting from your ancestors!

Great shell. It is quite likely that this shell was originally part of a boxed set. The green hull is the usual color on these Indian shells; its the yellow one that is the more sought after. However, being a window shell, who can say if there even is a yellow example.

Regarding the Robin Hood Powder Co, information is somewhat sketchy regarding company details and dates of production of their products. Richard Iverson provides some information in his book The Shotshell in the United States. In addition, there is Robin Hood & Their Merry Shot Shells by Windy Klinect, which has some information on the company and their shells, and lots of illustrations of the headstamps and topwads, but again has limited date of production information.

To summarize, the Robin Hood Powder Company was formed in 1896 by Edward Dickson and James Ashdown to market smokeless powder developed Dickson through Ashdown’s hardware store. The powder was made in Swanton, Vt and the store was in Winnipeg, Canada. The company was organized under the laws of Vermont in 1898, adding a few partners. When they began making shotgun shells is not clear, but I assume it was around 1898. The first shells were made for the company in England, and were headstamped ROBIN HOOD No with the gauge (10 and 12 only). They soon began making their own shells with the R.H.P.CO. headstamp in 10, 12, and 16. In 1906, they reorganized under the name the Robin Hood Ammunition Company after expanding into production of metallic ammunition, and their headstamp was changed to R.H.A.Co. The company was purchased in 1915 by Remington-UMC, who used the Swanton facilities for military ammunition production in WW1.

There were no brand names for the early imported ROBIN HOOD shells. Found in 10 and 12 gauge with red, green and blue hulls. There were some later shells headstamped ROBIN HOOD 1903, ROBIN HOOD SMOKELESS, and ROBIN HOOD COMET, all with No and the gauge, and all without the arrows. In addition, Winchester and possibly Western produced some trial shells with a Robin Hood headstamp, but these were not put into production.

The following information is taken from the illustrations in Windy Klinect


Great advice CSA, thank you so much. Wise words as always!

Guy, WOW! Talk about historical knowledge!!! Off the charts! I had no idea this shell was near that old. In all honesty, I just thought it was cool and new JP collected shotshells. Really neat round in design, looks, age, and history. Just shows how interesting all types of ammunition can be and how much history is involved.


I haven’t any idea when the earliest window shell was made.

That historical knowledge isn’t mine. It came from the two books I mentioned. I don’t actively collect shotgun shells, but still have managed to accumulate a lot over the years as part of collections of metallic cartridges I have bought. There always seem to be a few mixed in. That said, however, the Robin Hood shells have always interested me, not to the extent that I was willing to pay the going rates for them, but I have hung onto those that have managed to make their way into my hands.

To all you guys

This is a great thread! The kind we should see more of on the Forum.

Somebody should take it and turn it into an article for the JOURNAL.

It almost made me want to collect shot-shells. Almost.

Thanks Jason for starting it.


What’s needed is input from a true shotshell collector, perhaps one who has Robin Hood catalogs and other reliable sources.

See journal # 405,page 24 for an account of the earlier days of the Robin Hood Company,before it went to Vermont.Dixon’s idea began with an explosion in a flour mill.By the way Ashdowns was a Winnipeg hardware business.A friend of mine did extensive interviews with Dixon’s niece in the early 1960s.

Incidently, these Robin Hood shells tend to be fairly expensive, based on the limited list if Gun Report Robin Hood collector values, ranging from $10 to $300. The least expensive appear to be the oldest, the imported ROBIN HOOD No 12 new primed empties with dark red hulls. The most expensive that are listed are the R.H.A.CO. AUTOCRAT and the TIGER R.H.A.CO 20 gauge red.

[quote=“Ray Meketa”]To all you guys

This is a great thread! The kind we should see more of on the Forum.

Somebody should take it and turn it into an article for the JOURNAL.

It almost made me want to collect shot-shells. Almost.

Thanks Jason for starting it.


Although I have never been interested in shells for shooting tweety birds I do collect the military versions of the shotshell which are vast and range from bird shot to explosive and even AP loads.

Don’t overlook the shotshell as a very interesting branch of collecting as sport , law enforcement or military.

It is the only kind of cartridge which I use for home defense.

Thanks for pointing out the IAA article by Will Ayde-White and Jack Brown, which indicates that shotshell production was begun earlier than the 1898 date that I had assumed. In addition, the article notes that Dixon (or Dickson) died in 1903. I had wondered what the date on the ROBIN HOOD No 12 1903 headstamp was for - apparently, it was to commemorate his death.