Kynoch date code

Today I got a part box of Kynoch .450 Revolver blanks with the date code “3 K N”. What date does this make them? I’m sure someone can answer this straightforward question, only I don’t have a list of the codes. I remember the Kynoch date codes being discussed the other day. The box is tatty, but it was free, and free cartridges are always the best cartridges. Has 34 out of the original 50 rounds, they are headstamped “KYNOCH .450”

Here is the box:




It’s the Kynoch date code for 3 April, 1965

Cheers Chris, exactly what I wanted. Is there any particular reason as to why they used a date code instead of a regular date?

I’m intriqued by the color of the box. I don’t recall seeing this color combination on a Kynoch box. Why green and red rather than yellow and red? Does the green indicate blanks?

All of the green and red Kynoch boxes I have seen have been loaded with Black Powder. All of the yellow and red Kynoch boxes seem to be loaded with Cordite or some other smokeless powder. So I would guess it would indicate what kind of propellant was used.

As far as I know yes, green is for blanks, all the boxes of Kynoch blanks I have seen have been red and green instead of red and yellow. I forgot to add the right hand end label, this is missing on the opposite end. The label was applied as one continuous strip of paper over a plain cardboard box. The box is unfortunately slightly mishapen due to age and damp.

END LABEL (right side):

I thought I may as well include some photos of the cartridges for future reference. Note partial star crimp over glazed natural coloured cardboard topwad. Primers are Copper cup and I am 99% sure they are Berdan. They are very heavily crimped. One theory on the reason for this was to prevent blowout in blank-only revolvers with blocked barrels. Headstamp is “KYNOCH .450”. Unfortunately my camera is not good enough to photograph the headstamp.

.450 Blanks side view

View showing crimp and topwads:

I am really tired just having returned from my second driving trip in two weeks, and a very hot-weather 3-day cowboy shooting match. So, forgive me if I missed an answer to the inquiry of why manufacturers use a date code, instead of just dating the ammunition with a clear date.

Remember, this ammunition is for commercial sale. Most people do not realize that quality ammunition, properly stored, remains perfectly good for decades, not just years. If an average “shooter” customer (as opposed to a real student of arms and ammunition) went into a gun shop and was handed a box of ammunition dated seven or eight years earlier, they might well refuse this “old stock.” Factories, though, need some control over their product in case of malfunction, legal claims, etc. Some use a lot number, some use a date code and some use both. Many lot numbers, if not all, have a date code built into them, often kept very secret by the manufacturer.

While we had a large and fast turnover of ammunition product in our store, since we stocked almost every caliber available in factory ammunition, there were, of course, some calibers that didn’t sell as quickly as others. It would not have been impossible for us to have a box of ammo 10 years old on our shelf. Believe me that no one gets short-changed with a box that old from a dealer that stores his ammunition properly. Some surplus ammunition can be 50 years old and still perform well. That has been the case, for example of the Austrian (German-Occupation) made 8 x 56R ammo that has appeared off and on on the market in recent years. Most of that ammo is dated 1938 - now 69 years old!

So, date codes are simply a selling device to keep from “turning off” customers with the age of product. However, again I’ll stress, the presence and interpretation of that code has much more significant importance for the manufacturer than just a “sales gimmick.” The advantage of the code above a plainly-read date is primarily for the jobber and the retail dealer.

The colour of Kynoch boxes indicates the propellant and not the type of cartridge.

The colour codes were:
Smokeless powders Yellow and red
Smokeless powders for use in black powder guns Blue and red
Black powder Green and red

The reason that the green and red packets are most often seen with blanks is because blanks were the most numerous cartridges still loaded with black powder.

Falcon’s .450 blanks were probably made for starting guns at athletic events, although could have been for movie/theatrical use.



Thank you for clearing the kynoch colour treat.
How does a box without colour fit in the system.


The normal coloured Kynoch boxes were for sale to the public through the trade.

Military contract ammunition was in packaging defined by the buyer or in Kynoch’s generic packaging where the colour usually indicated the load, i.e. pale blue box for smoke tacer/ incendiary.(but not always)

For other orders, often for movies, plain white boxes were used. Yours is almost certainly one for a movie order as I don’t think there was a great demand for military 7.9 black powder blanks in the 1960s!


The movie "The Longest Day’ was filmed in the early 60’s.Lots of 7.9
expended then.


Dick–I could be wrong, but I think the gold pastic blanks for that movie made in 9mm, .30-06 and 8mm were made in France. There are also 20mm Oerlikon red plastic blanks made for that movie which were made in Norway.

I should have kept my mouth shut.I have no knowledge in this area.
It was just a suggestion of a movie made in that time period.

Never could understand why they went to the trouble of making those plastic blanks in gold color, to look like brass shells, for the “Longest Day.” The movie was in black and white. However, it is correct that that’s what they were made for. The normal French white blanks probably would have looked about the same, for all that anyone could see them.