M1 Carbine - M18 High Pressure Test round?

Does anyone have a picture of an actual M1 Carbine - M18 High Pressure Test round that they could post. Also, can anyone give any headstamp data on the test rounds?

Here’s a picture of an early M18 without the tinned case, and an M18 Alternate (steel jacket). I’ve also included a picture of the Winchester box. These should be found with Winchester and Frankford Arsenal headstamps; I’m still looking for one from Frankford Arsenal, and would appreciate seeing pictures of other legitimate M18 proof cartridges with their headstamps.

Here is a later Wnchester M18 box and a round from a opened box with the same lot number. Notice the 4-stab primer crimp. Hard to see but it has a purple primer annulus.

Here are three more that I could get to easyly.

Same subject but a different question.

I have both the plain brass cased and the tin plated WRA 43. But, the plain one is 1.983" OAL while the tin plated one is 2.119" OAL. Both magnetic bullets. So what’s the deal? Different bullets or just different seating depth?

I’ve been wondering about this for years. Somebody ease my mind so I can wonder about more important things.


The five Military rounds (4 GMCS and 1 GM) I have handy measure between 1.981 to 1.995".
In the 1960’s a Company in Southern California (National Ordnance I think but I can’t find my notes on the subject) loaded a quantity of Hight Pressure Test catridges using military cases to test the M1 Carbines they were puting together. They measure from 2.127 to 2.137". You can see the seating cannelure at the neck but none are tinned. So I really don’t know. Here are a couple examples.

In my collection, I have a .30 Carbine proof load of the M18 type, plain brass case, normal .30 M2 (150 grain) bullet found in proof loads, bras sprimer, no primer crimps. While several collectors have told me it is legitimate, I have my doubts, due to the lack of primer crimps or tinned case, although admittedly, my absolutely proper R A 5 4 proof, while having the tinned case, also is without primer crimping.

I also have proof loads of the baisc M18 type, although there are cartridge OAL differences when compared with American proof loads of this caliber, from the Netherlands (with NWM headstamp) and Austria (HP headstamp).

Guy - the absence of the M18 marking, a visible lot number, and the wording make me think that your nice Winchester .30 Carbine Proof box is commercial, and not military. I have a Carbine proof load - 150 grain SP Spitzer bullet, tinned case with base of case and bullet lacquered red, headstamped WRA 30 CARBINE. Did your box come with military proofs in it? Would seem odd if it did, as the labeling is not the norm for the Winchester .30 Carbine military proof loads to my knowledge.

Phil - Your proof loads could well have been from National Ordnance, when they were making M1 Carbines on their own receivers. I have an identical load that I got from Bob Brenner, the affable owner of Federal Ordnance Inc. in South El Monte, California, years ago during a buying trip I made down there for the store. They weren’t using the National Ordnance name at the time I got my load, but it was something Bob had set aside for my collection when he knew I was coming down there. Mine is in an L C 54 case. It is my understanding that they either loaded these themselves, on the premises, or had a local reloading service load them, for them, but to their specifications. They are absolutely a legitimate round.

By the way, although I am sure they exist, I have never seen a Frankford Arsenal .30 Carbine proof load. Volume 2 of Hackley, Scranton & Wooding mentions production of this load by FA and Winchester (although Remington is not mentioned), and a 1977 .30 Carbine Check List by John Edgar shows a round in an “F A 4” case. The same list also shows my “L C 52” proof, which I had not noted before, so perhaps my suspicions of it being a fake are unfounded. I wonder why the Frankford Arsenal proof loads, even if only made in 1944, are so scarce?

I have a similar box as Guy’s except it is for dummies that does have military headstamped cases.

Phil - with respect, that box really isn’t that much like Guy’s proof box. Firstly, it has the military designation of the cartridge. It is the first model of standardized dummy rounds, M1, and was made from late 1941 until December 1943. It was used primarily for inspection of arms, and not for drill purposes. Secondly, it does not use what I call “commercial language.”

Guy’s box does not use any military nomenclature, and declares that the rounds are intended for “Proof Gallery Gun Shops,” very “commercial language.” I could be wrong about it, of course. I have not seen the box before. I also don’t know what rounds were in it when Guy acquired it. If it was a full box with military proof loads in it, it is likely the box, although fully a commercial pattern, was used for military purposes. If it was found empty, or with only one or two military proof rounds in it, then the contents would be suspect in my mind. It is a wonderful box regardless. As I said, I have never seen it, even though I have commercial Winchester proof rounds with W.R.A. Headstamp (significant because that headstamp was in use during the period Guy’s box was probably made, whereas clearly, the box predates the use of the commercial W-W headstamp).

It would be nice to see the inside of that box, and see if there are any red “dots” inside it, transfer of red lacquer from the commercial proof load’s bullet tip (the military bullets are not lacquered red). These dots are common in proof load and tracer boxes where the ammunition is packed “heel to toe.” My own WRA-headstamped commercial Carbine proof load has not one bit of the red lacquer on the very tip of the soft nose of the bullet, almost like it was made that way, but probably, it rubbed off in the box. If no dots at all, then again, it could be a sign that the box was originally with military proof loads with uncolored projectiles.

Just my own thoughts on this nice box.

I believe John is correct about my box being a commercial box. I have the same dummy box with the military headstamps as PButler. I imagine Winchester did what they could to get rid of stocks of all the military cartridges they still had on hand when the war ended. Has anyone seen other caliber (.45 ACP and .30-06?) dummies or ball loads that have military headstamps in commercial boxes?

You may be correct. There was a

Both of my boxes have that same big 42 on the bottom. Perhaps Winchester over-estimated the number of boxes thay would need in their 1942 box order. I suspect it would be possible to find some of their post-war sporting .30 Carbine cartridges in this same box.

I forgot to mention that my box came full of PC 43 headstamped ball cartridges, obviously not original to the box.

Have seen in several publications that Winchester called its proof house proof galleries. Probably meaning the individual booths.
John, know HWS wrote about FA proof rounds does Bill have any on file?


Phil - you mention that your box is dated 42 and is consistent with a 43 headstamp. It could be if they made the boxes well in advance, and that is the date of the box. If the date of the ammo, I would think it would take a 43 date on the box to be consistent with either a 42 or 43 headstamp?

Regarding the dates in Woodin’s book, I agree that sometimes they can be confusing. I think the matter centers on the fact that a round has not necessarily been officially adopted when there is an Ordnance Drawing made of it, and it may even be that initially, at the time drawings were made, even the M18 designation was tentative or provisional. I simply don’t know, and will admit it is something the HWS books should probably explain. It does make the whole M1-T27-M18 timeline confusing, especially for those of us whose fields only incidentally touch on U.S. Military Ammunition.

Regarding Guy’s box, I didn’t notice the picture on Page 50 HWS II. It kind of implies that this is the box for the proof loads headstamped W.R.A. .30 S.L., a round I have never seen in my life. Regardless of that, if the mention on the label about “Proof Gallery Gun Shops” refers to a Winchester in-house proofing location, than it could be for loads for the proving of Winchester-made .30 Carbines, or it could even refer to the proofing shops at all of the companies that finished and proofed M1 Carbines during the war. So, in retrospect, despite the fact that it is definitely a commercial-style box, it could well be involved with the WWII
proofing of military carbines done by the various contractors. Whatever the box is, it is a great box! Congratulations on having one Guy.

Quite honestly, I have never really understood the proofing of these weapons. No firearm should be proofed more than once in its history, in my opinion. They are not meant to withstand the high pressures of constant reproofing. No Carbines were made after WWII. Now, if they are barrel proofs, I could understand it since there were M1 Carbine barrels made after WWII, I believe.

Gourd - I will find out if the Lab has any FA .30 Carbine proofs in the collection. I really have never delved into that caliber there. I am ashamed at how seldom I am able to get to Tucson, considering I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Lab. When I do get there, I am usually researching one of my own projects.


Years ago there was a very definite safety purpose in proofing both the barrel and receiver. But with today’s modern steels it is hardly necessary. Most manufacturers have the equipment to scope the finished parts and the proof firing is done to satisfy the lawyers. But in today’s litiguous society it doesn’t mean much. If a firearm comes apart in the shooters hands the manufacturer is going to be sued and the shooter, or his heirs, are going to be rich.


A friend opened a sealed box like your Dummy box, that had 42 & 43 dates, some blind and some with flash holes.
All the commercial Proofs I have seen, have the red base. All have a red bullet, except one of the R-P’s. The Military F A 4, F A 51, R A 5 4, and all the WRA’s do not have any red.

That was Phil’s superb dummy box that was pictured. Mine shows quite a bit more wear, but was also full of a mix of WRA 42 and WRA 43 headstamps.

In answer to John’s earlier question which I missed when I first read his response, there is no evidence of the red lacquer inside my proof box.

Guy - thanks for checking. It looks more and more like I was wrong, and that your box is either the box for the incredibly rare “.30 SL” proof loads, or it was filled with military proof rounds. Regardless, I suspect it may represent the first of the proof boxes. I cannot imagaine the box was filled with red-lacquered base and bullet loads and transferred none of it to the box.

Regarding the box of Dummy Cartridges, M1, I just opened mine for the first time, and while stamped “42” on the bottom, it is filled with only 43-dated, tinned-case proof loads with empty, blind primer pocket. I see that my box for the Winchester M13 Dummy rounds, which have “44” dates, is also marked “42” on the bottom. I wonder if this is a date or a box pattern number? The box is the same pattern as the M1 dummy box, although the label is quite different in format and content, including having the lot number of 22041.

I have never been able to engender a whole lot of interest in the .30 Carbine round, even though I collect it due to its use in two auto pistols and one true SMG, but this has been an interesting discussion, and the boxes are almost more interesting than the cartridges themselves.

By the way, although I was talking about the proofing of arms during WWII, and then the reproofing as they were rebuilt (on the same receivers proofed already once), I agree with Ray that proofing of firearms in the traditional sense is becoming an obsolete procedure due to the quality of metals, not just steel, used in firearms today. Who would have thought we could ever see a Chief’s Special Revolver in .357 Magnum, without it blowing up on the within the first few shots! Well, that’s a topic for another thread, I guess.

Gents, many thanks for the info and pics. Very much appreciated.