New Member - Date of old UMC cartridge box?


#1

I’m a new member. I recently acquired an old UMC .44-40 cartridge box (see photos below). Can anyone help me date it?

Although UMC began making the .44-40 shortly after Winchester came out with their Model 1873 rifle, this box must be newer because of the references to Marlin, Savage, Stevens, and Remington on the bottom.

I would appreciate it if someone could at least give me a date range.





#2

I was hopeing someone else would answer this because I am certainly no expert on this subject but I’m gonna give it a shot because as a beginner myself, I know how frustrating it can be when questions go unanswered. Hopefully some of the really knowledgeable folks will see this and give us both some education.

In Journal #469 Dick Fraser did an excellent article on interpreting Remington ammo box date codes. Some of his illustrations show early UMC boxes because Remington absorbed UMC, so to speak. His earliest box, which is nearly identical to yours, is listed as Pre-1911 but it has the red ball with UMC logo while yours has an oval with U.M.C. and Trade Mark on the left side. So I am speculating that your box goes back to around 1900, before or after a bit.

Hopefully someone who really knows will pipe in so don’t be discouraged. There are some really smart folks with tons of knowlege on here!


#3

Like Shotmeister I was waiting for someone who could cite chapter and verse on stereo plate codes & date this to a month and year, but no go on this so far. Thus I’d add that the reference to Savage among the makers whose arms are guaranteed with this ammo puts the “not before” date at 1895, the year Arthur Savage introduced the first version of his lever-action rifle. Jack


#4

Thanks guys.

Based on your info, it appears that the date range may be around 1900. The following article on another web site, which discusses a similar box, shows the standard “guarantee” label similar to mine on the bottom of the box, but it references gun makers who went out of business as late as 1891 — gun makers that my label does not mention. Therefore, mine is later than 1891, probably later than 1895 (the Savage reference: Jack), and closer to 1900 (Shotmeister).

http://www.oldammo.com/october06.htm

If anyone can refine the date further, I would hearing from you.


#5

I suspect this box was made prior to or shortly before the introduction of smokeless powder sometime in the mid-1890s, after which the labels specified either smokeless or black powder. The label on this box does not state which it is, but the cartridges are black powder, as indicated by the powder charge of 40 grains shown on the label. That Savage reference on the bottom label does seem to point to after 1895. It also points out the fact that the listed makes of firearms on these guarantee labels don’t necessarily have any connection to the caliber of the ammunition in the box, as I don’t believe either of the Savage lever action rifles were chambered for the 44-40 cartridge.


#6

I agree. I think the reference on the “guarantee” label to various gun makers simply indicates that UMC made ammo for those makes, whatever the caliber.