Northwestern 12 Gauge

For many years, I told myself that I did not collect shot shells, or at least paper and plastic ones. I tried to limit my interests to metallic cartridges only and allowed a few all brass shot shells to slip into my collection. Then I took an interest in Canadian cartridges by Dominion and let a few paper shot shells sneak in. Then I took an interest in cartridges sold by now defunct retailers or retailers that discontinued ammo like Sears, Gambles, Wards and Herter’s, and began filling a drawer with shot shells that I don’t really collect. Now it has been noted here before that shot shells left confined in a dark drawer tend to reproduce. The drawer was getting full and I resolved to collect only 16 gauge shells (for no particular reason), and that worked for a couple of years. Then a couple of collectors began liquidating their collections on Gunbroker, and it has been impossible to stick to my resolution. I have however, been able to ignore most 12 gauge rounds, I just don’t want to get sucked into such a huge field of collecting.

Then I accidentally clicked on this auction:, but that was not much help. The old timers that I used to know have gone the way of the Greatest Generation, and I have not been able to find anyone with first hand knowledge of Northwestern Ammunition.

If anyone out there has more information on this outfit, or an image of the original packaging, I would really appreciate a copy. I am looking for names of the owners and a business address. I am well on my way to becoming an old timer myself, and would like to document this bit of home town history before it is lost.


According to Dick Iverson a company identified as NORWESTERN in Moses Lake was in business 1956-1957 and loaded two 12 gauge hulls which were of foreign manufacture. Primed empties could also be purchased. The shells had either “NORWESTERN” or “NORAMCO” stamped on them, diagonally along the sides. Headstamps carried the same with “12” at the 6 o-clock position. Dick shows a sketch of them on page 130 of his book, THE SHOTSHELL IN THE UNITED STATES Revised Edition The company address is shown as; NORWESTERN AMMUNITION CO. INC, P O BOX 1964, MOSES LAKE, WASHINGTON. I am assuming you are talking about the same company. In Dick’s book ‘ammunition’ is misspelled (amminition) so perhaps they left out the TH too, but I doubt it.

I have never seen one of these shells or their boxes so I can’t add anything from personal experience.

I am the one guilty of the misspelling here. The cartridge up for auction clearly shows the spelling as Norwestern on the headstamp and printed on the side. Thanks for the lead and identifying another reference book that I need to track down. The post office box address has me wondering if the actual company was in Moses Lake at all. Two years of operations does seem to indicate a certain fly by night quality. I am going to have to track this down. I will try the local paper and city hall to see if they have any records.

Curt–I don’t know how large Moses Lake is but you might check the local library for City Directories for those years. If the business was registered you should be able to find the DBA records at the county seat. If you have a library with a genealogical dept. or historical center near you, they might have old phone books that may help.

Thanks for the suggestion, I will follow up on that.

Thank you for the pictures. Now I know what I am looking for. It is nice when “collecting the whole set” only means one more cartridge!