Peters RedBall box and headstamps


I have a Peters redball box… 38 spl police service. I’ve got some cartridges in the box plus some empties.
I’ve been going through my boxes and removing cartridges that don’t go with the box and need to know if this box could have had R - P headstamps originally. They are nickel casings.

Also have some old WRA 38 - 55 Win cartridges and want to know if the lead tip corrodes and flattens normally or from poor storage. I know these aren’t the only cartridges I’ve gotten with the corosion and flattened down tips.


Not sure what you mean by “Peters Redball” box, but if you mean the box with white and blue diagonal front with a red ball with “PETERS” in it, then, yes, “R–P” (Long Dash) is the correct headstamp for this box.

As for the .38-55 WCF cartridges with jacketed bullets, they ALL have flat nose bullets for use in tubler magazines. If the bullets are solid lead with or without paperpatch, then they are .38-55 Ballard and could have a round nose or a flat nosed bullet.


Yes, that’s the Peter’s box… thanks…

I’ve had a few cartridges flat like the 38-55 … never thought of them being made flat because most I get come rounded. Usually the flat ones are “corroded”.

The last boxes I picked up had WRA’s in with the Rem-UMC in the Remington box… The Remington 32-40 Winchester, Marlin, and Savage Kleanbore box had a different caliber in it… But I either see that when I pick them up, or don’t really care at the time because the box interests me and I get ammo with it.

My biggest disappointment was having R - P 25-35’s in the Remington Kleanbore box ! But I pay for the ammo, not the box… so a full box @ $10 vs over $20 in the store is good. Partials are usually $5. Plus the guy gives me some boxes on occassion too. I also missed a good deal on a “pkg” deal… good price, but more than I could afford. When I had a shotgun I used to bring my husband’s new gun purchase down to $0 plus credit, the boxes were already gone!


Bomar–All cartridges that are for use in guns with tubular
magazines, mostly lever action rifles, have flat nosed bullets. The theory being that with a pointed nose resting against the primer of the cartridge in front of it in a tubular magazine could, with recoil, set off a cartridge in the magazine. So, almost all, or all, of the calibers designed for use in Marlin rifles such as .32-40 Win. 44-40 Win., 348 Win., 38-55 WCF, .444 Marlin, etc. will have flat nose bullets. Some calibers such as .45-70 Govt. were available in both a round nose version and a seperate loading, specifically labeled “FOR MARLIN RIFLES” with a flat nose. Eventually most of the round nose versions were dropped and only the flat nose continued to be made as it as found the flat nose worked just as well as the round nose for hunting purposes, so why make to versions.


Ron is correct about the flat nose bullets, for the most part. Most all were lead, or soft-nose with a large lead flat tip. Even flat-nose lead aren’t fail safe. In Cowboy Action shooting, there have been a couple of instances where with the normal flat-nose lead bullets used for that sport, when someone was loading only a partial load in his replica Henry (you only load what the stage calls for, which can be as little as six rounds, although usually eight to ten), and let the follower just slam down on the top cartridge and caused a discharge. that won’t happen from just recoil, and is probably a hazard peculiar to only the front-loading Henry rifle in its center-fire replica form.

I mentioned Ron was correct for the most part. Hornady, I believe it is, now has the “Levermatic” Series with soft plastic point cartridges intended for tube loaders. I am sure he was not thinking in that context, since the question started on older Remington-Peters cartridges, but I thought it should be mentioned. Those new loads would scare the heck, frankly, out of an old lever-action rifle fan like me. I don’t think I could ever use them, safe as they might be. I would worry every time I squeezed a shot off, especially with the heavier calibers (more recoil).


I know I should have thought about the type ammo and that being cowboy calibers. Because I’m not big on lever actions (though my husband is) I guess my mind is thinking all calibers come in all shapes.
If I were to pick up that new Levermatic ammo, it would be to have it in my “collection” I don’t think I’d feel safe with it either.
I am planning to get a Browning BLR, but that has a clip so I still won’t be thinking flat nose!! I’m just putting a lot of thought into what caliber I want!

I do have some old pump guns which would not take pointed bullets but that still doesn’t help me think flat nose only!!

I’ll have to make a list for my own info on what calibers are 99% flat!

Could you tell me why the lead tip gets corroded? I’ve picked up some large calibers and even .22’s that are what I call corroded because they are whitish.


I’m sure the new Hornady “Levermatic” ammunition is safe to use in tubes - they would not market it if they had not tested it to the “nth” degree, especially in this time of liability issues. I am just old fashioned, and just seeing the point, regardless of material it is made out of, would make me nervous. It is not an indictment of the cartridges, but rather an indictment of my ability to accept new things.

I envy you your pump rifles, if centerfire. I always wanted one of the Remington pumps (Model 14?) in .44-40 caliber, but the only one I ever found in a condition I would want I couldn’t afford at the time. I love the .44-40 round and own nine rifles in that caliber, and four Colt SAAs. Most of my rifles are shooters, although I have four rifles (originals) I do not shoot, and all my Colt’s are modern ones.


John–I did not forget the new Hornady line, which is called “LEVERevolution” not “Levermatic”. I just did not want to confuse the answer about why many loads have a flat nose.

Althrough Hornady claims complete safety of these new polymer tip rounds in tubular magazines, I, like you, am
somewhat leery of them. My son has a Marlin .45-70 and has shot a couple hundred of them with no problems. The tip is quite soft which is why they work, but my concern would be how soft do they remain in cold weather, like in Alaska where the .45-70 is a common bear deterrent gun.


John, somewhat off topic for this thread, but you mention the Remington Model 14 pump gun in 44-40.

Did you know that the Royal Naval Air Service adopted the Remington Model 14 1/2 in .44-40 for arming observers in the early days of WWI? The Admiralty purchased about 4,000 rifles in April 1915.

I only know of two surviving examples with British military markings (one of which is in the Imperial War Museum) but I am sure there are more out there.



Tony - Wow! I did not know that. Incredible. If I ever see one of these again, you can bet I will be looking all over it for British proofs!

John M.


Bomar…the exposed lead in a bullet “corrodes” due to storage conditions and ambient air conditions in which the ammunition was kept. Another factor is the alloy of the bullet…i.e., how much antimony or tin is present within the lead. So, you can find cartridges today that appear to have just left the factory and are perfect, albeit 100 years or more old, and, on the other side of the scale, those that have a white powdery thing protruding from the case mouth that was once a bullet. Moisture, humidity, temperature, bullet alloy, acidic vapors in the surrounding air, (emitting from a wooden storage cabinet or other source), can all affect the appearance of a bullet. And, there is really no decent way to remove the oxidation (the white stuff) and keep it removed without affecting the shape of the bullet. Keep your collection in a cool, dry place, preferably not in wooden cabinets (although I have had no trouble with mine, but others have), away from souces of moisture and heat. Store your cartridge boxes in the dark as they will fade over time if exposed to light…Randy


Thanks… I have them in my a glass fronted hutch my mom had… Yes, wood, but a lot of glass in front. It’s good for a cool room with no direct sunlight shining on it… All the bullets that are corroded came that way.

As for pumps… mine are smaller caliber… A Marlin 27 in 25-20 and then just a Win 62 in 22 short. And a Win 1906 in 22. Waiting to be able to shoot the 25-20… it doesn’t lock after pumping… couldn’t find the part available so right now it’s with a machinist who repairs guns.


Nothing wrong with that selection of rifles! I have an octagon-barrel Model
1890 Winchester pump in .22 Short - the traditional “Gallery Gun.” I like it, and I have found nothing it won’t do within the parameters of a .22 that a .22 LR will do. It is my only sporting-type .22, my only others being a Model 52 Winchester I shot in High School match shooting, and an Australian-made No. 2 Mark I military training rifle.

My only other pump gun is an original Colt Lightning Rifle in .44-40 made specifically, and specially serial-numbered, for the San Francisco Police Department. I don’t shoot it because it is a 98% gun.

These Winchester pistol/rifle cartridges (I include the .25-20 even though I don’t know of any serial production for a revolver, certainly not the Colt SAA, in that caliber) .25-20, .32-20, .38-40, and .44-40 are fun cartridges to collect, with much more variety than most think. I accumulate, not collect, .44-40s, but wish that when I started collecting I had done those four calibers! There are interesting loadings, bullet types, headstamps - and some of the boxes, expensive now but cheap when I started collecting - are nothing short of beautiful in their commercial art work. Ammunition companies have forgotten how to make a really appealing box - “Sales Art” I call it - as far as I’m concerned.