Post WW II Winchester cartons

We may have discussed this before, some time back, but I can’t remember what the answer may have been. Or maybe we’ve never discussed it and I dreamt that we did.

Anyway, what did a plain, ordinary, 30-06 carton from Winchester (or Western) look like in the months immediately after WW II. By that I mean 1945, 1946 and 1947. Does anyone have such a carton that they can say, positively, was from that period? Don’t need Remington, just Olin.


Hi Ray,

let me try to answer this.

Please see attached picture of a 1945 Winchester box.
Lot number is 23165 and the ammo is dated WRA 45.
The box is still sealed, I just lifted an edge to get a view of the headstamp.

Now we get to the second part of your question 1946 - 1947.
I doubt if WRA produced 30-06 ammo in these years and this is why.
The box above has lot number 23165. You know I am trying to keep some track
of lot numbers and the last confirmed lot number I have for WRA for 1945 is lot 23171.
The next entry I have for WRA is for 1951 and is lot number 23201.
So that only leaves a max of 30 lots for 1946 till 1951. Most likely less because
the lot numbers I know are probably not the last and first for both years.

I know that WRA produced 30-06 ammo in 1950. I have several cartridges with that headstamp
so some of the 30 unknown lot numbers must have been used in 1950.
Also in Marcello’s 30-06 we have seen book, there is no mentioning of a WRA 46, 47, 48 or 49 headstamp.

So based on this I would say, WRA produced 30-06 till some point in 1945 and started in 1950 again.


sweet dreams . . . .

I just found an old file with all the boxes Chris Punnett had in his collection.
In that list he mentions a WRA box with lot number 23193 and a headstamp WRA 45.
If lot 23193 was still in 1945 and lot 23201 was already 1951 production, it seems even more likely
that winchester didn’t produce 30-06 in the years 1946 - 1949.



Thanks for taking the time to research and post that reply. Unfortunately, I should have been more specific. I am looking for information on the 30-06 (commercial) cartons, not the Cal .30 (military).

I seem to remember that the question was asked before and the answer was that the immediate post-war cartons were the same as those used pre-war. Except, the post-war cartons should have been marked “Division of Olin Industries”. I think it was also suggested that the post-war cartons may have been plain brown with no colors. Has anyone seen either?

Thanks again Rene. Sorry about leading you in the wrong direction. The information that you posted is still interesting and will go into my files.


Ray, Perhaps it would help by providing the box code range that should appear on commercial boxes. The following information is based on a Howard G Boker letter dated 11-18-58 on Winchester and Western Codes so it should be relevant to the period you are interested in.

The date code on Winchester boxes is all numeric, though the stamp on the box usually, frequently had a letter in front of the numbers. If the number code has an “A” in front on a Winchester box it means it was actually loaded by Western in East Alton IL, and an “A” in front on a Western box means it was actually loaded in New Haven CT. These codes were changed in 1958 to an entirely different format.

The format in the years you are interested in is:
[Month][Year] [Day} with years on a 10 year cycle of 0-9.
Months are 1-12 and Days are 1-31.

So a code “126 27” (or “12627”) could be 27 Dec 1936 or 27 Dec 1946 or 27 Dec 1956. Code “A 47 12” on a Winchester box would give a packing date of 12 April 1937 (or 1947 or 1957) and indicate that the ammo was packed (and therefore made by Western in East Alton.

So, you are looking for boxes with year codes “5”, “6” and “7” and then you will have to sort out the decade by the load and box style!

Good luck.


so in which timeframe do I have to put these boxes in then

box 1
LOT: WCC 6006
code: 49LN12

Box 2
LOT: WCC 6012
code: 49MG9

Olin Mathieson Chemical would have been the corporate legend used during the period 1954-69. I can’t interpret dating from the lot codes. I would expect the immediate post-war Winchester commercial cartons to have been the basic 1939 style but with the Olin Industries legend (AKA the 1945 style) until the new 1946 style box was adopted. I would imagine the transition would have taken up to a year to occur for all calibers in order to use up old box inventories.


I’m looking at a red/white/yellow carton of Winchester Super Speed 30-06 Springfield. It is marked Division of Olin Industries which should date it between 1945 and 1954. The flap is marked A65 7. I assume that means loaded by Western June 7, 1945?. Another marked A72 25 would have been loaded July 25, 1952?


As I understand it, for Winchester ammunition, 1939 was the date when “Division of Western Cartridge Company” first appeared on the labels. In 1945 “Division of Olin Industries” appeared, and in 1954 "Division of Olin-Mathieson Chemical Corporation. In 1968 the dual designation Winchester-Western (W-W) appeared.

So, based on that, I would guess that your cartons, being a Western contract item, would date post 1968. The end flap codes would be different than those indicated by Lew.


What was the “1946 style box”? Maybe that is getting to the heart of my question. Are you saying the pre-1946 boxes were different? See my comment above re the red/white/yellow box apparantly from 1945, unless I read the code wrong.


The 1946 style was a completely different design from the pre-war boxes - red on about the top 2/3, yellow stripe on the bottom 1/3. Winchester and W in white outline on the red field. One of my favorites as while I was growing up, that is what all Winchester boxes looked like. I imagine the 1945 and 1946 styles (and maybe even the 1939 style) co-existed for some period of time after WWII.

“marked A65 7. I assume that means loaded by Western June 7, 1945” could well be 1955, as the same 1946 box style would have been used. But that box would likely be marked as Olin Mathieson Chemical. As the transition occurred only the year earlier (1954), finding an Olin Industries marking on a 1946 style box loaded in 1955 would not be completely out of the question due to run out of old box inventory.


if you have the 100 years Winchester book by Giles/Shuey, have a look at page 261.
There is the box Dennis describes. It is called the 1946-series and in 1947 there was a
version introduced for the Wimbledon Cup Match.


Just so we’re on the same page - here’s the box. (I took this inside with a flash because it’s too darn cold to go outside, even in the AZ sunshine)

It’s marked “Division of Olin Industries” which means 1945 to 1953. The code means loaded June 7, 1945 (if I’m reading it right).

I have another carton just like it that is marked “Division of Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation” which means made after 1954. It has a different type of code number on the flap.

So, how would a 1945 carton be of the 1946 style? Could it really be the “1945” style??

Rene, I don’t have the book.

I’m not arguing. I’m trying to learn.



I had a quick look at all these kind of boxes in the book and every time they are called the 1946-box.
To be honest and taking into consideration that Winchester did not produce any military 30-06 ammo up to 1950
my calculated guess would be that Dennis is right saying they used up their “old inventory” of boxes
and the date of your box is June 7th, 1955.
If I have time at the weekend, I’ll scan you some pages and mail it to you.


I think the 1955 date is more likely than 1945. While it is possible the 1946 style boxes may have been in production during 1945, I tend to doubt it. Also, as the war was still ongoing in June 1945, it is not likely that there was more than very limited production of commercial ammunition as of that date. Use of leftover 1946-style boxes marked Olin Industries in 1955 seems to be a likely hypothesis. There is no mistaking the design of the 1946 box from those preceding it.

Rene - Dennis

Thanks for you insights.

I thought the same thing about Winchester not making commercial ammunition during WW II, even in the late years. That’s why I was thinking maybe the first boxes were simply plain brown with no fancy colors.

So, if that’s really a 1955 box, then the other that I mentioned, A 72 25 would be earlier, July 25, 1952, instead of the other way around as I was guessing.

Why would anybody want to collect 30-06? ;-) ;-) I always told myself that I would not collect headstamps or boxes and here I am doing both.

Thanks again guys.


Other box types in the post-war era are possible. I do have an empty box of Western .257 Roberts, with the Olin Industries legend (post-1944), very plain white label and no graphics, and, oddly, of two-piece construction. Lot code is essentially unreadable so I can’t date it. I have always wondered why a two-piece box would have been used at that late period.

Your boxes use the Olin/Western code as Ray indicated. The year and month are the two letters in that order. L & M are 1936/37 clearly too early or 1956/1957 or 1976/1977. For the Month N & G are are December and July.

Ray, Your translation of the dates on the Red & Yellow labels look good to me. I would agree that the 1955 date is more likely. Factories use up old stock, and I can’t imagine they throwing away an old stock of boxes because of this name change. That kind of thing gets done the next time they have a print run for the boxes. Both of your boxes were actually loaded in East Alton. Well done!



I believe that brown carton of 257 Roberts may have actually contained new empty cases. I have one just like it, and others that had 300 Savage, 243 W, 7mm, etc. That was their standard carton in the 1950s.

They also used the brown carton for prototype/experimental cartridges. Here’s one with prototype 30-80 WCF (308W) cartridges.


Ray and all,
Not trying to confuse things but the topic caught me eye (note that I am not a collector of these boxes, I just have a couple with the ctgs inside). I have 2 boxes like the red/yellow pictured above. They are identical to each other, marked “Division of Olin Industries” on the side. The flap codes are “K 3062 C”. That doesn’t seem to fit with yours. Any ideas? I’m no good at code-breaking…too bad they didn’t date the HS, huh? lee


K3062C would seem to be the Index No. on the outside of the box…Look inside both flaps and see if there is a code stamped in black ink…


Hi Randy, thanks…each box has one flap missing, nothing inside the other on either one - bummer…oh well, lee