REM-UMC Dummies

When Remington made dummy cartridges how did they visually show that it was a dummy round. Were they tinned cases with holes or just a regular case with a hole in the case and primer. Did they have ones for function testing and one for salesman?
Thank You Carolyn

Carolyn…I am not an expert, but I have piles of Remington dummies (right from the Bridgeport works) and quite a few are “functional dummy’s”, i.e., those used by gun smiths and they were readily ID’d by their tannic (?) stained black cases and drilled primers (thus not easily confused with a potentially live round)

I have quite a collection of highly polished and lacquered dummies that are only ID’d by their drilled primer; as I was told many of these were used in Remington court room cases (when I rec’d them, each was individually wrapped in a tan tissue paper).

There are the many shotshell variations as well; with the hulls marked dummy (many with the characteristic tan paper hull, or the clear plastic hull)…and again with drilled primers.

I have quite a few that have “blind” primer pockets as well (open w/ no primer). The story goes on from there. Many Forum experts will chime in I am sure. I have piles of extra pistol calibers so drop me a line if need be. PS…my favorite and “rare” Remington dummy is a 10 mm Rem Accelerator (headstamped as such) just like the “3”…30-30, .308, & ’06 tan saboted accelerator line.

Generally, the early REM-UMC dummies had a small hole usually near the base. These were often used for sales some were polished & some not. Then, I don’t have the date at hand there was an industry or in-house standard mandated & the dummies used on the shop floor were painted black until the new standard examples could be supplied. (these are very hard to find) Then usually holed primers and perhaps case hole(s) were found in the shop / sales. Some shop dummies have a hollow bullet soldered into the mouth to be used for gun function (mostly this type is found on .43 Spanish & some of those were even tinned mid-neck & bullet).
The hollow bullet dummies with the typical (non-solder) crimp I believe were for gun functioning & have a inner wood distance piece, and are usually not found polished.
The holed primer variations are found polished & some times also lacquered for sales samples or displays. Not talking about board dummies here.

Trouble is there was often overlap of type, as being ammunition manufactures, nothing got thrown out until it’s used-up.

hope this is of help

Basically, Remington has, from time to time, used almost every form of ID for a dummy cartridge as all the other US factories combined, and some that no other US factory used, such as the WWII .30-06 dummies for England, with tinned, green-fluted case.

Dummy rounds in general are very difficult, if they don’t fall into certain parameters established by any given manufacturer, to idneitfy as to wehter or not they are factory at all, and if so, made into dummies by the “factory of headstamp.” Many countries use any available fired or reject brass to make factory dummies, even for military purposes. They do the same thing with blanks and in the case of at least one country, Sweden, and one caliber, 9 mm Para, for short-range cartridges as well.

One of the joys of cartridge collecting (?) is trying to figure out what is legitimate ( the term “legitimate” in itself, subject to argument) and what is not.

By the way guys, excellent summary of Remington-made dummy types. Good work by all. There are probably some that were missed, but the answers above, at least for pistol rounds, covers it very, very well.

It’s interesting than REM-UMC would use the same blackened case for both dummies and Proof Cartridges. That could have resulted in some startled looks and rattled nerves.

Proof cartridges below.


Ray - I don’t know, but the changing of dummies from tinned cases to black cases, and proof loads from black cases to tinned cases (usually with red base and/or bullet tip) may have resulted from something done by SAAMI when they were founded int he 1920s. It would be interesting to know if that was true. I don’t know if a single type (auto pistol) collection, like my own, would provide enough “proof” of that.

Does anyone know of any effect SAAMI may have had on the treatment of dummy and proof cartridges (case colors, holes in cases, bullet and head coloration, etc.)?

I don’t collect the dummy or proof cartridges except for those that I pick up in trades or purchase of other cartridges. But, apparantly not only REM-UMC used a blackened case for proof cartridges. I have a .358 Winchester with a black case and a red bullet and base. It would have to date after 1955. All others that I have from that time period are tinned with red bullets and bases.


The change in blackened case dummies to proof was a standardization move, as John notes most likely by SAAMI, but I don’t have ‘proof’. Lou B. wrote an article published the the Remington Collectors Journal, but I can’t find a copy of it on my computer. I believe he had the dates / sources listed in it. Will look if I have a hard copy after I post this & then get back if I do find an answer.

The early black (function) dummies usually always had a nickeled (shiny) holed primer, an inner wood distance piece and a case hole as additional ID. While the proof had copper primers. Not talking about the painted ones I noted above, but like the chemically blackened HPT versions Ray illustrates & the dummy versions were ID’d as I noted. So right, chance of a wrong load & unpleasant surprise, but these would all have had in-house controlled-use at the time, just like the separation & issue of inert / HPT loads in today’s modern firearms production.

As John notes up until SAAMI standardization every company had their own way of identifying the different loadings, and when a contract was filled the required ID might have been non-standard for the maker but was as specified in the contract, so exception is the rule.

The primers on those Proof cartridges that I pictured are a mixture. Some copper, some nickeled. Most of the nickeled have the “U” imprinted cup.


Thank You all for the information

Writing in the Remington Society of America Journal, 3rd Quarter 1996 pg. 24, Lou Behling states that in the latter part of 1944 SAAMI adopted a standard ID for Proof & Dummy cartridges, & that on Nov. 6th, 1944 a Remington letter notes that starting Nov. 13th, 1944 the plant would start to change and that the colors would be Proof - silver color and Dummy loads - black color

A Nov. 7th, 1944 letter notes all rim & center fire commercial ammunition will:
for proof - tinned cartridge cases
Dummy loads - Black oxidized cases with three holes drilled in the side of the case and a hole drilled in the primer cap.

I find the REM-UMC dummies very interesting. I have in my collection these varieties of REM- UMC headstamped handgun dummies:

Silver case and primer with four holes in the case and one in the primer.
Same with only one hole in the case.
Brass case with one hole and nickel primer with one hole.
Lacquered brass case with a hole in the nickel primer.
Black case with a hole in the nickel primer.
Black case with one hole in it and one in the nickel primer.
Black case with three holes and one in the nickel primer.

This is what I have picked up while collecting other types of cartridges, so this is not a complete reference. I have often wondered what the uses and the production timeline for all of these variations was.