Richard Speer rifle cartridge cases

"In April of 1950 Weatherby placed an order with Richard Speer for 50,000 cartridges cases in four Weatherby calibers- .257, .270 , .300 and .375 , with total delivery promised by the first of July."
Weatherby The Man The Gun The Legend Grits and Tom Gresham page 205

By the middle of June Speer had not even sent sample cases for testing.
Speer sent samples on August 10 which failed quality control tests.

“It was the beginning of a nightmare which was to last for 2-1/2 years.”

[color=#8000FF]Note that the head stamp bunter for the 270 Newton can be changed for other Newton calibers.[/color]
It is a fired cartridge case- that mark is a bolt face ejector extrusion see post # 8 .


Glenn, these 7 mm WM and .270 Newton cases were made by Speer Cartridge Works, but the .300 WM you are showing is a modern production which was offered in the Nitrex line loaded with a 180 gr Grand Slam bullet.


I have one of the Speer 30 Newton cases that has not been fully finished. Photo below.

I have to ask - what did you mean by “Note that the head stamp bunter for the 270 Newton can be changed for other Newton calibers.” Did you mean that Speer had adjustable bunters?


A sectioned 35 Newton (from a tan with red print Speer ‘cases’ box) showing the “reflector” base. So-called because of it’s ‘light reflector’ shape.
Speer was somewhat of a pioneer in that these period cases were made on impact extrusion machinery rather than the then common draw process.
His legal and manufacturing problems with the Weatherby contract caused him to scrap the impact extrusion machinery.

Among the Weatherby & Newton cases he made with the impact extrusion process was a .30-06, as a sectioned case was illustrated in his advertising. However that piece, or any other of his .30-06 production from that period seems to have survived, making any examples, very, very rare 06’s.

Along with the 7mm other period Speer / Weatherby production was the .257 and the .300 (have .300 Wthby examples with & without a dot after MAG in the HS). On the back of Weatherby boxes the case maker/supplier is noted & the Speer name should be an uncommon find.

The single .400 Watts Mag from a Speer, tan with red print ‘cases’, box which I have does not show a reflector base. Not to say others might have?

I don’t have a empty 270 Newton case to check the interior, but it would be interesting to see if any have a reflector base. As far as I’m aware the .270 Newton & the .450 Watts were only sold as empty cases. At least I’ve not seen the Speer “loaded cartridge box” variation for either.

I’m not aware of an adjustable bunter in use by Speer at that time either.

edited once to change 30 to 35 in the first sentence

The unfinished 270 Newton case shown above has the reflector shape base. I also have a carton of 30 Newton cases and a carton of 35 Newton cartridges by Speer. Both have the reflector base as noted on the back of the carton:

"FORGED FROM SOLID cartridge cases are identified on the inside by the reflector shape around the flash hole. . . "

I have not sectioned any of my Speer cases but could do so if necessary.


Hi Ray
Do I see a typo? The unfinished case you showed has a 30 Newton headstamp.

Your correct that Speer marketed the black with silver print boxes as both new cases and as cartridges. I have the .30 & the .35 Newton in both variations. However the tan with red print Speer boxes (showing the same Lion, in .270 & .30 Newton, + .450 Watts Mag) I’ve only seen as just new cases, so are your cartridge boxes the tan w/red print variation?

No need to section the cases just a look inside will tell, as the drawn have a flat area at the vent hole with a distinct edge at the sides while with the reflector bases it’s quite hard to tell where the sides start just looking into the case mouth.


Yeah, I was typing faster than my brain. It is a .30 Newton. Since I type with two fingers you can get an idea of how fast my brain works. ;-)

The two cartons that I have are the black/silver variety. I had two of the tan/red cartons but I gave them to a Newton collector a couple of years ago. He lives on the Continent and is a Forum member. Maybe he will see this and respond? I don’t recall if they indicated “cases only.”

I had a bunch of Newton wildcats back when I was into wildcatting. One was a Speer .270 Newton but my notes say that I gave it, and the other wildcat Newtons, to Gene Scranton a couple of years ago. There’s no telling where it is now. Maybe in the Lab?


Thanks guys .

I finally pulled the bullet and as I was beginning to think THIS IS A FIRED CASE so that is a bolt face ejector slot extrusion mark .
The case neck had been 1/2 sized .


That is interesting information on the .300 Weatherby case being a Nitrex load as I was wondering just why that case was plated .
I should have looked at the little bars on either side of SPEER.

Who made the Nitrex cases ?

‘You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.’

Sherlock Holmes Quote

-A Scandal in Bohemia

I have a once fired box of Speer DWM ,243 cases from years ago that is hiding in the basement somewhere. I believe that these came in a two piece yellow plastic box.


That is a great .30 Newton case Ray !

The Speer " Forged From Solid" cartridge cases seem to have a particular texture to the case head surface I think but I only have two cases .


The old SPEER headstamp (not the Nitrex) is found on 8 x 57 mm Mauser cases also, although I don’t believe I have seen a factory-loaded round. As I recall, I had the box for them but it went to the Butler collection - it was yellow plastic.

HI John & Glenn
Speer made a number of rounds during the yellow plastic box era. Perhaps sometime during the era of George F. Fairchild’s import business with DWM ca 1964, which failed, but I think most of that was in white paper boxes & Fairchild was not an employee of Speer at that time. Later, ca 1967, Ray Speer partnered with DWM. So although Ken doesn’t state your 8x57 from a plastic box could perhaps be from that time.

Reading further he also notes “The centerfire ammunition brand was changed to CCI in 1978. After the introduction of Blazer aluminum cased ammunition in 1981, the CCI brand and head- stamp were designated for that alternate shellcase material, low-cost, high value ammunition while the brass cased ‘premium’ ammunition reverted back to the SPEER brand.”

So, sorry nothing definitive, but I’d think your 8x57 is from the early 1980’s.

Also from Ken Alexanders book, The Brothers Speer, their Companies and Products (1942 – 1975), the Weatherby 7mm, 257, 270 & 300 case types were ca, early 1950’s.

So Glenn, since you pulled the bullet, does your .270 Newton have a reflector base? As I think all 270’s 450 Watts were sold as just “cases” not cartridges your loading mark on the primer is, in my mind, just fine as a keeper. Might be better if never loaded, & just a new case, but you takes-em as you get-em.

A Nitrex 7mm Rem. Mag. box has Blount Inc. of Lewiston ID on the back as maker.

Ray I’m envious, two fingers, dang!

PS my next sale (I’m working on it so don’t ask when, cuz I don’t know when) will feature Gene’s collection of Wildcats and other goodies from his collection, so probably in there somewhere. He had a GREAT bunch of wildcats, took me over a week to sort & lot up. A .270 Newton would very likely not be in the Lab as it isn’t military.

I have these three boxes. All are “Cartridge Cases”. The black box is the only one with an original case in it. It has the reflector base as stated on the back of the box.

Excellent posts with great information on the boxes .

If I had another .270 Newton case this one would be sectioned and etched to show the brass grain structure.


Hi Joe
your tan, w/red print boxes are the same as mine just cases. This terminology is somewhat confusing as “cartridge” is used in both boxes. (see Ray’s black box above post). Thanks. Miss you at Reno! Very sorry about your brother firefighters, very sad. They saved our home & many others a couple of weeks earlier at the Doce fire.

Hi Glenn
good to know about the reflector base as on my 3 tan boxes & those Joe shows there is no mention of the reflector base on the box. So only the 450 had a non-reflector base?

Ray, your not the only one with two fat fingers on a 2nd look at the tan boxes I see the case I sectioned is a 35 Newton & not a 30 Newton as stated in my original post. I’ll edit to correct that as soon as I finish this.

Ok that’s it .
It is time to cut this case in half even if I only have one.
It will make a great display with other Speer cases.

After peering thru that .270 case neck late last night I think that I see a reflector base with a stretch ring above that . So it looks liked a curved disc with an indented ring just above .

I just put the case into a ultra sonic cleaner.
Much better now -the base has a small faint circle around the flash hole with faint lines radiating to the rim like wheel spokes .
There is [color=#BF0000]NOT [/color]a big radius from base to case wall as with the sectioned .30 Newton above.
This would match the slight case expansion as shown on the outside of that case at the base in first photo -it was too low for the reflector base I thought -photo soon.

Can some one take a photo down the inside of a new 450 case if possible to see the base design please ?

What is the time period for each box style ?


Pete- thanks for the kind words about the firefighters. That is tough work in the wildland and some times it requires the ultimate sacrifice.
And, I hope you meant the Prescott show, cause I should be at the Reno show in a couple of weeks.
I know that we have discussed this before but one more time - Which came first the black boxes or the tan ones? (Speer Products Co. or Speer Cartridge Works)?

Glenn- I took a good look at my 450 Watts case and it does not have the reflector base as stated, but the side walls seem to balloon out for about a half of an inch from the bottom. I am not sure if it has been fired. Sorry Glenn, I am not coordinated enough to illuminate the inside of the case and take a picture of it.


You should have seen me last night at 3 pm with a small flash light over my nose peering into a black case interior while taking to Squeek the cat .

This .270 Newton case does [color=#BF0000]NOT[/color] have the standard reflector base design with a radius at the edge but is definitely a Richard Speer product from the interior base design.

There must be more sectioned cases out there -
Paul Smith perhaps ?

I am now looking to purchase any Speer Products Co. or Speer Cartridge Works
cartridge cases and boxes if any one has extra items to sell.

The $40 ultra sonic cleaner with Birchwood Casey case cleaning solution cleaned that case quickly and did an excellent job .


Glenn, as I said the bottom of the 450 new empty case I have is FLAT, only a slight rounded edge at the bottom / side edges, looks like a 90º angle with just a very, very short, slight radius in the corner. Not even remotely close to the 35 N shown above. “L” shaped side/base. Do you have a small bright light to shine down the mouth without cutting your case? They are not that common & I hate to see one cut when a good look will work. I see by your post I’m too late, with that advise, but thanks for he diligent peering!

So until we hear differently I’d think the red print boxes in original Newton could contain either impact or drawn cases. Perhaps just filled with product on hand as money was very tight during those times.

Joe nope meant Reno. Have fun, get some goodies!Not sure about time but next after or perhaps an overlapping of the the black & silver - ca 1948- early 1950’s.

In Ken’s aforementioned book he notes that there were contemporary reports of head cracks & such in the .450 W, .30N & .35N & that Phosphor Bronze material was tried as a fix but the problem was found to be in the final draw & heading stages. So evidently the 450 was a drawn case (as some 30 & 35 N?) and should appear as typical to other drawn cases.

He also states that the 30-06 reflector base could have been made by drawing, & it’s unknown which method was used to make them.

He also states in total only 174,280 Speer cases were delivered to Weatherby.

Speer .270 Newton inside case