"S" on USCC Bullet Jacket


#1

I have a round of 7.62 x 54R with a headstamp of “U.S.C.Co. 7.62 M-M.”. It has a domed silver colored primer and the bullet is a Copper Point. There is a very small “s” stamped into the bullet jacket right above the case mouth. What does this signify?

I’m pretty sure I knew the answer to this at one point. It’s rough getting old…


#2

My take on it is that the S stands for States in United States Cartridge Co. They possibly did not want to use a “U”, like Winchester did with “W”, as a “U” might be confused with UMC or REM-UMC…HOWEVER…I could be all wet here…what say the rest of you ?

Randy


#3

Randy: Your explanation sounds reasonable to me. Jack


#4

or S for Smokeless? Maybe a designation for a few years from when they switched from the Black powder ones?


#5


#6

The 7,62x54R was NEVER made in black powder ( unless you count Khyber Pass reloads in the 1920s) by any US Contractor, nor European makers either.

“S” could be “Spire Point” ( or the equivalent German “Spitzegeschoss”).

It would have NO meaning in Russian, as “S” is not Cyrillic.

Otherwise the “States” on USCC could be a possibility ( is the base of the bullet stamped? --in the lead). It could be that USCC also made Bullets for the other US 7,62 Loaders or for export as components (to the UK and to Russia itself, to be loaded there). All the US makers made lots of components for export to Britain, France, Italy and Russia; USCC also did a contract in 1916 for Romania ( 6,5x53R) .The Tool and Gauge set for the Romanian 6,5 was sold by Auction at Tillinghasts Auctions some 20 years ago…very extensive set of “Go-Nogo” gauges and Jigs, for all steps of the Case and Bullet manufacturing process by USCC. ( cases were Boxer Primed, as all US WW I contracts). It is uncertain whether this contract was delivered in time for Romania entering the war, and its rapid occupation by German Troops. ( There is a suggestion that the ammo was diverted to Neutral Holland, which was also in need of 6,5x53R at the time, having been cut off from Polte (Germany) and GRoth (Austria)). The Railroad Locomotive contract ( ALCO, 1916) was diverted to Italy in 1917, as Romania was about to be occupied. The Locomotives then remained in Italian Service till after WW II.

It would be interesting to do a “Whole War” US foreign contract list of all Ammo produced in the US from 1914 to 1918, for Foreign buyers involved or neutral in WW I. WE already know about 8mm Lebel and 7,62 Russian makers, and .303 British and also some 7,65 Belgian…what about the component suppliers for 10,4 Vetterli, etc and other calibres?

Somebody out there must have access to the records or Archives of same?

regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#7

I read somewhere that the round was originally a black powder round, with a 210 grain rounded bullet until they changed it to the common style in 1908? Is at least part of that true?


#8

I have several different .30-40 Krag with bullets that are not “Spire Point”, that exibit the “S”, so I would vote no on that identification. And the .30-40 Krag was never loaded with black powder, unless you count some experimentals, and some gallery and blank loads…

Randy


#9

I’m still trying to figure out the WRA connection with USSCo. I’m told that WRA manufactured cartridges for them for years, but I never understood if that included making the brass and bullets or not. I didn’t get this cartridge out of a box, so I don’t know if dates in that time frame or not. Could that have anything to do with it?


#10

This cartridge is a sporting type similar to the “bronze point” is it not? If so, then the possibility of it relating to Great War military production is neither here nor there. It seems to me it’s from the 1920s and such a date is consistent with the period in which WRA produced ammunition to fulfill USC’s commercial obligations after that firm ceased active business circa 1920. As far as whether or not WRA actually produced ammunition components under the identification USC the recently shown .33 Winchester with a headstamp identifying that round as USC but employing the Winchester protected primer–a primer peculiar to WRA–strongly suggests WRA did in fact actually manufacture USC-marked ammunition. Jack


#11

Agree with Jack…I believe WRA began to produce USCCO products in 1926. This is when the address on USCCO boxes changed from Lowell, Mass to NY,NY. Evidence shows this ammunition was marketed in USCCO boxes. Evidence also suggests WRA continued this production up to about 1941. The bullet shown at the beginning of this thread is what USCCO called the Copper Point. I do not know when USCCO began the practice of stamping “S” on bullets, but I would say before 1926. I have a couple of .30-40 Krag cartridges that are U.S.C.Co. headstamped and loaded with bullets with an impressed “W”, indicating loading by W.R.A.Co.

Randy


#12

The “S” also occurs on 9mm Luger bullets by USCCO. The earliest loads apparently were produced just after WWI. During WWI, USCCO produced 9mm Glisenti ammunition with the MAXIM USA headstamp (See John Moss’ article on Glisenti cartridges in the IAA Journal) and the early 9mm Luger bullets were identical to the wartime Glisenti production. The early production of 9mm Luger cartridges did not have the “S” on the bullet, but these could have been using bullets produced during the war. I have a load with a Glisenti bullet with an “S” and a range of other bullet styles (tinned and GM, solid and HP) that are “S” marked. All of these are truncated cone bullets so the marking doesn’t mean Spire Point. Production of 9mm Luger ammunition with the USCCO headstamp reportedly continued after Winchester took ownership of the equipment, and as late as the beginning of WWII. What is probably the latest production cartridge in my collection does not have the “S” on the bullet.

No question in my mind that Randy (30army) is correct that the S identifies the bullet as USCCO manufacture.

Here is some information on the dates and status of production of USCCO Ammunition:

[quote]Sept. 1926–Winchester acquired the physical assets of U.S.C.Co. Winchester DID NOT buy out U.S.C.Co. It bought the machinery and moved 83 fright-car loads to the Winchester plant in New Haven. They entered an agreement to produce ammunition FOR U.S.C.Co., who then sold it under their own name and through it’s own distribution channels.

As for when Winchester quit making U.S.C.Co. ammunition, my 1934 date was only approximate and as has been shown others was too early. The .357 as shown, has to be 1936 or later, as Winchester first loaded this cartridge in that year. The .280 Ross was first loaded by Winchester in 1914. I assume U.S.C.Co. started to load it about the same time. The 1942 date mentioned would certainly be the LATEST date for the end of U.S.C.Co. production, but I think it was more like 1939 or 40.[/quote]
The above information and dates are from the book Winchester. The Gun that Won the West by Harold F. Williamson.

Cheers,

Lew


#13

WEllk, the latest info debunks my "S== Spire Point suggestion> But confirms the "Component “S”== USCCo. Since the 9mm Glisenti was made (under “Maxim” headstamp during WW I) and components also possibly shipped to Italy for Loading there???

Anybody see any Wartime or immediate Postwar 9mm Glisenti rounds with an “S” stamped truncated Bullet???.

Interesting thread…I did think that the projie was a "bronze Point Sporter, but dismissed it as a Loading artifact…

Getting back to the 7,62 MN cartridge, the Round nose was the original M1891 cartridge, Smokeless. The M1908 Spitzer, ( or “L” ball) was also smokeless, but a better powder than the very early 1891 Powders.

Of all theb “Small calibre” Rifle rounds of the late 1880s ( fromn 1886) only the .303 Mark I was a solid Black Powder Pellet Load, and soon converted to Cordite in 1892. None of the others born in 1886-1895
(Lebel, Belgian, Commission German, Swiss, italian, Romanian, Dutch,
Austro Hungarian, Spanish, Turkish, etc were initially BP at all. All were designed for Smokelss, as was the 7,62x54R ( Derived from the 8x52R Nagant, itself a derivation of the 8x53R M88/90 Austrian.

ALL Smokeless, as inefficient as Smokeless was at the time ( But miles ahead of BP)… Smokeless powder intially was a fast Burning Powder…only the later development of size, shape of grains or flakes, and the use of flame retardants improved the efficiency of the Powders
up to and during WW I. Truely “Progressive” Powders only came onto the scene in the 1920s.

That’s why certain cartridges, designed before their time, failed…the higly erosive nature of the Powders ( Too hot burning) such as in the 6mm Lee US Navy, and the .276 Enfield P13 , and even the 6,5 Daudeteau. All these suffered from excessive Throat erosion, due to the very hot buring Powders…with the later 1920-30 Progressive Powders, they would have been quite efficient cartridges.
Other countries managed to modify the burning rates of Powders ( Britain with its Cordite MDT ( Modified-Tubular) and Italy replacing
Ballistite ( a disc-type double base) with the cooler “Solenite” in the early 1900s. The Users of the French/Germanic Flake Powders used coatings and graphite to slow the Burn rate, and the US went from the early small grain powders to the .30/06 Tubular ( “MR” Powders); all before WW I.

Even some of the early BP Small and Medium calibre Breechloaders went smokeless ( Portugal, M1899 Kropatschek, Britain .450 MH, Italy 10,4 Vetterli, Germany 11mm M71/84, etc, etc…either by the end of the 1890s or before WW I.
German 11mm used in Africa was smokeless by 1914.( although Old stocks of BP loads were still used…and reloaded.)

The rapid death march of BP for Military calibres began in Mid 1886, and was complete by the early 1900s.

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#14

I have the following with the ‘S’ marked bullet and all with the U.S.C.Co. headstamp:

380 CAPH
38 WCF
22 HP
32 ACP
32 WCF
45 AR


#15

Thanks to all for the info. I feel better now knowing that I wasn’t forgetting something easy!


#16

Doc,
I have never seen or heard of a Glisenti load with the “S” on the bullet. Based on the rounds in my collection and those I have documented, it appears that the “S” was introduced on 9mm Luger ammunition some time after the end of WWI. I suspect that USCCO initially used Glisenti bullets left over from WWI production for their initial 9mm Luger offering and only introduced the “S” in this caliber after the Glisenti bullets were used up.

Western also produced 9mm Glisenti ammunition for Italy during WWI with the headstamp WESTERN 1917 or 1918. The 1918 cases are known loaded with postwar tinned truncated bullets in both FMJ and HP which are clearly commercial ammunition using surplus Glisenti cases.

There is no evidence of any kind, that I can find, to indicate that Italy loaded US made 9mm Glisenti components during WWI or afterwards. All the material I have seen refers only to ammunition being supplied to Italy.

I do have a box of Western 1917 Glisenti ammunition, still in it’s original box which has clearly been reworked in Italy. The ammunition has been polished (probably tumbled) and green case mouth seals have been added as well as haveing the primers lacquered green. The case mouth and primers seals appears very similar to the seals on the Fiocchi 9M38 ammunition from 1938 through the early years of WWII.

Cheers,

Lew