U.M.C.Co. headstamp on metallic cartridges

The U.M.C.Co. headstamp is fairly common on shotgun shells, but not so on other cartridges made by that company, which are typically headstamped U.M.C… I have two of these in my collection, a U.M.C.Co. .50 Ex (.50-95 Winchester) and a U.M.C.Co. .45-60 (Winchester). Is anyone aware of others?

Guy, I can add U.M.C. CO (no caliber) on 40-60 Marlin and 45-70, as well as with caliber designation on 45-70.


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I have a .50-70.

What these five cartridges (50-95 Express, 50-70, 45-70, 45-60 Winchester, and 40-60 Marlin have in common is that they were all introduced prior to UMC adding headstamps to it’s commercial centerfire ammunition in the mid-1880s. That said, it’s possible that this was the first headstamp they used, carrying over from their shotgun shell production, and for some reason they soon dropped the ‘CO’. If that is correct, then any cartridge that UMC was producing prior to their use of headstamps on their centerfire rifle and handgun ammunition might be expected to be found with the U.M.C.CO. headstamp.

I’m adding a photo of MY 45-60 Winchester and 50-EX. The 45-60 is a very light stamp, so it is a bit difficult to see.

Pat, Please add a photo of your headstamp

My 50-70


Thank you, Pat.

I’m really surprised to see those 45-70s with the U.M.C.CO.; notice that the one on the far left is not centered, as if it was applied as an afterthought. The second one also appears to be a little off center.

Rich, Are some of those in your photo .40-60? All look like 45-70 to me.

The round on the far right above measures out to be a 40-60 Marlin, same case length as 45-70 but much smaller caliber. For what it’s worth, the second from left above is loaded with a copper-tubed express bullet. Another curious aspect of these is that, like the leftmost and second no-caliber 45-70 above, I have 50-EX with and without high copper content cases. I know U.S.C.Co. made high copper cases but I can’t think offhand of any other such rifle caliber UMC cases.


Notice also that all four of the cartridges in your first photo have beveled edges to the heads. Your two 50-95 Winchester’s have the conventional heads with no bevel. These beveled heads are very much like the heads found on the E. Remington cartridges.

You copper-ish case is odd; very USC Co looking, as you pointed out.

I looked through the Buttweiler auction catalogs and found 20 or so UMCCO headstamped cartridges that included all 5 of the different cartridges that have been discussed in this thread so far. Also included were several examples of the 45-70 Marlin, differentiated from the .45-70 Governments by the flat nosed bullets and small primers of the Marlins.

One last variation to note; at least in 45-60, apparently the U.M.C. CO. headstamp overlapped the transition from the beveled rim to rounded rim as it appears on both.