UMC Co. Lightning shotshell date


Can anyone help me date this headstamp? I’ve been through all the catalogs, google searches etc and had no luck. I have read it is circa 1900 but I can not find any evidence to back it up.
Thanks, Mike.

My info says the Lightning was manufactured for and loaded by VL&D. Starting 1892 and through at least 1903.

I cannot guarantee it is the same shotshell, as I know little or nothing about shotshells as a collecting field. In the UMC Daily Log, there is only one mention of a “Lightning” 10 Gauge shell, as follows:

10 Lightning Paper Shell for V. L. & D. (note: Well known initials for the American arms merchant Von Lengerke & Detmold).

May 1892: (first word illegible) in smokeless only green paper
June 1893: Commenced using No. 3 primer a little weaker and of metal (next two words illegible) #14
April i894: Lengthened heads a little.

Sorry I don’t have more for you. Again, while this is the only entry in the log for a “Lightning” shotshell specifically, I can’t say for sure it is the same as your cartridge. If your cartridge has a green shell, it likely is the same.

While writing this, Rookie made his answer. It does not mate to the Log, so perhaps he had a different source for the info. Please don’t read this as meaning I think he is wrong. I am not qualified to judge that in any way. I only want to point out that he has additional information with the 1903 date, which doesn’t appear in my copy of the log.

John Moss

Looks like 1892 is the place to start and I’ll check out V. L. & D. Thanks for taking the time to reply.


Mike, I can add that the “Lightning” trademark for shotshells was registered by Von Lengerke & Detmold on April 17, 1892.



Thanks. I can at least use 1892 as a likely starting date. I haven’t had a lot of luck finding info on VL & D so far but I’ll keep looking.

VL&D were a sporting goods store in NY, since 1882. See page from their 1897 Catalog.


Excellent, thanks for that. So Lightning shells were still for sale in 1897.
I have seen the Lightning shell from other makers with a VL & D stamp as well, it’s possible UMC only produced them with the UMC name on the heads for a few years. That would match John’s logs and keep open the possibility the Lightning brand went into the early 1900s.

Winchester made a Green Lightning shell for VL& D in 1896.
See attached 1900 & 1908 VL&D Catalogs.
The " Lightning " shell was still in stock at VL&D

in 1908.


Thanks for that. Looks like UMC still supplied Lightning shells in 1900 but hard to know if they stamped their own headstamp or VL&D’s on them.

Hi Mike,

Only 3 companies made the “Lightning” shell for VL&D.
UMC(1892), Winchester(1896) & Remington UMC(1910).
All were headstamped Lightning. VL&D never made any shells.
They would buy NPE’s from major manufactures and load them by hand & place a VL&D
topwad on the loaded shells.


Thanks for the dates, I wasn’t aware REM-UMC also made them.
I saw a shotshell headstamp that had ‘VL & D Lightning’ with no manufacturer’s name on the head. So at some point one of those three companies must of supplied a shotshell without their own name in the headstamp.
I’ll just leave the date on this headstamp at 1892 - 1911, it was made in there somewhere.

Thanks for all the help.