UMC Proof Cartridges

Did UMC make proof cartridges? if so how were they identified?

yes, blackened case for sure as I have a 25-25, but with a very quick look that is my only one.

Some pictures here:


Howdy Curt
I believe those are Remington - UMC HPT’'s in Rampant1’s auction link, not U.M.C. & the Remington-UMC versions were discussed in an earlier thread.


I checked my own collection in every auto pistol caliber I know UMC to have produced - .25, .32, .380, .38 ACP, .45, 7.65 Para, 7.63 Mauser/Borchardtand 9 mm Parabellum. I have no UMC proof loads. I suspect in the more or less standard U.S. Auto Pistol calibers, Winchester probably made most of the proof loads, since Browning designed all of the early U.S. Autos for which UMC made ammunition, but had a closer relationship with Winchester.

UMC did make dummy rounds. I have one or more samples (variations) of dummy rounds in all of the calibers listed above except for 7.63 Mauser/Borchardt and 9 mm Para.

In 7.63 Mauser I have a lead round ball loading, in a unheadstamped case with copper “U” primer. It looks absolutely legitimate and untampered with. In fact, it is in quite nice condition.

My conclusion is that in auto pistol, at least, aside from ball and dummy, UMC made few other types. The round ball gallery load in .30 Mauser is the only exception in my own collection, that I could find.

I looked through my UMC headstamped rifle & revolver rounds and the only one is the above mentioned .25-25 Stevens. It has a flat nickel primer, a typical lead bullet and a nicely blackened non-cannelured brass case.

A plain (domed) brass primed & non-cannelured brass cased UMC weighs 212.4 gr. (total weight & in all following)
One with a “U” on a flat brass primed version with a case cannelure & lead bullet weighs 195.4gr.
Another with the same primer and case cannelure but a half-jacketed lead bullet weighs 194.6 gr.
& the blackened case variation weights 194.8 gr.

Jim Tillinghast also had one as we both found ours at the same cartridge show. I asked him at the time if this was a proof, & he replied yes, it seemed so to him.

Now since we don’t seem to find other examples of UMC proof, I will venture a possible explanation for this .25-25.

It’s well known this was a Remington method of HPT ID & that there was a 5 - 6 year period of overlap integrating the two companies with such things known as Remington boxes filled with UMC product (or vice versa?). Remington did not make the .25-25 (as far as I’m aware - no box, no round & not on Dick Frasers list)) but perhaps there was a need for HPT & so Remington blackened the UMC cases they might have had on hand from the merger?

The above paragraph is pure conjecture, but it’s the only reason I can think of to explain this blackened case example, if indeed it is a proof. Be nice if this was recorded in factory records. (only .25-25 Stevens boxes I have are by Winchester, Peters & UMC)

The total weights of my variations don’t seem to prove anything unless a different smokeless powder was used in the “thought to be” proof.

Randy H. studied UMC for years, perhaps he knows?

Sorry Carolyn, best I can do. What brought up the question?

Pete - UMC notes that I have show only the following, with no mention of any proof load or blackening of cases:

.25/25 Stevens

April 1894: Commenced esperimenting
June 1894: Put on market using 1-1/2 primer.

.25/25 Stevens Smokeless

September 1898: Smokeles, 6-1/2 primer, 86 grain metal-case bullet.
December 1900: L&R #1 Rifle powder instead of Dupont.
October 1902: Changed to L&R Sharpshooter.
January 1905: Improved soft-point bullet ty thinning the jacket at
the mouth and using only one groove,
this being below the mouth of the shell.
October 1905: In the future the metal-case bullet will be made plain
without groove.

That is the sum total of all of the remarks. Hope it is of some help to you, although not much there.

The only proof cartridge I had when I collected UMC items was this 7.65 x 54 Mauser. ( I now have a cartridge and the full box as I collect and study this cartridge now.) (As well as .30-40 Krag). The box is a typical Remington-UMC box from 1912-1916 with the exception of the add-on labeling and two purple rubber stamped PROOF CARTRIDGES on the lid and box backs. The add-on label reads;
4,000 Atmospheres
58,800 Lbs. Pressure
The cartridges are headstamped U.M.C. 7.65 M/M
It was suggested that these were made to proof rifles being made by Harrington and Richardson during WW1 for the Belgians.


It has also occurred to me, on many occasions, that for a time before the merger of UMC and Remington in 1911, Remington chambered many rifles for smokeless cartridges…The #5 Rolling Block and the Model 8 come to mind. Certainly, proof cartridges, made by UMC, would have been needed. I have not seen any…


Thank you for the information, as my collection of early American pistol and rifle cartridges grows I have almost nothing as far as what was made by UMC, REM-UMC and USCCO in proof or dummies. I have Shuey’s books so was kind of using that as a guide to what the other manufactures maybe made but that was guessing on my part.

Randy & John
I also have the 7.65 but didn’t think to look at those. Great info with the Great box Randy & thanks for the UMC notes John.

UMC made shot loads along with ball & blanks & as John noted a gallery load by UMC.
UMC dummies I have, show holed primers & cases or no holes & hollow bullets [no lead core in a brass-jacketed FMJ bullet], plus multi-hole board dummies, sometimes with a stake crimped bullet.
US, I don’t seem to have any dummies or proofs but do have blanks. Board dummies must exist as US boards are known, very rare but known.

I do have a nickel plated US .44 W.C.F. but I got it at the same time / source & with the same treatment in two other makers product, so am pretty sure those were all an aftermarket variation.

If as Randy notes the 7.65 Mauser (& the others mentioned) was made as late as suggested & with a blackened case (of a somewhat purplish cast, & as an aside my 7.65 is the same color) perhaps my conjecture about the .25-25 Stevens might float?
However my Stevens case is black, a somewhat shiny black, & not the flat black of the REM-UMC proof variations. More confusion!

I have a UMC-produced .32 Remington dummy that has the holed case and primer, but the blackened bullet does have a lead core. The case is tinned. Jack

Pete indicated USCCO dummies being scarce…they seem so…

Here is a .30-40 Krag…

JPG’s “mess up” my drawings…oh well!


To add to Jack’s 32 Rem. Auto dummy I have a .35 Rem Auto by UMC with a tinned case showing a wood rod through 4 case holes, the primer is also holed and tinned with an impressed “U” again with the somewhat blackened lead core bullet.
Another brass cased .35 has a single hole, an inner wood rod, a holed blackened primer with an impressed “U” and a tinned GM-jacketed FMJ bullet.

The UMC hollow dummies, to avoid confusion, exist in the older case types then the Rem Auto which is ca. 1906, & often with the Solid Head marking, in such case types as: .45-70-405 & 500, .38 W.C.F., .38 C.L.M. R., 38-40 (Marlin), .44 W.C.F, .45.85 W.C.F., .38-56, .40-65 & .40-60 WCF’s & others I didn’t list. Some are found with raised headstamps or with both raised and impressed headstamp variations existing.

Great US Krag dummy! Very impressive. Has it been polished? Possible salesmans sample?

The USCCO dummy shows signs of old lacquer, most at the base, but was not polished…
The UMC Hollow Dummies Pete describes make an interesting collecting niche all by themselves…
UMC made at least one hollow dummy in .30-40 Krag…The bullet is 220 grain Hudson-Thomas and the jacket contains no lead…


Looking for something else I found a U.S. 44 RUSSIAN gallery load [round lead ball seated well down in the case], so those can be added to the US load list

I’m losing track. Are we still talking about UMC Proofs and Dummies, or all UMC cartridges?


Ray - the subject seems to have shifted to U.S. cartridges, which I assume means U.S. Cartridge Company. Don’t know why or what they have to do with UMC? No matter to me, although I don’t like the abbreviation for U.S.C.Co. as just “US” because sometimes it is hard to tell if the subject is the company or the country.


No Ray, I got off the track as did Randy with Carolyn asking about U.S.C.Co. proof, & dummies.

& yes the UMC proof bit got expanded into dummies, again it’s all Carolyn’s fault for mentioning them, but she’s allowed.

PS John the .44 Russian gallery load, the headstamp is just U.S. not U.S.C.Co.