United States Cartridge Co. headstamping

Can anyone state when or about when USC first began to headstamp its product? My perception is that centerfires lack headstamps before some point in the 1890s but I’m more than willing to be proven wrong.


There was something just recently about USC Co headstamps. Maybe on the Forum or possibly in the JOURNAL? A search is in order.

USC Co 45-70 contract ammunition was headstamped beginning in May 1879. The first headstamp was R L 5 79.


The reprint of the USC 1881 catalog does not show any headstamps. All cartridges are drawn in profile only.

The reprint of the 1888 catalog shows their shotshell headstamps, the US on the rimfire BB Caps and US on the primers of their smaller centerfires.

The reprint of the 1891 catalog shows the US on all of their rimfires and the headstamps on their shotshels. The illustrations show the centerfire cartridges obliqely but no headstamps or primers are shown to have markings.


In 1879 no hstp on shotshells
in 1882 and after, shotshells are hstped

Thanks for the responses about USC; they are appreciated.

Could you pm a list of rimfires with the US headstamp, if it would not be too much trouble? Vic

Vic–If you have the IAA DVD, the list of rimfire headstamps and case types by U.S.C.Co. was publishes some years ago in the Journal, back when it was the Cartridge Trader.