WCC-Olin Box Codes (What I think I know)

As most of you know, I have been working recently on sorting out box codes for various manufacturers on what I had hopefully called the “IAA Forum Box Date Code Project”. I posted my initial efforts on gigconceptsinc.com/IAA-Forum-Box-Research.html,
but got almost no input so have let the project go for a while and only worked it in the background. I had pretty good information from the IAA Journal for Kynoch and Dominion, and some information from d’Artagnan on the Forum for Olin, but the Olin material d’Artagnan didn’t project back accurately. Recently I have been working to see what I could sort out the the results are below.

D’Artagnan’s provided the following based on his comparison of boxes and their purchase dates:
He has determined that Winchester ammo lot numbers on the boxes have included the manufacture date encoded within. The date is contained in a LL## group, where L is a letter and # a number, making up or included in the lot number impressed into the box tab. Numbers preceding the LL## probably equate to the production line. The First letter is the Year Code and the second letter is the Month Code. The month codes run A-N skipping I and J.

The following are some examples from Olin boxes:
30UA61 = Date code of UA61 = 16 January 2003 (9mm Luger)
022VK30 = Date code of VK30 = 03 September 2004 (9mm Luger)
71WM40 = Date code of WM40 = 04 November 2005 (380 Auto)

He also sorted out the years 2000 - 2009:

[quote]d’Artagnan on IAA Forum
2000 R
2001 S
2002 T
2003 U
2004 V
2005 W
2006 X
2007 Y
2008 B
2009 C
The second letter is the month:
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
A B C D E F G H K L M N

Note I and J are apparently skipped

The two numbers following are the numerical date, but reversed. Examples:
10 = 01, 51 = 15, 42 = 24 [/quote]

I started with a few data points I could add. I had the box shown on Thread Unusual Western 9mm Box which was dated many years ago by an expert as 1935. I also had PGU-19/P box with cartridges dated 82 and a code of 16TG80(8Jul82) so I knew that T=1982. That meant that the character set used for the year was 20 characters long since T='82 and '02. That meant that 6 of the characters had been dropped. The work by d’Artagnan identified two of these as Z and A.

My next step was to list all the letters in the left column (except A & Z) and enter next to each the dates I had on headstamped loads and those which d’Artagnan had confirmed (center column). Then I added a column on the matrix of all the year codes I had on boxes-even though the headstamps were undated so I couldn’t precisely date the box. With this information I added the possible dates in the far right column. The result is below.

[quote] Dated Undated
T 82 Dated 1982
U 03 d’Art 1983
V 04 d’Art 1984
W 05 d’Art 1985
X 06 d’Art 1986
Y 07 d’Art 1987
B 08 d’Art 1988
C 09 d’Art 1989
D Skip/90
E Skip/90/91
F X 90/91/92
G Skip/91/92/93
H Skip/92/93/94
I Skip/93/94
J Skip/94
K 35 & 95 1995
L X 1996
M X 1997
N X 1998
O Skip
P X 1999
Q Skip
R 00 d’Art 2000
S 01 d’Art 2001
T 02 d’Art 2002
[/quote]

Three things come out of this data:

  1. Between C & K there are two ltrs skipped
  2. Between N & R there are two ltrs skipped
  3. P must be 1999 since only one letter can be used between N & R and P is confirmed to exist so it must be 1999

So there is where the research by d’Artagnan and I stands.

What is needed now is for people to check their Winchester and Western boxes to see which of the year codes D, E, G, H, I, J actually exist on boxes.

The boxes using these codes could date from any of the following period;
Winchester or Western boxes: 1970-1974, 1990-1994
Western Boxes: 1930-1934, 1950-1954 (perhaps 1910-1914 but my early boxes lack codes)

Please check your Winchester and Western Boxes in these periods and let me know which of the year codes exist.

The boxes should have two letters together followed by two numbers. The year code is the first letter in the two letter group. Ignore other single letters in the code. There may be other stuff on the box flap but that is probably just identifying the production line or whatever.

A code of EB 61 would be an “E” year code and of interest. So would any of the following codes; A3EK11 (year code is E), 58DB42 (year code is D), F8GG51 (year code is G), 9HF21C (year code H).

I suspect one of the missing letters is I since it is easily confused with 1 so perhaps just a few of the missing codes will narrow down the story. If there is a code for a round with a dated headstamp, than it will make it a lot simpler. Since the month codes d’Artagnan sorted out from his studies skip I and J these may also be the codes skipped in the year codes but we can’t be sure with the info available.

If you have boxes with any of the relevant codes, please let me know. Please provide the entire code and a description or picture of the box label and if available the headstamp (typed out is OK).

I have my latest guess at the date list, assuming that I and J are skipped as they are in the month codes, posted on my website at gigconceptsinc.com/IAA-Forum-Box-Research.html

Please post your info or send it to me by email.

Cheers,

Lew

Lew,

Shown this in another thread as well. I can’t make out the code layout on this particular Winchester box:

winbox1

The format here is Month-Year-Day so this is 22 Dec 53 or 43, or 33 depending on the box style. Hard to tell without knowning the box style since the early Winchester box year codes repeat every 10 years,

Lew

Lew–
I think I’ve evidence to get us back to perhaps 1983, but certainly to 1988, using the system you described, including a year E.
I’ve 4 small “Made in USA” (but no Winchester or Western or Olin)/cardboard tray 1-up 1-down/Olin-Winchester East Alton, Illinois ZIP address boxes:
9MM Q4172 lot 11CG52V (over) 014
9MM Q4172 lot 71GA52 (over) 018 026
380 Auto Q4206 lot 83FK10 (over) 069
380 Auto Q4206 lot 83BD12 (over) 65
This last box has a printer’s date wheel with 88 over the wheel, which is missing the 1, and in the middle of the wheel is 207. I figure this box was printed in January 1988 by printer 207, whoever that is. Likely the lot means 380 Auto line 83, 21 April 1988.
As for year E, I have a Winchester X9MMSHP box/red plastic tray with foam insert/Winchester East Alton, Illinois ZIP address lot 26EB60 (over) 76. Also a similar Winchester Ranger RA9MMJHP box lot 76DC70 (over) 26, which gives us years B, C, D, E, F, and G; B equaling 1988. The Ranger box has a date wheel missing the 1 and 207 in the middle but no year indicated.
I also have a Winchester X9MMSHP box/red tray foam insert/Winchester-Western Division East Alton, Illinois ZIP address lot 88UK92 (over) 20 30. It has a date wheel missing the 1, 2 and 3, over St Louis-82; indicating to me it was printed in March 1982. A lot number with year U should indicate 1983, and the box would have to have been printed earlier, in this case over a year earlier.
Now for the bad news. I also found a Winchester 9mm X9LP box/red tray foam insert/Winchester Group East Alton, Illinois Zip address lot 10VL99 (over) 29 35. The 99 part is crystal clear. --d’Artagnan

Lew,

Thanks. That would probably make it 1952.

Photos in this thread, the box is identical to the one you posted there.

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7739

Lew–
I got serious and dipped into my strategic reserve last night. Came up with five more boxes, all with the Winchester East Alton Il ZIP address, most with printing dates.

  1. 9mm Q4172 lot 24HH90 (over) 56, (printer) Riverwood International K-7113, 4/94
  2. 9mm Q4172 lot 88HF50 (over) 30 33, Riverwood International K-7113, 4/94
  3. 45 Auto Q4170 lot 76HG11 (over) 26, (printer) 207 (no date wheel)
  4. 45 Auto Q4170 lot 034MB10 (over) 27, Riverwood International K-9104, 9/96
  5. 45 Colt X45CP2 (W-W headstamp) lot 86KM72 (over) 142 15, Riverwood International K-7662, 12/94
    Conveniently, that makes year H=1994, year K=1995, and year M=1997. If you have a recent year L box, that would be 1996.
    –d’Artagnan

dArtagnan, you have done it!!!

Find an “E” dated box reduced the possibilities a good deal. that meant that “H” could have only been a 1992, 1993 or 1994 date. By showing with the print date wheel that the H coded boxes were printed in 1994, you showed that he H code must have been 1994 or later date (if the box were used the year after printing). This confirms that H is 1994 and that I & J are the last two skipped letters we are looking for.

That means that the Western/Olin listings on gigconceptsinc.com/IAA-Forum-Box-Research.html are correct back to the 1930s at least.

Well Done!!!

Lew

Need some more help with the codes on the early boxes.

My earliest Western Boxes (with 1920 print dates on label) illustrated below have codes of S24D and S26D which is not the standard format but if these were a Year-Day-Month format which seems likely then they would be 24 Apr 1921 and 26 Apr 1921 if the Day code was not reversed.

WCC-1

John Moss also has one of these early green boxes codes which has the code ??2K (first two digits not readable) which is still consistent with a code format of Year-Day-Month.

John also has a the blue and yellow box with the red script Western (illustrated below) with the code 70SD12 which is the standard Western code and converts to 21 April 1941 (SC12) so the code style must have changed in the 20 years between 1921 and 1941. As you can see my only box is ratty. If you have one to spare (sell or trade) please let me know.

WCC-2

If anyone has examples of other Western boxes of either the green style, or the blue & yellow style, or any intermediate style (in any caliber) I would greatly appreciate knowing the box codes and the box style.

Cheers,

Lew

I have these two I’m trying to find out manufacturing dates and details

The top box is easy, because it uses the US standard lot format.
3 character manufacturer code
2 figures for the year (1982)
1 letter A through M (skipping I) for months January through December. L=November
The remainder is the consecutive lot number, assigned by the manufacturer. There may be a letter instead of the hyphen in special cases.

Lew, with D’Artagnan’s updated information I saw in 2015, is your 1921 Western box still accurate? D’Artagnan’s 2015 information there is no "J month.

One date I see is N2JWP over on McPeeter’s. That “J” is also confusing! if it’s Year/Day/Month

THANKS!

Jack,
The codes have varied over the years. The code began in 1906 with the letter A and used the whole alphabet. It appears they didn’t use a code before 1906. In this system J=1915. In 1927 (code V), they changed to a new year code system and the last few months of 1927 used "A " . I & J were also used as month codes but that changed in 1939 and both letter were dropped and the month code went directly from H to K. Post 1927 I and J were not used as western year codes. After WWII, “A” was dropped as a year code, probably since it confused the use of “A” to denote ammo loaded by Winchester for Western or vise versa.

These codes are complex. Olin made some other changes in the 90s but d’Artagnan sorted these out and I am sure the correct codes for this era are on his list…

Cheers,
Lew

Thanks,

Not as confusing as it once was and it will get me close. I took what both of you have posted and tried to make my own quick ref. chart. The Pre-1928 stuff needs help.

Pete - It is not my intent to not give credit to those that want it, don’t mean to step on any toes and because I seem to post so many questions, photos etc, then to be followed up with a million edits…trying to remember where I got the information from and then credit everything I post, someone is bound to get left out.

Jack ,
We differ on the letters used from 1920-1927. I don’t know of any source data on this era and don’t know the source of your info. I have never documented a box from this era with an O, P, Q year code or a V, W, X, Y, or Z year code on the old green and white boxes, or on very early target boxes. Perhaps someone else has and can shed some light on this discussion.

Cheers,
Lew

Thanks Lew, no source, just brain storming and piecing info!! I think it was the 1921 box code you posted that got be back to that year and trying to fill in between then and 1906. Gonna let my rain rest and take another look at all of the posts.

Jack,
Let me know what you decide.

All,
Please check your very early target boxes (in the text on the back they will have the patent DATES, not the patent NUMBERS) or pre-Target boxes (typically with the diamond with a red winchester inside). if the codes on the back or inside the end flaps have codes with the first letter being O, P, Q, V, W, X, Y or Z (or any letter A to N) please post the info on the box and the code, or send me a PM.

Examples of Western codes of this period are S24D, 2U13C16R, T7H. The year code is the first letter, If the first character is a number ignore it.

About 1927 or 28 the format of the code changed witht he two letters at the beginning (examples:
BD02 and DB11) These are outside the range of the discussion above.

Thanks,
Lew

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Maybe this is a tad more accurate. From what I think I understand, the “yellow” highlighted items are the “codes” which are still under research.

A friend just sent me his data sheets on Western Red diamond rifle cartridges.

He has a box with code Q4L which on your list shouldn’t exist (with a green box with a red diamond). On the list I was given Q is 1922 which fits with the label print date (WT-21) indicating the label was approved for printing in 1921.

He also has an R1J coded box which your list indicates was loaded in 1919. My list indicates it was loaded in 1923 which makes more sense since the label print approval date is 1923.

He has a V20E coded box which you indicate is 1923, and the list I was given indicates U is 1927. The print date on this box is 1926.

There is also a 30 Luger box with code T7H which your list indicates was loaded in 1921 and the list I use indicates was packed in 1925. The label print date is 1924.

It seems unlikely that boxes would be loaded before the label style on the box was approved for printing. However, I have to admit that this thype analysis is not infallible. I have a 30 Mauser green box with a red diamond like the ones above. the packing code is K10K (10Sep1916 on my list but 1915 on your list), What I can’t explain is that the print approval is WT-21 (1921) code!!! I guess they could have loaded the box which sat around for 5 years before they printed a label for it!!! Perhaps the 1921 style label was glued over an earlier label but I can’t see any evidence of a label under the visible label. The next use of the K year code was 1935 on both our lists, but by then the code format had changed as I mention in a previous post on this topic and the code would be KK01, not K10K!!!

If other members have green western boxes with a red diamond, or very early target boxes with packing codes whose first letter is A-Z, please let us know!

Cheers,
Lew

I must agree with your new findings. I was basing the chart, <1927, off of your S24D box I thought you dated 1920…I think at the top of this topic. This is some crazy stuff and it has me hooked!!! I will update the chart to reflect the results of your above reply that more correlates to the label dates!!!

Great stuff!!!

Jack,
Sorry, My S24D box is 1924 on my database, but I could have listed it on the Forum as 1920.

I can’t take any credit for my Western date listing. Another collector was kind enough to share it with me!

Cheers,
Lew

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