Western 30-30

I just bought a box of .30-30 cartridges made by Western. They are 150 grain hollow points. I would like to see if anyone out there knows the date of manufacture? On one inside flap is 52CN and on the other flap is 62BH81. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

A little more information about the box would be needed to provide an accurate answer. Dating for Western runs in 20 year cycles. For Western, the “BH” supplies the date. H would indicate the month of August (8th letter of the alphabet), and the B would indicate 2008, 1988, 1968, 1948, etc. One clue is if there is a child safety warning on the box, it would be later than the early 1960s, i.e., 1968, 1988, or 2008. If not, 1948 or earlier. There are usually differences in the box graphics design that can be used to bracket the date within a 20 year cycle. A picture would help. I don’t know what the 52CN means, but I don’t think it is a date code.

Thanks so much for your help, i will try to get a pic up asap. It does not have a safety warning. It says non corrosive primers and smokeless powder, we take that for granted now so maybe that would help date it?

Wyo1876–The “Child Safety Warning” was required from 1964 onward. Besides a picture, the Load Index number would help. It will be on either the front or outside end of the box and will usually start with a K (K1423C, etc.) or may be a 5 digit number like 30301. Non-Corrosive priming was introduced by Western about 1928-1930. I have an almost complete run of Western catalogs from 1915 to 1981 (when Western as a brand name ceased) so should be able to date your box fairly closely.

Here are the pics, the code on the outside of the box is k1423c.

It’s definitely pre-1945, because in late 1944, Western became a part of Olin Industries, and that was reflected in the Western name. And Olin is not there on the box. Yet, I don’t think that box style was current for 1928. Others will know.

That is amazing! I assumed they were from the fifties at the earliest. I gave thirty dollars for them and planned on just using them. Would they be valuable enough to keep? Thank you so much for your help.


Western Cartridge Co. was started by Franklin W. Olin about 1908, so Western was ALWAYS an Olin company !! It was only when “Olin Industries” was created in 1946 that the nomenclature on Western boxes reflected this…


This is how it worked: “EAST ALTON, Ill., Dec. 11 (1944) (AP) – Stockholders of the Western Cartridge Company approved today the merger of that company with the Olin Corporation and the formation of a new parent corporation, Olin Industries.” Olin Industries as a legal entity did not exist until that date.

The Super-X .30-30 Winchester High Velocity 150 O.P.E. was first listed in January 1938 (probably first made in 1937).

This is one of the earliest Western ads as a division of Olin Industries, Inc. (published May, 1945):

Please, don’t shoot them!

I am so amazed at how old they are, The box is a little worn but it should be! I won’t shoot them unless they end up being the last box available. Maybe they will be the start of a collection, i have always been a shooter and interested in everything gun related. I believe i still have some old .30 US shells of my grandfather’s laying around but no box. I will try to dig them out and have you guys tell me about them. The 1895 Win still shoots so hopefully I still have them, ha ha. Thanks again for all of your help, you guys obviously all know your stuff and aren’t looking down on people for asking “dumb” questions.

I’d not shoot them. Go buy a new box for that. Most anything old in .30-30 is not too unusual and not super-valuable, but it does have collector interest. There are also many people who are not ammunition collectors but want a period box of ammunition to go with an older gun, and occasionally those guys will pay a handsome price for one. I am not what one would call a .30-30 collector, yet I have accumulated over a dozen different full boxes from the 1930s-1950s, and some later. So they do exist.

Obviously, this box dates from the late 1930s. It would not be too likely to date from the WWII period, as little ammunition for civilians was manufactured then due to wartime production demands. However, dating from the lot number does not seem to work in this case. Any ideas why?

Just a thought…could the box have been old stock? If they had a quantity of good, useable boxes in the storeroom might they have just used them up rather than throw them away. After all, the only significant change was the corporate structure, it was still Western Ammunition. The lot number wouldn’t go on the box till the ammo was packaged so it would only reflect the date of the shells inside. No reason the box couldn’t be several years older.

That could possibly happen, as there may have been a sizable inventory of older (pre-1945) empty .30-30 boxes which needed to be used up. I would not have thought that any of those would have remained until 1948, as the .30-30 would have been among the highest in sales volume during the postwar years, but who knows?

It would be interesting to know if the shells match the box age wise. I am going to keep them as i have a marlin 30-30 around the same age. Was only wondering at value out of curiousity. As for buying new ones i have been to EVERY store in my area and no 30-30s are available. So, if anyone knows where to get them at normal prices please let me know.

Right now, most of the more common calibers (mainly handgun and .22 LR) are in short supply and is being bought up before it hits the shelf. Most rifle calibers, other than 5.56/.223, 7.62X39, and 7.62/.308, have not been difficult to locate. I am surprised that .30-30 is now part of the scarcity, as it is not associated with “assault rifles.” But maybe the hysteria of accumulating ammunition is spreading more widely.

I follow these reports with amazement. Here in Germany we are up to our ears in .308 Winchester (surplus as well as factory new), for example. 9 mm Luger ist also plentiful.

Just go onto any of the big on-line ammunition sellers’ websites, like Midway, and search ammunition and bullets. You will find an extremely small selection of ammunition and reloading bullets actually in stock. Most every listing says “Out of Stock, No Back Orders”. Perhaps the defeat of the so-called “Background Check” legislation in the U. S. Senate today (which was actually a thinly-disguised attempt to create a national gun registry) may bring back a little sanity to the market. Or maybe not.