i picked up a box of 20 western 308 winchester match,197gr o.p.e. boattail hand loaded cartridges.winchester-western division,olin mathieson chemical corp,east alton ill.they are in a plain white box with the above printed on the front.the dealer i purchased them from has them wrapped in plastic so i cant get too the shells themselves.when were these made?are they worth keeping as collectable?were these a military loading?any help is apprec thanks
Unfortunately, you do not geive the headstamp. We stress often on the Forum that an inquiry should include all available information, to get the best and most informative reply.
Winchester-Western did load some 308 match cartridges for the military using WCC headstamped cases, since they were military match loads. I am not sure if they did any in commercial cases or not. I am out of my field again with this reply. Some were loaded to a very long overall cartridge length, but as I recall, the boxes of those are marked for “single loading only” or words to that effect. They will not fit in either the magazine well of a bolt action rifle, nor the magazine of the M14. If you intend to shoot any of these (probably not a good idea since I assume their cash value is somewhat higher than other military match ammunition), be careful. Some of these are among the only corrosive-primed U.S.-manufactured .308 ammo ever made.
Going by your description, I’d guess that the cartridges are most likely from the late 1950s or early 1960s. They will probably have a headstamp date so if it’s possible to unwrap the shrink, and if the box isn’t sealed, you can determine the year. The most likely year is 1958 or 1959.
The cartridges were probably loaded for use by the USAMU (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit). The 197 grain bullets were hand made by AMU shop personnel. Cartridges were also loaded for AMU use using Western made 200 grain bullets. Once out of the box it is difficult to tell the two apart. As the AMU gained experience with handloads, other bullets were also used including commercial ones such as the 168 and 180 grain Sierra HPBT.
John is correct that the primers are probably corrosive, and even mercuric, since they were shown to be the most accurate. But, you are not going to shoot them anyway, are you??? I wouldn’t. They have collector value, especially in the original box. Individual rounds can be found for $1 to $2 each so a full box would be worth at least 20 times that.
I used the word “probably” several times because without more information that the writing on the box it is impossible to tell exactly what you have. I’ll bet both John and I are close, however.
i opened the box and the headstamp is wcc 60.there is 1 shell missing.they are a hollow point bullet,the lot number on the inside flap is 47rd7 bph if that helps.thanks don
According to my sources, all 7.62 Nato ammunition manufactured in the US is noncorrosive - except International Match ammunition manufactured at Frankford Arsenal in 1956.
Therefore, since your ammunition was not manufactured at the Frankford Arsenal and was not manufactured in 1956 it should be noncorrosive.
Ray and Dave,
I stand corrected! Thank you for correcting my error.
I respectfully disagree. AMU ammunition is neither NATO nor military spec. It was all handloaded with selected components. The corrosive, mecuric primer gave better accuracy and that is what was used in the early years of USAMU. It was never intended that the cases would be reloaded and shooters and armourers were well versed in cleaning the rifles to avoid troubles from the corrosive primers. Winchester even furnished it’s own Bore Solvent.
I have two boxes of Western 308 Winchester Match ammo - one is 200gr FMC and the other is 180gr FMC. Each box clearly states that the the cartridges use “special mecuric corrosive primers” and the “Rifle should be cleaned, immediately after firing with Winchester Bore Solvents”. Cartridges from each box have a WCC 58 headstamp.