Western Cartidge 1916-17 manufacture of 7,62 Russian?

As an offshoot on the .38 Special WCC thread, and the resultant history of Olin’s ownership of WCC, A question sprang into my mind ( assisted by Frost,“Ammunition Manufacture” (NRA Publishing).)
Frost worked at WCC from about the time Olin bought Winchester, under the guidance of an Ex-Tsarist Ordnance Inspection officer who had decided not to retun to Bolshevik Russia & who by the 1930s had become one of the senior men in QA at the East Alton Plant.

What headstamp did WCC use during WW I ( for either US contracts or the Russian Contract???) Anybody got examples, especially of the Russian ammo???

The 7,62 Russ made at WCC introduced the principle of finished case anneal after forming the neck and shoulder, to delay "age splitting "or “season cracking”, and the principle of leaving the “flame colour” to indicate that this annealing had been done. This was a Russian process, insisted on all Contract ammo for the Imperial Army. At that time, the US was having a lot of trouble with .30/06 ammo with neck splits appearing sometimes within a year of manufacture ( occurred also in contact .303 made during WW I for Britain). (Frost)

The US only introduced Flame annealing ( and later, electric induction annealing) in the mid-1920s, when they found they had billions of WW I rounds of .30cal, which had to be either dumped or farmed out to the DCM/NRA/National Guard Units to be “used up”. WCC used the annealing process in all its commercial products after WW I ( although for civil sales, the shells were polished to remove the “flame colours”…) (Frost).

Anybody with any further info out there? Mr Frost, if he is still with us, must be in his (late) 90s ( he was a just-graduated engineer when he Joined WCC in the early 1930s, at the height of the Depression).

regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

Doc, I should have a “W 17”. Is it that what you are looking for?

I have pictures of W/16 and W/17 here: 7.62x54r.net/MosinID/MosinAmmoID02.htm

7.62x54r, for whom was the “Western 20” made?

I think it was just commercial production for the US market as there were a lot of the New England Westinghouse and Remington rifles available to the public.

I was just wondering about civilain cartridges with a year.

That is odd isn’t it.

I’ve been scratching my head over the WRACo headstamps as they look a lot more civilian than military.

I doubt that the headstamps with the dates were originally intended for the commercial market, although I believe some did end up being sold commercially. An example is the .38 long Colts with the REM-UMC 18 headstamp. I have a non-military 50 round box of these that was still sealed when I received it.

[quote=“7.62x54r”]That is odd isn’t it.

I’ve been scratching my head over the WRACo headstamps as they look a lot more civilian than military.[/quote]

Probably because it was an export contract?

Is the W 15, the earliest hs known?

The “W” headstamp seems to be “Winchester” rather than “Western”, going from the .303 British ammo marked so, in 1915 and 16; And Winchester also supplied Finland in 1940 with “W” marked headstamps ( Serifed and Italic script)…although WRA was now owned by Olin (Western), it still had its East Coast ammo ploant in operation. and by 1940, Western was using “WCC” on military ammo.

The “W 20” 7,62x54R could be a Foreign contract ( Poland, Finland, both used the Mosin in the 1919-1920s period, Finland of course going on to produce its own ammo, whereas Poland either sold its Mosins or converted them to 7,9 cartridge ( Model 91/98/24-25 & 26). Mexico also bought some of the new undelivered Mosins direct from the US, and would have been looking for ammo. And of course, all the Mosins surplussed by the USG into the civilian market would have needed ammo, so instead of making a new bunter, why not use up some of the “export” ammo??.

Unless someone has a packet showing who made it, then “W” on 7,62x54R may still be uncertain attribution…any takers here?

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

One thing to consider in all this is that Winchester was using the WRACo headstamp at the same time for it’s Russian contract ammo. Why have two headstamps?

Along the same line, there are two distinct Ws on the 40 dated Finnish contract ammo. Knowing that Western owned Winchester by then, I wonder if one is from the Western factory and the other from the old Winchester factory. One of the Ws is in the distinct Winchester style.

Pictures at the link above.

7.62x54r, you are right the two different “W” were indicating different plants. I just do not remember which is which. I think it is explained in Pitk

By the way Western cartridges “visited” Russia (Soviet Union) too. It’s a picture of Western cartridges pack from Boris Davydov’s article (again). Soviets bought some packs in gun stores in the USA. They tested them in 1940 at Small arms firing range and recommended use Western primer’s chemical formula for Soviet cartridge plants.

It seems that if there are two “W” headstamps, one representing the Western plant and the other Winchester, then both companies used two styles.

There are “W” and “WRA Co,” and “W” and “WESTERN”. Also the latter used “WESTERN” on the French contract 8mm Lebel.

It seems there is still quite a lot to learn about these WWI contracts.

7.62 x 54R - do you want some of the missing British headstamps for you site? I have several of them and you are welcome to the pictures.


Tony, thanks for the offer. Hendere has loaned me a number of cartridges for the site and I’ve taken the pictures but haven’t finished editing them. That page is next on the list after some more cleanup on the Russian/Soviet page. Let me get that finished and then see what you have that I don’t have covered. I know there are a number of British cartridges to add. Thanks again.

Western (or Winchester, now it’s not clear) cartridges in 7,62 russian were sold to the republicans during the spanish civil war of 1936-1939. They had L-style bullets with a CN jacket, lead core, (W 16) headstamp.