Western "USA Brand" Box

Below are photos of a WESTERN .25 Auto box of the “USA” type. I purchased this years ago in a tiny gun shop near Bill Woodin’s home in Tucson, Arizona. It has a Styrofoam insert. Lot number appears to be 04XN21 with the numbers 82 86 below them. I say “appears to be” because the top half of the first entry of the top line is missing the upper half, so I am guessing what it is.

The cartridge is standard Winchester Ammunition, and the company address on the back is “Winchester Group.” Headstamp of the GM FMJ Bullet, brass case, nickel primer that possibly has a red seal (very faint) is “WIN 25 AUTO.”

It is shown with a standard WINCHESTER USA .25 Auto box, for comparison.

The dealer had one box of this, which I bought for the box, and I have never seen another one since, nor have I seen a WESTERN “USA” box in any other caliber.

Does anyone have any information about this line of ammo? Other calibers, for how long it was made, when it was made, etc.

John Moss

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John,
The date code would be XN21 with X being the year, either 1986 or 1966. The code N21 is 12 Dec.

Lew

Perhaps we can narrow down between the two possible dates, if someone knows when Olin changed the name of the ammo companies to “Winchester Group?”

Thanks for the code information, Lew! Every little bit helps.

John

John,
Based on my dating of 9x19mm boxes, the WRA headstamp was dropped in 1966 and the W-W headstamp was introduced, and was used until at least 1981. This may not be the case with all calibers. I have not bothered to chase the Olin box codes after 1981 so I can’t confirm when the WIN headstamp was introduced. Your box could also be from 2006 but that seemed far too late from your original post.

Personally, I think it is very unlikely your box was from 1966 and if it was 20 years or more since you obtained it, I would guess it is from 1986.

Cheers,
Lew

Lew - that makes sense. I would say pretty certainly that it was in the 1980s that I purchased that, although my first trip to Tucson to the Lab was much earlier than that.

I would still like to hear from anyone else who has one of these WESTERN USA boxes, especially if it is in a different caliber. While I prefer information on boxes actually at hand in someone’s collection, I would even be interested if anyone has seen this .25 box, or the same WESTERN style in another caliber, even revolver calibers. Of course, pictures would be great!

John Moss

John, these “Western” brand boxes made by Winchester in the 80’s are hard to find and, as far as I can tell, they are not listed in Winchester catalogs (tomorrow I will check again). Below you can see another example in .380 Auto (note the product code starting with “WW”). Sorry, I don’t have a better picture of the side.

Regards,

Fede

Fede - The pictures are as good as they need to be. That is only the second of these boxes I have ever seen, and I have had my .25 Auto box for over 20 years. Thanks for posting that. These seem to be among the rarest of American pistol ammunition boxes.

Why did I know that if anyone had record of another one, in a different caliber, it would be you, Amigo Mio.

Saludo!

John

If it helps any I can offer this from my 22 box research. On 22 rim fire boxes the “Winchester Group” designation ran from 1984 through 1986. Not sure how close this might apply to center fire boxes but would imagine it to be the same. From 1987 the labeling simply stated “Winchester”.
Bob

2 Likes

Savage - thank you. I think between your reply and Lew’s that the box probably dates from 1986. I probably got it that year, or shortly into 1987, on one of my trips to Woodin Lab, in Tucson. It came from a very small shop, there, that also made (or sold) specialty custom ammunition.

John Moss

Great bit of info! HAVE added it to my code files. Much appreciated.

Cheers,
Lew

The formal designation change ocurred on July 21,1981, when Olin Corp. completed the sale of its US sporting arms business to the “U. S. Repeating Arms Company”, New Haven. The ammunition division was restructured as the “Winchester Group” and headquartered in East Alton, Illinois.

Fede - was it then correct that the closing date for the nomenclature “Winchester Group” was 1986?

John M.

John, yes, it is correct. That designation was dropped from literature and ads in late 1986.

Regards,

Fede

Fede,

thank you. I thought so, but wanted to clarify it.

  You are the "Superman" among all cartridge collectors.  There are

a couple more, as well, on the Forum. It makes it easy for
dummies like me. I should buy you a red cape with a big “S” on
it for xmas!

John M.