Western Yellow & Blue "Target Boxes" in 9mm or 7.65mm Luger

I have two 9mm Western “Target” boxes which have some differences. One lacks end flaps and another is in good shape but no date stamp anywhere. One box (FMJ) has a tab marked 31-A and another (HP) marked 31-B which I assume are print design date dates for the boxes.

If anyone has yellow & blue “Target” boxes in either 9mm or 7.65mm Luger with a date stamp I would greatly appreciate the details. Email response is great, or a Forum post.

My collection is Western 9mm boxes is limited to only five boxes, and I know it has lots of holes in it. Images of ANY Western 9mm boxes would be greatly appreciated, along with the box codes if any!


No 9 or 7.55 boxes, best I can do is a .25 ACP with the lot code “A7BE12L” inside the right end flap.

On the left end, one inside flap is printed “22-A” in blue & nothing on the right ends inside flaps.

50 grain metal case Lubaloy bullet, non-corrosive priming & smokeless powder, factory code is “K1302T”

A division of Olin Industries Inc. box

Pete, Many thanks! BE12 will be 21 May 1928 or 21 May 1948! If the 22-A is the box design date, I don’t know this to be a fact but someone out there may know if it is or not, then it could be a 1928 box. I don’t have enough boxes documented to have a firm opinion.

However, since it says “Division of OLIN INDUSTRIES, INC.” it is very likely the 1948 date. I also suspect that the text on the back does not mention any patent numbers, and there is no script “Western” in red on the back. Please confirm or refute this assumption.

Does anyone know when Olin bought Western, or when they began putting “Olin” on Western boxes?

Anybody else out there with a “Target” box???


Hi Lew
Yes no patent dates, just trade marks registered in U.S. Patent office, Marca Registrada & no script “Western” on the back.

A 32 automatic box with the exact same features as the .25 has a left end, “28-A” code on the inside flap & a “A1BGE51” lot code rubber stamp on the right end flap and a product code of none ! however on both end flaps at the bottom of the contents description is; “32AP”

this was a 71 gr. FM case Lubaloy bullet , non-corrosive priming and smokeless powder


Was not Western Cartridge Co. always owned by Franklin Olin ?

I believe the decision was made in Dec. 1944 to make Western and Winchester (at that time a division of Western Cartridge Co.), divisions of Olin Industries, Inc…Yes?

I believe “Division of Olin Industries” began to appear on boxes 1945 -46, lasting until 1954-ish, when the name changed to Olin-Mathieson Chemical Corp.


Randy, You are probably right about Frank Olin always owning Western. I don’t have a Western History in my files, but this morning I checked the IAA Journal Index and there is at least one history and 4 or 5 other articles that look like they may include history. Will check them out. Thanks for the info on the 1944 decision. need to add that to my data sheets on boxes.

Your help is much appreciated.

Thanks for info on the 32 box. It was loaded on 15 May 1953. The product code changed in 1952 which is why the “K” number disappeared.

Separately, I have gotten info on two more 32 boxes. One is dated 26 July 1956 and is like yours. Product code “32AP” is on the end flap. Also one where the code is WM1 (little hard to read) which is 1 Nov 1945. It does say “Division of Olin Industries INC”, but also has the patent numbers on the test on the back.No red “Western”. Obviously a transition box from pre-WWII to post-WWII. The number on the end tab is also 28-A and clearly a different box design from yours but the same code on the tab so this clearly isn’t a label design code. Perhaps it only refers to the size of the box. Maybe someone else knows.

That makes 5 different Western “Target” box variations.

If anyone else has a “Target” box, please tell us about it.

Key questions:

  1. Does it say “Division of Olin Industries Inc.” on the back?
  2. Does it have a six digit product number that starts with a “K” (like K1333T)?
  3. Are there patent numbers listed in the text on the back of the box?
  4. Is there a red script “Western” on the back under the cartridge drawing? Note this variation (my box at least) also has "?? W.C.Co. on the top right of the back of the box above the cartridge drawing. I can’t make out the first letter.

Can anyone make out the first letter before the “W.C.Co.”???

Again, any and all help appreciated.


Yes, Western was always owned by F. W. Olin, founded in 1892.

I have a 4 page PDF file (probably from archive.org) of a 1942 50th anniversary edition of “The Westerner”, describing the company history up to that time.

Maybe it could be added to the Western catalogues on the IAA homepage?

Sorry I should have looked this up before I asked the questions above:

[quote]The Western Cartridge Company manufactures small arms and
ammunitions. Founded in 1898, it was the forerunner of the Olin
Corporation, formed in 1944, of which Western is still a subsidiary,[1]
and is based in East Alton, Illinois, USA. Western Cartridge Company
acquired the Winchester Repeating Arms Company after Winchester
went into receivership in 1931.

Franklin W. Olin received an engineering degree from
Cornell University in 1886. After working at gunpowder mills
in the eastern United States, he was one of several investors
establishing the Equitable Powder Company in 1892 at East
Alton, Illinois. Production of blasting powder for southern
Illinois coal mining began in 1893.[3]
Olin formed Western Cartridge Company in 1898 to manufacture sporting rifle powder and shotgun shells for
settlers of the Great Plains. The shotgun shells used primers manufactured by larger eastern ammunition firms.[3]
When the firms with primer manufacturing facilities raised primer prices in 1900 to reduce competition from
independent shotgun shell assembly plants, Western Cartridge Company formed the Union Cap and Chemical
Company (UCC) as a joint venture with Austin Cartridge Company of Ohio. UCC manufactured primers, blasting
caps, and .22 and .32 caliber rimfire cartridges at East Alton. Similar manufacturing procedures for these products
included fabrication of sheet metal cups and filling portions of those cups with primary explosive. Rimfire cartridges
bore a UCC headstamp and product packaging included a Maltese cross trademark. Purchase of Alliance
Cartridge Company in 1907 allowed UCC merger into Western Cartridge Company.[4] The company trademark
morphed into Super-X as the Maltese cross became associated with World War I Germany.

John Olin, the son of founder Franklin W. Olin, improved shotgun cartridge designs in the 1920s by using harder
shot and progressive burning powder.[5] Western produced 3 billion rounds of ammunition in World War II, and
the Winchester subsidiary developed the U.S. M1 carbine and produced the carbine and the M1 rifle during the
war. Western ranked 35th among United States corporations in the value of wartime production contracts.[6]
Cartridges made by Western are stamped WCC. Western Cartridge Company produced the now collectible
"Western Xpert" brand of shotgun shells in both 12 and 16 gauge sizes.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I didn’t realize that Olin grew out of Western and didn’t exist before WWII.

Reference the question in my previous post. I don’t think there is a character before the “W.C.Co.” on the early “Target” box.



I have sent the PDF file on the history of Western to Lew who will pass it on for placing on the IAA web site.


The character before W.C.Co. in the upper left back corner is a C in circle , “copyright”.

I have 10 different Western “Target” boxes, .30-40 Krag. None have “Division of Olin Industries”. A couple have product codes.
All have red “Western” in script, top front, above the cartridge art. Many have various patent numbers on the back. All of mine are pre-WW2.


all in the same order top to bottom
top box - lot “A7SH31” in small black rubber stamp on the right end flap & box is missing the left end flaps
middle - Right flap has a large black rubber stamp “A1DD12A” lot & “VI” in the inside left end flap
bottom -
85PN4” black rubber stamp lot number right end flap. & the same side inner flaps are printed with the carton makers logo which is a capital A with an elongated cross bar which goes well past the legs of the A. looks like “Galtc?” or “Oaltic?” ?

Great Pete!!! Many thanks.


These primer packets seem to be the latest Western I have, unless the grey with blue print type are considered & those which I have show the same two ownership names / address that these below show.

Corresponding to the location in the photos, the lot numbers on these are: EDITED to add somehow when I hit submit button these moved so now the top two show the backs below them & the Division of Olin did the same.

“F D 21 B!” and to the right "84 PF 61"
“YE71L5” and to the right "4Y(<-?)E7 L66"
“ABH3” and to the right “3YF71 1 16”

Perhaps our code breaker dArtagnan or you Lew, can give us some date break downs on these?

I’m not sure what the “G” after the 8 1/2 on the middle left packet means, but perhaps it notes glass was used?

Pete, Your 32 S&W box dates from tip to bottom:

  • Aug 1941
  • Apr 1950
  • Dec 1950 Note this one indicates the Winchester-Western Division.

The 1941 and 1950 loads were actually produced by Winchester in New Haven. You may want to check and see if the headstamps are any different.

The primers may use the same code, but I have no idea. The following is just a guess.

Tip two, pre-WWII: 1933 and 1939
Middle two: Post WWII: Both 1947
Bottom two: Post WWII: 1948 (made in New Haven) and 1947

Again, Just a guess!


I have received some great help from IAA members off the Forum and with my boxes and Pete’s help here. I have learned a lot.

I will be writing a more detail article for the IAA Journal after I do a bit more work, but wanted to share some preliminary info on the forum.

First, it looks like there are nine distinct styles of the Yellow & Blue “Target” boxes dating from the late 1920s until at least 1959. All the styles do not show up in all calibers of pistol cartridges. In fact, all styles may not show up on any particular caliber. This is because most companies, including Western procured boxes in quantity and used these until they were gone. When they bought the next boxes in a caliber, the procured the current design. If any box designs were introduced and superseded during the period would not occur in that caliber. This is particularly true of ammunition with low rates of consumption, like both 30 Luger and 9mm Luger during the pre-WII period. More commonly used ammunition like 32ACP, 380, 38 Special and 45 ACP are more likely to be found in more box styles than 30 Luger.

The following are some hints that seem to be true based on the information I have.

  1. If the red Lubaloy is on the right of top label with lubricating alloy under it the box is from ~1945 or earlier.

  2. If the back of the box has a red "Western" below the cartridge drawing it is probably pre-WWII
  3. If there is no K???T product code but there is the red “Western”, then the box is probably early 1930s

  4.  If the box has the red "Western" on the back and the text on the back only has patent dates but not patent numbers, the box is probably late 1920s or perhaps very early 1930s
  5.  Box with "Division of Olin Industries Inc." on the back is after 1944 (in use in 1945)
  6. A box with a K???T product number is probably pre September 1952. After this the product number was 32AP or something similar

  7. Patent numbers listed in the text on the back of the box is ~1945 or earlier

  8. Winchester-Western Division on back means it is after 1958

It looks like after mid-1946 or so all Western 9mmP made in East Alton had WRA headstamps and was packed in Red and Yellow Winchester boxes.

Hope this was interesting.


How the heck did I miss this topic until now? Anyway, I recently evaluated my Western and Winchester non-corrosive primers boxes and the lot numbers given for the six primer boxes pictured are:
F D 21 B = 12 April 1932
84 PF 61 = 16 June 1939
Seems the “(Contain No Glass)” is an indicator of 1930’s Western. I haven’t any of these boxes nor had I seen one before today.
YE71L5 = 17 May 1947 (primer compound) Lot 5 (corrosive!)
4YE7 L66 = 7 May 1947 Lot 66
ABH3 = 3 August 1948
Above is Winchester production with a Western label, indicated by imbedded A, and lack of primer compound lot number starting in 1947.
My two boxes are ABL8 (8 October 1948) EAG21 (12 July 1951)
3YF71 1 16 = 17 June 1947 Lot (the 1 is an L) 16
I’ll get back to you on the ammo boxes.