What year did UMC start headstamping center fire cartridges


I’m trying to determine when UMC began applying headstamps to their center fire rifle and pistol cartridges. I have always assumed it was in the mid-1880s, but I have no evidence to support that. The early UMC catalogs don’t have illustrations of their CF rifle and pistol cartridges, so there’s no help there. They do illustrate the shotgun shells, but I believe these were never unheadstamped. Any help would be appreciated.


The .45-70 cartridge was headstamped R 9 78 B and R 10 78 B, September and October, 1878. The R 45 70 B also dates from this time frame. Somewhere, but unable to locate at the present time, I have info that shows UMC began using the impressed U.M.C.CO. and caliber, (or no caliber in some instances) in November, 1884. The UMC Ledger indicates that the U.M.C. S H raised headstamps came along in November, 1886. These, of course, exist in only a few calibers and were used for a very short time. I have always used 1887 as the year when pretty much everything was being headstamped, with the exception of calibers that never were; many of the Sharps cartridges, for instance.


Thanks for that information, Randy My interest stems from my having found a couple of UMC pistol cartridge boxes (.41 Colt Short DA and .32 Long Colt) which have no headstamps on the cartridges in the boxes or the on illustration of the cartridge on the labels. I’m still awaiting their arrival, but a similar box that sold in Wards auction is shown here:

Perhaps I haven’t been looking hard enough in the past, but I have never seen one of these boxes without the headstamp on the illustration before. The box appears to have the round corners that began in 1883, so I suppose that would indicate it was made between 1883 and 1887??