Winchester .44 Flat Rimfire "Loaded in France"

Does anyone have information about Winchester .44 Flat Rimfire boxes labeled “Loaded in France”? Variations, dates, rarity? They are not mentioned in “One Hundred Years of Winchester Cartridge Boxes” by Ray Giles and Daniel Shuey.

could you give us some more detail? Just as a side, could ‘loaded in France’ really mean loaded in Belgium do you think?

Vince, between early 1900’s and mid 1930’s Winchester made a series of special labels without any mention of the company name and with an unusual notation which reads “Loaded in France”; however, the original contents of these boxes are new primed empty cases, which means that these would be eventually loaded in France. The explanation given by Giles and Shuey is that they were sent to France as NPE shells to avoid French import taxes on loaded ammunition. Some rare caliber variations were indeed found only in France, either as original NPE shells or locally loaded cartridges.

Hi Fede
For what it’s worth I’ve seen one here in Jim’s stuff but don’t remember load details & such. Typical orange color & bi-lingual text. Think it did come down over the ends but it might have just been a top label, as I said details are sketchy.
I only have a 22 Short Super Speed in my collection.
You want a photo of it?
We’ve sold other labels in past sales, all just labels, & I can’t recall seeing a labeled box.
Sorry to not be of more help.

All these “Loaded in France” cartridges did only exist because the French "Monopole of Poudres et Salpêtres", which was the one and only facility authorized to make gun powder in the country, so eventually imported ammo would have been as separate components, to be loaded on the spot (this giving also a good lot of work to local ammunition factories…!).
Conversion to the indigenous powders was also also somewhat tricky, and gave some headaches…

European made ammo was not subject to this kind of regulations, so the German or Belgian brands, for instance, were not “loaded in France”.

Anyway, selling imported loaded ammunition was theoretically not allowed (but for very scarce calibers), being heavyly taxed by the Customs administration.

Even if things changed a lot during WWI (for obvious reasons), these conditions went on for a very long time, only being suppressed in the late 50ies.


Pete, I have seen those offered in your past sales, and if possible I would like to see a picture of that .22 Short box. Thanks a lot for your help.

Phillippe, thank you very much for your comments. I believe that these may have been made for Manufacture Française d’Armes et Cycles de Saint-Etienne, as otherwise I cant’ explain who was their source for some American cartridges shown in their early catalogs that were not made in Europe at that time, like .35 and .351 WSL. I’m not aware of “Loaded in France” boxes in these calibers, however, but new variations show up from time to time. In some other cases the other alternative provider must have been Eley.




A few years ago Domi sent me some images of a “Loaded In France” box for .401 WSL. It has a label on the inside of the top half of the box that is a disclaimer by Winchester Repeating Arms about the contents being primed shells and their assumming of no responsibility for the loading. Interestingly, the box is filled with loaded rounds headstamped “ART.W.401 2 16 ECP” and perhaps other quarters of 1916.

I assume the cases so headstamped were not original to the box as I have been led to believe they were made in France.

Domi indicated that the photos were from an auction that took place sometime before they were sent to me. Let me know if you are interested in seeing them.


Dave, yes, it would be great if you can share those pictures with me, thanks. The disclaimer inside of the top half is one of the characteristics present in all these “Loaded in France” boxes.

Dave, I think this is the same box as yours:


Yes, that is the box. Hope it has found a nice home!

(Please disregard PM sent)


I received a .32 S&W ‘Loaded in France’ box in a trade with a French collector in 2002. At that time, Dan Shuey advised that it’s 12-10 label was the earliest he had seen, and that it was only the second for handgun cartridges that he had seen. The box would have been produced sometime in 1912 or after based on the 5-12 date code on the notice inside the box top.

Guy, great box! Thank you very much for sharing this picture.

The earliest date code I have seen is 4-9 (April 1909) found in .44 Flat RF.

An other box “loaded in France”.

For Guy : I am the French collector who exchanged the 32 S&W box.


Yves, another great box! Thanks for posting this.

Thanks again for the box, it’s the only one I’ve managed to locate for my collection. We need to consider working on another trade.

Interesting this is Super Speed, so no earlier than 1925, no codes, nor does it say Winchester.

OAL is about 6.5 inches, & the unprinted ends have been cropped out in the photo.

The boxes shown are just GREAT ! Very cool!

Pete, great label! Thank you very much for sharing.

Found another, misfiled. This one has a blue rubber stamp on the back “JUN 3 11 25 AM 1939”

Pete, thanks again!