The Demise of the “Western Cartridge Company”, being subsumed into the “Olin Corporation”, is typical of what has happened with Multinational Globalization, Mergers, outright acquisitions, and cross-Border “Cartels” in the Small Arms Ammunition Trade. Takes one back to the shenanigans of pre-WW I Germany and “DWM”.
It is common nowadays for a Particular headstamp to be retained in use, whilst the cases are drawn and often filled in a Third country. Sometimes, indications of “Lot Origin” are included in the Headstamp, such as Dots etc, sometimes, not.
This is common in both Military design and Civilian type ammo.
“Winchester” (Olin) has an arrangement with S&B to make “Soviet Bloc” calibres of ammo, given that S&B has the expertise and tooling, whilst Winchester has not made 7,62x54R since the Finland Contract of 1940!!!
Olin, the founder of Western Cartridge, did so because there was needed a New Ammo maker away from the oligopoly of Remchester in New England…so Olin (a chemical engineer, by training) set up in East Alton, Illinois. Their success during WW I with Imperial Russian Contracts led to them eventually Buying up control of Winchester (Ammunition) when WRA fell upon hard times…for DoD contractual reasons, separate headstamps were maintained during WW II, and after. Eventually the Hartford WRA Plant was closed, and staff and machinery transferred to E.Alton…and some(previously) sold to Israel (in 1946-48) but that is another story…
The Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation was the outgrowth of Olin’s Chemical industries (Explosives, etc), which also led to the Development of Fluid processing of Nitro Powder (so called “Ball Powder”) in the late 1940s, early 1950s.
Eventually, as occurs regularly, the individual “corporate” entities became simple trademarks, utilised by “divisions” of the Holding Corporation, hence the listing of “Olin” as the supplier/contractor/etc; the older Corporate structures, with stockholders etc, had been liquidated long ago.
For people ( and foreign observers) not familiar with US Corporations Laws and structures, it would seem that there are many ammo companies in the US Market…yet there are only three Big ones…Olin, Alliant, and Remington; all of which are much changed from their originating companies
(most of the “Brands” belong to one or other of Olin and Alliant; only Remington is still “Stand-alone” in the Ammo market.)
Because of Globalization, many National Ammo factories cross supply with others, as their contracts specify “Supply” rather than “manufacture” for Gov’t Contracts.
Case in Point: ADI (Australian Defence Industries) Wholly owned by Thales of France, has an Ammo supply contract with the DoD Australia till 2017, or so, for small arms (etc) ammunition. Even though they have built a New Plant at Benalla, Victoria, it only makes on a regular basis, 5,56mm Ball and in every three or so years, Blank; all manufacture of 7,62 Nato ceased in 1993, with the closure of Footscray, Melbourne, and other calibres were likewise deleted.(9mm P, .50cal) Subsequently, 7,62mmBall & Blank is sourced in Israel(TZ) Korea(PSD) Belgium (FNB) and some lots of Blanks from FNM (Portugal) when it was still in operation; .50 cal was restarted with new machinery in 1999, alternating Ball and Blank, but “top-up” supplies still come from Israel, Korea and FNB(as late as 2004).
True commercialism, with no sense of Strategic capacity or reserve…all our 9mm P use is supplied by WCC ( since the 1990s), and CBC(Magtech). Lately there have been some lots of Swedish FFV CG 9mm (Carl Gustav) 2004 coming throiugh the system…
This is happening all over the world outside of the former Socialist mega Powers…and even the Russians etc. are subcontracting for Western Suppliers…Be assured, countries like the PRC and Vietnam, and Russia itself, will never have to rely on “Outside supplies” to keep up requirements of SAA.
Not like the US, whose shortsightedness allowed capacity to run down so much that when Iraq and Afghanistan started, their “reserves” of ammo (esp. 7,62 Nato) soon ran low, not to mention 5,56…and they had to source ammo from “Offshore” locations, just to maintain training levels…Lake City, currently operated by Alliant (“Federal-Hercules-etc”) seems to be clawing back its supply rates…
Regards, Doc AV