Was WRA Co. headstamped 7.62x54R exported for military use? Not the “W” and date headstamps, but the actual WRA Co. headstamp. I haven’t seen these cartridges in military packaging but there are proof rounds and dummies. Anyone out there know and if so, who they were sold to?
Hendere - I don’t collect 7.62 x 54R so I am not sure if your information about W.R.A.Co. 7.62 Russian being only found in proof and dummy is right. If you are correct, and I am NOT saying that you are not, that would be a good indication that the loads were made for in-house use in proof firing and function testing rifles of that Caliber. I don’t know when the rounds in questions were made, but Winchester sold a large quantity of Winchester Model 1865 rifles, in military-style furniture and caliber 7.62 x 54R, to Russia. They would have needed both dummies and proof loads. I can’t for sure that is why they were made - I am just offering an avenue for further research.
Admittedly, by the way, the tinned proofs in this cartridge seem to be relatively common. I can’t speak for the dummy rounds or any normal ball rounds. Usually, loads like proof loads, if exported, especially to a country like Russia that was pretty closed off from the West for so many years, would not be found hardly at all in the US, as it is not the kind of ammunition that is sold of as surplus and reimported to the American market. The point being that they are common enough 75 or more years later among collectors in the US that to me, it makes it unlikely they were made for export, or at least that they actually were exported.
Remington made Mosin Nagants also, but I can’t see them buying proof loads and dummies from Winchester.
I’m sorry, I wasn’t clear. There are both copper tip and FMJ loads as well as the proof and dummies. I have a box of the copper tip cartridges, so I know they were sold for U.S. shooters, but I’m wondering if the ammo was ever sold to Russia or anyone else.
It would appear that this ammunition was commercial. The W.R.A.Co. headstamp was used for a long time, so I have no idea when these specific rounds (and types) were made. The proof loads certainly were not for commercial sale, and still could relate to the sale of the Model 1895 Winchester rifles to Russia, depending on when the ammo and the rifles were made. I don’t know why else proof loads would have been made by Winchester, or why they would be fairly common in the U.S. if not meant for use here. If anyone can date the ammunition specifically, I can probably date the manufacture of the Winchester rifles. I will even look for the ammunition in Shuey’s books tomorrow. Too late tonight for me to do anymore research.
I find that Shuey is not too much help on the 7.62 x 54R Russian round. He does say, however, that the 1914 contract for Russia for the Winchester Model 1895 rifles had a headstamp of “W” and the year (ie: “W 1914”), not W.R.A. Co.
Winchester delivered 293,816 Model 95 Muskets to Russia in the years 1914-1916.
Shuey also notes a contract loading for Finland in 1939-1940, with presumably, from context, had the W.R.A.Co. headstamp, but does not elaborate on the subject. No records of any contract for Russia after the WWI-era contract were found, according to Shuey.
Just added this information as promised. It does not seem to help answer the question, however.
Reference: “W.R.A.Co.” Volume II, by Daniel Shuey, Page 201.
Reference: “The Winchester Book,” by George Madis, Page 482
Thanks for the input guys. I have the Shuey books and I’ve wondered if maybe the Finland comment actually applies to W40 headstamped cartridges and not the WRA headstamp. American made boxes of 7.62R made around 1917 for Russia by Remington, Western, and U.S.C.Co are fairly common in the U.S., but I have never seen a WRA box other than the commercial ones. All of this makes me think that the WRA headstamp was only made for the U.S. commercial market. But I still can’t figure out why there are proof loads.
Hendere - if the tinned-case, brass-primer proof loads can date to the 1914-1916 era, than they were probably made up for the in-house proofing of the 1895 Winchesters delivered to Russia. The only other answer might be that they were made for Remington for proofing of the Mosin rifles they made.
I consider the second option remote. The fact that they show up in the U.S. with some regularity indicates to me that they were made to be used here. Again, it is not the sort of ammo that generally “comes back” in imports of surplus ammunition.
I have no way to date those proof loads, other than within the life of the headstamp use, since I don’t collect “WRACo” headstamps as a complete field, nor the 7.62 x 54R cartridge.
I tend to agree with you about the Finnish contract, although Shuey usually notes when something he mentions is NOT with the W.R.A.Co. headstamp that is the subject of his books.
Mr. Moss, I think you are correct. I don’t have a way of dating them, but I bet the proofs were made for use here on the 1895s. I just today received my birthday present, a copy of “Soumalaiset Sotilaspatruunat 1918-1945” by Mika Pitkanen ja Timo Simpanen. It shows the fancy W 40 headstamp as being from the New Haven plant and the plain W 40 headstamp as being from East Alton. No mention of the WRA Co. headstamp. I’m going to believe that the WRA Co. headstamped rounds didn’t leave the U.S. until someone shows me otherwise.
Another possible use of the proofs is the New England Westinghouse M91 rifles as I’m fairly certain they did not make ammo.
7.62x54r - Yes, that is another thought. I had forgotten about the Westinghouse Mosin’s, and the fact that, I don’t believe Westinghouse had any relationship with Remington. Does anyone know if there was any corporate tie between them at all?
I am still inclined to believe they were for the Model 1895 rifles at Winchester, both the guns and ammo being of Winchester manufacture. That is, if they date from that period.
These cartridges were supplied to the republican side during the spanish civil war.
They were ball loads with “L” style bullets.
Headstamp was W.R.A.Co. 7.62 m/m RUSS
The packaging had this inscription, according to an ammunition recovery manual from 1942:
RUSSIAN POINTED FULL PATCH
Made in U.S.A.
Manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Co.
New Haven, Conn. U.S.A.
Adapted to the Mossin and Winchester Model 1895 Repeating Rifles
Wow, I never stopped to think about Spain. Thanks Schneider. I really need to go there and buy some ammo! This box sounds familiar, but I don’t have one. Anyone out there have a scan of this?