WWII 45 ACP Ammunition

I was at my parents place over the weekend and my dad gave me a couple of sealed WWII 45 ACP spam cans. I have been looking all over the net for infomration on the contents. I have been successful finding information on one of the cans but have not been able to dig up anything on the other can.

The first M5 can is marked
600 Cartridges
Cal .45 Ball M1911
In Cartons
Lot ECS-S-25133

What I have been able to determine is that this ammo is steel cased ammo where the cases were made by the Evansville Ordnance(Sunbeam) plant and were loaded into ammo in the Evansville Ordnance (Chrysler) plant in 1944. Is there anything else I am missing? I believe the majority of this type of ammo was produced at the Chrysler plant.

The other can was just marked
600 Cartridges
In Cartons
Lot WRA 22149

I have not been able to find much information on the ammo in this can and I don’t want to open it up to take a look at it. I am assuming this was produced at the Winchester Repeating Arms plant in Ct. but not sure. Does anyone else know anything about this one? I am assuming it is rarer than the ammo produced by Evansville Ordnance but not sure. Is this brass or steel cased? Is it still considered T2AAF, even though it is not marked on the can? I have not been able to find much information about this particular loading.

Thanks for your help!

I am not good on lot numbers so I don’t know exactly when your Winchester .45 ammo was made. I will say that almost any .45 is rarer than Evansville Chrysler or its Sunbeam plant headstamped equivilent. They made so much .45 ammunition there that in late 1944, the line was shut down as even with the war predicted to go on for another two to three years (which, of course, it did not, due to the demise of Herr Hitler and the work of the “Enola Gay”), the military could not envision shooting it all up. Firstly, and foremost, was the quantity that Chyrsler, one of the miracle stories of American production in WWII, had made. Secondly, the rate of use was not as high as expected despite the increasing use of SMGs by the services, which never began to reach the levels of issue of that of the German and Russian Armies.

A great little book is “Bullets by the Billion,” part of a series of books on the various Chrysler war industries and published by the Company. If you ever have a chance, read it. It is a quick read - a couple of hours perhaps for a slow reader like me - and is fascinating.

Good acquisition. The information you have is correct. This is one of those situations wherein the sum is greater than the parts, that is, the sealed cans unopened are more valuable to a military collector (or a cartridge collector) than the total of the individual values of the boxes inside. However, if you a shooter, you may see things differently and wish to shoot it up (it’s probably still good), and that’s OK. If not, and there is no particular sentimental attachment to you, it wouldn’t be difficult to find buyers for both cans. Be aware that if you choose to shoot it, it does have corrosive priming, and cleaning your pistol with water promptly after shooting is essential.

Your Winchester ammunition is almost certainly brass-cased, as I have seen none that is not. I think EC had pretty much the monopoly on steel-cased US ammunition in WWII - They also made steel-cased .30 Carbine ammunition. There was some steel-cased .45 ACP ammunition made at the Twin Cities plant after WWII.

Regarding the T2AAF, there have been some discussions on this forum regarding WWII US ammunition ID codes, but I don’t remember the outcome about individual ammunition types. Both are loaded to the same performance specifications regardless of the code.

Following is information I posted some time ago regarding ammunition identification codes:

The first symbol: Is the letter that indicates the Standard Nomenclature List, in this case “T”, small arms ammunition that this ammo is ordered from.

The second symbol: indicates Small Arms Ammo, that is ammo of less than 30mm. It apparently can be a letter or a numeral. T1CAJ is .30 Carbine in 50 round boxes, T1EHA is .30 M2 in 8 round clips, and of course T2AAF is .45 Ball. T3ABD is 12 gauge 00 Buck. I would guess the “1” means rifle and MG, “2” means pistol or SMG, and “3” means shotgun.

The third symbol: indicates the caliber, type, and model of weapon in which the ammunition is used. As above, “C” probably means carbine, “E” could mean rifle, and “A” possibly pistol, SMG, or shotgun

The fourth symbol; indicates the type and model of the projectile, round or item concerned, e.g., ball, AP, tracer, shot, etc.

The fifth symbol: indicates the kind or method of packaging.

I have not been able to find the actual meanings of all symbols used in the AICs, but it must be available somewhere.

In my small batch of examples, I have RA 43 and FA 45 steel cased 45 Auto.


Your WRA Lot 22149 was manufactured in mid to late 1951 and is almost surely corrosive. The switch to non-corrosive took place in November 1951 and yours was probably manufactured prior to that.

Ordnance plants other than EC manufactured small quantities of steel-cased Cal .45 Ball M1911 during WWII, much of it experimental, but nothing compared with EC.


Thanks for all of the information. There is a wealth of knowledge on this board!

WRA .45 ACP ammunition changed to non-corrosive beginning with Lot 22198 in November 1951.

WRA .45 ACP steel cased lots S-22000-22007 also made with non-corrosive primers.

A complete list of U.S. 30 and .45 caliber lot numbers and dates for ahnge over to non-corrosive primers is posted in the IAA site at http://www.cartridgecollectors.org/30-06intro/ammo-nctable.htm

I did find another site with detailed information on lot numbers at which the crossover to non-corrosive primers occurred: parallaxscurioandrelicfirearmsfo … rrrHFZRfIA It differs somewhat from the (IAA) one in the previous posting.

Maybe I am misreading this, but it seems that the .45 WRA (steel case) ammo made in June 1954, lots 22000-22007, may have used corrosive primers while lot 22198 (Nov 1951) marked the change to non-corrosive primers. I assume the latter were brass-cased. I don’t understand the date disconnect with the lot numbers - were the steel-cased WRA rounds using a different lot numbering system? And were there steel-cased WRA .45 rounds made outside the 22000-22007 lot number range? It almost seems that these 1954 WRA lots might have been limited production runs in which steel cases were being tested, after the Korean War. I don’t have an extensive number of WWII-era .45 ACP rounds, but I have no WRAs having steel cases.


In 1941 WRA was assigned a block of lot numbers starting with 22000 and ending with 23999. Since each type of cartridge - Ball, AP, Tracer, etc, etc, - would have it’s own series of lot numbers, each starting with Lot 22000, it’s very likely that the steel-cased cartridges were considered unique enough to have their own series.

This can sometimes lead to confusion amongst collectors. Take for example Lake City Ordnance Plant. During WW II they were assigned lot numbers 12000 thru 13999. They were assigned additional blocks of numbers as those were used up, but M72 National Match ammunition was not manufactured by LC until 1957 and therefore, the first production is Lot LC 12000.

Confusing? You bet. And we’re only discussing a lot number system that was in place from 1941 until January 1970. There were others, both before and after that were supposed to be less confusing but often were not. I have a fairly complete tabulation of Match lot numbers and others have attempted to compile numbers for other types of ammunition, but it’s not an easy job. My list does help me to identify, date, and catolog the Match cartons and boxes but I often hear sighs and see rolling-eyes when I discuss lot numbers with non-collectors.


Therefore, it appears that Lot 22000 was the first manufacture of WRA .45 steel case ammunition, well after WWII, as there couldn’t have been any lot numbers lower than 22000 used. Interesting. So were these WRA steel-case loads corrosive primed or not? Were there any more steel case rounds made by WRA after lot 22007? I assume the S prefix to the lot number means steel.

By the way, is there a digital copy of Bullets by the Billion anywhere? I see hard copies from $10 up, but no digital copies. I just don’t want to buy any more hard copies of anything as I am out of room for books.

I have never seen a digital copy of this book. Ten bucks is a bargain for the interesting read it is and the information in it. You can always buy it, read it, and pass it on to someone else, perhaps a Verteran’s Hospital. I have done that with books I wanted to read but didn’t want to keep.


I thought Ray had mentioned a steel cased FA 42, but I see is post was deleted? At any rate my FA 42 is copper washed steel. Also known are copper washed RA 42 & cadmium plated RA 42 steel cases. Somewhat closer to this thread is a WCC 42 with a nickel plated steel case.

Yeah Pete, I did say that I had a steel cased FA 42. But I deleted the post after I took another look and found that it is a tinned brass case, making it an M1 HPT. But, there are legit steel cased Ball cartridges headstamped FA 42.


Some random observations on U.S. steel-cased ammunition in my own collection:

Frankford Arsenal made CWS-case .45 ammunition in both 1942 and 1943. My “42” round is a NUPE case and my “43” round a live round.

There are “E C 42” steel-case rounds. They have the light-gray case finish. I have them with three different headstamp layouts, so typical of Evansville Chrysler. (They are not the only ones with this finish). Oddly, they made a CWS-steel case round in 1943.

There is a steel-case R A 42 round with a dark-gray case and bullet finish. It is parkerized. My specimen has written on the side that it is a Sintered Iron bullet, but I have not personally confirmed that, as I don’t want to pull the bullet from it.

There is an F A 43 round with a yellow-chromate case finish.

The nickeled-steel case WCC 42 rounds are found with both a smooth case, and a case with one knurled cannelure. I have both in my collection.

I also just came across a W.R.A. .45 A.C. commercially-headstamped round with dark-gray-finished steel case, and also one with no headstamp, empty case, with a once-piece blackened steel bullet (separate), with a very deep concave base, which may be a sintered iron bullet - I have no real way of telling.

There are WRA headstamped and WCC headstamp steel-case rounds in 9 mm Para, also. The WCC is fairly often seen, and is in most older 9 mm collections; the WRA 9 M-M headstamped round in steel case is rare. I have both in my collection, so am not relying on memory of seeing these.

Edited to creect headstamp wording and enhance description of the cartridge case color.

Bullets by the Billion; 1946



I reported the headstamp of the W.R.A. 45 A.C. steel-case round I have in my previous posting.
It has now been edited to reflect the correct headstamp, as shown above, and to enhance the
description of the color of the case.

Should anyone be interested, Midway has spam cans of EC Steel .45 ACP WWII Ammo (600 rounds) for about $200 plus shipping. Of course it is corrosive.

It is a good example of the huge quantities of .45 ammunition made by Evansville Chrysler during WWII, that a Major dealer is today, at least 67 years later, still selling it in shooting quantities! I would be surprised, by the way, if there is a single misfire in any can!