WWII shotshells


I was told that this ammo was used by US Army during WWII, see “US Property” mark at the bottom. Was there something special about shotshells inside this box? I don’t see any Army markings.


A wide variety of shotshells were used by U.S. military in WW2, some for combat (the 00 buck loads) and also for riot control,prison guard, etc type duties. The vast bulk of it was No. 7 1/2 or 8 shot size used for training aerial gunners about hitting moving targets. (Hmm, 4-5 gunners per B17 or B-24 x tens of thousands of crews x hundreds of rounds- that’s a LOT of ammo!)
Some other shot sizes (No. 4, 6) seem to have been for pest control type use, and since it was still an era in which pigeons were used to carry messages, some were designated as “hawk loads” to keep the [enemy?] hawks from eating “our” pigeons and their messages.
Ammo was provided by most of the major makers, and initially in their commercial style 25 round cartons with “U.S. PROPERTY” added somewhere. Later most seem to have switched to generic black on tan or white boxes with just the nomenclature, lot number and maker. To a limited extent, 10 round boxes were adopted near the end of the war for some loads, with the generic style markings.
I intend to put together an article for the Journal on these, but don’t promose when it will be done.


Just to add a few other observations . . . .

Some of the training of air gunners involved running them around an oval or circular track shooting skeet from the rear of the moving trucks to teach lead, often tracer loadings which allowed the trainees / inspectors to judge where the trainees were going wrong. I’ve had several boxes of Remington CW steel head tracer loads which contained a variety of overall lengths - clearly the hulls were saved and reloaded MANY times.

On many Stateside bases, the rec officers had access to a few civilian arms and a few boxes of shells which were made available in season to personnel on R&R for bird / small game hunting.

Bottom line, there were a lot of shot loads used by the US military in WW2, for a variety of purposes.