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  CENTERFIRE SHOT SHELLS Page 1

 

SHOT SHELL
HEADSTAMP IDENTIFICATION

 

Note: Exact  Shotgun Cartridge Identification requires the identification of both the headstamp, primer and the shell case. Many companies, such as Winchester may only place a "Winchester" headstamp on the cartridge base for various models of shot shells which are very different from each other. For example, the "Winchester" only headstamp is used on Winchester Standard loads, Winchester Magnum Loads, Winchester Duck and Pheasant Loads and various other Winchester shot shells as well as shells loaded by many different companies. It is therefore important to note what is written on the shell casing itself (either on the top wad or written on the casing) to aid in the identification of the shell. The color of the plastic or paper hull as well as the case size and the size of the brass rim must also be taken in to consideration for identification purposes, as well as the color, size and type of primer used. Primer size, color, type and size have changed over the years and can sometimes give an idea to the age of a shell.

    The contents of the shell is also of great importance to proper identification. Sometimes the contents are marked, other times not. (If you look at the very top of the shell, on most older paper shells, there should be a paper cap that displays the powder and shot type). This may require further inspection and research by the collector to determine just what you have. Shells may be made with Black Powder or smokeless powder. The casing may be paper, plastic or Metal (usually brass or Aluminum). The shell may be loaded with a slug or shot (size 0000 all the way up to #12 or dust shot), with the shot being made of either lead, steel, copper, bismuth or tungsten etc.

On some headstamps (Especially Brass) there may also be an A or a B after the gauge. This is mainly used to represents the shell type or lot by some manufactures, for others it indicates the ability of the shell to be reloaded. For other manufactures, the A or B has represented the powder (Smokeless or not). Also keep in mind, that in some cases, the Letter can actually represent an alternate gauge. An example is a 20A UMC shell that has been found to actually be the rare 18 Gauge shell. The 20A also exists in greater quantities in the 18 Gauge. The guess is that UMC used surplus 20 gauge shells to make the experimental 18 gauge shells. Many gauges also have various lengths. There are a lot of variable to shotshells and often the box is the only surefire way to date the shell.  

Metal Detectorists often find shell heads and I am often asked for values on these shells. Unfortunately to Cartridge collectors, just the heads of these shells are absolutely value less. Shells that are collected by collectors need to be shells with the full paper or plastic casing and in good shape. Full shells are even more desirable than empty shells.

Gauge can also vary, and include both standard and Metric Sizes, as well as a Collath system of gauges which is entirely different.

Some more common "known" gauges are:

0 gauge 1 gauge 2 gauge 3 gauge (rare)
4 gauge 8 gauge 10 gauge 11 gauge (rare)
12 gauge 14 gauge 16 gauge 18 gauge (rare)
20 gauge 24 gauge 28 gauge 32 gauge
410 gauge 6mm (CF and Rimfire) 7mm (CF & RF) 9mm (CF&RF)
12mm 14mm .310 Remington skeet 5mm Wingo

  

US SHOTSHELL  HEADSTAMPS

(Please note: Headstamps may have one or both of the markings listed. EX: A Western Field shotshell  may have just "Western" on the brass, while the same type of shell may also be marked "Western Field" on another base). The second name generally represents the brand name or purpose of the shotshell and may be either stamped on the base or written on the cartridge case itself. ** Some US shotshell manufacturers used a steel base instead of brass, during WWII.

( Dates after shells indicate dates of known manufacture. Dates after company name indicates known dates of the company being in business.  An * after the shell represents the shell is generally a brass shotshell, but the headstamp may be found on others)

 

ALCAN (Alcan Cartridge Company)
1951 - 1971 purchased by Fiocchi and S&W

(See More shotshells after the Company Listings)

Double Eagle (Alcan)

Alcan Inc
Alcan Incorporated
Alcan Basic


 

Alcan
Alcan Alcan


 

Alcan USA
 

                 

  

AMERICAN AMMUNITION Co.
(1910 - 1922)

A.A Co. Long Brass 
A.A Co. Nitro
American Jackrabbit
Automatic Ejector 
Red Devil 
Red Devil's, A.A Co.

Steel Lined



A.A Co. Jackrabbit


 

 

 
 

AMERICAN BUCKLE and CARTRIDGE CO
(1884, purchased by the Ammunition Manufacturers Assoc,  (Winchester, and USC Co.)

A.B.C No (gauge) 
A.B. &C Co.
I.X.L No (Gauge) &

Special (Gauge)

some have circles and designs around lettering. Others are plain

 

AMERICAN CARTRIDGE and AMMUNITION CO. (1922-?)

Standard 
American 
American Eagle


 

Black Prince

 

 

AMERICAN AMMUNITION Co.(1901-1906)
  A.M.C & A Co.

 

AMRON Corp (1956 - Present. Primarily Government loadings for Military use)
  Amron                                            Amron G.W

 

AUSTIN CARTRIDGE Co. (1895 - 1909, purchased by Western Cartridge Co.)

A.C Co. 
AC Co. 
AC Co., Eagle
AC Co., Alert 

AC Co., Bang


 

AC Co., Crackshot


 

AC Co, Invincible
Austin Ct'ge Co. 
A.A Co., Flash


 

AC Co., Advance 


 

AC Co., Reliance 
A.C Co., Winner

               

BROWNING

Browning 
Browning, Power
Browning, Hi-Power
Beretta

CLINTON CARTRIDGE COMPANY
(1904 to ?, owned and operated by Sears Roebuck, shells usually made by Federal)
 

CC Co. 
C.C Co.
Clinton Cartridge Co.
C.C Co., Pointer 
C.C Co. Mallard 
C.C Co. Extra Range

 

COLT FIREARMS
  Colt                                              Colt Industries

 

DELAWARE CARTRIDGE Co.
(1860 - 1888)
 

D.C Co.
D.C Co. Wil Del
X
(raised)
ST
D in a diamond
-
-
-

 

FEDERAL CARTRIDGE COMPANY
(1922 to present, prior to 1922 was called Federal Cartridge and Machine Co. with same Federal Headstamps)Currently owned by ATK (along with Speer, Estate, RCBS, Weaver etc)
 

Duck Symbol
Duck Symbol Gold Medal
Federal
  
Federal Cartridge
Federal Tungsten
Federal Gold Medal
Federal Hi Power 
Federal Monark
  
FC Monark
Duck Symbol made in usa


 

Federal Reliable
Federal Steel

GAMBLES Stores
(1956 -)
     

Gambles
Gambles  Ace
Gambles, Tiger

G & S
Gambles S&G


 

Hiawatha
Hiawatha Airway
Hiawatha Ace

 

HERTERS
(1959 -present, although now the Company name is being used by Cabelas, it is not the same as the original Company )

Herters
Herters Universal
Herters USA
Johnson
Herters Pat


 

-

 

HUNTER ARMS COMPANY
(1888 - ?, formerly L.C Smith)

Made By WRA Co for them

H.A Co.
Hunter
L.C Smith

 

INDEPENDENT CARTRIDGE Co.(1910 - 1913)
  I.C Co.                                          I.C Co. Rocket

 

MERIDIAN FIREARMS CO
(1904 - ? usually made shells for the Early Sears Roebuck Co.)

Pointer, MFA Co.                 or                       M.F.A Co.

 

MONTGOMERY WARDS

Pictures of Wards Headstamps

Wards
 Red Head
Wards Hawthorne
-
Montgomery Wards
Hawthorne Reliance
Hawthorne Long Range
MW Read Head
Red Head Triumph (Rare)
Red Head Long Range
Red Head D.N Oval
Red Head Reliance

 

  OLIN Corporation
(purchased Winchester Western in 1944)
  Olin                                             Olin, Red Meteor

 

  OLYMPIA Cartridges
  Olympia                                      Olympia, USA

 

  PETERS
(1887 to 1934, combined with Remington in 1934)

Pictures of Peters Headstamps


Peters
Peters HV
Peters HV (Large P around Primer)
Peters Victor (Large P around Primer)
Peters Referee (Large P around Primer)
Peters Target (Large P around Primer)
Peters League (Large P around Primer)
Peters Premier (Large P around Primer)
Peters High Gun (Large P around Primer) Peters Skeet Load (Large P around Primer) Peters Ideal (Large P around Primer) P.C Co.
P.C Co. Quickshot
P.C Co. Victor
P.C Co League
P.C Co Prize

Peters Deluxe Target

Peters Quickshot

Peters High Gun

Peters QS

Peters Tru Blue
Peters Prize
Peters New Victor
Peters Ideal
PETERS  REINFORCED
Peters No (Gauge)

P.C.C League (some have chain symbols around primer)

-

 

  REMINGTON
(E Remington: 1870-1890. Remington 1890-1911 then Combined with UMC to form
  REM-UMC from 1911-1934. 1934 Dupont buys out Rem-UMC & Peters to form Remington Arms Co. as it still stands today)

Pictures of Rem-UMC Headstamps


E Remington & Sons
Remington
Remington No (Gauge)
R-P
Remington Peters
Remington Peters Nitro
Arrow Express
Remington Peters RXP
Remington RXP
Remington Arrow
Remington Mohawk
Remington Shurshot

Nitro Express

Remington Express

Remington Best

Remington UMC

Remington UMC Arrow

Remington UMC Lightning

Remington UMC New Club

Rem-UMC Industrial

Rem-UMC Economy
Rem-UMC Remington
Rem-UMC
Rem-UMC Nitro
Rem-UMC Shurshot
Rem-UMC Nitro Club
Rem-UMC Arrow
REM-UMC Best

 

  ROBIN HOOD POWDER COMPANY
(Later Robin Hood Arms Co.)
(1887 to 1916)
Pictures of RHA Headstamps


R.H.P Co. 
Robin Hood
R.H.P Co., Robin Hood
R.H.P Co., 1903 
R.H.A Co., Automatic
R.H.A Co., Indian 
R.H.A Co., Eclipse
R.H.A Co., Tiger
R.H.A Co.
R.H.A Co., Robin Hood
R.H.A Co., No (Gauge)
2 arrows
R.H.A Co., Crescent 
R.H.A Co., Clipper
arrow (symbol), RHA Co., arrow (symbol)
R.H.A Co., Autocrat 
R.H.A Co., Capital 
R.H.P Co., Comet
Robin Hood, Champion 
Robin Hood, New Rival

 

SEARS
Pictures of Sears Headstamps


SR&Co. 
Sears and Roebuck
SR&Co., J.C Higgins
SR&Co., Mallard 
XTRA-RANGE, S.R & Co.
SR & Co., Pointer
JC Higgins
-
-

 

  SOUTHERN CARTRIDGE CO (Savannah, GA)
1909 - 1914

S.C Co. 

 S.C Co., Star
S.C Co., Dixie

 

SOUTHERN CARTRIDGE CO  (Houston, TX)
1923 - 1929 shells only made from 1923-1924

So. C. Co. 
SO. C. Co Retriever


 

SO.C. Co. Dixie

 

UNION METALLIC Co.
(1867-1911. Combined with Remington to form REM-UMC from 1911-1934. 1934 bought out by Dupont to from Remington Arms Co., as it still stands today)
  (Headstamps may have periods in between letters.)

Pictures of UMC Headstamps


UMC
UMC Co.
UMC Co. Arrow
UMC Arrow
UMC Club
UMC Co. Club
UMC Trap
UMC Co. Trap
UMC Walstrode
UMC Co. Nitro Club
UMC Co. Nitro
UMC Nitro Club
UMC Union
UMC No (gauge)
UMC Co. Magic
UMC Co. Lightning
UMC Co. VL&D
UMC Co. Primrose Club
UMC Co. Majestic
UMC Co. New Club
UMC Co. Challenge
-
UMC Co. Black Club
UMC Co. Sureshot
UMC Co. High Base
UMC Co. Bridgeport CT*
UMC Nimrod
UMC Co. Acme
UMC Co. Field
UMC Co. Expert*
UMC Co. No (gauge)*
-

 

US CARTRIDGE COMPANY
(1864 to 1926, then purchased by Winchester)
  (Headstamps may have periods in between letters.)

Pictures of USC Co. Headstamps


USC Co.
US
US Ajax
US Climax
US Romax
US New Climax
USC Co. First
USC Co. Second
USC Co. Rapid
USC Co. Star
USC Co. Selby
USC Co. Defiance
USC Co. New Rapid
USC Co. No. (gauge)*
USC Co. XX
USC Co. Lowell
Lowell Extra
-
-
-

 

WANDA CARTRIDGES
1965 - 1972

Marked "Wanda" in either Red, Blue, Green or Yellow plastic casings.
  Tri Test           or                     M (with lines over each column of the M to signify T's)


 

 

WESTERN AUTO (1955 to ?)

Revelations
Revelations, WA
Western Auto
WA

 

WESTERN CARTRIDGE COMPANY
(1898 to 1932. In 1932 Western purchased WRA to form  Winchester Western which lasted until 1944. In 1944 Olin Industries re-organized the company in to Winchester Western Division of the Olin Industries)

Pictures of Western Headstamps


Western 
Western, Field 
Western, Higrade
Western, Record
Western ,Super X
Western, Sureshot
Western, Xpert
Western, Special
Western, Velox
Western, Marvel 
Western, New Chief
Western, Peerless
W.C Co.
W.C Co., Marvel
W.C Co., Peerless
W.C Co., New Chief
W.C Co., Essex
W.C Co., Velox
Western AA
-

 

WINCHESTER
(formerly New Haven Arms from 1860 to 1866. From 1866 to 1932 operated as The Winchester Repeating Arms Company until it was purchased by Western in 1932. 1932 became Winchester Western which lasted until 1944. In 1944 Olin Industries re-organized the company in to Winchester Western Division of the Olin Industries)

Pictures of Winchester Headstamps


MORE US Headstamps
 in brackets is the company name who makes the shell,
a "?" denotes that I can not find who the actual maker is.
 * = mainly all brass shells

Acme (Acme GI Company)

Acme GI Company* (same as name)
A.C Hobbs (patent date)* 
  
Activ (Activ Industries 1985-)

 

A.H Fox (snap caps)

A.L Howard or Standard  (A.L Howard Company)* 1887-1884
Also used headstamps: N.Y.C and NY Club

Allens Pat (Ethan Allen 1860-1872)*

 

American Standard (Cussins & Fern Co.)

Amer.Rock Express

Baker & Co. (W. H Baker & Co. 1870-1888)*

 
Bailey Gas-Leak Proof (Charles A Bailey)
B.E.L.L(Brass Extrusion Labs Ltd. ) Reproduction of obsolete cartridges 1975- 2007
 
Best (Best Ammunition Co.) 1905 - 1912*

 

Bismuth Cartridge Co.

Blachford Cartridge (Blachford Cartridge Works)*

Blue Chest (Chicago Shot Tower Co.

Boss

 

BRI  (Ballistic Research Industries, Ca.)

Buffalo (Tryon-Supple)

C.A Bogardus Champion (Blachford Cartridge Works,, cases by WRA Co.
(1894-1900)

C.A Co. (Chicago Arms Co.) 1880 -1915 owned by Meridian Firearms Comp

Steel Lined or Steel Nitro or Steel Special (Chicago Arms Co.)


 

Carlsbad Ammo Co (Carlsbad Ammunition Inc., Sacramento, CA)

Cassady (Bridgeport Brass Co. and WRA Co. made) 1884-1894* 


 

Catron (Catron, Carmel, CA)

  

C.C.C Mandan (Creedmore Cartridge Co.) 1890 - 1892, sold to the Ammunition Manufacturers Assoc.

C.C Co. Star (Central Cartridge Co., K.C Mo.) 1921 - 1925, purchased by Federal
 

C.C & T or C.C & T Co (Chamberlain Cartridge and Target Co.) 1883 - 1932, purchased by Remington*

C.D Leet or C.D.L Springfield (Same name) (1862-1867)

C.F.C Co. (C.F Cook Co.)

 

Charles Daly

 

Club

 

 

Conical Base, St Louis

Daws Patent

 
Dircks - Beath Ammo Co  

Double Eagle

Eclipse (Eclipse Cartridge Co.) All Plastic.1980-1985, sold to CAVIM, Venezuela. also some brass shells

 

E.C Meacham, & Co. (same as name) *

 

Estate (Estate Cartridge Co..modern ammo)

 

Eureka (California Powder Works) 1861 - ?*

Everlasting (Ideal?)

Excelsior "patent date" (?)

F.D & Co. (F Draper & Co.) 
1864 -?*

F E. Boyd Co. (1860's)* 

Fiocchi USA (Fiocchi USA Division) 

GF (Fiocchi)

Fort Dearborn (Fred Biffar & Co.)

Fowler (American Gun Implement Co.)

Fowler Plating Co. 1885 - ?

G&H Omaha

N.Y.C gauge (A.L Howard) or N.Y Club

Harts Pat (date) Newark, NJ or E Hart( Geo Hart & Co.)1873 - ?

E Hart case (Patented)

 

H.B Fisher (Same as name) some have Phila, Pa also on stamp

H. Sears & Co. *
HORNADY (Hornady Manufacturing) 

 

Henry Squires Kynoch (Squires NY)

HC&S NY

 

Hodgdon (1946-1996)* 

Holiday (Holiday Stores) 1971 - 1975

 
Hoppes (Penguin  Industries)
H.S.B & Co. (Hibbard, Spencer and Bartlett)
Ideal (Hibbard, Spencer and Bartlett)

I.F.S Co. (International Flare Signal Co.)

Imperial USA
Interarmsd
Interarms USA

 
K & Co (Unknown)
K.C & Co. (Kelsey Cartridge Co.)1884 - ? *
Kelsey Pat.Apd for (Kelsey Cartridge Co.) 1884 - ?*
Kent ( Kent Cartridge Co., WV)

Keystone (Keystone Ammunition Co., 1879 - ?)*

Krider Phila Eley (John Krider)

LC (Lake City Ammunition)

 

L.C Siner & Co. (same name)

L.C Smith (Hunter Arms Co)

L.D.F No. (Liberty Display Fireworks Co.)
Liddle & Keading
(same as name)

Liberty Bulk (Liberty Cartridge Co.) 1908 - 1917 equipment purchased by Federal

 
Lightfield (Lightfield, NJ)

LM Co. * * (Elm City Manufacturing Co.) 

 

Lowell & Co. (Lowell Cartridge Co.)

Mercury, New Trap

Mercury, Victoria (?)

Mercury (?)
Meyers Bros. (Meyers Brothers, Minnesota)
Micro Hunter
Moran (Moran Electric)
Mullerite (?)
New England Arms Co. (Same) 1980's

Nimrod, made by Alcan and WRA for White Stores.

Norwestern (Northwest Cartridge Co.)1956-1957
Noramco (Northwest Cartridge Co.)

Orion Red Meteor



Paragon, (Paragon Shell Reloading Co.)

Parker Bros West Meriden (some just say Meridian, some West Meridian and some W. Weridian), CT (same as name)*(1880 - 1934) purchased  by Dupont (Rem-UMC)
 

 
Penguin (Penguin Industries {Flares, teargas and Twinshot})
PMC
Red Star ?

RF
R.G MFG Co. (same as name)*

 

 
Roper (Roper Arms Co.)  1869-?
Savage Superior ( M.W Savage factories Inc.)



Superior Mogul or Superior Guaranteed (M.W Savage Factories Inc)
Schaefer (WM R Schaefer & Son)
S.I.C Co.  Star  or Rocket (Sportsman International Cartridge Co.)
S.C Co. (Strong Cartridge Co.) 1884 - 1887 *
 
SELBY (Selby Smelting & Lead Co.)1865 - ?
Selby, Standard (Selby Smelting and Lead Co.) 1865 - ?
S.C Co. (Sportsman cartridge Co.)1913-?, formerly I.C Co.
Smiths (Smiths Graphited Cartridge Co.)1916 - ?
S.G (S.G Brown Co.)*

Special (By IXL)

Squires (Henry G. Squires)


 

Standard


Star (Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co.)
Stoeger New York (Stoeger Arms Co.)
 
S&W-F (Smith & Wesson)
1973 - present. Made by Fiocchi

S&W (Smith & Wesson)
1973 - present. Made by Fiocchi

TEI

Tryon-Supple (Buffalo Brand)

Use Berdan Primer No 1

United Cartridge Co

Vawter Inc. (Vawter Inc)
VFM ?

V.L & A, Chicago (Von Lengerke & Antoine)

Von Lengerke & Detmold (Same). Also may have: New York, Lightning, Nitro, Kynoch etc. on headstamp

 
White Powder No. (Fred Biffar & Co.)
Whitney
Wood New York (Waterbury Brass Co.)


 

W.V Clow Co. (Same) 
W.V Clow Co., Sentinel (Same as name)
(Worchester Cartridge Co.) : "Second Quality" 1885-?

ZULU (?)


 

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