Weird .45 ACP headstamp: "TW 5"


August 21, 2011, 01:27 PM
I just received a bunch of used .45 brass and there are quite a few of these:

Obviously I would assume these were TW Fifty-something... but it seems bizarre to me that the last number would be worn in exactly the same spot.

Also it looks to be more silver than brass-colored. This is after tumbling for 8 hours in walnut with polish. It couldn't be nickel, could it? Could it be steel? :confused:

Thanks for any input.:cool:

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August 21, 2011, 01:41 PM
TW = Twin Cities Ordnance Plant, Minneapolis, Minn. according to my headstamp reference.

Mal H
August 21, 2011, 02:03 PM
Yep, Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant:

Don't know why the second digit of the year isn't showing up. That part is odd.

August 21, 2011, 02:51 PM
It will be 1945 or possibly 1955. There were a few attempts at speeding the manufacturing process over the years. I have seen this on other mil-spec ammunition. I had a bucket full of boxer primed once fired mil-spec cases built by SL (Saint Louis) and marked 7.92 over 4. I was told that it was 8MM ammunition built in 1944 by the US for air drop into the Yugoslav partisans to be used in capture Third Reich rifles and machine guns.
I loaded a lot of 8MM ammo using those cases.

August 21, 2011, 03:05 PM

August 21, 2011, 04:06 PM

But is sure did not come from TW Arsenal in 2005.....been shut down since 1999? IRC. Thanks for Slick Willy. Future home of MN Vikings!

August 21, 2011, 04:34 PM

1955 TW, TW was run by Federal, before taking over the Twin City Arsenal, Federal loaded shotgun only.

Year stamp? 4 stamp was 1944, 5 stamp was 1955, etc..

F. Guffey

August 21, 2011, 04:37 PM
Should be brass, right?

August 21, 2011, 05:00 PM
If a magnet sticks its not:)

August 21, 2011, 07:58 PM

August 21, 2011, 08:13 PM
Were you asking if what you had was brass? If so, a magnet will not stick to brass, so check it;)

August 21, 2011, 08:39 PM
sorry... misread what you typed.

August 21, 2011, 08:42 PM
Where the "5" is placed, it looks like the missing number would follow it, so it was sometime in the 1950's, and the second number stamp was omitted intentionally or by accident.

Mal H
August 21, 2011, 09:20 PM
I was thinking earlier that the digit was left off intentionally. They were putting out cartridges by the billions in that decade, so the actual year that a stockpile of brass would be loaded into ammunition might have been an unknown when the brass itself was manufactured. The decision might easily have been made to forgo the last digit since it may not have been accurate anyway.

Jim Watson
August 21, 2011, 09:25 PM
As I understand it, the headstamp for 1954 was TW 54. In 1955 they just ground the 4 off the headstamp bunter and let it come out TW 5 for (195)5. This practice is seen in other calibers, dates, and countries. Like XYZ 43, then XYZ 4. But it only works for a few such dates and they pretty much had to be either in wartime where everything was in a hurry or early postwar when budgets were low.

August 21, 2011, 10:35 PM
They look like steel, cadmium plated cases, did the magnet stick??

August 22, 2011, 12:37 PM
Yep. the seller said he'd reloaded this stuff a couple of times no issues... anyone see any problems with using this? It seemed to size and load fine. I only loaded 3 or so of these ones just to see if it would work.

August 22, 2011, 12:43 PM
55 makes sense. In order to stamp two 5's on every piece of brass they would have had to buy twice as many "5" stamps. Those were efficient times for ammo plants...

August 22, 2011, 02:11 PM
The headstamp die is machined, just like coin stamping dies. It was simpler to just machine the one number. This was common in WW II.

Steel cases won't last as long as brass cases, as they become brittle sooner. You may get one or two loadings from them before they split. I don't load steel cases from either WW II or the Korean era, since brass cases in .45 acp are so plentiful.

Hope this helps.


August 23, 2011, 01:59 AM
Fred is absolutely right, of course. I have several boxes of that same ammo in a box somewhere. It is 1955 and steel case ammo.

IIRC, I read somewhere that the steel case stuff was used mostly for training, and large quantities of it have appeared on the surplus market at times over the years. It's pretty common. I've found "ECS 43" steel case .45's from time to time also.

I used to reload them too but now I just toss them when I find them. I have more .45 brass than I'll ever load, so it's just not worth it to load the steel stuff.

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