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Winchester - Olin, Headstamp question

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by sigpro2022, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. sigpro2022

    sigpro2022 Member

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    I've notice for years there are two different fonts used in 9x18 W I N brass.
    • W I N 9MM
    • W I N 9mm
    Does anyone know why? I assume it is different plants that manufacture the brass.
     
  2. hdwhit
    • Contributing Member

    hdwhit Member

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    I don't know for certain, but it could be:
    • Different lines in the same plant. If someone reports a problem with 9mm, then they know it came from the Right-Twix line and if it was 9MM then it came from Left-Twix.
    • Different years.
    • They contract the manufacture of the tooling that produces the head-stamp out to a third-party and they have received different fonts from different manufacturers.
    • The 9mm is reserved for the budget "white box" stuff while the 9MM headstamp is reserved for the "good stuff"., or
    • The 9mm is reserved for ammunition sold through one distribution channel while the 9MM is sold through a different one.
    Unless we get someone who is intimately familiar with Winchester's operation or the company decides to explain the difference, I don't know that we'll ever be able to find out for certain.
     
  3. snakeye

    snakeye Member

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    Not unusual I have seen font changes on other brand cases as well. As stated it could be for the different makes of a particular brand of ammo.
     
  4. d'Artagnan

    d'Artagnan Member

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    Winchester ammunition production is moving from East Alton, Illinois, to Oxford, Mississippi. They started in 2012 and didn't happen all at once. First was their 9mm Luger production as evidenced by their frangible load 9mm cases having the headstamp WMA 12, whereas before that they were WCC 11. Their military 9mm production changed over in 2013 as evidenced by both (+) WCC 13 and (+) WMA 13 9mm cases. ((+) equates to the NATO symbol. WCC was the production "code" for East Alton and WMA is the "code" for Oxford, Mississippi.) In 2013 I noticed the change from 9mm to 9MM, so I presume the upper case M's indicate Oxford, Mississippi, production. Other variations are found in their 38 Special, 40 S&W, 45 AUTO headstamps starting in 2013, which I also presume means they are now from Oxford as well. Shouldn't affect the quality of Winchester's product, just the plant it came out of.
     
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  5. mdemetz

    mdemetz Member

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    So does Olin make just the components?
     
  6. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    What are you shooting which proves a difference in headstamp in 9mm?
     
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  7. higgite

    higgite Member

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    Could call Winchester and ask them I guess. I called Federal and asked about FC vs .FC. headstamps and they said from different plants.

    I find the WCC headstamp to have crimped primers and WIN doesn't.
     
  8. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    There could be many reasons. Maybe the die that pressed the letters into the brass got worn out and they got a new one that was slightly different. Maybe they have more than 1 ammo plant. A couple years ago when ammo was in high demand they may have contracted out for brass to help meet demand.
     
  9. d'Artagnan

    d'Artagnan Member

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    First of several topics:
    Olin -- Yes, it should be referred to as Olin ammunition but Winchester is the more recognized brand name by far. On 1 Jan 1931 Frank Olin, owner of the Western Cartridge Company of East Alton, Illinois, formalized his acquisition of the bankrupt Winchester Repeating Arms Company of New Haven, Connecticut. Although both companies had been making ammunition and components for the other company for years, Olin initially made Winchester a division of Western. Although the names and subordination changed Olin Industries owned Winchester ammunition thereafter. Starting in 1958, Winchester ammunition moved from New Haven to East Alton. At first they had separate ammunition production lines but by 1965 they were merged and headstamps started changing from WRA and WESTERN to W-W. By 1991 the Western brand name had been dropped and headstamps were changed again to WINCHESTER or WIN when the old W-W bunters -- the tool that impresses the headstamp -- wore out.
    Prior to 1931 Western and Winchester had been making ammunition and components for each other. The best example begins with Winchester's 1926 acquisition of the United States Cartridge Company of Lowell, Massachusetts. In doing so Winchester got the rights to USC's patented non-corrosive -- BUT STILL MERCURIC -- primers. Remington in 1926 had bought the manufacturing know-how from Germany's RWS to produce non-mercuric -- BUT STILL CORROSIVE -- primers. Remington would trademark their primers KLEANBORE and Winchester would trademark theirs STAYNLESS. Western announced in 1929 that all their primers were now non-corrosive but didn't trademark theirs, because they were then producing primers identical to Winchester's. Both companies would produce primers with their own labels AND the other company's labels until about 1959 when both lines were in East Alton and there was no longer a need to differentiate so they just called them Winchester-Western brand components. Ammunition continued to be boxed in separate, but similar, Winchester and Western boxes into the late 1970's. After that its pretty much a Winchester only show. Anyway, Winchester worked out the formulation of non-corrosive AND non-mercuric STAYNLESS primers by 1935. Remington eventually did too, but because they used a different lot numbering system than their ammunition, which I do understand, I don't even know what year that happened. Just for perspective, Canada's Dominion Cartridge company announced in 1930 that their SUPER-CLEAN primers were the first in North America to be truely non-corrosive and non-mercuric.
     
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  10. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...does Olin..." Olin doesn't make anything firearm related. They're just the owners of the Winchester name that they licence out. Olin is a great big conglomerate just like Colt. Currently operated by Dow Chemical.
     
  11. d'Artagnan

    d'Artagnan Member

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    WCC -- Is, of course, the abbreviation for Western Cartridge Company. But its also the "code" for military and police ammunition produced at the East Alton, Illinois, factory whether by Western, Winchester, or Winchester-Western. Nor does it mean that all the components were made at the East Alton factory. I know of several non-East Alton 5.56x45 case makers that produced WCC headstamped cases: Remington, Israel's IMI, and South Korea's PMC. I presume they were loaded at East Alton to earn the WCC headstamp. Anyway, I haven't seen any post-2013 WCC headstamped cases. What I am seeing is WMA 13, 14, 15, etc. Having said that, I hardly ever encounter Winchester police contract (usually WCC +P or +P+ 9mm or 38 Special) ammunition, and haven't seen any after 2010.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  12. d'Artagnan

    d'Artagnan Member

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    Same Quality -- You have to understand that the largest part of Winchester's production is for military, police, and, for lack of a better term, "homeland security" contracts. Although Winchester has had problems with consistent product, it would be crazy -- business-wise -- for any reason, including moving factories, to change their product. I've weighed 9mm and 9MM cases and they weigh the same. Previously I tested the difference between WIN 9mm LUGER and (+) WCC cases. (+) WCC cases weigh noticeably more than WIN cases. With identical loads, the (+) WCC cases produced a whopping 4fps average higher velocity. The load is far more important than the case in 9mm.
    Crimp -- Winchester White Box (WWB) ammunition is made with whatever components are available at the time including overrun and reject military (WCC and WMA) cases. In WWB's I have seen WCC and WMA cases without the crimp and regular WIN 9mm cases with the crimp.
     
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Great information d'Artagnan
     
  14. d'Artagnan

    d'Artagnan Member

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    .FC. -- Long before ATK acquired both Speer/CCI and Federal Cartridges, Speer was making cases for Federal and Federal was making cases for Speer. Speer pioneered the extrusion - FORMAX - method of making brass cases, different from the standard drawing method of making brass cases. Speer makes both kinds and differentiates them by dots before and after the company name: SPEER, CCI, BLAZER, and *I* (Independence). The dots mean its extruded. The .FC. cases are Speer-made for Federal. I first encountered .FC. 40 S&W cases some years ago in an Independence box made by Speer, in a Speer tray, and with Speer lot number. Obviously they rolled off a Speer production line. They also had the donut-shaped case head typical of, and weighed the same as Speer's extruded products. Anyway, Federal-made cases with SPEER, CCI, BLAZER, or *I* headstamp will have a dot at about the 9 o'clock position. It's interesting to note that Speer hasn't made 38 Special, 38 Special +P, or 357 Magnum brass cases for decades.They've all been made by Federal as evidenced by the dot at 9 o'clock. Also all SPEER rifle cases, for example, are made by Federal. In the 9mm Luger realm, Speer makes two kinds: the drawn kind that weigh about 56 grains with flat head and the extruded kind that weigh about 60 grains with donut head. But there are more FC 9mm cases with and without the dots: no dots, extruded; one dot, 9mm, drawn; three dots, .FC. and 9MM.LUGER, extruded; and three dots FC and .9MM.LUGER., extruded. I presume they are all made by Speer but I don't discount the possibility that at some point Federal will acquire extrusion machines of its own and start squeezing out their own cases, if they haven't already. A candidate is the no dots extruded FC brass cases found in Federal "American Eagle" boxes made for Federal, in Federal trays, and with Federal lot numbers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  15. ray15

    ray15 Member

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    Most of my Federal 9mm cases are .FC., even the ones that came from some Walmart-specific Champion bulk I bought several years ago. They weigh 60-62 grains. I also have FC cases (no dots) that weigh 55-56. This seems backwards from the above. I've seen so many variations in FC headstamps at this point I don't trust judgments not rendered by a scale. Thanks for the information on production methods - I thought ~10% was a huge variation to be seeing in weights. A different production process would make sense.

    I'll have to look at the heads when I get home - I don't know what you mean by the 'donut head' description.
     
  16. d'Artagnan

    d'Artagnan Member

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    FC -- .FC. 9MM LUGER is Speer extruded and should weigh 60gr plus/minus 1 gr. Regular Federal-made FC cases (drawn, flat head) should weigh an average easy-to-remember 55.55gr -- I've weighed thousands of 'em. The presumably Speer-made FC (no dots, extruded, donut head) cases also should weigh 60gr plus/minus 1gr -- its a characteristic of the extrusion method. So the Federal FC and Speer FC weights don't overlap. There's also the Israeli-made FC 9mm LUGER cases -- the lower case mm's being how you identify them.
    Donut Head -- Look at a new or once-fired unpolished .SPEER./.CCI./.BLAZER. 9mm case. The head seems to fold down and in toward the primer pocket. I call that donut head.
     
  17. ray15

    ray15 Member

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    Thanks; sounds like I should just judge by the scale and not worry with interpreting the dots, or lack thereof. Do you know how much the Israeli-made FC cases weigh?
     
  18. d'Artagnan

    d'Artagnan Member

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    Yes, I did weigh about 10 Israeli FC 9mm LUGER cases for an average weight. I wonder what I did with that figure. I've got a whole bunch of IMI cases. Should weigh the same.
    While I'm still logged in, a couple of random thoughts:
    .*I*. -- The dot star I star dot (Speer-made Independence brand extruded) 9mm Luger headstamp is rare. After going through 10's of thousands of 9mm cases, I only found 4.
    FORMAX -- The company making Speer's brass extrusion equipment. They also make hamburger patty forming extrusion machines. Hamburger patties, brass cases, same same.
    R-P -- About 2005 I decided to use R-P cases almost exclusively for my reloading; sometimes I experiment with other cases. But I haven't regretted my decision to use R-P cases.
    Web Site -- I wonder if setting up a website for reloaders showing -- color pictures -- which headstamps are equivalent would be useful. I'm going on my observation of maybe 10 U.S. manufacturers but over 200 U.S. brands. Answering the question: Which manufacturer is actually making which headstamp?
     
  19. ray15

    ray15 Member

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    I have a population of about 300 R-P cases that I like a lot. I do think a resource educating on the various headstamps would be great. There is a section on this forum you could post the info if you don't want to go to the bother of making a website.
     
  20. sigpro2022

    sigpro2022 Member

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    Just received this response from Winchester.
    Thank you for contacting Winchester Ammunition.
    We appreciate your business and we look forward to providing you with the same high level of customer service and support you have come to expect from us.
    Here is the initial question/comment you submitted to Winchester on 11/13/2017along with our response.
    Question:
    Does Winchester manufacture their own brass for 9mm?
    Also, why two different FONTS on headstamps
    W I N 9mm & W I N 9MM?
    Answer:
    Dan,
    Yes we make our own brass. We have multiple head-stamps as we have multiple machines that run that caliber.
    Best Regards,
    Technical Services Dept.
    Thank you for your feedback and for being a valued Winchester customer.
    Sincerely,
    Consumer Service Department Winchester Ammunition
     
  21. d'Artagnan

    d'Artagnan Member

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    Let me regale you with my experiences with ammunition company representatives. Half the time they don't give you an answer at all. One quarter of the time they give you some BS answer cause either they don't know or are trying to hide "proprietary information" -- company secrets. One quarter of the time they actually give you a use-able answer. How do you tell the difference? Research the information on your own, and make your own decisions. I'm a great believer in people making their own decisions, it has served me well. I have eyes and am blessed, or cursed, with a long and detailed memory. Rather like a huge trash can of trivia. Sometimes it takes years for seemingly unrelated facts to coalesce into a complete thought. Sometimes diligent research bears fruit in the short term. My study of ammunition lot numbers allows me to equate those numbers to specific dates for alot of manufacturers. Manufacturers hiding proprietary information like date of manufacture in lot numbers strikes me as a health and safety issue, and I take great satisfaction in airing their closely held company secrets. Anyway, I've put extensive information out on reloading subjects on mdshooters.com and cartridgecollectors.org forum linked to photos in photobucket, now blocked by photobucket which wants $400 per year to host my photos. So, yes, I'm quite interested in this "section of the forum you could post the information" alluded to by ray15. Tell me more!
     
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  22. ray15

    ray15 Member

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  23. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

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    To the best of my knowledge, all Winchester 9x18 ammunition is manufactured by Sellier and Bellot in the Czech Republic, along with all the "Winchester" 7.62x54r.

    I have no knowledge of why different headstamp bunters would be used.
     

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