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(If you can add other headstamps please send via email and I will cite you for photo credit. Thanks)




(USA Headstamps follow)


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 shells loaded by many different companies follow this same practice with various loadings. Small companies often buy hulls from the larger manufacturers to reload and sell themselves. 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. The color, size and type of primer used may also be an indicator of manufacturer or if reloaded. 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, foil or metal (usually brass, steel 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, whether it is 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 rarer 18 Gauge shell. The 20A marked hulls exists in greater quantities than in the 18 Gauge. The guess is that UMC used surplus 20 gauge shells to make the experimental 18 gauge shells. Another consideration is that 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 and truly ID 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 generally have no value. Shells that are collected by collectors need to be shells with the full paper or plastic casing and in good shape by most collectors. Full shells are even more desirable than empty shells.

Gauge can also vary, and are found in include both standard and metric sizes, as well as a "Collath" system of gauges which is entirely different.

Some of the more common "known" gauges are:
0 gauge 1 gauge 2 gauge 3 gauge (rarer)
4 gauge 8 gauge 10 gauge 11 gauge (rarer)
12 gauge 14 gauge 16 gauge 18 gauge (rarer)
20 gauge 24 gauge 28 gauge 32 gauge aka 14mm
410 gauge aka 12mm .310 Remington skeet .360 British  
5mm Wingo 6mm (CF and Rimfire) 7mm (CF & RF) 9mm (CF&RF)


(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 possibly be found on others)


A special Thank You to Doug, Pete, Jim, Bob, Gary, Dan, Mike and George who provided many pictures for this page.

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

(See more shotshells after the company listings)

Double Eagle (Alcan)

Alcan Incorporated




Alcan Basic                  Alcan



Alcan Alcan

Alcan Italy

Alcan USA

(1910 - 1922)

Automatic Ejector


Fort Dearborn

AA Co Jack Rabbit


American Jack Rabbit

AA Red Devil's

Red Devil 

Steel Lined


Steel Nitro


 Steel Special


White Powder


1884-1889, was then purchased by the Ammunition Manufacturers Association (Winchester and USC Co.) Metal Hulls

A.B.C No (gauge) Diamond (circa 1885+)


A.B.C No (gauge) Cross, Diamonds (circa 1885+)

some have circles and designs around lettering


A.B.C. Diamonds (circa 1885+)




A.B.C. Patent 3-85


A.B. &C Co. (circa 1885+)



I.X.L No (circa 1888+)


Quick Shot (Circa 1888+)


Special (circa 1888)



(1921-late 1930's)


A American 

American Eagle



(1895 - 1909, then was purchased by Western Cartridge Co.)

Austin CT'GE Company


AC Co., Advance


AC Co., Alert


AC Co., Bang


AC Co., Crackshot


A.C Co., Flash

AC Co, Invincible


AC Co., Reliance 


A.C Co., Winner





(1904 to 1930's, owned and operated by Sears Roebuck, shells usually made by Federal) 

C.C Co., Pointer

C.C Co. Mallard


C.C Co. (on top) Mallard 


C.C Co. Extra Range


C.C Co. Star




(1860 - 1888)

D in a diamond

D.C Co. Wil Del




(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 Made in USA

also 20 gauge

Duck Symbol Gold Medal

Made in USA (2010's-2020's)

Federal Top


Federal Bottom (2010's-2020's)

Federal Cartridge

Federal Gold Medal

Federal Hi Power

circa 1918 to 1950's


Federal Monark

Circa 1950's to mid 1960's



Federal Reliable


Federal Steel

Federal Tungsten Circa 2010's


Federal Industrial

(1929 -) 

Gambles S&G


Gambles Ace 1929-1950's


Gambles, Tiger 1930's-1960's


Hiawatha Airway 1950's+


Hiawatha Ace 1950's+
Gambles XL. 1929-1940's


George E Hart & Co, Newark, NJ

Circa 1869 - late 1870's

E.Geo E Hart Patd. Sep 23. 73 Newark, NJ*

*Star* Pat'd Dec 7 1869

Excelsior  Patent Nov 9 75*

Standard Nov 9. 75


Patented Sep 13 1873*


Pat and various forms of the word "PAT" often with just

PAT or PAT and gauge


Hart's (Patented date)*

(George E Hart, company listed to the left)



(1959 -present, although now the Company name is being used by Cabela's, it is not the same as the original company with headstamps shown on the far right.

Herters, Herters

Stars top and bottom Cabela's

.410/36mm (appears to be made by Fiocchi)

above photo by Matt of the IAA

USA Stars (Cabela's, made by Winchester)

Herters Pat




(Hawthorne, Redhead)

Link to Pictures of Wards Headstamps

(1887 to 1934, combined with Remington in 1934)

Link to Pictures of Peters Headstamps


(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. Remington went bankrupt in 2020 and the name was purchased by Vista Outdoors, ATK's ammunition company line which owns Federal, Blazer, Speer, CCi, Estate cartridge Co., Hevi-Shot, RCBS and others )


Link to Pictures of Rem-UMC & Remington Headstamps


(Later Robin Hood Arms Co.) 
(1887 to 1916)

Link to Pictures of RHA Headstamps



Link to Pictures of Sears Headstamps


1867-1911. Combined with Remington to form REM-UMC from 1911-1934. 1934 bought out by Dupont to from Remington Arms Co.

Headstamps may have periods in between letters.)

Link to Pictures of UMC Headstamps


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

Link to Pictures of USC Co. Headstamps



1965 - 1972 
Marked "Wanda" in either Red, Blue, Green or Yellow plastic casings.

(red & Blue are 12 gauge, Yellow and Green are 20 gauge)



(1955 to ?)



(1898 to 1932. In 1932 Western purchased WRA Co. 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)

Link to Pictures of Western Headstamps



(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. In 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)

Link to 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


AAI (Teargas)


Acme (Acme GI Company)*


A.C Hobbs, Bridgeport, CT (patent date)* 

Circa 1876+, 10ga - 20 ga shown


Activ (Activ Industries 1985-)

Many made in Argentina as well.



4                              8


AF & Co New York

(Abercrombie & Fitch Co)

A.H Fox (snap caps)




12 Ga


A.L Howard or Standard  (A.L Howard Company)*

Also used headstamps: N.Y.C and NY Club.

Made by WRA Co for them.

They also made headstamps reading as "Standard".


ALH (A.L Howard) (Circa late 1870's)

 A. Littoward

Allen's Pat (Ethan Allen 1860-1872)*


Am.C & A Co.

American Standard (Cussins & Fern Co. Circa 1929/1930)

No 12

Amer.Rock Express

Amron (1956 -present)

A-Zoom (Snap Caps)


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

Baker Steel Cone*

Bailey Gas-Leak Proof (Charles A Bailey)

Circa 1902


Ballistic Tools Inc.

Best (Best Cartridge Company, Cromwell, CT) 1890's


B.E.L.L (Brass Extrusion Labs Ltd.)* Reproduction

of obsolete cartridges 1975- 2007


Bismuth Cartridge Co.

Blue Chest No 12

 (Chicago Shot Tower Co. circa 1895)



Blatchford Cartridge (Blatchford Cartridge Works, Chicago, IL.

circa 1888-early 1990's)

No 10 or No 12


Blue Rival

Boss Circa 1882/1883


Boss (New Company, not the same as above)


BRI  (Ballistic Research Industries, Ca.)


Buffalo (Tryon-Supple)

C.A Bogardus Champion

(Blachford Cartridge Works

cases by WRA Co. 


C.A Co. (Chicago Arms Co.) 1880 -1915

owned by Meridian Firearms Comp


12 Ga. Black Powder. Pat Pending



Carlsbad Ammo Co.

(Carlsbad Ammunition Inc.,

Sacramento, CA)


Cassady (Bridgeport Brass Co.) 1882-1894*

Cassidy (Bridgeport Brass Co.) 1882-1894*


Catron (Catron, Carmel, CA)



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


12 ga shell pic by: Bradley Bergholtz



No 12




See Kansas City Grouping


C.C & T Co (Chamberlain Cartridge

and Target Co.) 1883 - 1932,

purchased by Remington*


C.D Leet or C.D.L Springfield Mass

(Same name) (1872-1877)


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

No 12

photo by Henry Eichman


Champ USA


Charles Daly



Colt Industries


Conical Base, St Louis


Dead Shot (No info)


Delmard Patent*


Dircks - Beath Ammo Co


Double Eagle


Dri Bore Snap Caps

Eclipse (Eclipse Cartridge Co.) All Plastic.1980-1985,

sold to CAVIM, Venezuela.

Also made some brass shells apparently.


Eclipse* (Unknown)


E.C Meacham, & Co., St. Louis, Mo. circa 1884+


E. Hart Patd.*

Sep 23 73 Newark, N.J

(See Geo Hart in top section)


Estate Cartridge (Estate Cartridge Co.)



Eureka (California Powder Works)

1861 - ?*

Everlasting (Ideal?)


Excelsior "patent date"

(See Geo Hart in top section)*


Frankford Arsenal (Forager shell.

 Observed with many different dates). Month, year and Gauge.


F.D & Co. (F Draper & Co.)*
1864 -?* (made in 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 gauge)


F E. Boyd Co. (1860's)* 

Shotgun Makers: F.E Boyd & P.S Tyler.

(reported to exist)



Fiocchi USA (Fiocchi USA Division) 

GF (Fiocchi)


(see HB Fisher)


Fort Dearborn

(See American Ammunition in first section)


Fowler Plating Co., New Haven, CT 1885 - ?**


Frankels Rapid Smokeless


G&H Omaha


GPS Premium (snap cap)


Gun Exchange (Modern Snap Caps)


Harts Pat

(See George Hart in First Section)


H.B Fisher (Same as name)

photo by Henry Eichman


Henry Industrial


H.S.B & Co. (Hibbard, Spencer and Bartlett)

1880's+ Used Peters shells exclusively.


H. Sears & Co. * Circa 1881/1882


Hevi Shot (Modern)


HORNADY (Hornady Manufacturing) 


Henry Squires, NY, NY

Circa 1892

Hodgdon (1946-1996)* 


Holiday (Holiday Stores) 1971 - 1975

Holiday Shotshells. Headstamped first using Alcan

USA markings then by CIL Canada.



Hoppes (Penguin Industries) Plastic dummy.



Hunter Arms Co., Fulton, NY

Circa 1878-1880


(See Kansas City Grouping)


Ideal (Hibbard, Spencer and Bartlett).

Used Peters shells exclusively.


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

(Flare Cartridge)


Imperial USA


Interarms USA (1972-1980)

INDEPENDENT CARTRIDGE Co. (See Kansas City Grouping) (1910 - 1913)


J.P. Plower & Son, Denver, Co. Circa 1885+.

Made 10 and 12 gauge.*


Kansas City Grouping (Sherman Brothers),

Kansas City, MO . Circa 1910's


K & Co (Unknown)*


K.C & Co. (Kelsey Cartridge Co.)

1884 - ? *


Kelsey Pat.Apd for (Kelsey Cartridge Co., New Haven, CT) 

1884 - ?* 


Kent ( Kent Cartridge Co., WV)


Kevin's USA

Keystone (Keystone Ammunition Co. Philadelphia, PA.

circa 1879 - ?)* Made by WRA Co for them.


Krider Phila Eley (John Krider)1845-1916

Both Krider and L.C Siner were on same corner

of street in Philadelphia and operated at roughly

the same time.


LC (Lake City Ammunition)


L.C Smith (Hunter Arms Company: See further above),

Fulton, NY (circa 1877+)*


L.C Siner & Co. (same name) 1845-1916



L.D.F No. (Liberty Display Fireworks Co.)

Flare Cartridges


Liberty Bulk, (Liberty Cartridge Co. Alexandria, VA.) 

1908 - 1917 equipment purchased by Federal 


Liddle & Keading, San Franciso, CA. *

10A or No 10. Circa 1879-1880'S


Lightfield (Lightfield, NJ)


Lil Magnum (Big Horn Arms)


LM or LM Co. (Elm City Manufacturing Co.)* Circa late 1880's


Part of USC Co. Circa 1880-1882

Lowell Extra No 10 or No 12


Lowell First Qual


Mercury, New Trap

Mercury, Victoria (?)

Mercury (?)



Meyers Bros. (Meyers Brothers,

Minnesota). I have only seen components,

not shotshells. But has been reported to exist.



Meridian Firearms Co. 1904 -?

(made shells for Sears in the early days of Sears shotshells


MH Inc

(cases by NOC, Italy)


Micro Hunter


Mini Shell by Sportco Ammo Corp,



Moran (Moran Electric)


Nimrod, made by Alcan and WRA for                

White Stores.

Noramco (Northwest Cartridge Co.)


Norwestern (Northwest Cartridge Co.)



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

circa 1880's*




OLIN Corporation (purchased Winchester Western in

1944 but rarely used the name on headstamps) 
Olin, Red Meteor


OLYMPIA Cartridges (Olympia, OR)



Orion, Indiana. Flares

Red Meteor


OWS (Old Western Scrounger) 1980-1990's


Pac Meteor


Pacific Tool Company. Later merged in

with Hornady.


Pachmayr (Snap Cap)


Paragon (Paragon Shell Reloading Co.)

Re-loaded shell so doubt they had their own



Parker Bros West Meriden (some just say

Meridian, some West Meridian and some

W. Weridian, CT) . same as name*

(1876 - 1934) Purchased by Dupont




Flare Cartridge


Penguin (Penguin Industries

{Flares, teargas and Twinshot})



20 20 or 12 12

AA Super




12 12

AA Extra




12 12

AA Target





RAS (Robert A Smith. Dayton Renew Tool

Company, Huber Heights, OH, USA.).

Snap Caps


Roberson Cartridge

Company (circa 2020's)



16 16




Red Star ?


 Reynolds Metal Co, Southfield, MI

Circa 1960's


Rochester Fireworks. (RF)

Flare Cartridge

RFS (R.F Sedgley)




San Francisco Gun Exchange

(snap caps)


Savage Superior ( Montogomery Wards Savage Factories Inc. Minneapolis, MN) Circa 1917+


SC (Carlson's Snap Caps)


1909 - 1914


S.I.C.CO (Se Kansas City Grouping)

(1910 - 1913) 


Strong Shell & Cartridge Co (New Haven, CT)
Circa 1881


1923 - 1929 shells only made from 1923-1924. Was then purchased by Western cartridge Company.


SO. C. Co Retriever



Schaefer (William R Schaefer & Son, Boston, MA)

Circa 1875/1876


SELBY (Selby Smelting & Lead Co.)

1865 - ?


S.G (S.G Brown Co.)*

S.I.C Co.  Star  or Rocket

(Sportsman International Cartridge Co.)


Smiths (Smiths Graphite Cartridge Co.)  

1916 - ?



Squires (See Henry G. Squires more more samples)


Standard (See A.L Howard)*


Standard Type Champion Nat (?)


Standard with a patent date

(See Geo Hart further above)


Standard Shell & Cartridge Co (circa 1924)


Star (Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co.) 

Superior Mogul or Superior Guaranteed

(M.W Savage Factories Inc)


See American Ammunition in first section


Stoeger New York (Stoeger Arms Co.) Modern



St Louis Patent Shell Company

(See Williams)


Sultan Patent 1885*


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


Taylor Arms, Chicago, IL. circa 1883/1884*


Triumph Explosives Inc, Elkton, MD


Flare cartridge.


Traditions (Snap Cap)





USA stars (Herter's by Cabela's)


Vawter Inc. (Vawter Inc)


VFM (Flare cartridge)


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

circa 1891+

United Fireworks Mfg Co, Dayton, OH)


WW2 Flare Cartridges


V.L & D = Von Lengerke & Detmold, NY, NY

(Circa 1897+)

V.L &D Lightning (WRA Co)


V.L &D Lightning (Kynoch, UK)


V.L &D Nitro (UMC Co)




White Powder No. (Fred Biffar & Co.)

(reported. White Powder is a shotgun manufacturer)





St Louis Patent Shell Company Circa 1875/1876


Wood New York (Waterbury Brass Co.)

Circa 1879-1880's


Made by ICI England for Scott Powder, USA





Shotgun 1 USA


Shotgun 2 Canada & UK


Shotgun 3 France and Germany


Shotgun 4 Spain & Italy


Shotgun 5 Other Europe


Shotgun 6 Africa, Asia & Middle East


Shotgun 7 Central & South America, Oceania & Unknowns


Shotgun 8 Russia & Eastern Europe


Headstamp Start Page


 Curtis Steinhauer