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Picture Page

March 2012

A pair of boxes of .45 ACP re-loads...........

The Dairt Company, Inc (New York, N.Y.) was one of at least three related companies on New York's Long Island that reloaded spent military .45 ACP cartridge cases during the early years of World War II. The other two companies were Palmer (Hicksville Plant, Hicksville, L.I.) and Concord Manufacturing Company (Massapequa, N.Y.).

All of the cartridges produced by these companies that I have seen have military headstamps by Remington Arms-UMC (R A)and the Western Cartridge Company (W C C) dated 1941 or 1942, as well as the Winchester Repeating Arms Company's (W.R.A. .45 A.C.) headstamp, which was used by Winchester for both military and commercial production. The Concord cartridges will often be found with 'CONCORD RELOADS' poorly stamped over the original headstamp, resulting in a fairly illegible headstamp. The cartridge cases always have a dull, pickled appearance, apparently a result of the cleaning process used prior to reloading them. The cases still have the cannelure that was applied when they were originally loaded for the military; this cannelure was not reapplied in the reloading process.

I have examples of only the Dairt and Palmer boxes, as shown in these photos. The Concord box has eluded me; I can't recall having even encountered one for sale, and would love to hear from someone who has one to sell or trade. None of the boxes are common, perhaps indicating a rather limited period of production, which I assume to have been no longer than two years based on the two headstamp dates that I have encountered. (Update: Fortunately, I have been able to locate an example of the Concord box, thanks to the kindness of a reader who contacted me regarding one he was willing to part with.)

The cartridges in the Dairt box, three of which are shown in this picture, are loaded with copper jacketed 'Oilite' bullets, which were produced by the Chrysler Corporation's Amplex Oilite Products Company. The Oilite bullet has a characteristic small flat area on it's nose, most obvious on the cartridge on the right side in this picture. The jacket material was compressed metal powder rather than being made from sheet copper as was the common practice; the powdered metal contained some form of lubrication, the intended purpose being to reduce barrel wear. Military tests determined that there was no reduction in wear resulting from the use of the Oilite bullets.

The Palmer box contains lead bulleted cartridges; the mold lines on the sides of the bullets suggest that they were not machine made, leading me to suspect that they may not be the original cartridges that were packaged in this box. However, the cases are all the same RA and WCC 41 and 42, and W.R.A.Co. .45 A.C. headstamps that are usually found with the Oilite bullets, so I am not yet ready to concede that they aren't Palmer reloads. 

Shown here are examples of the headstamps that are found on the cartridges from both boxes. Primers on all of the cartridges are brass.



Another common element with the two boxes is seen in the lot numbers stamped on the bottom of each, 100 6 on the Dairt box and 101 50 on the Palmer box. Not only does the format of the lot numbers match, but the font and size of the numerals match as well.