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PETERS CARTRIDGE COMPANY made some of the most beautiful, popular and collectible shotgun shells, beginning in 1887 or so.  These boxes above are reproductions used as placeholders until original boxes are added.  They are controversial among collectors because some unscrupulous individuals will try to pass them off as legitimate.  The "pumpkin" Trap/Skeet Load boxes on the top shelf of the next photo on the left are also reproductions.  Everything else seen here is part of my Peters collection.

Peters Cartridge Company



Top row here (except for "pumpkin" Trap/Skeet repro boxes) are from Cincinnati (pre-1917?).  The rest here transition from the Kings Mills, OH home base to Bridgeport, CT. 

CUTAWAY SHELL.  The window shell (side) is likely the earliest style wood crate.

STYLE TWO?  Ends remain the same, but side has changed.

SCRIPT--Style A.  All caps on Cincinnati/bottom line and no line above the script.  End same as before.

SCRIPT--Style B.  Hi/Lo Cincy/Bottom line of copy; line above copy.  Font changes on end below handle.


These two shelves are 1960s-era boxes, the Premium Grade being the first plastic shells and really belonging on the top shelf here.

The boxes transition from the late 1960s through the 70s to about 1980 with the exception of several (but not all) on the bottom row which are later incarnations


BIG 'P'.  Script sides remain; Big Red P on ends.

Transition boxes? Same side panel as B2 (All Caps Small Arms) but new end style.

Same side now has Hi/lo Small Arms on side. 

Steel Where Steel Belongs in red on side panels.  

Steel Where Steel Belongs in red on side panels plus the red High Velocity "Spray".  

ALL previous boxes from Cincinnati, Ohio location.  So probably 1917 or before.

PETERS CARTRIDGE 'COMPANY'/KINGS MILLS.  Major change in the side of the boxes, but short-lived as Remington soon purchases Peters.

The Steel Shot Loads here (labeled Goose, Duck, Waterfowl on top) are likely very late 1970s or 1980.  Peters shells are now released only intermittently by Remington, likely to keep the trademark viable.  The tin here is a metallic ammunition box.


While interested in ANY boxes I do not already have, these relatively recent plastic-era boxes especially are likely still out there in someone's ammunition supplies. 

These designs in gauges specified are wanted to fill gaps in my collection, and I would be interested in buying/trading for them.  

Field (orange)

in 12/16

High Velocity Magnum

in 2 3/4" for 12/16/20

High Velocity in 28 ga

and 2 1/2" 410.

Long Range Game in 16

All American SKEET 12

Target in 20/410



Notice medium Remington Arms print when compared to below style.

Notice small Remington Arms print when compared to above style.

Transitional box featuring previous side but new, short-lived end panel that I've also seen in Skeet.

High Velocity Buckshot in 20

Rifled Slug in 12/16/20/410

Buckshot in 16/20

All Slug 5-pks

Skeet in 20 WITH see-thru shell on side

High Velocity


High Velocity



in 20/28

in 12 - 2 3/4"M

in 12/20 - 3"M

HV POWER PISTON (top/front)

410 - 2 1/2"

WITHOUT see-thru shell on side panel


WITH see-thru shell side

16/20 - 2 3/4"M

20 - 3"M


Target in 20 (or 16 if avail?)

Victor 16 w/

Power Piston front and top

Victor boxes will almost always be nail joint.  

FINAL WOOD CRATES for Peters were orange/blue theme.  These also will list Bridgeport, CT as address, likely dating them 1944-(not sure).

HV boxes will almost always be box joint (commonly called finger joint).

I am ALWAYS interested in adding new wood crates to my collection. 

I will also be listing a fair number of Peters crates (doubles)

for sale in the near future.  


Holiday Stores

Featuring the work of famous wildlife artist Les Kouba, the short-lived (1971-75) Holiday shells remain a favorite of many collectors.  The early models were made by Alcan, with the latter, more famous ones made in Canada by CIL.  (The Shotshell in the United States/Richard J. Iverson)

The first generation of Holiday shells featured rather non-descript conventional loads but an eye-catching slug offering. 

I have only seen 12/20 Field Loads, but I suspect there were heavier loads (and maybe target) and perhaps 16 ga too, since I own 16 ga slug box and have seen 12/20 ga slug boxes as well.

The Target Load and Rifled Slugs featured the same art front and back.  The other four varieties--Field, Duck & Pheasant, 2 3/4" Magnum, and 3" Magnum--all had different scenes on front and back and are pictured here.

I do not know if there were Buckshot Loads in the Holiday Line, but wouldn't surprise me.

Doubt there was ever a

16 ga Target Load

I've never seen it, but it would not surprise me if there were 2 3/4" magnums in 16 gauge.

I have verification that there was a 16 ga slug box; there may also be 16 ga Buckshot but I've not seen it

I've seen, but do not have, 20 gauge Rifled Slug Load; not sure if there was a Buckshot Load

I've never seen a 2 1/2" 410 Load by Holiday, but if so, it could have been Target, Field, or Duck & Pheasant

Very doubtful there was a 410 Rifled Slug Load

Pristine, never-been-assembled boxes are frequently seen in Holiday shells, such as those seen at left.  They were apparently too pretty to be thrown away.


Second Generation/Les Kouba Artwork Series

12/16/20 in Buckshot (whitetail)

16/20 in Rifled Slug (whitetail)

16 in 2 3/4" Magnum (canvasback/Canadas)

410 in 2 1/2"

Old First Generation Series

16/410 in any load

12/16/20 in loads other than Field

12/20 in Rifled Slug

12/16/20 in Buckshot?


Browning shotshells appeared in 1973, and were apparently eliminated in 1974.  The "power rating" was designed to approximate their effective range.  Shells were manufactured by the Olin Corporation (Winchester-Western).   (The Shotshell in the United States/Richard J. Iverson)

I feel the 40-power 12 gauge (1 oz. load) is the hardest of the power-rated boxes to find.   In Canada, it appears there were 35-power shells made in 16 gauge.  Perhaps due to the metric/yard differences?  Trap, Skeet, Slug and Buckshot boxes are also quite difficult.

Browning Ammunition made a reappearance in 2016, with shells originally to be made by Winchester.  This new generation of Browning ammunition has very attractive packaging, making this collector beg current shooters to please not throw your boxes away.  

Browning (Canada) boxes in my collection.

I "think" my collection of the original Browning shotshells is largely complete with the exception of TRAP box in 12 ga, and SKEET boxes in 12, 28 and 410.

I also assume there was a 20 ga SLUG SPECIAL box, and perhaps additional BUCK SPECIAL loads which I do not have.  

The Power-rated shells were available as follows (and pictured above): 

12 ga--40/45/50/55/60 (black/yellow)     16 ga--40/45/50 (brown/yellow)     20 ga--35/40/45-2.75/45-3.0 (yellow/black)

28--35 (yellow/maroon)     410--35-2.5/35-3.0 (maroon/yellow)

Second generation Browning shotshells, circa 2016, that I currently have specimens of.  Some new loads dropped in 2021, including the Wicked Wing Waterfowl Load pictured at right.

Two 410 crates in my collection.

These are reproduction boxes of perhaps the oldest Sears boxes; I don't own any of the genuine article.  Some of the same designs also are seen with Clinton Cartridge Co.  From left to right, originals of these boxes boast rarity rankings of 5-5-6-4-4-5 on the Bacyk 1-8 rarity scale, with 8 being the rarest. 

(The Encyclopedia of Shotgun Shell Boxes/Ted and David Bacyk)

A Sears box in the style seen in some Meriden and Clinton crates.

Probably the last wood crates for Sears, text and font clues lead me to believe these were manufactured by Federal.  Notice the subtle difference in the side panels of these two boxes.  Different cuts for handles, also, but that probably not indicative of print change.


Sears has long had shells made for them by other manufacturers, including Meriden Firearms, Clinton Cartridge, American Ammunition Co., Federal Cartridge, and finally Winchester-Western (1971-1983).   Robin Hood may also have manufactured shells very early for Sears-Roebuck and Co.  

(The Shotshell in the United States/Richard J. Iverson)


The late Whimp Ewell felt Sears shells probably began to appear in the 1920s.

(Shotgun Shells/Whimp Ewell)

Oldest Sears shells readily obtained by new collectors probably start with this series, which overlapped the one-piece (at left) transition to two-piece boxes (below) which is usually considered to be about the time of WWII.  One of the boxes below has a date of 1949 on an inside flap


Anything not seen here! 

1950 and later on my wish list are below:

"Hour-Glass" J.C. Higgins

Sportload (blue) in 16/20/410?   

XtraRange (yellow) in 16/410

J.C. Higgins Shell

Sportload (yellow) in 16

Xtra-Range (red) in 20

Sears in Circle/Hunting Scene on Bottom

Sportload in 16

2 3/4 Magnum in 16?/20

3 Magnum in 12/20

Xtra-Range in 16/20/410-2.5

Target Load in 12/20?

Sears in Circle/Hunting Scene on Bottom

Made in USA

Sportload in 16/20

2 3/4 Magnum in 12/16?/20

3 Magnum in 12/20

Xtra-Range in 12/16/20/410-2.5

Target Load in 20?

Sears in Chevron/Solid Outline around Box

Sportload in 20

2 3/4 Magnum in 16?

3 Magnum in 20

Xtra-Range in 16/20/410-2.5/410-3

Target in 12/20

Ted Williams Polka-Dot

Sportload in 12

Field Load in 16?/20?

Xtra-Range in 16/20/410

2 3/4 Magnum in 12/20

3 Magnum in 20

Ted Williams Game Designs

Light Field Load in 16?/20

Field Load in 16?/20

Xtra-Range in 12/16?/20/410?

Magnum of any size, ga

Steel Shot in 12

Game Designs with Ribbon

Light Field Load in 16?

Field Load in 16?/20

Xtra-Range in 16?/20/410?

Magnum in any size, ga

Steel Shot in 12

Ribbon and Shell

Light Field Load in 16?

Field Load in 12/16?/20

Xtra-Range in 12/16?/20/410?

Magnum in any size/ga

Steel Shot in 12

Overlap paper box

with plastic sticker

Really looking

for these two

Always willing to trade or purchase boxes. 


If you have something on this list I do not have, especially in the three most recent series, please contact me.  Let me know what you are looking for.

I know of two J.C. Higgins series of boxes.  At this point many Sears boxes have dates on inside flaps.  The hour-glass boxes at right are from 1950-55.  The boxes below date from 1958-60.

The brand name, J.C. Higgins, was based on a real person, John Higgins who was a Sears employee. He moved from his birth country of Ireland to the United States in his late teens and began working for Sears in 1898. He spent his entire working career with Sears and was Vice President for a period of time. He was actually born with no middle name but the Sears Co. presented the idea of labeling their sporting good line (1908-62) with his name and saw it more presentable labeling the brand as J.C. Higgins. He worked with the company until his retirement as head bookkeeper in 1930. Higgins died in 1950. His expertise in sporting goods or sports is unknown.  (Wiki)

The next generation of Sears boxes has a subtle change as seen from the left to the right, with the .410 boxes representing both.  The difference?  Made in USA on the boxes at right.  1963-64 are dates on my boxes at left, and 1965-66 on the boxes at right.  This would correlate with Wiki's info about J.C. Higgins line disappearing in 1962. 

The first boxes carrying plastic shells for Sears was this style; these boxes carried dates of 1965-67.  So there appears to be a little overlap in the paper/plastic shells from Sears about 1965-66.  (Sears and Gambles/Hiawatha would sometimes place 'Plastic Shells' stickers on older paper boxes; it would not surprise me to see them on other brands as well).   

Enter the Ted Williams-branded shells, the first phase being the polka-dot motif above, followed by the attractive boxes at right.  The Ted Williams appears on those at right.  I've found no dates on interior flaps of these varieties, but would guess them in the late 1960s.  Because Winchester won the Sears contract in 1971, I would expect a design change for the box might happen at the same time, perhaps coinciding with the game designs.  

With the final Sears ammunition, Ted Williams was dropped, but the wild game scenes were carried on for a bit, followed by a very Plain Jane version to close out the Sears shotshell offerings, which were discontinued in 1983 (Iverson).

Montgomery Wards

Montgomery-Wards was founded in 1897 and contracted for their own branded shotshells.  Early shells were purchaed from the Sportsmans Cartridge Co. and the American Cartridge Co. (both of Kansas City, MO) and from Federal Cartridge Co. of Minneapolis, MN.    

(The Shotshell in the United States/Richard J. Iverson)


It is not clear when Montgomery Wards house brand shells began to appear.

There are very rare older boxes than these, but seldom seen and I have no photos of them.  These pictured at right are likely the oldest boxes most collectors are likely to find. The 20 ga box here is legit; the 12 ga box is in new condition because it is a reproduction box.

The iconic and best-known Wards boxes are the Red Head design with a goose silhouetted against a moon (or is it a sun?).  These overlap the move from 2-pc boxes to 1-pc, placing them both before and definitely after WWII.  The box at left is a 2-pc and those on the bottom row are 2-pc and found in 12-16-20-410 gauges.  The predominately-black boxes are Long Range, and the mostly-red boxes are Reliance.  Wood boxes with this same logo do not seem to differentiate.

The Hawthorne series began in 1959, perhaps earlier, and extend to 1961 and perhaps slightly later.  These dates can usually be found in code on inside flaps.  Paper shells/roll crimp.   

Red Head branding was revived, the run receiver moved to horizontal from about 1963-65.  The closure is now advertised as 'star sealed crimp' but shells are still paper.  I would not be surprised to see transitional boxes with a plastic shell sticker. 

The switch to plastic shells and modern crimps seems to coincide with the move back to Hawthorne branding in 1965, extending to at least 1973.

The final shells marketed by Sears utilized a gunner in camouflage with various-colored boxes as had been their want.  This design appears to stretch from at least 1974 to 1977, perhaps a year earlier and several later.

There seem to be THREE basic styles of Red Head wood crates in 12/16/20 gauges.  I assume, but do not know, that the triangle boxes are oldest, but do not know which precedes the other.

The bottom style is the most common and thought to be the most recent (last) style of wood crate offered by Wards.  All are attractive and highly-sought.

I own two styles of 410 gauge Montgomery Wards wood crates.  I assume the top one to be older.  The bottom style here, on the end, shows a font style seen with Federal, a maker of Wards ammo.


Anything not seen here!  Gauge/color/style.  

Always interested in trades.  Would really like to meet others serious about collecting the "house brands" like Wards, Sears, True Value, Western Auto, etc., and trade to help each other.

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