Winchester used its own lot number system until about 1958 when it moved from New Haven, CT to East Alton, Illinios.The lot number system it now uses is, in fact, the system Western Cartridge Company (also of East Alton, IL) used since the early 1900's. Also note that Winchester ammo is in the midst of moving from East Alton, IL to Oxford, Mississippi.2.
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Winchester shotgun shells do not seem to follow the pattern below.
For example, I have a box of "Winchester Super Speed Xtra Game Loads" .410 shells purchased in October of 2010 and says "Carton No.
20 Gauge, 28 Gauge, & .410 Bore Serial Number Range Year of Manufacture 200,000 - 228,500 and Up 1971 The Winchester Model 101 20, 28 gauge and the .410 bore were manufactured after 1971, but no serialization records currently exist.
Note: The 28 gauge and .410 bore were first introduced in 1968.
On the carton number ending in 4/10, the 4/10 is, indeed, the date April 2010, the date the box was printed by one of Winchester's contractors -- not the date the filled box rolled off a Winchester production line.
The printing date, when present, is quite helpful in that in high-production calibers like 9mm Luger, the box will be filled soon printing as reflected in the lot number.
With the help of a local Winchester dealer/collector, the SG was mfg in Japan by Miroku International. just about the time they were planning to convert over to the automated factory and do away with hand made guns.
Since at least 2000, Winchester ammo lot numbers have included the manufacture date encoded within.
The date is contained in a LL## group, where L is a letter and # a number, making up or included in the lot number impressed into or stamped onto the box tab.