Copyright International Ammunition Association, 2010. All rights reserved.
Cartridge of the Month June 2010

O’Connor Steelhead .30-06 Dummy
Specimens and photos courtesy of Mel Carpenter, sectioning by Chris Punnett

The O’Connor Steelhead, a.k.a. Ramhead, line of unformed rifle cases with tempered stainless steel screw-on bases were introduced to the shooting public in 1984. These were touted by their maker, the O’Connor Rifle Products Company, Ltd. of Edisto Island, South Carolina as a “totally new concept in handloading” that “increases powder efficiency and velocity.” They were sold in two different sizes; the .30-06 and the belted 7mm Rem Mag head sizes, with .280 Rem, .222, .308 and .375 H&H magnum “coming soon.” The cases were also available in .50 BMG on special order.

.30-06 size O'Connor "Steelhead" case- note that these were sold as unformed cases which could be formed to many diferent calibers.


In 1984, the standard cases cost $14.95 for a plastic box of five, and the belted magnum cases went for $16.95. Replacement brass only was $4.95 for a plastic box of five, and magnums cost $5.95. (.30-06 case size in while box and magnums in black case.)

The basic idea was that the steel heads could safely withstand a much greater pressure than brass, therefore, a handloader could load to higher pressures for greater velocity. The instructions for forming the cases involve progressive runs through a series of dies and then fire-forming. Because of the case design, with its threads and separate steel head, powder capacity was less than in a standard case.


The ’06 dummies shown are two of twenty made by O’Connor on special request.  Sectioning by Chris Punnett. 


O’Connor factory reps displaying their new cases at a Savannah, GA gun show were very surprised to learn that the idea of a reloadable cartridge case with a screw-on steel head was not new, but went back about a century. This information put somewhat of a damper on their plans to patent their “totally new concept,” which of course was not new at all.


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  Revised 1 September 2010