I think the bails changed to manganese steel around the same time as the rims. So perhaps this is a helmets made of mixed parts made around the time of the change, which might be why the rim joint is at the front, the fitters force of habit as he had been doing for the last few years.
Just a theory
My mates one has manganese steel bails and rim with a heat stamp 1?12B
I use to own a front seam like that also made of manganese steel instead of stainless
probably a late production model during the transition, yes they also had some with a stainless rear seam, I also have one of those
I just bought a helmet like this a couple weekends back- I was so tired I thought it was freakshow Nam era mistake, the helmet shell was so cheap I bought it- I did not realize it was a WWII lid till I got home and woke up a bit.
It's a rusted non stainless steel front seam like this- I just don'
t just know if the bails are stainless....I'll look when I get home.
So just how rare would a steel rim front seam be?
Rare as in there isn't that many around....however this has no impact on value whats so ever......most folk dont even take note of the rim material....there could be a dozen reasons why these oddities occured,maybe just part of typical wartime production being pushed to the limit.....Jake.
It looks like a steel rim to me , the first time I have seen a Schlueter shell like this, but then again I have only seen a couple of mcCords with this feature, just goes to show that both factories must have made the same kind of mistake.
I also agree with Jake above about the rarity.