Collecting by Manufacturer

I’m wondering how collectors of civilian ammo arrange their collections.

Until now, I have generally only kept one example of a given commercial civilian caliber.
Rather than have samples of .270 Win by WRACo, Win-Western, Rem-UMC, Rem-Peters, Remington, Federal, etc., etc., etc., I would have a single round.
No special effort to collect by only brand either.

However, I recently bought an entire collection and it has many “duplicates”
For example, 12 gauge shotshells by:
W.R.A. Co.
Western Winchester
Rem. U.M.C.
D.C. Co. and Dominion Cartridge Co.
Peters Cartridge Co, Federal
misc North American and European
misc European

Before I thin it out, I want to hear your opinions.
And if I do keep one specific maker, which are more desirable?

Robin Hood comes to mind…

I think you must make up your mind yourself what you like to collect. Some collect one of each caliber, others one of each manufacturer. Other all the different headstamps. There are so many variables, and there is not only one that is correct. Everyone collect what they like and have interest for. You need to make up your mind what you like to collect. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on your collection, one of each caliber would be fine. But if you are really into it, then one of each manufacturer for each caliber can be correct for you. Maybe you want to limit it to American manufacturers, and try to get everything different made by those. Only you know what is right for you.
What you can do with your duplicates if you decide to keep only one of each caliber, is to trade missing calibers with others. Good luck.

I collect to show how arms and ammunition has evolved from black powder muzzle loaders to 20mm aircraft cannon and the odd ball ammunition that did not get past the development stage.

I collect to study the history of the 9x19mm cartridge so I collect all variations including manufacturer, headstamp variations and dates, but collecting dates has become so consuming that I have gotten spotty and just pick those up when they pass my way. but in more historic items I still seek out all the dates like the Swiss pre-1940 rounds in another recent topic.

As has been said repeatedly above, it depends on why you collect! I knew a collector once who collected the ones that were attractive to him! His approach is just as valid as mine or yours or anyone elses!

Good Luck

Thanks for the replies and opinions, gentlemen.

I am leaning towards keeping one example of each civilian cartridge.
(For military rounds I already keep many different variations of .303, 8x57, .30-06, x39, x51, x54R, etc.)
Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule. Noticeably different bullet types would be reason to keep extras.

This will allow me to have a solid collection of chamberings without breaking the bank account or overwhelming my basement!

As psg1 suggests, I will use the duplicates as traders.



Dean, another option for commercial cartridges is to collect those made by the originator rather than one particular manufacturer. I started out collecting mostly American and British sporting rifle and tried to collect one example of each by the manufacturer that introduced the round. With the British rifle cartridges I tried to collect the earliest examples I could find (for example, with CN jacketed bullets rather than GM or GMCS). Just one more option that can make things interesting (to me at least).

Shot shells can be grouped by the maker, then the gauge or by the brand or the loading. Then within brands you can perhaps do high base or low base, or plastic or paper hulls, or are the heads magnetic or not or is there inner magnetic reinforcing.

One guy I knew collected red shells & green shells. He had others but …

If you have the room keep one of each check the topwads for different powders or shot chilled vs regular shot, or perhaps the “game”, trap or skeet or rabbits or grouse might be mentioned.

These go on forever.

Best advise is if you have the room & like-em, keep-em

I started out as a one of each but as I begin to accumulate quite a few rounds the remaining ones were getting very expensive so then I began to branch out to a makers head stamps. I took a liking to Weatherby and Herters so now I can still keep collecting but not break the bank.

I took the simple route- If it is cool, or it thrills me, I keep it.
Of course that makes for a disorganized collection, or should I say conglomeration!


I have found my preferences for collecting have changed over time. I started out only collecting one of each caliber. When finding new calibers started slowing down, I moved on to other variants. I’ve even sold items that I lost interest in. I suspect many others could say the same thing.

Personally I’ve only sold two collections, a 22 box which had a Robin Hood box it it & a 30-06 box collection which I think I’ve now much improved on. Still collecting 22 boxes but not got that RH back (had to pay $25 for it , but now willing to go up to &35) Yeah I know cold day in …

Thanks for the replies, guys. :)

For US makers of old rounds, is there a preferred company? I am leaning towards WRACo.

How about UK companies? For no particular reason, I am drawn to Kynoch. (Even though both Kynoch and Eley were part of ICI…)

Sounds like you have made a decision.

My self for some reason I can’t quote grasp, like Peters, Nah tell a lie, I like-em all

Kynoch was originally just Kynoch before the few 'joinings" that led to ICI

One thing you may find with US sporting ammo is Remington was probably more prolific in introducing new rounds than Winchester. But if they became popular, Winchester (and others) probably loaded them as well. So, there really is no “preferred” company, only what matters to you.

I started collecting military 30-06 rounds with differing head stamps. I had no idea there are so many! Then 45 acp with WW1 era dates caught my eye. Now I’ve added 20 mm and 37 mm rounds to my collection. I thought I should stop here but then I saw early .22 boxes and 30-06 National Match boxes and and and … What a great hobby!