Hello again. As I’ve been looking over several old cartridges, I have found that at one time someone put a hole in the case side to empty the powder out. How does this affect the “collectability” of that particular cartridge?
Many collectors won’t have them, but times they are a-changin’. Many European collectors now only collect or exchange inerted examples, and if you want to trade, you have no choice. I will always take a fired or inerted example of something I need, you can always upgrade later.
I agree with Jon. I suppose that money-wise a deactivated cartridge is worth less than one that is not. However, since you can’t normally see the powder in a cartridge without disassembling it, and most of us do not disassemble cartridges from our collections for the same reasons I will mention below, removing the powder thru a hole in the side of a case, although unsightly, does little or nothing to detract from the features of the cartridge. It therefore does nothing to detract from the knowledge we gain from it. For those who disassemble cartridges and study the powder as well, which I certiany have no criticism of, what I have said is not true, of course.
It is a matter of personal taste, but I would prefer a well-drilled hole in the side of a case for purposes of removing the powder and reaching the primer for chemical deactivation, to pulling a bullet for the same purposes. In cartridges that have virtually any type of crimp more than just a friction fit of bullet to case mouth, pulling by any method distorts the crimps - that is, it slightly changes their form. Drilling a hole in the case does not distort any feature of the cartridge, nor even ruin it for photography as long as the hole is drilled on one side only, and not completely thru the case. One merely turns the undrilled side to the camera.
Just my opinion. I fully realize there is no consensus on this, and one man’s opinion is a good as another’s.
What is not opinion but is purely fact, is that the times we live in have changed things quite a bit, and deactivated cartridges, esepcially if one is fairly advanced in collecting and trades with others in other countries, are a simple fact of life. You either except them, or have a less complete collection.
What Jon and John said.
Keep in mind that there are some inert cartridges with holes in the cases that are collectable. Many military dummy rounds have one or more holes. Also, there are cartridges that were never loaded but were made especially for display boards or as samples or souvenirs. Some of them will fetch prices higher than a live cartridge. I just paid a royal ransom for one such cartridge, a Winchester prototype. So don’t dismiss any cartridge out of hand. Do your research. Buy good reference books. Join IAA. Ask questions on this Forum.
This brings up a problem that has bothered me for some time. With all the cartridges being inerted today for the non-US collectors by drilling a hole in the case to remove the powder and deactivating the primer, how are collectors in the future (assuming the hobby is not made illegal world-wide) going to be able to distinguish between collector inerted and factory inerted rounds. If a case has a small hole (less than 1/8 inch), then it is most likely a factory dummy, but if the hole is larger, unless one sees the cartridge come from a factory marked box, how is a collector supposed to know? Yes, you can say “know your cartridges” so you know what the factory inerted rounds look like to sort them out, but there is always that never before seen legit factory dummy showing up. I think this is going to be a huge problem in the future.
Ron is right that holed cartridges are sometimes confused for factory dummies. I, personally, can see no solution to this. As time goes on, in our “brave new world” it will probably eventually be illegal possess live ammunition, so the problem of identifying inert from factory dummies is going to increase. It may become a moot point if the worst happens, and it could following the direction our governments are taking us all, and it becomes illegal to even possess anything resembling a cartridge. Hopefully, that will not happen.
Regarding other methods of inerting rounds, the laws in some countries and states not recognizing any round as inert unless they can see at a glance that is is. Simply removing the powder and inerting a primer internally (leaving it unsnapped), so that the round looks like a live cartridge still, is not acceptable. California is very close to that when dealing with ammunition types where it is illegal to possess live ones at all, like tracers and incendiaries. If an agent sees one and can’t tell without any disassembly that the round is inert, they WILL seize it. Some agents believe the law applies even to projectiles themselves, although a recent scan of the California Statutes did not indicate that is true. A lawyer would have to decide that though.
I agree with those who have posted so far.
I prefer collecting cartridges which are inert: in fact, in an ideal world I’d have all my cartridges sectioned, with a 120 degree slice taken out so that I can see the structure of the projectile. I can still photograph them as complete rounds by turning the uncut side to face the camera, and there’s absolutely no chance of trouble with the authorities in the future!
"…absolutely no chance of trouble with the authorities in the future…"
Tony,Don’t bet on it!!!
Yes, one could still shoot at cutaway tanks etc. :)
[quote=“Tony Williams”]I agree with those who have posted so far.
I prefer collecting cartridges which are inert: in fact, in an ideal world I’d have all my cartridges sectioned, with a 120 degree slice taken out so that I can see the structure of the projectile. I can still photograph them as complete rounds by turning the uncut side to face the camera, and there’s absolutely no chance of trouble with the authorities in the future![/quote]
I hope you have a Section 5 FAC Tony (Special permit for prohibited ammunition types for non-Brit readers) as that says that even an AP or incendiary proj. on its own or in an inerted round is illegal. I am sure you are aware of that, but I do not think that even a section out of an inerted projectile alters its legal status.
I appreciate that this is an area of the law that is not strictly enforced at present in the UK and lots of inerted AP etc. rounds are openly sold on the collectors market, but don’t count on that in the future!
I am indeed aware of that, but I think that there would be no problem with a sectioned item. After all, a projectile is something that can be fired from a gun. So a sectioned item is, by definition, not a projectile.
Just one caution; please be very careful if you’re going to drill a hole in a STEEL-cased live cartridge! The cartridge might not be the only thing inerted. Ask His Lordship, Martin Golland.
[quote=“Dick”]"…absolutely no chance of trouble with the authorities in the future…"
Tony,Don’t bet on it!!!
Dick is right. Don’t bet on it. As far as anyone can determine, the mailing of inert cartridges between the USA and Canada via the USPS or Canada Post is questionable at best and illegal at worst. All because of a little known regulation that prohibits the mailing of inert munitions, but failed to define either word.
Do you know if the “problems” with Canada Post have ever been resolved?? I’m still holding some inert cartridges for a fellow collector in Canada and there are a couple that were going to come my way but are still on the north side of the border.
Sorry I don’t know the answer to your guestion.
What I meant by my previous comment to Tony was that I think he is placing way too much reliance on the bureaucratic ability to make sane regulations that effect our hobby.
Ray, I wasn’t referring to inert cartridges, but to sectioned ones. It would take a very distorted mind to find any threat in them!
As I remember it, the Canada Post regulation was written to prohibit the mailing of inerted “munitions” including parts thereof which would certainly include sectioned fuzes, projectiles and cases. There may have been some little bit of reasoning behind it (not much though, IMHO) but the lack of definitions has only tended to make Postal authorities skittish and, in their usuual bureaucratic fashion, decided that it’s better to error on the side of protecting their phoney-baloney jobs, which leaves us all hanging on their next move.