Display ideas


Hello All,
I just had some ideas about displaying cartridges. I was thinking about cutting a thin(quarter inch) long rectangle out of clear acrylic or Plexiglas, drilling various size holes in it and sliding the cartridges in. Then having another sheet underneath holding them in. This would all me to tilt it up (assuming it’s hanging) and see the headstamp. I’m not sure how well this would work out but it seems ok to me.
The other idea would be to embed them in some type of clear epoxy or something. I’m just pondering right now. I know that wouldn’t be good for the old or expensive rounds though.
Big thing to me is seeing the headstamps while being able to “display” them, not just warehouse.



I like the idea of creating a cartridge display from some sort of liquid plastic material, and agree that this should only be done with relatively common cartridges. I have always admired the Weatherby display sets with several of their proprietary cartridges. The backgrounds and information included in the moldings make them into very nice display pieces. Does anyone have a source for a suitable material that would not require too much in the way of special equipment to use effectively? Thanks in advance for any help on this…Mark


If you do a Google search for “Bio-Plastic Embedding Compound” you will find a number of sources for the materail. It is commonly used to embed biological specimens.


Thanks for the info all, I had no idea what this stuff was called. "Epoxy was just the best word I could think of.
By the way Mark50. Nice signature. My sig on AR forums is “Per Scientia, Vox”.


Quick Idea, googleing(sp?) “clear resin” or “clear casting resin” works. The results looks cheaper than bio-plastic. I’ve seen resin for casting miniatue models (guilty :-) ) but this seems promising.


When a friend and I were teaching hunter safety a good 25 years ago we made up 2 displays for the students to look at. One was .22 caliber consisting of .22 short, .22 long, .22 long rifle, .22 WRF, .22 Hornet. The rimfires had bulleted, blank and shot samples. The other one is .30 caliber from 30-30 to 300 H & H Magnum. We figured this was a good way for everyone to see the differences without loosing some of the samples to “borrowing”. The friend was in the specialized glue manufacturing business and obtained the material we used to encapsulate the specimens so I do not know what is was. There has been no change in the material all these years. We poured the liquid plastic into metal molds.



I have been trying to come up with the perfect cartridge display method ever since I tied my first hundred or so cartridges to a piece of plywood almost 33 years ago. My collection currently resides in a series of boxes and ammo cans but I will try to describe the display that I WILL build someday (soon).

The display will be framed with wood and have a lockable glass front. The cartridges will lay horizontally on shelves of a material like Dupont Corian. The shelves will have grooves routered in on approximately one inch centers.
The cartridges will be displayed with the head toward the viewer so that the headstamp will be viewable without removing the cartridge from the display. A mirror will be positioned above each shelf at 45 degrees to the shelf to show the full length view of the cartridge. This means that the viewer will see the cartridge as if it were hanging with the projectile pointing down. I also plan to a series of holes drilled into the front of the shelf for cartridges to be inserted into so that headstamp variations can be displayed in close association to the full length displayed cartridge on top of the shelf.

I see two drawbacks, both of which I can live with:

  1. The cartridges appear pointing down. Yeah I want to point my cartridges skyward like rockets or skyscrapers or whatever, but then you end up fighting gravity and that means glue or wires or clips and those things make removing the cartridge, in order to examine it or rearrange it, very difficult.

  2. The display will be at least as thick as the longest cartridge and probably much to heavy to hang on the wall like a picture frame. I plan to build my display to stand on the floor against a wall, with drawers and/or book shelves in the base of the display

The way I see it this display will have the following advantages:

  1. The cartridges will be held in place by gravity. They can’t tip over because they are laying down.

  2. Cartridges can be easily removed from the display (If you have the key).

  3. Headstamps are clearly visible.


That sound like quite the project but will be like a museum when completed. I like the idea of a mirror. Free space is limited in so I don’t think a full size case would work for me but if it did…well thats how I’d go. Also seeing as I only have gathered <60 cartridges right now it would be a little much. I’m also going to try and number them( or the material around them) and have a booklet or sheet nearby explaining about that particular cartridge.
Thanks for the info


For those of you that have tried the liquid plastic route, how do you keep the cartridges from sinking to the bottom of the mold, therefore, not appearing as suspended in the lucite, plastic, etc. ?

Do you half fill the mold, wait for it to firm up, then add the sample & more solution ? Or do you fill the mold & drop in the sample ?


Just thinking maybe let the resin/plastic cure enough to hold the weight of the item then gently press it in and pour the rest?


A) I went back and read your original post. I kind of like the hinged plexiglas idea. Thin plexiglass is pretty easy to work. If you want to bend it into a box or just an L you can make a heater out of a piece of electrical heating element (like from an old toaster). Stretch your recycled heating element out straight on something non-flamable and non-conductive like backer board or concrete siding. If you are electronically inclined, throw a dimmer switch into the circuit to control the heat. Carefully heat the line where you want to bend your plexiglass so that just a very narrow strip is softened, then make your bend. You could use small squares of plexiglass to form shell holders that hold the cartridges by the rim/extraction groove. Glue the shell holder in, not your cartridge.

B) On the topic of embedding in resin, I really dont approve of doing this to collectable cartridges, but if you just want to make a display of your shooting ammo, then knock yourself out. Somewhere, I have seen instructions for embedding objects in resin and I am pretty sure that it is done in two pours. First you build a form to hold the resin on a sheet of glass. The idea is to form your viewing side on the glass. Pour about a quarter inch (or whatever depth you want) of resin into the mold and let it harden up enough to support your cartridges. Place your cartridges face down on the first layer, then fill your form with a second batch of resin. Let it harden up, remove your form and pry your work of art of the glass (they make release agents to prevent undue sticking). Then trim and polish to your hearts content. The biggest problem I see is dealing with air bubbles, and you are on your own there.

C) What do you collect Josh? Do you think you can be satisfied with less than sixty cartridges?


That is a good idea about the bending of the Plexiglass. Up to now I had been thinking about some kind of glue or solvent. I am mildly inclined and have access to someone who is an electrical engineer to that would help. If I read correctly, the forming of many small square would be very time consuming. I have nothing against that at all except that I would probably make the odd one uneven and it might not lokk that great. Thats why I was going with drilled holes (for uniformity). The hole would hold them horizontally and the bottom piece would secure them vertically. Which should work unless someone picket it up and shakes it up and down. I also was not planning to glue the cartridge at all as some of mine while not rare still have value to me.
I agree that embedding in resin would not be the best of ideas not only because of the permanence of it but it would be extremely hard to keep out air bubbles and keep the object perfectly centered. I may still try it with some of my doubles though.

Personally, I just began collecting the odd military round. Just to match the cartridge with the gun I had read about. I’m beginning to get hooked though. The main reason for the display is as a gift for my grandfather. Although it may take longer to get it to him than I expected because I keep finding new cartridges. As of now I believe I would be satisfied with <60 cartridges, as long as they were very interesting but , I’m adding guns to my “wow I really like that and didn’t know it existed” list every day.:-)

Thanks for the info