FAKES. Again

A recent thread asking about a possible “fake” prompts me to start this discussion.

A “fake” cartridge is generally considered to be one that is manufactured, altered, or modified in a way to represent something that it is not. Usually with larceny in mind.

OTOH, a “reproduction” or “replica” cartridge is one that is intended to be as much like an original as possible, but for more honest purposes. Good collecting ethics tell us that a reproduction or replica should be clearly and permanently marked in a way that cannot be removed. Otherwise it could become a fake.

A cartridge that is made in someone’s shop for no purpose other than to see how it would look, or possibly as a conversation starter or joke, I (and others) call a “dingbat”. A primed case with a nail gun “bullet” is a good example. Most often, the dingbats are not marked because most of them are so obvious that it’s hardly necessary.

Which brings me to the next category. Such as a recent thread that discussed a 7.9 Mauser-German 1938 Chromed Dummy. I don’t think anyone has positively identified the cartridge.

I doubt if it’s a fake. No one is going to get rich faking chromed dummies.

If it’s a reproduction, what is the original that it supposedly reproduces? And why?

A dingbat? Possibly but if there are other known examples, that would be ruled out.

So, how would you classify it?

Where am I hoping to go with this thread? I have no idea. I’m throwing the subject out for discussion. I know you guys will have opinions and maybe we can agree on a term that describes these types of cartridges.


Maybe I can run with it a bit further. There is another classification, cartridges for adornment/ decoration. As soon as you mentioned chroming them I remembered a man who used to buy up sack loads of old fired cases from us to re-manufacture them into pendants, keyrings, belts etc. There were several times in history when such things were highly fashionable. I believe he supplied fairly high end shops.
Fast forward twenty odd years and one of those jewellery cartridges could turn up on here with somebody saying “why was this chromed?” Not a fake but if you didn’t realise it could be mystery of the week with all sorts of theories

The German Werkzug (probably misspelled Werkzug) cartridge, which had holes, and was made in at least two variations was basically a snap cap plus & it also served other uses. Some of the headstamps are quite uncommon. My wild guess is that this could perhaps have been represented as a uncommon variation of such a item, & sold for good money.

So FAKE gets my vote on this 7.9

Well Ray, I think that the only cartridges that hardly can be considered fakes or dingbats are wildcats. Anyone can mede them with proper tools, but they still remain as real as the cartridges loaded by their creator…

There is also a way to split up the ‘fakes’ as well.

Those that are manufactured to fool the shooting consumer (for example the fake geco cartidges/boxes recently discussed). I would consider these as collectible. Maybe these are considered counterfeits or rip-offs rather than fakes.


Those that are manufactured/modified to fool the collector. These I would not consider to be collectible except as examples of fakes or if there was some sort of back story that made them significant (ie the exact example that was detailed in a significant reference book).

People should also be careful to know film prop cartridges, or replica prop cartridges. They usually feel and look “fake”, but of course they were intended to be such, since they don’t use live ammo on films with projectiles that fire (only blanks). I have seen some desirable original prop cartridges from movies, but then also replicas of props which are more like a “fake”, but are usually intended to be a fake and are up front about this by the makers/sellers. This information can be lost through the grapevine however.