Fakes committee

Reading the old magazines, I found that long ago there was a committee set up to look into several fakes at that time. Does anyone know where I can find that list?

Not a bad idea to have one now. There are more and better fakes than ever. Technology has got to the point that fakes are so good you cant tell it from a real one. One that has hit a lot of guys are fake Mk211 .50, those are easier than others though to figure out.

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Good idea, to have a new committee.

I don’t recognize this “Fake Committee” you refer to. Was it reputed to be established by the IAA, or before that the ICCA?

I started accumulating in 1956 and seriously collecting in 1957. I joined the ICCA in about 1966 and the ECRA, then the ECCC in 1967. I have watched both organizations struggle with “Fakes”. My first memory of “fakes” was in about 1968 when an old friend who is still a member if the IAA was talking at a (then old) guy who was selling his collection of Civil War carbines. As they talked my friend realized the l.d guy had a box of cartridges at the show (Ohio Gun Collectors Association back when they held their shows in Columbus). Looking through the box there was a good deal of fairly common stuff, some good stuff, some outstanding stuff and a couple of fantastic items! My friend bought the box and a couple of days later as he drooled over his finds, he realized that the two best and a couple of the others were turned cases,well finished so it wasn’t visible on the outside and filled with sawdust and bullets that were likely cast from the original molds. At the next Columbus show he talked to the old man again and was told that the guy had long ago made replicas of he rounds he was missing and replaced them as he found the original items. Were they replicas or were they fakes???

My experience is that it is almost impossible define which is which since it is really the context in which they are obtained. A man who ran a large experimental lab gave me a couple of rounds that were made up by the bucket full as gifts to people visiting the lab. One of them was obviously not a real cartridge since it couldn’t be chambered in a gun. He had the two buckets of these on a table in the lab. It has been asserted that he later sold them to people as rare experimentals, and I have recently seen one being offered on one of the gun sites for hundreds of dollars. There is no way I can know if the Lab guy actually misrepresented them, or gave them away as a gift to someone who claimed they were rare experimentals when he sold them and, when confronted, asserted the original source had sold them to him and claiming they were rare expensive items. Perhaps both are true!

On the other hand, I have known cases where extremely rare items (only 2 or 5 or 10 known) that were thrown away or destroyed when someone decided they were fakes.

The cartridge I posted today could have suffered that fate,

and now it turns out to be, in all likelihood, an extremely rare experimenal German rifle round.

Over my decades collecting I have many “fakes” turn out years later to be legit, and also the opposite. Way back I established a box that I put all questionable items in. Items that are questionable for a lot of reasons, including that some had told me they were fake or they came from someone who had a reputation for perhaps not always being truthful. Some have been there for decades, some have graduated the collection and some have graduated to my fake box! Bill Woodin had a Fake Collection as he called it because it is as important of know the proven fakes as the real cartridges.

Ultimately, what constitutes a fake depends on the individual collector. Back in the late 1970s I was co-located with the USAF Armament Lab and test center. At the old Chicago Show three guys asked me if I could get them a dummy 30mm GAU8 round. I had met the guy who ran the test range so I went down to his office and told him I had three collector friends who each wanted a GAU8 dummy. He said no problem and about a week later he called and I went down to pick them up. One had a purple case, one yellow case and one a green case. Two were aluminum cases and one steel. All three had different TP projectiles.

He told me he had made me three dummies from left over experimental parts that they use as needed when putting together test cartridges. At he next Chicago show I gave them to my three friends and soon Bill Woodin was at my table asking if I could get him one of each of the dummies. Were they fakes??? You decide.

I have seen discussions on fakes cause people to be thrown out of associations, and then then sheepishly reinstated, It has destroyed very old friendships and caused a lot of needless pain. Think carefully and understand the implications before you go down this path.


Here is someone’s collection of what they consider to be fakes that they compiled over the years that I photographed a couple years ago.

image image

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Excellent points, all of them. I hadn’t thought of any of them.

I had intended to use the information for myself only.

Perhaps the ruined old friendships were the result of the old committee. Who knows?

The one that I had gotten that I was told was a fake is an aluminum case marked with red military-like lettering that said “0 Gauge”. I wondered about this after I got it because it was much smaller in diameter that any 0 Gauge I’d ever seen or seen photos of. It came with papers describing them that looked like they’d gone through some generations of photocopying/mimeographing.

I was at the St. Helens cartridge show a few years back. When we got together after the show at a guy’s house I asked the group about this. ‘Most everyone laughed, then explained that, sooner or later, ALL of them had bought one of these and that they were well known, as well as it being known who had made them up.

If this is not correct, for this particular cartridge, let me know because I’ll owe someone an apology if it isn’t correct.

Sometime, when I can find them, I’ll look back through my CD of old newsletters to see if I can locate the article. I don’t recall if it was IAA or ICCA or not.

Thank you for your answer, Lew. You’re a lot of help, to everyone.

R. Theron Cammer

Didn’t realize how many had been faked! I just simply don’t even think like that. Thanks for the email. Do you have names for these? You guys are the real experts, not me.

I may have even bought some of these!

There is way more fakes than one can imagine and not counted are the “fantasy” fakes.

And as Lew said (and it was discussed here about a hundered times before) fake and reproduction are only being told apart by the intention (or knowledge) of the one giving it away.

Good reproduction cartridges (Replicas) should always be marked accordingly, either with the headstamp of the maker, or in some other way, such as a small “R” stamped somewhere on the cartridge. A good example of properly-done replica cartridges are those produced by Reuter and Reynolds, either using their own back-to-back RR headstamps or marked with an “R” on the case.

If not properly done, the legitimate Replica of today can become tomorrows fake depending on the seller.

While there are many issues that would beg simply leaving the subject alone, it is becoming such a problem that the subject must be constantly brought back to the collecting fraternity. Remember, while not nearly so many as we would like, we get new members in our hobby all the time, and they deserve to know what is going on. Many of us, me included, have been the victims of unscrupulous collectors.

I could go on for a long time about this subject, but will call it quits with this.

John Moss

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Those “O” gauge shells are true fakes as made to sell & are not accurate anythings.

The included paper is even more “proof” (koff, koff), should you need it.

Not sure if it was ever written up in the IAA / ICCA perhaps on one of the other clubs letters?

Thankfully there is not too much of this stuff that goes around, But a few years ago I went to a local gun show & here’s this guy with all the really nicely labeled cap tins. which were priced as it the Xerox’ed labels were real labels and on the correct tins.

Gun shows - beware buying ammo, unless you know what your buying.

Anything that make/will make will have year it actually made on it. If I made a case in 2017, it won’t be an original .31 Crispin! But, all such items do need to have all four digits since cartridge manufacturing is now in its third century.

Cases are not necessarily made continuously, particularly hunting cartridges. Factories set up their line for a caliber and produce a quantity of cases that could be loaded a decade or more later. DWM hunting rifle cases dated in the 1930s show up in boxes loaded in the late 1940s and the 1950s. As John Moss recently noted in a post, the date on the case tells when it was made (usually) but tells us nothing about when the cartridge was loaded. Even the date could be fake by the factory. The 30-06 ammunition made for the Invasion of Cuba under President Kennedy had fake headstamps dated from WWII. There are also lots of other examples of fake dates being used to hide the source of the ammunition.

Studying and/or collecting ammo is extremely complicated. Like the rest of the real world, never except the simply answer as being the whole truth, or even the majority of the truth! In fact as we have seen over the years, it may not be any of the truth.

Learn all you can!!!


I am, I am! Actually, I guess I was thinking more in the line of decimal-type cases, including mine, if I ever get around to making any. I always appreciate your thoughtful postings. Thanks.

Were those “fake” shot shells marketed as O (oh) or 0 (zero) gauge?


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I consider the definition of a fake as “an intentional misrepresentation of a cartridge or whatever that is offered at the original’s value”. I bought a 30-06 laying in a pile of cartridges at the Southwest show a couple of years ago. It had a green tip and the headstamp is F A 40. It is in excellent shape. It sat for awhile until I looked it up and confirmed that it has a magnetic core. It appears to be a cobalt core experimental AP round from Frankford Arsenal. I believe it is fairly rare cartridge or a fake. I only paid a couple of bucks for it so it does not necessarily fit my description of a fake. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to confirm what it is without damaging it.

Interesting definition, but, as you say, with some holes. It is a non-trivial task to know the sellers intent, particularly since, quite a few fakes have passed through one or more hands that thought they were correct! This is particularly true of cartridges bought from old collections. I have to admit I have a box for things I believe are actual fakes (and some of these have later proved to be legit) and a box of possible fakes, but since these are for my use, I have never labelled the boxes.

When your green tip 30-06 eventually gets passed on, how will anyone know your suspicions unless they read this long buried thread and know the round came from you?

A very complex subject.

Regarding your specific cartridge, I recommend you arrange to compare it with a round believed to be legit. As a minimum this should include overall length, and the magnetic characteristics of the bullet using a variety of strength magnets.

I am sure others have better suggestions.


Thanks Lew,

I have only made a few regrettable purchases so far and they involved bad descriptions on an auction site, but I knowing take the risk in those situations. Other than that, it is just part of the fun collecting cartridges. How can you put a price on that.

Thank you for posting the photo.