How do you catalog your collection?

The recent post by Jim got me curious as to how others catalog their collections and I’d be interested to hear not only how you do it but what (if any) legal requirements there are that govern this.

A requirement of an ammunition collectors license in Western Australia is that a log of every item is maintained and that it must specify where/who you obtained the item from. Also, we are not allowed to have live rounds 20mm or above. Below is a screen capture from the Access database I built.

Most of the fields are drop-down, search as you type fields, meaning it is very quick and easy to input data. In the example above the keystrokes to populate the data fields were as follows:
mj [tab] au [tab] 1942 [tab] r [tab] .303 [tab] xx [tab] 250916 [tab] [tab] then I type in the description. Ican type as much or as little as I want in here, including links to web sites etc.

The xx represent the first two letters of the name of the person/supplier I got the item from. The status field defaults to LIVE, so I only have to type Inert if it isn’t a live round. The pictures load automatically once they have been sized and saved using the record number as the image name.

You may be wondering why there are so many categories and this is so that I can easily find a round using the filter (search engine), which is shown below:

Here I have searched for all my Australian 303 British rounds made in Footscray between May 1926 and 1962 (when they used the MF code). I can click on the column headings to sort them alphabetically/numerically. In this example, I have sorted by year. However, I could click on the Comments column and sort by round type and mark.

If there is sufficient interest, I’d be happy to make this available to others. It will take me some time to write a manual.


That looks like a great catalog! I’ve been using Excel files and trying to transition to InDesign spreads backed up by .PDF.

The Excel sheets are annoying because of the constraints of the formatting system (and difficulty of pictures).

I would be very interested!
Also as a side note, for someone with the username Mayhem, you always appear to be super organized.

I use Google Sheets so that I can access it from my computer or phone just about anywhere. I can also easily share it with other people.

It is limited like was said to text field only, no pictures

Do they also require you to record who the source was for inert items or fired cases?

Red plastic Floger’s coffee cans.

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I also use Access to track my collection. I have a main control panel with various options to generate reports, etc.:


I have a summary table that I keep open on one of my monitors that is in portrait orientation so that I can see a large number of items at once. It allows me to filter and sort items based on some of the major parameters like caliber, loading, or country of origin, and then I can click on the ID number to see a detailed view on another monitor:

Finally I have a detailed form where I track the specifics on each item (in far greater detail than is probably necessary). Almost all of the fields are controlled with a drop-down menu to enforce consistency in my descriptions. The “Additional Information” tab in the screen shot below is where I track pricing, source, miscellaneous notes, and exhibits for my website. While I have no legal requirement to track the source of my cartridges I like to do so for provenance:

I also have an overly-complicated procedure to export everything to my website. I eventually want to scrap the Access database and make a web-based management system. Given how little time I have for my hobbies, that is probably going to be on my to-do list for many years…


In bound books, wriiten with a pencil so I can make needed corrections.
I can easily draw headstamps & use abbreviations to note the full details.
I use a 2nd book to correlate / cross reference the numbers of all of the say .30-06 or whatever & to keep a record of case types so I know if I have a .30-01 or not.
Up to 14,500 or so cartridge entries & way behind as the days are too short.

Tom your coffee cans will promote destruction of any round next to a round that might be going bad. They need space around them & not to be touching. Even with that the vapors of one going bad can form on the surface of one(s) next to it.
The only remedy is to keep an eye on them.

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I put them in their own clear plastic tube that I bought from I wrote what they are with a permanent black magic marker. Someday when I have the time, I’ll use that EXCEL format that you showed me. That seems to be the best.

Like this…



Very well built database Mayhem, it appears super easy to use.

Your licence conditions are outrageous! I’ve never heard of any law like that here in NSW.

So far I only have my live calibres written down in a note on my phone for a friend who was interested, I’ll use that as my base to expand to my fired and inert cases.

All of my military .303 ammo is copied and written down on a piece of paper which has come in handy several times.

twoaz - that is a very comprehensive and well constructed database. I still have to figure out how to construct some reports. I’m a self taught Access person and my database is a collection of code that I have sourced from all over the place (a bit like my collection!).

Randy - do you use a specific program to produce those ‘drawings’? If I had to do that by hand they would look like a 3 year old had done them.

Falcon - it is a bit of a grey area and I have been given different ‘interpretations’ from different people. According to the definition in our firearms act, anything that is rendered inoperative isn’t classed as ammunition. However, a fired case could be reloaded so it is considered ammunition.


Technically, if I drilled the case then that would render it inoperable. However, if that case has a projectile in it then the projectile itself could be pulled and is therefore considered ammunition. Essentially, I would have to drill out primer pockets, drill the case and section the projectile. As such, I log everything just to be safe.

Guin - Thank you. Yes, we have very strict laws. However, the problem is that a lot of collectors are not familiar with a number of them. For example, we have to store ammunition in a container that meets Schedule 4 of the firearms regulations, which is the exact same specifications for gun cabinets.


Just wow…

So, is there a difference of level between shooting ammutnion and collectors ammunition?

Yes - no need to log any shooting ammunition, just collectible ammunition.

Could you imagine it.
Line 1: May 3 2018 - purchased 1x 20 round box of S&B 303.
Line 2: May 5 2018 - shot 1x 20 round box of S&B 303.
etc, etc…

Lol. I meant as in the level of safe storage.

I.e ammo to shoot can be in a standard lockbox, but if you want to collect ammo it has to be in the same category safe for an actual firearm?

Very nice database you have, Mayhem, it looks really great. I would be interested in using this setup, if allowed. I only use excell, I would like to use a database that allow photos.

twoaz, your setup also looks really good.

All ammunition, regardless of use, is suppose to be locked in a container that meets the requirements for a firearm. That is one bit that most people are unaware of. Technically, if you are stopped by a traffic cop and in searching your car they turn up a fired, empty 22 case, you can be charged with incorrect storage of ammunition!

Mayhem - all States have different laws, if you were talking about
the United States. What you mentioned as the law in your state would
not necessarily apply in another state.

If you are in a different country, ignore my response, although laws differ
from country to country, also.

John Moss

I believe Mayhem mentioned Australia, so fairly draconian, although California is on its way to becoming that restrictive.

Yes - both Guin and I are in Australia, although on different sides of the country. Just like the US the rules vary based upon the state, so our side discussion is only really applicable to those of us in Australia.

Edit - my comments are limited to Western Australia and directed to Guin, as a comparison to his state (NSW), particularly in response to his questions. I would always urge any collector (irrespective of where they are) to make sure they understand the rules and regulations that apply to them.

I’d be happy for any admin to remove this part of the thread, as it does detour from the topic. Whilst it does explain why I included certain fields in my database it isn’t necessary and my be better removed if there are legal implications. I’m sure Guin and I can discuss this offline.

For the record, I’d be interested in having a closer look at any/all Access or other database work anyone has done in this direction. Better than reinventing the wheel, IMO, to start with something tried & tested.