How do you catalog your collection?

OK - I’ll try to get some time to put together a manual and making some subtle changes to make it work for everyone. Given that the database looks for the images in a specific location, I’ll set everything so that you can simply drop the directory onto your root drive (C:).

You’ll have to be patient though…

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Very nice Mayhem.
I started out using an access data base but I embedded the pictures rather than hyper linked them. Which when I first started was great but what I soon found out was that as I really got into collecting I ran out of space (I reached the maximum file size) so had to go back and reduce the file size of the pictures.
Again this worked for a while but it wasn’t very long before I had reached the limit again. I struggled to get past 600 records per data base, even with the reduced quality pictures. So I started a second data base, and then a third, then a forth, etc. which soon became unmanageable as you had to open and search each data base to find anything.

As I only (in theory) collect shotgun cartridges you can see the layout I used. I did find that a third side view field was required on some cartridges so I did another data base with an added picture field for Side View 3.
I did do a few more trial data bases, one with hyper link fields for pictures, one with pre default boxes, etc. etc. but never settled to a format that suited what I wanted.

As I have close to 30,000 pictures now the thought of starting fresh is rather daunting :)…

I have found that from the days of hyper linking I do still file my pictures in a predefined folder system, i.e. All pictures have a standard file naming system; Head Stamp View, Side View 1, Over Shot Card etc. all filed by folder and then subfolders for bore sizes. Also I give them a very descriptive title. Like; head stamp detail, gunmaker, trade name, etc. so for Side View 1 in the above would be for example; "Nobel’s No 8 Ballistite Eley Nobel’s Sporting Ballistite Side View 1"

So I have now settled on opening the base folder and just searching that with as many details/names that “maybe” contained within the picture file title, this can be increased or reduced to suit what you are looking for.

I would be interested to see where you go with your data base.

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Nice looking database Eightbore.

I use code to show the images, which (as far as I can tell) doesn’t actually add them to the actual database. It simply calls them from a specific location and does so using the record number (primary key). As long as I save the picture using the file name it shows it in the object. At present I have 649 records in the database - I hope it doesn’t fall over when I hit 650 LOL

As my primary interest is 303, two pictures covers 99% of my collection. I do have a small number of paper shotshells so I can appreciate the need to have multiple images.

I just photograph my cartridges for a headstamp and side view. I save the images in regular Windows files with matching file names so the photos show up as matched pairs. I have files for one type of cartridge, say the .303 British and group files for single examples and cartridges represented in small numbers. Here is a screen shot of part of my .303 British collection:

I can switch to extra large icons and also search files by years or other criteria. I need to refine my file name system a bit, but I have been doing that as I go along.
I am storing most of my cartridges in plastic cartridge boxes, so that the headstamps are readable. I match the order in the box to the order in the files. Working on the computer is almost like having my collection at my finger tips. I plan to transfer these files to a tablet to haul to cartridge and gun shows so hopefully there will be no guessing and no more buying duplicates of cartridges that I already own!

Extra Large Icon View: (click image to expand)

Curtis F. Laws


As you have already done most of the work in producing your images why don’t you combine your side and headstamp views into one single image? You could then go the next step and type all the information relevant to that cartridge onto that combined image.

Any of the basic Photoshop Elements programs will do this and the older versions (I am using Photshop Elements 7) are very inexpensive on Ebay.

Hi Jim - I do admire the work you put in to produce your catalog. How easy do you find it to quickly search for a particular round? A good filter on a database is the main advantage I can see but I suppose you could use the indexing built into Windows but I haven’t really used it, so I do not know its capabilities.

I’m really enjoying seeing how others catalog their collections. More than one way to skin a cat and so many calibres to choose from to get it prepared for skinning!

I guess the answer is that, as the person who put together my photographic collection, I know within reason where everything is. There is also a certain logic as to where things should go. If you have a look at my website you’ll see that each calibre is listed in ascending order - regardless of whether they are imperial or metric cartridges. Within each calibre group the breakdown is by country of manufacture - these are arranged alphabetically. Within each country group the individual cartridges are arranged by type e.g. Ball, Tracer, Armour Piercing, Incendiary, Grenade, Blank, etc.
As long as this basic template is adhered to it’s easy to find individual cartridges.

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Jim: I have done that with a few cartridges and feel that it is not worth the extra time and eye strain. Having the two images side by side suits my needs perfectly.


As I really only collect cartridge clips, cataloguing them is quite simple, it’s done by a) Cartridge, b) Model of Clip, c) Country and then within country by variations such as date, finish or other peculiarities.

When I find something new I prefer not to handle it too much so once I’ve given it a light cleaning and stabilised any problems then I scan or photograph the clip to show details and use Photoshop to create a composite image, the clip then gets stored in a secure place, in an archival envelope. The details are entered into a Word document but the images are portable and provide the best reference.




It’s probably really clumsy, there are almost certainly better ways, but I’ve invested a huge amount of effort and it seems to work, without me having to learn Computerese.


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OK - since I first started this thread, my collection has grown to 812 individual entries and the size is 22 784 KB for the front end and 5 940 for the back end. So I am happy with that and it confirms that the pictures are not embedded in the DB but simply called as the record is loaded. I’ve also made some minor improvements and I feel that it is ready to share.

I have almost completed the user manual and I’d be interested in getting a few people to have a read of it and provide me with some feedback please? At this stage, I would prefer to do this offline, so if you are interested, please send me a PM with your email address in it.


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Email sent.

Thank you to those who volunteered to review the user manual. I’ve just sent this to the email that you provided. If you don’t receive it shortly, please check your SPAM filter.


spread sheet by caliber, manufacturer, type of projectile

Does anyone print out their databases? I run a print shop and was thinking of playing around with a personalized, printed catalog of sorts. I want to get everything laid out in Excel first so that I could then data merge the two files.