How to catalogue inventory in a collection?

I am very new to cartridge collecting and new to the forum and as the title says, how do you guys catalogue your collection inventory? What do you include in the information and how do you organize everything?

Like I said, I am new and just getting into collecting but I have made sure to log everything that I put into my collection and keep those items separate from items that have not been “logged” into some kind of database or record keeping system. Right now I am pretty much just using and Excel spreadsheet to enter everything and have them organized by caliber/bullet diameter then broken up into a few different categories like rifle, handgun, rimfire, etc.

I think it is very important to catalogue and inventory everything that goes into my collection and wanted to make sure I started doing it from the beginning so as not to get way behind and overwhelmed at some point in the future when I would decide to finally do it.

Any tips or recommendations or examples of how you all categorize and log everything?

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My collection is pretty small, so I usually write a designation on a cartridge case using permanent marker with thin tip, and log everything in an MS Excel spreadsheet such as this:

I use Microsoft Word. You can put as much or as little information about each cartridge as you wish. It presents it in a nice easy to read format. You can insert different fonts & symbols for unusual headstamps. Its simple to add new cartridges to wherever you want them in your list. It works!
Here is an extract from my list just showing the 6.5mm Arisaka as an example of the layout…

6.5mm Arisaka
6.5mm Ball. Mukden Arsenal, post-Communist capture in January 1950; yellow lacquer p.a., green casemouth seal, C. ( 1 50 )
6.5mm Ball. unknown mfr in November 1951; yellow lacquer p.a., green casemouth seal, C. ( D53 11 65 51 )
Great Britain
.256’’Ball Mk II. Royal Laboratories for Russian contract; also used as a WWI training rifle for the Royal Navy, small copper primer, roundnose, N. (no h/s)
.256’’Ball Mk II. Kynoch for Russian contract; also used as a WWI training rifle for the Royal Navy, roundnose, N. ( K 1 6 )
.256’’Ball Mk II. Kynoch for Russian contract; also used as a WWI training rifle for the Royal Navy, roundnose, N. ( K 1 7 II )
.256” Dummy Drill Mk I. unknown mfr; probably Kynoch utilizing fired case, adopted in 1915, struck primer, four holes through case sides, pointed red wood bullet secured by three deep stakes (no h/s)
6.5mm Year 30 Shiki Ju Dangan. (rifle ball-Army) adopted 1897, roundnose, N. (no h/s)
6.5mm Year 38 Shiki Ju Dangan. (rifle & LMG ball-Army) adopted 1905, no primer stabs, N. (no h/s)
6.5mm Year 38 Shiki Ju Dangan. (rifle & LMG ball-Army) two primer stabs, N. (no h/s)
6.5mm Year 38 Shiki Ju Dangan. (rifle & LMG ball-Army) three primer stabs, pink casemouth seal, N. (no h/s)
6.5mm Year 38 Gallery. short flatnose projectile, no primer stabs, red lacquer seal (no h/s)
6.5mm Year 30 Blank. roundnose pink paper-formed bullet (no h/s)
6.5mm Year 30 Dummy. two milled rings around case, two deep grooves around roundnose brass bullet, struck primer. (no h/s)

I use excel. I list:

  • name of the cartridge (with common synonyms) and type (ball, blank)
  • headstamp
    -bullet type
    -case material
    -notes (eg: drill case, rust, dents ecc ecc)

The cartridges are divided into sevearl groups (several excel sheets):

-metric rifle
-inch rifle
-british rifle
-metric pistol
-inch pistol

Pretty easy-to-consult way to keep a record of my collection, according to me

Any system that allows you to locate a cartridge quickly will work fine. Pay particular attention to any limits your system may present. A good rule is to design something that will cover all of the cartridges you expect to accumulate - then multiply by 10, or 20. Even then, chances are that you’ll still run out of room before you run out cartridges to collect.

A very suitable program called Bookpedia exists, sadly only available for Mac.
Wondering if my next laptop should be a Mac just for that purpose… pretty much all dedicated collector programs for Windows are either severely limited, or just look and function plain bad.

Excel is what I use currently but I’d prefer something much more dynamic.
Here’s my spreadsheet for my plastic cartridges. A bit outdated.

  • Ole


Two specialized software exist.

I use a custom Microsoft Access database to catalog my collection. I probably go a bit overboard in the level of detail that I record though - I work in IT and I enjoy creating overly-complicated solutions to simple problems :). I have fields to record almost every aspect of each cartridge, e.g. projectile type, tip color, projectile color, crimp style for both the projectile and primer, etc. I also include a photo of the cartridge (side and headstamp) in my database.

Whatever software/method you use, I would recommend creating a separate field for any characteristic on which you might want to sort or filter your collection: caliber, country of origin, loading, case material, etc.

You might also consider cataloging data such as the price you paid for an item, the purchase date, and from whom you bought it.

Another useful bit of information is the quantity of each item you have. If you’re just starting out you probably don’t have many duplicates, but as you progress you’ll likely accumulate more. A quantity field would allow you to easily create a list of duplicates you have available to trade with other collectors.

As others in this thread have noted, being able to locate items easily is a big plus. I have a field in my database for each item’s location. I store much of my collection in 20-round MTM plastic cartridge boxes that I number. I then enter the box number and shelf number where each specimen is stored, so when I need to physically locate something it is (theoretically) a quick process.

I’d post screen shots of my setup but I’m currently out of town without access to my database.

I use GS-Patronenverwaltung (you can translate the name like “cartridge management”).
You can test it : … ucts/76062

Thank you for the suggestions and advice so far. My log/record keeping is very similar to what mpopenker displayed in the second post. It seems very basic right now and I will probably add more information at later dates. I do include what the headstamp says, if anything, along with the price I paid and who or where I got the cartridge from. Since I am finding myself only keeping single specimens right now I still include a quantity field as suggested, in case there is something I end up with multiples of.

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thank for your programmes ,i think i can inventory my collection