Museum grade description

With the help of a large group of serious collectors, I want to clarify some terminology.

Is there any guidelines to selling “replica” ordnance with regards to labelling it as;
“Exact copy”
“Museum grade”

I’ve seen some pretty crappy stuff for sale with this labelling and don’t want to label mine with these descriptions if they don’t meet at least a few agreed standards!

Thanks :)

I’ll give you my opinion, which I think other collectors probably share. First, a “reproduction” is generally thought of as a non-original cartridge that is not meant to deceive anyone, especially for profit. A “fake” is a non-original cartridge that is meant to deceive, usually for profit. Sometimes a component of an original cartridge, like a bullet, is replaced by scarcer component in an effort to make a more desirable (and more expensive) cartridge so the faker can benefit financially. Other times color codes are changed for the same reason. Obviously, fake cartridges will have no markings indicating that they are fakes.

However, reproductions of cartridges do exist and are not always evil. In order to be “OK,” these must be engraved with the word “Reproduction,” or perhaps “Inert Reproduction” cut fairly deeply into the metal case so the marking cannot be easily removed. Ink markings or tape labels come off too easily. A reproduction paper cartridge must be marked as such with permanent ink like a Sharpie pen.

I’ve never heard of “exact copy” used to describe a cartridge, or "museum grade,’ which I think is meaningless. If you ask 10 cartridge collectors what “museum grade” means, I think you might get 10 different answers. I think the word “grade” in this context refers to condition, not authenticity.

Again, just my opinion.

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Thanks for the reply! That’s actually an awesome insight! I just didn’t want to mislead anyone with a product I will be selling in the future.

It’s plastic reproductions of large military ordnance. They’ve been 3D scanned and dissected to reproduce the replicas.

Thanks for your help!

If you’re interested in seeing the project I can send you my email.

The term “museum grade” usually only refers to the quality of condition, and the adherence of the specimen (whether original or repro) to the original factory new specifications & appearance of whatever the item should be. The condition issue is mostly just that museums want the relatively best specimen on the market, as close to Mint as possible, but the more relevant bit is on adhering to the original exacting specs. So “Museum Grade” I would think would mean a perfect replica, and not one which has a different scale of size, coloration, shape, or altered / missing parts (other than actual explosives). Perfect replicas should at least have the “reproduction” engraving on them somewhere though, usually where a casual observer would not notice, but easy enough for an in-person inspection to see if turned around once-over.

Being plastic & 3D scanned & I ASSUME printed, They should be definitely labeled as reproductions as I think a lot of the current large-bore / artillery sectioned examples the military uses in training are of plastic & very realistic, so as to not confuse anyone.

Mel has the right direction & they should be PERMANENTLY marked as such. This marking does not have to be large and can be put in a place that is not commonly viewed so as not to distract from the intended propose, but will be easily seen / found if a careful look at it is in progress.

I can think of a line of excellent replicas that are sold
on the U.S. Market, that are not marked “Reproduction” and
in my view, need not be, since they are marked with the makers’
(plural) own unique headstamp, to include the caliber represented.
The headstamp is a back to back monogram version of the initials
RR. They are sold openly as reproductions of scarce original factory
case types and wildcats.

Between the headstamp and the sales literature, I don’t see how many
cartridge collectors would or could be made to think they are “originals.”

Just my view on a specific line of replicas.

John Moss

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Agree with all the above. Those are not any kind of “standard” descriptive terms, and mean exactly what the user wants them to mean…no more or less.

One class or type of replica cartridges currently made on a small scale are the 19th Century “Everlasting” cartridge cases. These are made for those who shoot original Ballard, Sharps or similar rifles or modern versions thereof. Once a bit dirty, they are very difficult to tell from the originals. They are intended to be used, to be reloaded dozens of times, and not to deceive, but sooner or later, some will be found by a cartridge collector. Some of the originals in my collection have odd-sized primer pockets, but some have standard sized Boxer primer pockets.

Maynard, Burnside and Smith cartridges are also made for shooters, probably other early types also… Those can be identified because they are normally better made than the originals.

I would not class the specialty brass made by some companies for
use in older firearms as “Replicas” at all. They are simply cases of
a specific caliber made for the specific purpose of loading and shooting
rifles and handguns of that caliber.

Many old calibers have been resurrected due to renewed interest in shooting
them, either in old guns of those calibers, or newly produced firearms in those
calibers. The .44-40, for example, as a dead issue for years, as far as any new
firearms were concerned, although there were enough people using it to justify
ongoing production of that caliber, although in limited quantity. Sports like Cowboy
Action Shooting have caused new production of some older calibers that had been
completely discontinued. These are simply incidents of renewed production of that
caliber ammunition. They ARE the calibers used in the older guns, not replicas thereof.

It is a fine line of distinction, I admit, but in my view a valid one. These are not cases made
for collectors, but rather simply ammunition made for shooters shooting older guns. The
fact that they may be, of their own right, collectible to anyone interested in those calibers, is
pretty much irrelevant.

Just my view on this subject.

John Moss

What line of replicas are you talking about? Have you got a link? Cheers :)

I don’t have a link, but I am talking about Ed Reynolds and Will Reuter,
whose headstamp on most replicas are back-to-back “RR” at the top and
caliber at the bottom.

John Moss

I couldnt find anything on google! I will keep looking!

Try the IAA Roster.

John Moss