New collector- results from first gun show!

OK, so I am a new collector, and I really have no idea what the heck I’m doing :)

Someone suggested in another thread that I attend the gun show and give a report on my findings. This is that report!

I went to the gun show in San Antonio, TX, on May 30. I have been to this gun show many times, but I have always been looking at guns, not ammunition. This time my focus was exclusively ammo. I took my time and went through each aisle and looked at the tables of every single vendor. I was excited to start my collection off!

Overall, the opportunities to find collectible ammo were poor. A few vendors had various loose .50 BMG rounds. The great majority had new, boxed ammo, or older boxed ammo which I was not looking for (looking for cheap singles and such right now).

There were a few vendors that had some items of interest, however. My first find was a box of loose rounds that looked interesting. I poked through it and found it held mostly .45LC, a bag that held a dozen .38 blanks, and a few others as well. I paid $5 for this. I later decided I overpaid, but I was excited to begin my collection, so I’ll chalk it up to experience.

Another, very nice guy had several loose rounds in his display. Once I mentioned that I collected ammo, he was happy to take each round out and give me as much information as he could about it. I then selected those I would buy. I bought about 10 for $2.35.

A third vendor had half moon clips of 45 ACP that looked real old. I paid $3 for one set of three in the clip.

The best find at the show was not ammo, but a person! I met a gentleman named Steve Miller. I told him I was a brand new collector, and that I was going to join the IAA, when he tells me that he is a member! We had a great, long talk about the various aspects of collecting, and I learned a lot. He had even been to SLICS! He had various collectible items for sale (the best in the place), but none in my price range and/or that I currently intend to collect. Meeting an IAA member in person was the best experience of the show.

In summation, the show was short on great, collectible ammo, but there were a few items that I thought were humble starting points. I spent $10.35 on ammo, $5 to get in the show, and $3 for parking.

Here are the items that I bought.

(2) .44 S&W SPL

(3) .44 REM MAG

(7) .45 LC

(3) .45 ACP in half moon clip.

(2) .38 S&W

(1) .223 REM

(5) .357 SIG

(1) 445 SUPER MAG

(1) 10MM MAG

(13) .38 blanks.

Here in this pic are three rounds, two of one type and one of another. The one with an H in the center is a rimfire round, maybe .38?

The others may be 9MM, but I can’t be sure (no 9MM to compare it to, HA!)

Not in the pic is the .45 ACP in the half moon clip. These have a headstamp of P.C. C O with the number 18.

Any thoughts on these?

Finally, I realize that the ammo I have acquired essentially has no real value, monetary or collectible. However, I figure a collection has to start somewhere. I have to collect something, in order to call myself a collector!

I thank you all in advance for your thoughts and comments. I am trying to learn anything and everything I can.

- Rich

Welcome to the madness (and I mean that in a good way).
Thanks for the report.

Hi Rich

Welcome to this great family…worldwide!!
And please join the IAA and you will learn more about collectible ammunition.

all my best

Your 9 mm rounds are spanish and I think they are actually 9 mm Largo cartridges.Very similar to the 9 mm Steyr , with 23 mm case lenght

Unfortunately, you decided to start collection ammo too late. Ammunition (like guns) prices skyrocketed in the last several years and what used to be common became hard to find. Also, in the US, antiques in general flow from east to west. Eastern part of the country, being populated earlier, contains more old stuff. People=stuff, most of US people lived east of the one who has 4 “i”'s and cannot see up to WWII. There are antique dealers here who buy cheap old stuff almost indiscriminately and transport them west for sale.

OtherTexas Rich - Thanks for sharing that with us. I was the one who suggested a report. I have been to gun shows that had very little in ammo, and to some where I found real treasures - sometimes at full-boat prices and sometimes at “shootin’” prices.

Your remarks about Steve Miller, who unfortunately I don’t personally know, were great, and reflect an attitude on your part that, in my opinion, almost guarantees you will have a good time in the cartridge hobby.

I have said it here before, as have many others, that every cartridge that you want to have, and don’t, is collectible. Too much emphasis is put on the rare and expensive cartridges. I am thrilled when I get a new headstamp (my favorite cartridge feature) on an auto pistol cartridge, even if it came out yesterday and is available in the millions. I also like the old, common rounds. Remember, it is the common cartridge, especially military ones, that have the most history. The rare, experimental prototype probably never saw anything but the inside of the factory and testing area it was made in. It is the “issue” cartridge that was part of so much history.

It is not too late to build a perfectly enjoyable collection - set your own parameters. Only you know what interests you the most, and the resources you can spend (time and money) on collecting. The main thing is learn about what you collect, and enjoy your collection. You will find that the best part of the hobby is really the wonderful people you meet in it, and the lead into history that your study of each cartridge brings you, not the cartridges themselves.

Just my opinion, but based on 45 years of collecting cartridges, and 45 years of lifetime friendships built from participation in the hobby.

Rich–While it is always good advice to buy the good stuff when you see it and can afford it because you might not see it again and the common stuff will always be available. But EVERY collection needs the common as well as the the rare stuff to be complete. As John said, I value every 25 cent cartridge just as much as my $50.00 ones. They ALL go to make up a collection.

Rich: Some more FREE advice, start out as a one of a kind collector, collecting everything you can afford, new and old, as you begin to catalog you will develop favorites and then you begin collecting varieties, but it will not just be 1 kind but a variety of possibilities, if you get too specific you will run out of fun real quick. Vic

You did great. Everything you got was fine as a start. I agree, begin as a general collector, until you find a specific area, or areas, that interests you. Then get the good ones as they appear. You will never regret getting a good round, even if you pay too much. On the other hand, you will always regret passing on a round that might not appear again.

Thanks, all, for all the replies. I’m pretty sure I’ll follow advice to start as a generalist. At some point, I’ll figure out what I like and move toward a more specific collection.

As for getting into the hobby late, I’m just happy to start. There is no time limit. I’ll collect what I can find, and what interests me, and what I can afford. Time will take care of the rest.

One thing that is really cool is the worldwide membership in the IAA and the global nature of ammunition. I have always been a student of peoples and cultures, and it seems like this is another benefit of cartridge collecting.

Hi Rich,

Welcome to the IAA Forum.

All the cartridge collectors I know are happy to share there knowledge with you.
Hope you will learn a lot of things here and build up a great collection.

Greetings from Germany

Rich, welcome to a great hobby. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. No question is dumb if you do not know the answer. If you find a cartridge and post a question dimensions are very important to solving the mystery of it.


Great start!

By the way, your .45 ACP rounds are USGI WWI, if you didn’t know already. Peters Cartridge Company, 1918. I don’t know if they are worth much, but there’s a lot of history there.

I’m more of an accumulator myself, rather than a collector. I have a 20mm-size ammo can full of mostly loose ammo I’ve picked up here and there over the course of a quarter century. It’s mostly common stuff because I’m too cheap to actually buy the cool stuff.

It sure is fun isn’t it!

Any start is a good start.

Sent you a PM.