The last word in ammunition collecting


Recently an email from a collector who reads the FORUM asked me " why do you always get the last word ". A similar sentiment was posted by a regular user of the forum recently in his answer to a question.

The short answer is I DO NOT.

My interest is a small part of ammunition collecting and there are many posts which I do not comment on at all. Military rifle,MG,artillery and explosive ordnance AND police ammunition are my interest along with the development of ammunition from rocks to rockets.

Many members know far more than I about their subjects of interest AND MINE. I read the posts when I can and answer what I can-sometimes several at a time. In addition I mention the ammunition reference materials offered by CSA as often as possible to encourge the diffusion of knowledge. That is one of the missions of the Smithsonian and I take that as a responsibility of the ordnance field. I will likely never recover the investment made in transfering the Buttweiler Archive onto CD BUT it is VERY important to collecting and consistent with my aims of promoting and encouraging collecting and knowledge in the field.

I suppose that is why my FORUM name is posted much.

The FFPP does me no special favors.

John Spangler and his crew do all the work and get the last word. I am a passenger on this train .


As a relative novice to collecting cartridges, I read most of the posts just to learn more. Sometimes I’m even able to put forth a suggestion (or even a possible answer).

My opinion is quite simply that we are all here to learn from one another.


I agree Tailgunner! One thing for sure is, I have learned ALLOT, from CSAEOD’s posts as well as others. “ALLOT”, may be a serious understatement! The forum is great, as are its members. My primary interests have always focused on inert large caliber APFSDS rounds and inert torpedo artifacts. Since I joined the forum and IAA, I have learned allot about so many fascinating subjects of collecting and world history. CSA’s knowledge base is extreme and in many cases deserves the last word if you ask me, not that he always gets it :-)


Tailgunner, you have touched on one of the great things about cartridge collecting. Unlike stamps, coins, and other well-documented collectibles, ammunition was not meant to be collected and research into its secrets has actually been actively discouraged. Therefore even the newest collector can find unknown cartridges or information. In most cartridge collecting specialties there can’t really be a “last word” as tomorrow someone could find a letter, cartridge, box, file, etc. that changes everything previously thought. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or offer information and opinions.

  • When we collect cartridges we don’t deal with ancient items, most of the rounds were made during the troubled 20th century. It is amazing how many things WE DO NOT KNOW about cartridges [or headstamps] manufactured even a few years ago. Collecting cartridges is a great hobby which combines knowledge about history, geography, ammo manufacturing, guns and so on. Nobody knows everything about cartridges or headstamp markings, it’s always something new to be found and it’s NEVER too late for anyone to learn something new. For some people collecting cartridges may look like a strange hobby but people collect everything today and I do prefer to collect cartridges than match boxes or razor blades … Liviu 04/02/07


You guys are giving me NOTHING to argue about. Good ideas. As JonC says so well this stuff as not MEANT to be known when made for the military. Commercial ammo-sure but military ammo info was often classified and much STILL IS. There are plenty of tech/intel reports from WW2 which are still classified in the US- not because of what they contain but because the government doesn’t want to spend the time and money to declassify them.

After President Kennedy was murdered the US government asked the Italian government what the “SMI” impressed into the rifle clip found on the scene meant- their reply: “it is a state secret!” . You can read that in the full Warren report at a local library. Most gun and ammo folks could have answered that at the time.

Liviu has assembled and published more info about the Romanian ammo in the last few years than has been known by collectors EVER.

Everyone in collecting has the opportunity to increase knowledge.

In 50+ years of collecting I have never visited a collection-large or small- in which I did not see something which I had never seen before and I don’t mean just the giant turtle and tigers which hang around some collections.

  • @ CSAEOD: Thanks for the appreciation. A 3rd addendum about the “Romanian Headstamps” is already at the editor and it will be printed this summer in the IAA Journal. — Collecting cartridges and the information accumulated over the years in this field is an important source of information for the scientific study and investigation of crime and criminals. Collecting cartridges is also an “educational hobby” since the collectors want to be able to read and understand markings and labels in foreign languages. In my opinion what we know today about some ammo makers, cartridges and headstamp markings is only the tip of the iceberg. Nobody has been able to give me an answer about the mysterious 23X118 rimless fired shell case I have [see my article named “The 23X118 Cartridge Case” on page 52-53, IAA Journal #451, Sep/Oct 2006]. — A cartridge and its bullet may have NO importance for many million of people but a simple bullet can change the life of people from many countries. Remember the day of June 28th 1914 at Sarajevo and the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the event that precipitated WW1 [and all after that]. Gavrilo Princip fired the fatal bullet which hit Franz Ferdinand’s neck and killed him. One BULLET which did chang the history of the 20th century … Liviu 04/02/07


NO HYPE , JUST FACTS; no one in the history of the world has assembled as much information about your subject field as you have - NOBODY. It is a good time to be an ammo collector and student. Keep up the good work. We need all the specialists we can get !