What is your specialty field in cartridge collecting?

It seems a lot of the users on this forum have a specific affiliation to 1 round (9mm Luger, .303 Brit, etc.), but I really don’t have a particular liking to 1 round. I collect just about anything odd, so as a result, I don’t know a lot about 1 cartridge, I know a fair amount about a lot of cartridges. What do you collect?

Everyone who collects cartridges has their own likening. For me personally, I started collecting antique tools and various other antiques. This is why I have a fascination with antique/obsolete cartridges… I also like the odd ball stuff such as caseless cartridges (just because they didn’t quite make it to market, unlike the centerfire rounds.)

But regardless of what field of cartridge collecting you find interesting, just go for it! Just keep in mind, each cartridge you have in your collection, documentation is always good to have!


As a military history nut, I sort of gravitated to metric-military cartridges. As to my particular fascination with the 7.62x25 Mauser/Tokarev round…my therapist is still scratching his head on that one.

My field for my 53 years of cartridge collecting has been cartridge case types meant for self-loading pistols, to include all loadings, countries, headstamps and other visual differences. I collect commercial and military, and I also collect the boxes for them, although by necessity, in a smaller way than the cartridges. I have digressed from time to time, having taken a fling a the 5.56 x 45, the .303, the 7.9 x 57 mm Mauser and even the .38 Special. All of those got started because I had guns for them that I liked. Today, I am back to basically collecting auto pistol cartridges only, again. The other collections are gone. I do have some side collections that were “targets of opportunity” or small areas that for some reason or another (see Jon’s comment about his psychiatrist - same applies here) piqued my interest. The biggest group there are metallic cartridges of East German origin, including even .22 rimfire, 7.62 x 39, and other calibers for which I have no interest in specimens from countries other than the former DDR.

In a way, I have gone full circle. I started collecting auto pistol cartridges because I was collecting auto pistols. My original goal was to get one cartridge of the correct caliber, era and country of original for each pistol. I sold the pistol collection in 1971 and kept the cartridges. Today, I collect all things pertaining to the 9 x 18 mm Makarov pistol and its counterparts from other former COMBLOC nations, but only those in 9 x 18 caliber, basically. Within my cartridge collection, my main interest has become the Makarov cartridge and it is the only caliber where I collect every single headstamp lot and date. That is the only feature I DO NOT collect on most of the other calibers, although I cheat here and there with areas where I find the production spans especially interesting. I can envision some day collecting only the 9 x 18 mm, since I am getting old, but NO, the rest of my collection is NOT for sale at this time. Thought I had better add that.

My collection spans from the early Schönenberger cartridge of the early 1890s right up to new calibers coming out these days. Unfortunately, continuing passage of repressive, police-state type laws in California are making it harder and harder to maintain a decent collection of all types of pistol ammunition.

I began accumulating live cartridges when I turned 15 and could buy ammo legally. I turned 74 earlier this month. For the first few years I collected 9mm Luger and 7.92x57, but early on traded my 7.92 collection to a collector for his 9mm collection. Interestingly enough the collector I passed my 7.92s to passed them on to a collector in California (as part of a much larger collection by then) who eventually passed them on to John Moss!!! I was very pleased that a few of my pretty mundane items were part of the wonderful Moss 7.92 collection. When John M and I first corresponded he had an incredible autopistol collection (probably one of the very best in the country), but had some questions on a funny 9mm P08 cartridge. That was a LONG time ago.

I collect only 9x19mm cartridges, and the boxes and information and related items. Can’t figure out what my definition of a related items is but the closest I have come is that if I like it, then it is “related”. The earliest cartridge in my collection is the “9mm Borchardt” which was, in 1902/1903 probably really called the 9mm Borchardt-Luger by DWM, and was almost certainly the original DWM 480 or perhaps the 480A cartridge (the 9mm Luger cartridge we know today was first documented in the DWM 1904 catalog as the DWM 480C).

I also collect Chinese made pistols, primarily autopistols pre-1950, and accumulate Chinese cartridges from that period in all calibers. I collect 25ACP/6.35B and 32ACP/7.65B autopistols, but only the strange ones (not the Colts, Walthers, etc) that are pre-1946. I particularly like all the strange little ones. In conjunction with these pistols, I accumulate the boxes of ammo from this period. I have a particular interest in the old Browning M1899 pistol which was the first 7.65mm Browning/32ACP pistol made. It is the early version of the better known Browning M1900, but with a short sideplate and other differences.

My biggest challenge is keeping up with all the new 9x19mm headstamps that are being produced, and am failing at the challenge. Large number are getting by me.



Actually my good friend JM “LOTSAAMMO” got me started with .303 British and that is my largest collection by far.

I have recently started looking for Shot shells and I seem to really like the vintage shot shells that are un-used and un-loaded. I have found a few paper hulls lately on gunbroker to include some pinfire and I really like this specialty.


I “specialize” in U.S. Match and Competition cartridges. I can probably answer any question you might want to ask me about them. But, you’d better ask me today because I’m one of those fickle guys who cannot hold an interest in anything for more than a few years, at best. ( I’ve been married to the same good looking woman for 58 years, but she’s a lot more interesting than any cartridge I’ve ever seen)

Don’t try to pick a special interest. Let it come to you naturally.

Good luck.


I have been seriously collecting for about 7 years but I have collected military bits and bobs since being a small boy then into inert cartridges and now most of my collection is Live. I mainly collect .303 Military and Match ammunition, I met the Late Tony Edwards about 4 years ago at my first cartridge show and he spoke of all these wonderful rounds Buckingham’s, Pomeroy, Brock, R’s, RTS, RTT and other wonderfully named things, he told me about .303 headstamps and how there dots, dashes and other marks and that I could collect all these variations on their own and the more I investigated the more the little boy in me came back out. I find the research and history of the rounds just as much fun as the finding of a much wanted round. The best bit is the chase and the history once you have the round we get them out and look at them from time to time but it’s on to looking for the next special round that keeps me going.


Like a lot of us ancients, I started collecting when I was about 16 ( am now 73) when I found out there were more calibres than .22s and .303s. I collected anything I could lay hands on, including any minor differences in .22s. Some 6 or 7 years later, after conversations with the late Barry Temple, I got interested in Australian military small arms ammunition, and started researching it’s production in this country. Unfortunately in1978, circumstances forced me to sell my collection, but I was fortunate in knowing another collector with the same passion who has maintained our joint Australian collection. For me, the search for factual knowledge is the best thing and will keep my brain going until I lose the plot or pass on.

Regrettably I lost touch with all my old friends, but never lost the interest, so now with a little time, I’m trying to catch up. Not with the collection, but with the friends and the history and trying to document the latter. Even though my old collection is 1800 Klms away, I still have access, so I feel pretty blessed.
The other great thing about collecting are the friends you make, and in my case, were happy to welcome me back into the fold after all these years.

As Ray said, you will probably naturally gravitate to some specialty which takes your fancy because to collect everything is pretty impossible, especially on a tight budget.

Keep up the good work.

I collect cartridge clips, mundane bits of bent tin, despite the ridicule directed my way. For 30 years I collected bayonets but ended up with so many I ran out of space and rather than trying to whittle down the numbers I got rid of the lot (except for the Enfield No4 ‘spikes’) … but once a collector, always a collector.

As soon as the bayonets had gone I was left with a gap in life, there was something missing and I started looking around for an alternative interest. I used to do a lot of Service Rifle competitions and one day, sitting on a grassy bank at Bisley filling chargers with loose HXP 0,303" cartridges my eye was caught by a makers mark on the side of the charger. A quick rummage showed that there were lots of different markings and a walk along the firing line showed that there were different types of clips, usually with their own markings.

Thus it was that a collection was started.

Now I’m up to about 1,600 of the little critters, about twice the number of bayonets I had when I sold up, but the clips are small and take up little space.

The other attraction was that there was almost no information available on the subject and very few other people seemed to be interested in them. I started my collection that first weekend rummaging through the dustbins at the end of the days shooting. Another advantage is that there’s no permit needed to own the things and I can post them anywhere with no problems at all.


O.O 800 bayonets? Really?

Me, I’m a general collector, mainly interested in a single sample of a cartridge (unlike Lew with his 9mm shooting stock grin).
I do like the bigger stuff, but it is an expensive area and takes up a lot of space (keeps the #'s small however)
I started late (in my 50’s), but at 60 (now) I’m a youngster compared to a number of our esteemed members.

You think you’re a youngster Tailgunner? I’m only 13! I started collecting a year ago.

I’ll collect most anything (my eBay ID is “way2many_hobbies”), but as far as cartridges go, my interests lie mainly with belt-fed ammunition and links. My main focus is on calibers used/adopted by the U.S., but will eventually spread to other countries as well.


Awesome! It’s great to see young guys get into something like this rather than spending all day long staring at an Iphone or game console. Keep your interest up and share it with some friends.

As of age, I’m a “youngster” as well . . . 51 . . . but I still remember being 13 like it was yesterday.

[quote=“enfield56”]IAnother advantage is that there’s no permit needed to own the things and I can post them anywhere with no problems at all.
Also, they will most likely not be included or overlooked completely in any future tightening of British gun laws.

Mine is a tiny, tiny slice of the collecting pie. I’m an end-user (career cop) and got into cartridge collecting by finding and testing older police and military small-arms ammunition to dispel common myths about its efficacy on the receiving end. I still hear the guncounter folks telling me and mine how this bullet or that cartridge can warp time/space, kill by the dozen, shoot through the cores of dwarf stars, etc.

I maintain a ‘library’ of live ammunition, spent cartridges, and recovered projectiles both my agency and for teaching/reference purposes.

Tangentially, I also wind up with plenty of oddball less-lethal, chemical, and other police/military specialty cartridges as I teach, train, and select/procure ammunition and equipment for my guys/gals. After many years of that, I’ve shared as often as I’m able with other researchers, agencies and end-users what vetted knowledge I’ve gained.

The amount and type of info here at IAA still staggers me, and I’m still learning. I look more and more fondly to my retirement, not only because the job becomes more distasteful to me but because I’ll have much more time to collect, research, catalogue and learn.

I tend to concentrate on one thing. Ordnance :-) Cheers, Bruce.

p.s. I wish i could get my 13 year old interested in my “thing”, but, alas, I’ll have no one to pass it on to. The wife will have tremendous fun selling it, though ;-)

Bacarnal, I decided to save my wife the trouble. I told her to just pour the collection over me before they close the lid and bury it with me. If somebody wants something they can bring a shovel and come visit.


I told my wife that, at my wake, I want a table with 50 tasers on it; last person standing gets half my stuff…lol.