I am thinking about collecting wildcat cartridges in there original form and was wondering how to tell the differents between a real one and a fake? I have two wildcats in my collection now a .22 K hornet and a .45-38 Clerke auto.

Good question. Guess the best answer would be to know the different times different headstamps were used. If you find a wildcat based on the .22 Swift. it should have a case from the era that round was wildcatted, and not new production. A popular seller of wildcats make them in, from what I understand, original dimensions & uses original tooling when possible, but on new production brass. So if you see a W-W headstamp on something that should be a Super-X …

Another thing would be to arm your self with books Ackleys two volumes, Simmons, probably others that don’t come to mind & I believe there are probably articles in back issues of IAA / ICCA.

Not sure what else to say, you just need to study hard, ask others & develop a feel for a ‘right’ round. Hard to do when your buying from the internet, so go to shows, read & ask others. One great thing about this hobby is 99.9% are willing to give an opinion & be of help, plus you learn how others approach a problem.

good luck

What Pete said. In addition, get acquainted with the few IAA collectors who specialize in wildcats.

I used to be into wildcats really big but not so much any more. Collecting only “original” wildcats is noble sounding. Like you, I concentrated on “original” wildcat cartridges although it is hard to define what is original and what is not. After all, it’s easy to make a 219 Donaldson Wasp out of an original 219 Zipper case and an original Sisk bullet. Is such a cartridge an “original” or not???

Today, there are hundreds of wildcat collectors and most of them care little whether the cartridge is old or not. Because of that, you’ll probably find your cartridges worth the same as ones made yesterday.

I’d suggest you determine some boundaries on what you’ll collect and stick with them. Maybe nothing made after 1960, for example. Or, only wildcats used in competition. Or, only a certain caliber.

Good luck. You’ll need it. No one can really say how many widcats there are. I’d guess in the tens of thousands so you’ll never run out of new ones to find.


P.S. frogbert. I assume you are an IAA member? I wrote several articles for the Journal that dealt with some of my wildcats. Check the index on the Home page. Also, I started several threads on this Forum that you should be able to find with a little searching. And I have a lot of photos of wildcats that were in my collection. Let me know if i can help.


Thanks for the info guys I’ve been a member for almost a year now and have been sloooowly collecting for about 20 years.