Australian Cartridge Collectors Association


Why do people collect cartridges?
Collecting is a natural part of the human psyche . All around the world, people collect stamps, hatpins, coins, Olympic pins, musical instruments, shells and countless other items of interest. So why not collect firearm cartridges? After all, there is an almost limitless variety.

Who collects cartridges? Cartridge collectors cover a wide spectrum of the community and include men and women from all walks of life. Many have academic backgrounds in forensics, ballistics or ammunition manufacturing while many others have professional backgrounds in law enforcement, military or security. Naturally, many belong to various sporting and target shooting clubs while a significant numbers of collectors purely enjoy it as a hobby.

How can  I become a member of ACCA?  
In some states of Australia, it is a requirement by law that a licence/permit be obtained to collect cartridges. Contact the appropriate Firearms Registry for your state or territory and, where necessary, obtain the required licence or permit. Once the necessary requirements for your state or territory have been met, a completed membership application, together with the annual fee may be submitted to the National Membership Secretary at the address shown on the bottom of the application form. 

How can I obtain collectable cartridges?  
The best way to obtain collectable cartridges is to join an appropriate cartridge collecting club. Through regular state and national meetings, contact can be made with many collectors who will be willing to swap and sell cartridges to other members. In addition, state, national and international auctions provide opportunities for the novice and advanced collector to collect additional cartridges.

Is it safe to store cartridges in the house?  
Cartridge collections are far safer to store in the house than many other items generally stored in the average household throughout Australia. Virtually every household stores motor mower fuel, most have propane gas for barbeques and many have propane gas for cooking and heating. All of these explode when subjected to fire and generally provide additional additional fuel to feed the fire.
On the other hand, scientific tests have revealed that ammunition must be exposed to fire for some time before it is sufficiently heated to ignite the primer or powder. As the cartridge is not constrained (as it would be in the chamber of a firearm) a heated primer usually only results in the primer being forced from the case and/or the case rupturing. Often, the projectile will simply drop out of the end of the case. Neither the projectile or a ruptured case will penetrate more than a couple of layers of cardboard.
Of course, explosive projectiles would be dangerous in a fire but these types of cartridges are subject to strict controls under law and should not be included in cartridge collections.
In Australia, the Firearms Registry requires that the storage of ammunition collections comply with relevant safe keeping and storage requirements as prescribed by the Firearms Regulation, 1977. Applicants for licences or permits may have to outline the security arrangements that have been implemented in the home to ensure compliance with the Firearms Regulation, 1977.

Should I clean old cartridges?  
We should not attempt to restore old cartridges to their original pristine condition. After all, when a cartridge has survived for more than a century, it is entitled to show its age and to be viewed as the treasure of antiquity that it represents.
Any accumulated grim or dust can be carefully cleaned from old brass or copper rounds with a brass-bristle suede brush. The white powder from an oxidised lead projectile may be easily removed by the gentle use of the suede brush. Any marks left by the bristles may be removed by gently rubbing the lead onto clean, dry hessian bagging.

Am I able to send cartridges through the mail?  
Definitely not! In Australia, it is illegal to mail ammunition that has either a live primer or powder charge. It is safest to send live ammunition by road or rail. However, with the appropriate documentation, live ammunition may be carried on commercial aeroplanes.

Am I able to carry cartridges on an aeroplane?  
Yes .. but there are severe limitations. All airlines are signatories to IATA (International Aviation Transport Association) Dangerous Goods regulations.
We may carry up to 5kg sporting cartridges (includes packaging) that are not larger than 19.1mm in diameter or calibre and do not fall into the prohibited schedule. It should be noted that practically every known cartridge has been used for sporting purposes at one time or another. The IATA Regulations allow for a maximum of 5kg of cartridges per person's suitcase so a couple travelling together could carry a total of 10kg.
The airline concerned must given written permission prior to the cartridges being included in the cargo baggage. This permission is best obtained by contacting the Operations Manager of the airline concerned.
The cartridges must be securely packed in boxes or drums constructed from aluminium, wood, plywood, fibreboard, plastic or steel. The container should be sealed with strong tape and carried in the cargo luggage.
The cartridges must not fall within the definition under the prohibited schedule. That is, the cartridges must not contain explosive or incendiary projectiles.
For carriage of firearms and ammunition on QANTAS flights contact:
Laurie Willoughby, Manager Dangerous Goods Compliance mailto:lwilloughby@qantas.com.au

Return to Top