I have forgotten how many satisfying evenings and weekends I have spent on this website. Scanning and editing cartridges and headstamps are easy and one can do quite a lot in a short period of time. When it comes to researching the history and development of old military and handgun cartridges, the situation is sometimes very different. I have spent many hours and days searching for information that sometimes culminate in one small paragraph on an obscure military cartridge. It also happens that when one start searching for a specific firearm or cartridge, the historical events shaping the history of nations becomes so interesting, that one can spend so much time on the events behind the development of a specific rifle that one sometimes loses track of why one was searching for a specific cartridge altogether.
Whilst researching a particular cartridge once, I stumbled on a thesis in the Journal of the Historical Breechloading Small Arms Association and the author dealt with the same issues I had, namely the role of the Internet as a source in firearms and cartridge research. As the availability of information on the internet continue to increase at an exponential pace, I have found both advantages and disadvantages with contradictory information available. There has been much research on weapons from various sources, but in many instances information about the cartridges that were used in those weapons are severely lacking. With the increase in information, I have found that there is a major problem in the primary source of the information, where references to the development of a specific cartridge are found on several websites, but when digging deeper I often find all that information was copied verbatim from a single, sometimes unsubstantiated source.
As a case in point, certain information on military hardware specifically is not always available in the public domain for obvious reasons and I have found even on “reliable” websites information copied from other websites. Make no mistake, the internet is a valuable resource for research, but it can be difficult sometimes to filter out inaccurate information. I have often spent time researching historical events with credible, verifiable references to corroborate information and ascertain that the information has not been superseded by newer research. Another problem frequently encountered is information in various languages. Google Translate is a helpful tool, but different language styles often provide challenges to say the least.