Using software to catalog a gun collection


October 20, 2006, 11:20 PM
I have seen some different programs for cataloging your gun collection. None of them particularly appealed to me. Mostly they have too much stuff I don't need. I read that you can use a basic spreadsheet to do the same thing. Can you upload pictures to a spreadsheet as well as written information? I would like to custom-make a catalog of my guns with information and photos.

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October 21, 2006, 12:10 AM
Apparently you can put pictures into a spread sheet, but it's a little more than drag and drop...

So, if you could design a program to catalog your firearms, what features would it have? Maybe someone knows of something similar.

[edit] - forgot the link about pictures in excel

October 21, 2006, 12:30 AM
I know you can if you use Microsoft Excel, thats' how I catalog my collection. It is quite simple to figure out, once you have "played" with it a while.


October 21, 2006, 01:16 AM
I just use Notepad and a TXT file.

The Scandinavian
October 21, 2006, 01:24 AM
I'd use excel for mine. However I don't need to yet - either 'old age' hasn't set in properly yet or I have too few guns, as I can just about remember what I've got ;)

Seriously, notepad or excel - the latter would enable you to search / organise more effectively, if you have a really big collection.

October 21, 2006, 01:45 AM
I use notepad, as well. .txt files can be read by almost anything, and they're small enough that I simply add the file to my other backup files when archiving things.

October 21, 2006, 09:46 AM
I use GunTracker. It is easy to use and store pictures.
The verison I have has Fjestad's Blue Book built in.


October 21, 2006, 11:18 AM
I use my Palm Pilot. It came with database software.

You could use a spreadsheet or a real database program like MS Access.

An Access database of personal firearms would be very simple, even if you used lookup tables to let you pick manufacturer, caliber, etc. from pulldown lists.

Apart from cost, the thing I don't like about Access is that it's not compiled. You can't just give your database to anybody and have it be usable. They also have to have Access. There used to be a database compiler back in the '80s and early '90s called Clarion. When you were done with your project, it compiled like any other program and you could give your database application to anyone without them needing Clarion. You can do that with Visual Basic, but VB is a LOT more work than Clarion was. Clarion got very popular, then got bought by another company who totally screwed it up to the point of unusability. It may still be around, but I think it's only popular in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. It's quite expensive now too.

October 21, 2006, 11:23 AM
I use Access for mine, but it would be just as easy to use Excel if you aren't familiar with Access. I'm able to decide what information I track and what I don't and it allows for easy sorting based on any of that information.

I do agree with what the poster above me said about using Access and trying to give it to someone else...however it is easy to just export the data to Excel if needed. It won't look as pretty, but it will get the job done if I ever have to hand the information over to the police/insurance company.

To add a picture it's as easy as right-clicking and choosing the option to insert a picture, then picking the correct picture. Simple.

Here is a screen shot of the interface I have set up.

October 21, 2006, 05:59 PM
Anyone can make a generic one with Windows in my documents. Thats what I did.

October 21, 2006, 06:25 PM
I would use Excel, Access or Wordpad. (Some files can be too large for notepad, and are better accommodated by the latter.)

October 21, 2006, 06:30 PM
I agree with the others. Put the info into a spreadsheet and then use an access database to pull the info into a nice little form.

October 21, 2006, 09:09 PM
I use Excel (without pics but I'll try the suggestion) Access is surely a better way to do it but is not as common of a program found on most PCs as Word/Excel is.

Aguila Blanca
October 21, 2006, 09:47 PM
I'd go with Access or, better (and easier) yet Alpha Five. Or go to Staples and get a copy of one of those inexpensive utility databases that allows you to inventory your household possessions for insurance purposes. You can then use it to document everything in your house (not a bad idea, but I've been too lazy to do it), or just use it for the firearms. You can usually find programs like this for around 20 bucks.

October 21, 2006, 10:22 PM
Apache, MySQL, PHP, Solaris (AMPS)

Great for CD collections, photo libraries, asset management, and GUN COLLECTIONS! :D

'Course, it's a bit of a learning curve. ;)



October 21, 2006, 10:47 PM
I use Excel. With all of the data entered, you can also do quite a bit of statisical analysis. As for importing photos, the more current Excel versions are a simple cut/copy and past onto the sheet and you can edit it there if need be. One thing about using Excel, though. With photos, file size starts to really pile up.

Deacon Aegis
October 21, 2006, 11:56 PM
Apache, MySQL, PHP, Solaris (AMPS)

Great for CD collections, photo libraries, asset management, and GUN COLLECTIONS!

'Course, it's a bit of a learning curve.


"Why'd you shoot him 17 times???"

"'Cause I ran outta ammo..."

Dude, delivering up a web app... hehe, why the heck would you at least not stay open source and go LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP)... adding unix to the fray is just cruel.

(needless to say we're far beyond catalog at this point and talking 3-tier architecture. :P)

Remember, Linux is not Unix. Hehe.

Hello World. ;)

October 22, 2006, 05:33 AM
Like the above poster I use Access, I built my own interface with the information that I want to have on hand, including pictures.

Here is a screen shot.

I also have a version without the picture capability.....its alot smaller and I would be glad to send you a copy of the database (it will work great if you have Access). Just let me know.

October 22, 2006, 09:58 AM
As a database programmer (primarily Access, SQL Server, and Oracle), I of course, am biased towards Access. My buddy (who has an extensive collection, and used to do some programming), built a nice Access database for his collection. Besides all the information about each gun, he also keeps reloading info (gun specific & general) in there. Now, you can use Excel, but one of the biggest advantages of Access (or most database programs) is the "search" capabilities, which can be quite extensive/programmable.

Access is not very difficult to learn, for making "basic" databases, in fact there's lots of "Wizards" to help you along. However once you get a certain level of complexity, it CAN be daunting for a non-programmer.

I've often thought of writing a "gun collection database"(plus reloading info), and I even have a compiler for Access, so I could distribute it, and the users wouldn't need Access to use it. Or I could do it in Visual Basic, which when comiled is a little faster, but takes more programming) If there were enough people willing to pay a few dollars for it, I'd probably consider it. (For me, this is something I could whip up in a day or 2, depending on how fancy I got with it.)

October 22, 2006, 10:37 AM
Aaronrkelly: That is an excellent!

For those not as computer literate, a simple spreadsheet on Excel or any spreadsheet program will work nicely. I use this method. Just never spent the time to set up Access to do something like aaron has.

One of the things I do with the spread sheet is use color to my advantage. For example, I use a notation as well as text color to document that firearm is no longer owned by me (i.e. sold). I also document whether or not the Form 4473 was completed with the purchase as well as purchase date, price (less tax). You just have to forget about sales tax. I document where I purchased the firearm as well as to whom I sold it to.

A simpler "database" using pictues could easily be set up with Powerpoint. Inserting pictures is very easy as well as descriptive text. I use a form that gets copied into the next "slide" and then insert pictures and correct descriptive text. I think that documenting if you completed the purchase via a FFL dealer and filled out a 4473 is very good information to save.

It depends on how many guns you own and what your objectives are with the information.

The truth is that I use several methods and tinker with this from time to time. I do this with othe things as well. I also show estimated value (with year) if I have a fair handle on market value. I do tend to value low as I keep a runing total on "net gun worth".

After a few years, it is hard to remember all the little details. Computers come in really handy for these things. Be sure to save a backup copy not on the same computer and perhaps a hard copy as well. Three ring binder works well for the hard copy archive.

I password protect the infomation as well. Don't want unwanted eyes viewing the information.

October 22, 2006, 11:34 AM
I had been looking to do some similar cataloguing, not so much of my guns, but rather of my ammo stock. Having only a relatively small number of guns, it's not like I'm going to somehow lose track and forget what I do and do not have /paid/etc. Ammo on the other hand.. With at least 8 different calibers, and the subcatagories within each (i.e. bullet type, grain, manufacture) I find it very hard after a ( albeit rare ) day of shooting, to know what I have and what I need to replenish my stock of. Several times I've considered using software to manage that problem , but I've always given up because I had no idea where to begin.

October 22, 2006, 12:53 PM
That should not be much problem at all. You just need to reason the whole thing out and organize a spreadsheet in a way that makes sense for your situation. Simple one.... caliber on left column, subsequent columns contain different loads or bullets or brand. List number of rounds or boxes. Then it is just a number listed on the row for each type. The problem is to continually update the spreadsheet. The ideal would to organize it in such a way that you can print it comfortably on a single sheet of paper. I like paper copies of things to read. What's the worst thing that could happen? You set it up and then change it. It is called learning and using your experience to benefit your objectives.

As time advances forward and the number of firearms increase, you will forget or confuse the details. Best to get the information recorded while it is fresh in your mind. Some would say "Who cares?" For that person, perhaps the receipts in a file folder is enough or save or document nothing.

October 22, 2006, 01:04 PM
That should not be much problem at all. You just need to reason the whole thing out and organize a spreadsheet in a way that makes sense for your situation. Simple one.... caliber on left column, subsequent columns contain different loads or bullets or brand. List number of rounds or boxes.

hehe .. easy for you to say .. Me, I open Access or Excel and I sit there and stare at it saying "Ummm...."

October 22, 2006, 01:09 PM
Do it on paper first and then get on the computer. Rough it out first on paper. You can refine it later as you get comfortable. Think of it as a reason to learn how to use excel or lotus, whatever you use. They are all the same for the most part.

Don't use Access. Too complicated for beginners. Use Excel and if you get proficient, you can always import those into Access. All Access is IS a spreadsheet or series of spreadsheets. With Access, you need to have a pretty firm idea of what your objectives are as it affects the way you can access the informaton. Just keep it simple.

October 22, 2006, 01:26 PM
I use GunSafe ver. 2.05. It looks like those access forms but it's easy to use and it's freeware.
Can't beat the price! You can add pics and other info as well.

October 22, 2006, 03:20 PM
Old habits die hard: Paradox

October 22, 2006, 04:24 PM

That is a pretty nice program and I will definitely be checking it out, thanks for the link.

October 23, 2006, 02:34 AM
I just use MS Word or MS Excel. I got the idea from all the RSL inventories I did as an Ordie. When I get home from a range trip, I just annote the differences, record the date, print it out and store it with the ammo. I use a digital camera for the pictures. Once I get a good pic, I use JASC's Printshop pro, (Most folks use Adobe's Photoshop,) to scale down and crop the pic so it fits in the document.

The hardest part about the pictures is getting good ones without a tripod. Natural sunlight is the best, but the neighbors might not be to understanding about me posing my guns in the lawn.

That and some of those old BP rifles don't even have SerNos.

October 23, 2006, 06:36 PM
TreePad is a really simple program to use.

There is a freeware version (all of these are at and trial versions of increasingly sophisticated implementations.

TreePad Plus allows the storage of images along with the text. The program can be run from removable media (like a floppy or flash drive).

I have used various versions of TreePad for nearly 10 years. The author (Henk) is in the Netherlands and supports his program well.

Of course, the hazard is that once you start using it for anything, it becomes an attractive tool for all kinds of other stuff.

I've used it to break up complex software and database schemas, to store photos, and to create a reference library for a variety of things.

Heck, give it a try. Don't cost you nuthin' for a try.

October 23, 2006, 06:52 PM
Anything out there for us Mac users?

In particular free stuff.

October 23, 2006, 07:21 PM
Average Mac Users, I went to the Gunsafe site. It said it should work on a Mac. I downloaded it and could not get it to open. The folder contained typical windows looking stuff. Oh well.......

October 23, 2006, 07:48 PM
Average Mac Users, I went to the Gunsafe site. It said it should work on a Mac. I downloaded it and could not get it to open. The folder contained typical windows looking stuff. Oh well.......
Snagglepuss- That's the one odd thing about the program. You unzip it into a folder then to run the program you double click the icon labeled gunsafe.exe. It worked on 3 of my computers, but they are all Windows XP so I don't know if it works on Mac or not.

October 23, 2006, 07:55 PM
If it's an exe file, it will not work on your mac.
I use pico and a .txt file. For mac users, you might try TextEdit for a basic gun log.

October 23, 2006, 08:25 PM
I found a nice distro of MySQL for OSX

I'll play with it and then report back.

Ok, thats nice just installs the back end ... now I gotta find a nice GUI for editing my MySQL database :P

October 23, 2006, 11:08 PM
I should have said "run" instead of "open". As soon as I was the exe file I knew we Mac users were dead in the water.

October 28, 2006, 04:41 PM
Hi There,

I am the author of GunSafe. A new version was just posted today that contains a few minor bug fixes, adds a field for barrel length, etc.

Snagglepuss, I am surprised it doesn't work on a Mac, since it was created in FileMaker. I'll do some research to see what I can do to get it to play well on a Mac.

October 28, 2006, 04:56 PM
It is actually that easy with a Mac. I have a Mac with Excel and iPhoto. When I generated my spreadsheet with data such as manufacturer, model, caliber, serial number, etc., I took digital pictures and simply dragged them to the rows/columns beside the data to which the picture corresponded. I used the edges of the pics to resize them to be consistent, but that's it. It was extremely simple.


October 28, 2006, 05:13 PM
the GunSafe software will work fine on a mac if you have or download Filemaker Pro.

You can get a 30day free trial from the mfg website. I have not found a free version yet, but you can at least play around with it and see how it works for you

October 28, 2006, 05:14 PM
How do I get my information into the new version of Gunsafe, is it as simple as copying the 3 database files into the new directory?

October 28, 2006, 05:34 PM

1) Download and unzip the new version to a location different from your original.
2) Open your original version of GunSafe. On the main menu screen, click the button labeled View All (Including Sold). Then exit.
3) Open the new version.
4) From the File menu, choose Import Records.
5) An Open File screen will appear. Navigate to the directory containing your old version, and select GunSafe.gsf and click Open
6) Next you will see The Import Field Mappings screen. The default mappings and selections should be fine. There are 2 fields in bold that won't have a match because they are new to this version. Be sure the Import Action is set to Add New Records. Click Import.
7) Import Options screen will appear. The defaults should be fine.
8) Click OK.

Repeat for the files Images and Mfgs.

Let me know if you have any problems.

Edit: With the major change to the maintenance section, you may lose maintenance history. Also, the new association to the images (fix for same serial number bug) may require you to reassociate your images with your firearms. Sorry for the troubles.

October 28, 2006, 05:41 PM
OpenOffice has word processing, spreadsheet and database programs that, for the most part, are similar to Excel and Acces, so cost shoudln't be an issue (Oo is free (

October 28, 2006, 06:32 PM
It looks like you need a real extensive collection, say more than 100, to enjoy the search capabilities.

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