Fred Datig book question

I was given volume 4 of Fred Datig’s “Cartridges for collectors”. Everyone sells vol 1,2 and 3 at the web but not vol4. Why? How many volumes there are?

There were only 4, but Vol. 4 came out in 1983, well after Vol. 3 in 1967 and a lot of collectors never bought it because by then, unlike in the 60’s, there were a number of other good cartridge reference books available.

So, many sets of the 1st three vol. are on the market from older collectors.

The major reason that Volume IV of “Cartridges,” by Fred Datig is harder to find than Volumes I, II and III is a matter of its original marketing. The first three volumes were published by Borden Publishing Company, a reliable publishing company located in Southern California, U.S.A., with a good delivery record, good marketing techniques and a price schedule that allowed retail dealers interested in carrying the book at all to market it. We carried all of Fred’s books in our store.

When Volume IV came out in 1983, published by Fred Datig himself in Lucerne, Switzerland, it was a different story. I cannot speak for European sales, but it was poorly marketed in the U.S. As I recall, one book-seller had an exclusive, and it was not advertised well. I also recall that we did not carry it because their was little or no dealer margin offered by the American book distributor.

I am not sure how much its date of release and the other cartridge books available had to do with its sales at the time, and its availability now. Most cartridge researchers will buy almost any book on ammunition, expecially if it is part of a well-known series. Secondly, none of Fred’s cartridge books (Volumes I, II or III) were general in nature, but rather looked at a few individual cartridges rather than tackling the almost impossible chore of discussions of all ammunition. This meant that Volume IV was as different from the others as they were from each other, and that the information was more specific to a series of individual cartridges than other books on the market at the time, again making it fairly unique. Had sales justified the labor, and had the author the time, I am sure this series of books could have number twenty or more volumes. It is somewhat of a shame that only 4 Volumes were done.

Just my view not only as one with a penchant for buying most any book on ammunition, but also as an experienced book seller (we carried, varying from time to time by availability, about 100 titles of gun and ammunition-related books in our store, and sold hundreds of copies of the popular ones over the years).

Well said.

The last time I saw Fred he was more interested in selling ammo and guns than books. He said that writing and publishing books took too much time and returned too little money. At the time he was involved with a machinegun dealers importing items from Europe. The dealer had been arrested on BATF charges and the lot was seized. He lost a bundle. I have not heard anything about Datig for years.

Fred is alive and well, living in Southern California. I see him about once a year when I go down to the California Cartridge Collector’s meeting at La Palma, California. He doesn’t do much with cartridges now, but is still selling books, mostly by other people. I just got a Russian book on 7.62 x 54R cartridges. Probably an extravagance, as it was very expensive and is all in Russian. I wish, though, it were in English because it seems to have a lot of information in it. Like many of us, Fred is aging, but still has all his faculties, and the same sense of humor he has always had - a bit different, but then, aren’t we all? I wish I knew as much about so many subjects as he does! I learn something new everytime we talk.

Good that he is still breathing. Many of us were fans early on.

Could you provide some details about this book ?

I can describe the Russian 7.62 x 54R book only in the broadest terms, since it is entirely in untransliterated Russian (Cyrrilic Alphabet).

It ia hard-back book of decent production quality. The pages are semi-glossy, and there are 190 pages. There are illustrations on about every two out of three pages, perhaps even a better ratio than that, most of which are in color. Cartridges, separate bullets, some guns and some belt links are shown, as well as portrait photos of a lot of Russians that are probably designers. I have not had time yet to transliterate their names into an alphabet I can read. I should just learn to think in Cyrillic. That would help me with things like names and Model designations, but not with the text since transliterated or not, I don’t read hardly a word of Russian.

There is a color drawing of just the bullet, neck and shoulder (all that is needed) of cartridges showing the tip colors and identifying them, I guess, with what appears to be just a Model number. Colors shown are yellow; green; black; red; black over a red stripe; black with the entire rest of the bullet red; white; grey; grey over a red stripe; all green bullet; silver with a red case mouth seal; plain with a green case (may just be indicating a steel case); all black bullet and finally an all yellow bullet.

There is a short chapter showing some stripper clips - oddly a British Mark III Enfiled clip and a German-Style 7.92 x 57 clip are shown along with the Russian. I don’t know what that is all about. The same chapter deals with packaging up to and including wood cases.

There is an explanation of box markings, including print and colored stripes on the boxes, that includes wood packing cases. There are, of course, headstamp drawings, but they seem to be very few considering the life of this cartridge. Of course, the book’s major disappointment, or it would be to me if I could read it, is that it deals only with Russian (including USSR) 7.62 x 54R ammo as far as I can tell - non-Russian (USSR) receives little or no attention. That limits the headstamp information, naturally.

The book was very expensive. I don’t know how many are available in the U.S. It is my understanding that Fred had a total of ten copies, but I could be wrong about that. The book was US100.00, paid to Fred (post-paid).

In retrospect, I am not sure I would buy it again, since I don’t read Russian and do not collect this cartridge. Were it on something I do collect, like the Tokarev and Makarov cartridges, I would buy it. For me, though, it probably only serves to take up room on my shelf. But, it is paid for and doesn’t eat and drink anything, so I will retain it for my library.

The Author’s name, transliterated the best I can, is R. N. Chumak. The title is “Russkiy 7.62-MM Vintovochnyeruiy Patron.” I can’t do any better transliterating that. One letter is shown on my alphabet as a “Ukrainian i” and yet I am not of the impression this book is from the Ukraine. Another I could not find on one of my alphabets, but on another version of the Cyrillic Alphabet that I have, which shows only the sound and not the English equivalent letter, it stood for the sound "“yeru” with the Cyrillic letter looking somewhat like “bI” (I have never been able to figure out how to reproduce Cyrillic here. I can only do it in Word and Word Perfect on my computer).

There seems to be a couple of website addresses on the very back page, with incudes the Author and title of this book: and

This is about all I can do to review a book I can’t read. I hope it answers the question.

JohnMoss, if you’re really desperate to read some parts of your Russian book (and have a fair amount of time to put into it), you can go to . Google’s translation is a little rough, and they don’t always translate firearms-related things in a way that makes sense, but it’s a quick and dirty way of getting an idea of what’s going on. Hope this helps.

Thanks to both of you. I should be able to find it and maybe read it with those comments.

John, here’s a list of the current RUSSIAN Cyrillic alphabet, but the Ukrainian, Byelorussian, and Bulgarian Cyrillic alphabets are slightly different; there should be a city of publication in your book that will let you know which version it was printed in. Also, you quite often see the “script” or “written” version of Cyrillic in Russian books, which has its own set of characters.

Hi - I have several different versions of the Cyrillic Alphabet. One of the letters in the Title was “I” just like our western alphabet capital letter/lower case letter “I/i” and the only thing I have on Cyrillic letters that shows it says “Cyrillic Capital Letter Byelorussian-Ukrainian I.” Interesting.

John Moss

Very odd as well; they use many of the same characters, but not in the same order, AND they have 34 letters in their alphabet instead of the 33 of the Russian. If you’re still looking to translate this book, there are a couple of online sources you can use. It’s a slow process though;

Ukranian is not Russian. After generations of domination by the Russians there are a variety cross influences. There are generations of Russians who have been born in the Ukraine who consider themselves Ukranians BUT are not considered so by the traditional Ukranians.

The Ukranians here in the Wash DC area do not socialize with the Russian Ukranians and consider them “occupiers” not fellow countrymen.

They say that Ukranian is only 1 letter from being German. The tradtional Ukrainian alphabet differs greatly from the Cyrillic.

Church Slavonic from which all of the Cyrillics come differs from all the MODERN versions.

I know very well that Ukrainian is not Russian. I also know the alphabets are different. However, a Russian friend had no trouble reading the manufacturer’s stamp on the back of a Ukrainian Makarov holster that I have (post indpendence from the USSR), although she immediately recognized it as Ukrainian, of course. I assume that the languages are similar, somewhat like Danish, Norwegian and Swedish - not identical but interchangeably understood throughout Scandinavia. Is that correct? I am referring to the current language. I suppose like many languages do over the years, the Ukrainian language probably evolved somewhat during years of Soviet control.