Review: Live Ammunition Of Small Arms (Russian 4vols)

Dvoryaninov Vladislav - Live ammunition of small arms
Available from -
(There is also a slight biography of the author, and his professional work in the small arms munitions field, available at the site).

These books were mentioned a few months ago here, and at that time I contacted the publisher about shipping outside of Russia, and to North America in particular, but at that time it was not available. They recently began selling and shipping outside of Russia though, so I seized the opportunity to buy the full 4 volume set.
In total the 4 volumes are more than 2000 pages, and represent a huge work on ammunition. The cost reflects a good value on that basis, with the 4 volumes shipped to me at around 300$US all in (including some extra fees in Canada).

The four volumes cover a variety of subjects related to small arms ammuniton, and loosely break down thusly from what I can make of them, bearing in mind I have zero comprehension of Russian ( I will point out there is a breakdown provided on the publishers site, but what follows is the highlights that I suspect most western members would be looking for ):

V1 is a general history; it starts with flint tools, through early small arms munitions, to the present era. This is a broad history, from a Russian perspective if you will, but NOT a history of Russian ammunition per se. The early growth of military cartridges is covered in this volume. The bulk of 7,62X54R material seems to be in this volume.

V2 Tends to focus on military ammunition (international, not just Russian), primarily WW2 to date. Its focus is again, wide, from a Russian perspective it seems, and it would be pure supposition for me to ‘conclude’ more than that, not reading Russian. Though Russian small arms ammunition does seem to take up the majority of this volume. The bulk of 7,62X39 development seems to be in this volume.

V3 Seems to contain a large amount on Russian pistol ammunition, and a variety of experimental/limited use cartridges, including piston/captured piston ammunition etc. Rounds such as the 5,45X19 and 9mm Makarov tend to be featured in this volume

V4 Features more modern developments, and experimental/limited use, such as salvo style/multi ball loads, flechettes, darts etc.

As mentioned each volume averages out to 600 or more pages. There is a lot of reference to competing rounds if you will, such as American and NATO rounds, their comparative performance etc.
There is also a large amount of performance data, such as accuracy, dispersion rates etc.
In all there are probably a few hundred (I didn’t count them, but they are abundant) dimensional drawings of bullets (projectiles, not rounds). The number of them spread across the 4 volumes are quite impressive.

The Pros of the set: A lot of data, which if you are willing to wade through would unquestionably be interesting.
A lot of drawings of bullets
A lot of material on rare-ish Russian rounds
A reasonable (IMHO) price for over 2000 pages of good quality books, with good quality paper, bindings etc.

The Cons: Well, the seller states it is in Russian, and it is. There is no English anywhere, which is so very, very frustrating. For a diehard fan of a specific round, Google translate, or a Russian (Cyrillic) / English dictionary may be worth the effort. I for one can only hope we see a translation at some point, because without it I see 2000 pages of enticement, that I am dying to be able to read, but cannot. To be reiterate, zero English text, no English chapter summaries, no English image labels, none. What you see in the photos is what you get.
Very few actual photos, none in colour, and for the most part, small. The images I attached are fairly representative of the contents.
No standard Westernised collector content that is discernible; by which I mean, NO headstamps or headstamp guide, no discernible lot/production information (other than in the text).

Overall, if you are interested in Russian ammunition of any era, it is likely worth the cost, but for me the Cyrillic type, and lack of English makes this a hugely frustrating work, like being locked out of a building you can only look into, and wanting to be inside. Frankly if they were to do even a condensed version in English I would buy another set, but as it is, 2000 pages of predominantly text is more agonizingly luring than I would have thought.
If you collect Russian ammunition, it is a must, but buy a Russian/English dictionary as well.

I see in one of the figures above, they show a Glaser safety slug (38spl?) as being a triplex multi ball load. That is some sort of error since that has never been a Glaser design. Are there no color photos in the book, but mostly just line drawings? Also, if you scan the pages in and use an optical character recognition program for Russian, then you can copy & paste the text into a translator like Google. Thanks for the review Kolibri.

Kolibri, thanks a lot for this excellent review. It makes the decision about trying to obtain the volumes much easier.

Unfortunately there are no color images at all. I would say the majority of images are line drawings, of which there are alot.
As for the Glaser mix up, they have mixed the labels for the two images there, flipping the labels for the two images.

I agree, in theory translation is possible, but would be tiresome for the full set. If you could buy a digital copy it would be worth the purchase. I know Google doesnt always get technical terms right, but I have translated material in the past with simple find/replace techniques. It can seem daunting, but once you get going its surprising how few words are actually used in the average book, and in technical writing it makes accuracy easier.


just in case anyone still interested in these books, publisher now offers worldwide shipping and PayPal payment option; you also can buy selected volumes (any combination) or all 4 as a set.


Max, this is a very valuable hint to us Westerners, who are not prepared to fill in an order on a Cyrillic web page. A book store specializing in Russian literature here in Munich just today informed they are not prepared to purchase the 4 volumes for me.
So the English version is just what I need. Thanks a lot.

[quote=“JPeelen”]Max, this is a very valuable hint to us Westerners, who are not prepared to fill in an order on a Cyrillic web page. A book store specializing in Russian literature here in Munich just today informed they are not prepared to purchase the 4 volumes for me.
So the English version is just what I need. Thanks a lot.[/quote]

JPeelen, actually, on the site there is “all-in-english” page for the international orders.

Thank you Nikolay, but you are pointing to the same page as mpopenker did. :-)

Yes, you’re correct… That is repeat :-)))
As compensation, here is some additional information for everyone those interested in these books in more detail:

  1. Use these links to watch and download free from my G-drive the table of contents (TOC) of each book. PDF:
  2. Few other details:
    The second item (from the left) of the main menu of the site ( is a section “about the books”.
    First level “All books” contains a brief description of the each book (
    By clicking on the books image, you will go to the next level with more detailed description.
    There, via text menu, you can open followings items: (from left to right): Foreword by the author; TOC; Excerpts of book (5 pc.); A list of references.
    Unfortunately, all of these materials only in Russian.
    But these materials are “digital” and can be read and understood with Google translator help (and little bit easier than by scanning and OCR).
    I hope this information is helpful.

My Russian isn’t very good at all, but I didn’t see anything at all on the 7.62x25 Tokarev cartridge. Where would that info be found?

Handgun (conventional) ammo is mainly in vols 1 and 3. Vol 3 has the 7,62 tok in relation to the 9mm Mak, and in Vol 1, I see 7,62 and 7,63 and 7,65 mentioned, (Mauser for sure and I ‘assume’ tok), but without reading Russian, thats my best guess.

The trick is to understand that the Russians do call them neither 9 mm Makarov nor 7.62 mm Tokarev, but simply 9 mm pistol cartridge and 7.62 mm pistol cartridge.
According to the table of content links supplied by Nikolay, “revolver and pistol cartridges” are treated in chapter 8 of volume 1. No calibre is mentioned in the heading.

Good news about this monograph…
Christmas sale 30% from 12 to 25 December 2015 on publisher site:
Don’t miss!