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Aleksei Morozov.

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The Most Difficult Chapter to Write

I have revised, edited, fact-checked, and supplemented every chapter of the “Russian Hunting Shotguns” that deals with particular models. Nobody realizes better than me how incomplete the data is, and how many facts (and a few more or less rare models) have escaped the manuscript, but new knowledge keeps coming, and the only way to stop the incessant flow of revisions is to say “Basta!”

But there are a few chapters remain to be (re)written, including the one that I feel is going to be the most difficult to write: Proof Marks and Dating Russian Hunting Shotguns.

I’m going to start working on this chapter tomorrow.

gunmaking, Russian Hunting Shotguns

These Are Also Shotguns! (Please give your opinion in the survey)

At least, according to the Russian gun laws.

As I already wrote, in Russia you can get a rifle license only after you’ve owned a shotgun for at least five years. A few years ago TechKrim, a gun and ammo developer from Izhevsk, figured out a way around this legislation. The law makes an exception for “Paradox” bores, that have rifling only in the last 150 mm. of the barrel or less; in addition, Lancaster’s patent “oval bore” does not have any rifling, and so is legally a smoothbore. IzhMech (Baikal) was the first to take advantage of it and offered 20-gauge shotguns with Lancaster’s oval rifling, but TechKrim went further.

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Izh-58 16-gauge and Izh-43 12-gauge
Russian Hunting Shotguns

The Artemida Gun Shop in Moscow and What I Did There

Dropped by the Artemida gun shop in Moscow a couple of weeks ago, to put a couple of guns up for sale. One is a 16-gauge Izh-58, “transitional model” with a “round” receiver like on the “M” and “MA/MAE” series guns, but not yet marked “M”. These were made between 1968 and 1971. It had been an impulse purchase that proved itself a little treasure, and became my go-to gun for a number of years.

The other a 12-gauge Izh-43 that I used very little. I bought it for my Dad in 1996, but he would always put off registering it into his own name, and then when I got married and my wife became interested in hunting and shooting I gave it to her. She wasn’t overly fond of this gun, though, with its square shaped wrist and everything, and could never shoot it well enough. Don’t want these guns just sitting in the safe when they could bring a bit of pleasure to someone else, so up they go for sale.

Artemida is the place to go in Moscow if you’re interested in old, vintage and uncommon hunting guns. If you wanna see how a Purdey Beesley-patent self-opener compares to MTs-11, for example, they are likely to have both on display (unfortunately, Russian gun laws do not allow the salesperson to hand a gun over to a customer who doesn’t possess a valid purchase license). They have good connections with the Austrian and German best gun makers – just before the pandemic they had Johann Springer of Joh. Springer’s Erben with a lecture on gun auctioning and Werner Zodia to look over a few fine guns with a gunsmithing problems. And if I ever need help with an import or export permit for a hunting gun, Artemida would be the first place I go.

A 1969 vintage MTs7 double rifle in 9x54R anyone?

The mark of a good gun shop is that you get to learn something new every time you visit it. Before coming over, I surfed their website to find out what prices I could expect for the guns, and one Izh-43 up there was uncommon. Most 12-gauge guns made by IzhMech (a.k.a Baikal) in 1963-1991 have the same barrel dimensions – bore: 18.2 mm, length: 725 mm, chambers: 70 mm, chokes: half (0.5 mm) and full (1.0 mm). But that gun was different: 1988 vintage, it featured 750-mm long barrels choked IM (0.75 mm) and F (1.0) mm. Sorry, no pics – the gun was sold by the time I came there. But it goes to show there are exceptions to each rule.

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Russians Stockpile(d) Guns and Ammo, Too.

Before Russia, like most of the world, went into self-isolation, the country’s gun shops saw record-breaking sales in guns and ammo – it even made national news.

This surge can’t be explained by the seasonal jump in sales. Russian spring bird hunting seasons start in March in the south and continue to late May in the north of the country, and shops do usually see better business in the said months. However, the current spike is higher than in any previous year, and the type of products sold suggests there are different reasons than the usual pre-season rush. 

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Без рубрики, Russian Hunting Shotguns

Baikals at Holt’s – What drew my attention

I was surprised to find so many Russian hunting shotguns in the online catalogue of Holt’s Auction (silent bid). Most of them are totally unremarkable, but there were a couple of interesting pieces and also something that drew my attention. Continue reading

tula toz main building
gunmaking, Rifles, Russian Hunting Shotguns

More Guns from Tula?

Such news really ought to come with Surgeon General’s warning: “Holding one’s breath on Russian gunmakers’ promises may lead to extreme hypo-oxidation”.

Mikhail Degtyarev of the Kalashikov Magazine reports that all civilian gunmakers of Tula have been united under the same parent company and brand: “Tulskoye Oruzhie” (Rus: Тульское оружие, “Tula Weapons”). This includes TsKIB, TOZ, and the new player Levsha-T. The three Tula gunmakers will have a “co-ordinated product policy”.

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Bears on Okhotsk sea coast, Russia
Без рубрики, News

2019: Bad Year for Human-Bear Conflicts in Russia

Conflicts between humans and the brown bear are on the rise across the predator’s range, in both North America and Eurasia. In Russia in the year of 2019, however, they’re taking an especially nasty turn. The year isn’t over yet, and the official stats have not been released, but we’re talking about dozens – probably over a hundred – bear-related deaths.

The worst thing is, while attacks on hunters, fishermen, berry and mushroom gatherers and other outdoors people are kinda the name of the game, as many as two people in Russia have been killed by bears in 2019 right in the middle of settlements! Continue reading

toz-34 new for 2019
gunmaking, Russian Hunting Shotguns

TOZ-34 Is Back

I have been informed that the first production TOZ-34 over/unders since 2012 are headed to the shops. The quality is said to be OK. Priced RuR 28,990, which as of November 14, 2019, makes roughly 455 U.S. dollars. No new features: the gun comes with 70-mm chambers, 28″ barrels and fixed M and F chokes, manual extractors and walnut stock. Those who waited for longer chambers, screw-in chokes, and single trigger, are advised to keep calm and carry on waiting 🙂

Information and photos are from Orengun gun shop.