This is an official announcement that I have started working on the book with the working title Russian Hunting Shotguns: History and Buyer’s Guide.
The first goal is to write a book proposal and start sending it to publishers and book agents.
Russian hunting guns are not exactly No 1 in the world, but they are reasonably popular – yet, the knowledge on them is very limited. Perhaps, you may say, most of the world’s gunners simply don’t want to know – but I don’t think so.
Why I think there’s a demand for this book is the shotgunworld’s Russian gun lovers forum. There are many questions and issues, and new people come in every year asking the same questions. And for many of these questions, it looks like I’m the only person who can provide answers. But Russian gunmaking is bigger and deeper than most Westerners realize, and it’s full of interesting and even fabulous stories which form its background. All in all, there’s a story in it, and I hope to tell it.
I’ll either set up a separate web page for this project, or use this blog to post bits and pieces of the book as it takes shape.
This is how I see the Contents:
- Preface: Hunting in Russia: Pot, Sport and Freedom.
- Part I. Brief History of Making Hunting Guns in Russia
- Chapter 1. Before the Communists Came – Gunmaking in Tsarist Russia.
- Chapter 2. The Dark Age: Stalin’s Reign.
- Chapter 3. The Big Breakthrough: From Stalin’s Death to Perestroika.
- Chapter 4. The Iron Heel of Capitalism: Russian Gunmaking Since 1991.
- Chapter 5. The Export.
- Part II. Gunmakers.
- Chapter 6. Tula: Where it All Began.
- Chapter 7. TsKIB: “‘Soviet’ Means ‘Best’!”.
- Chapter 8. Izhevsk: The Confusing Izhmash and Izhmech Business.
- Chapter 9. Vyatskie Polyany.
- Chapter 10. The Others: Zlatoust and Individual Gunmakers.
- Part III. The Models.
- Chapter 11. The Single Shots.
- Chapter 12. The Tula Hammer Guns
- Chapter 13. TOZ Hammerless Side-by-Sides.
- Chapter 14. TOZ 34 and other Over/Unders from Tula
- Chapter 15. MTs21-12 and Other TOZ Semiautos.
- Chapter 16. Izh 49, Izh 54 and Izh 26 – the Izhevsk Anson&Deeley Shotguns.
- Chapter 17. Izh 58 and 43
- Chapter 18. Izh 27 and other Izhevsk Over/Unders.
- Chapter 19. MP 153 and other Izhevsk Semiautos and Pumps
- Chapter 20. The Bekas Pump and Auto Range.
- Chapter 21. Saiga and Vepr: the Kalashnikov-Based Designs.
- Chapter 22. MTs 6, MTs 8, and Other Competition Guns.
- Chapter 23. The TsKIB Hunting Models.
- Chapter 24. Experimental Designs, Old, Rare and Obscure Models.
- Part IV. Buyer’s Guide.
- Chapter 25. The Issue of Grades: How Russian Guns Were and Are Made and Sold.
- Chapter 26. Model Identification: How To Tell Which Russian Gun You’ve Got
- Chapter 27. How They Got into the West: Official Export and Beyond.
- Chapter 28. The Spartan Range.
- Chapter 29. Russian Gun FAQ.
- Conclusion: What is the Future of Russian Gunmaking?
I plan to average about 10 pages per chapter, including photographs.
The speed of this project largely depends on whether I can sell this book or not. If yes, it could be quick, if no, it could take years or die unfinished. Like everything about Russia, I’m fvcking unpredictable, and that’s a problem.
Meanwhile, I welcome suggestions, criticism and advice, including on which publisher or agent to contact.
If you think my efforts are better spent elsewhere, don’t hesitate to say so either.