TsKIB was an exclusive gunmaker at all times. It’s difficult to estimate production numbers, as they don’t release the figures for models that are still made. There were, all in all, about 4500 MTs-8, about 4000 MTs-6, and even fewer MTs-5. “Russian Purdeys” – MTs-11 and TS-2, copies of the famous Beesley patent self-opener – number about 600 and 125 respectively. The current top-of-the-line models, MTs-111 and MTs-109, were made at the rate of about 12 guns per year (since 1970-1971) and so there can’t be more than about a thousand of them, perhaps much less. Out of these figures, TsKIB’s total output can be estimated at about 25,000 guns. How many of these were exported? My guess is about 10%, and it’s likely to be on the overestimating side.
Evgeni Spiridonov, hunting guns brand developer for Kalashnikov Group, writes in his blog that everything is ready to launch production of plastic stocks and fore-ends for MP-27. The stocks will come in black and camo versions, with LOP and other characteristics identical to MP155. The stocks can be retro-fitted to any Izh-27 made after 1989 and SPR3xx, and will be sold as aftermarket options as well. Evgeni promises the stocks will be available to international consumers through official dealers.
Whether you’re wary of the Danai or not, gift-giving is an essential part of diplomacy. But, ever since the old story of Darius and the Scythians’ present of mouse, bird, frog and arrows, there’s been messages that miscarried – and this gun could be one of them. Continue reading
The January 2016 issue of Russian Hunting Magazine was dedicated to the problem of hunting and rare species. The issue included my article on hunting in the USA’s natural reserves, which was one of the cover stories. As few outside the hunting world are aware of, strictly limited (and very expensive) trophy hunting is a viable way to finance conservation of rare species; Markhor in Pakistan is a prime, but far from the only, example. In Russia, trophy hunting made a big difference for Kamchatka brown bears, greatly increasing their numbers (Andrey Sitsko explained this paradox in May 2015 issue). But there’s still a lot to be done about the Russian trophy species, as testified by Mikhail Krechmar’s report, presented at the SCI convention this weekend.
Which gun is the best is the question that hangs on your definition of ‘best’ness, and for some the best Russian hunting shotgun may well be MP153 or Ij27. Normally, however, people quote exclusiveness, high quality and original design as key criteria. If you want to put it all in a word, that would be “uncompromizing” – meaning no effort is spared to make the gun as beautiful and functional as possible, and no design is too complicated for the craftmanship of the makers. From this point of view, there’s no question that the best gun ever made in Russia is…