Russian Hunting Shotguns

How Rare are TsKIB Guns?

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.

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11 thoughts on “How Rare are TsKIB Guns?

  1. Really? I was expecting them to be made in larger quantities than this, I am glad I got my hands on one then^^. I love my MTs-6, such a fine slim design, and there has clearly been two different people engraving it, as one side is nicer than the other^^.

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    • Well, yes, from how many appear on the market, it would look like they were made in greater numbers. But those are official factory figures. There were a number of guns made by gunmaker’s employees in their spare time out of parts stolen from the maker, and those of course were not included in factory statistics, but I doubt there were very many of them. What is unusual is having two engravers work on one gun. Usually, there was one engraver per gun, and the engraver and the actioneer signed their names on the barrels under the fore-end wood.

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  2. Andreas says:

    Well, it is probably one guy, just being a little more sloppy on one side, but that is she charm of a hand made piece, got a little more character. I have not noticed any signatures, only the guns ID number being cut in the wood, and penned on the white inside of the butt pad. It is most likely an export grade, as it has been proofed in Birmingham and says Made in USSR on the butt pad? Actually the Made In USSR mark is a little poorly executed, almost as it has been stamped twice into the plastic, and is not entirely horizontal.

    They do surface from time to time, but I do think the figures seem credible. I mostly see the 6 and the 8 for sale, and I have only seen one 5 listed. I have only seen one 110 listed here in Norway, but I just recently got into guns 2-3 years ago, when I got my first one, the MTs-6. A great start nonetheless^^.

    A friend in UK had a 7 in the box as well as an 8 and a 6, all in great/new condition.

    Do you have any information on the MT-s 18 22.lr rifle TsKIB makes/made in the context of rarity etc? Are the TsKIB rifles more scarce then the shotguns?

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    • All (civilian) Russian rifles are scarcer than shotguns, due to gun laws that make a rifle license much harder to get. I can’t say much about MTs-18 off top of my head, sorry, but they were produced in some numbers after 1991. As for the names of the makers on your MTs-6, I bet you never removed your fore-end wood. Of course there’s no reason to do so, it’s supposed to stay on the gun for life, but if the gun is signed, the names are there, hidden under the fore-end. On the other hand, not every MTs is “signed”, so there might not be anything there.

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  3. Andreas says:

    Ah yes, I understand. That makes sense indeed.

    Well, I have to admit, that actually I have removed it, twice now, to apply some oil without making a mess, and there is as you said, information on the barrel, and also in the underside of the fore-end wood.

    It says щ 74 п (looks more like an upside down U really) 599 on the barrel, and 704 in the wood. I did not take any notice earlier, as they are so similar to the guns serial. I also noticed that one of the short screws sadly is broken, and does not go all the way through the wood. I am guessing that will be hard to replace. At least it holds on to the fore-end wood.

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  4. Jean-Marcel Jeannot says:

    May be five years ago, I found, at a ridiculous price an over under shotgun which seemed very special. What was surprising is that there was no manufacturing name printed on it. Only some cyrillic characters which were primarily unuseful to me. By the mean of the Internet, I finally found that I have acquired a fantastic MTs8, in as new condition and certainly unfired. Reading the story of this shotgun, a question appeared immediately, which way (s) did it took to this shotgun to arrive in the center of France?
    It was without its original packaging but a set of spare parts where still present! Two strikers, two hammers (left and right) and the flat spring to actuate them.
    Incredible, no?
    All the best
    JM Jeannot

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jean-Marcel, first congratulations on your find. MTs8s may be not to anyone’s liking, but they are surely special and unusual weapons. As for possible source, if you could buy a shotgun in France on Frankonia catalogue, that’s one possibility. Another is, the cheaper Russian shotguns were exported to France, and the importer could at one time experiment with more expensive offering. Then, of course, there are private bringbacks – it was easy before 1976. The first two digits in the serial No will tell you when the gun was started (barrels mated to action), and though it could be finished many years after, it’s a rough indicator of mfg year. What are they, btw?

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  5. Jean-Marcel Jeannot says:

    Thanks, Alexei, for your soon response.
    The serial number is 690513 . According to your suggestion, I can expect it was begun to be manufactured in 1969.
    There are a lot of other inscriptions on the flat sides of couple of barrel. Except those concerning the caliber(12) chamber (70mm) Proofing pressure (700kg/cm2), I don’t understand their signification and it’s impossible to send you them because of the cyrillic characters. Now retired, I was in the past a technical director for mechanics that wrote 20 years for a hunting monthly review.
    All the best

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  6. WilyB says:

    Great articla, thank you. So I guess my МЦ11 with serial 68#### is dated from 1968?

    Is there a way to know more of its history? I believe my father got is as a present in the early 1970s.

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    • Now that’s a present! TsKIB guns got their serial No’s when barrels were mated to the action, but sometimes the guns would wait to be finished and sent to the consumer for a few years. Thank you!

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