Russian Hunting Shotguns

Baikal Model Identification.

Model identification of Russian hunting shotguns that were exported through official channels is usually very easy. Most guns proudly bear their model designations stamped on the action or barrel(s). Sometimes, however, it’s a tricky thing (if you need help with identifying or dating your Russian shotgun, click here and leave a comment). This is a query I recently received from a very knowlegeable Russian gun enthusiast in Pakistan:

Sir, please confirm the model
Nothing is written on it like IJ-58 or anything else😏

Pak Izh-58d

At first sight, there does seem to be much in the way of model ID, but, like Sherlock Holmes used to say, it will take me more time to explain how I arrived at my conclusion from evidence than it actually took me to identify this gun.Yet, why don’t we go through this step by step, to see how it’s done:

This gun was made in the USSR. The evidence is the remains of the words to this effect on the left side of the frame:

Pak Izh-58e

And the Soviet (Russian) proof marks, which also tell us the gun was made by the Izhevsk Mechanical Plant – the “arrow in shield” is its signature stamp.

Pak Izh-58fa

There’s only one Russian side-by-side shotgun with a semi-circular stock to action joint, and this is Izh-58. Eurica? Not yet. There were four generations of this model, known under three different names: 58, 58M and 58MA, and knowing which specific submodel this gun is would help us to narrow down its possible mfg date.

Pak Izh58a

It is perfectly clear that this gun is either M or MA. Izh-58 had “bolsters” – the parts of the breech that stand out of the action to support the barrels – that had a semi-cylindrical, rather than semi-spheric, as in this example, shape. (In the first years of production, Izh-58 had semi-oval, rather than semi-circular, stock-action joint as well).

The difference between M and MA is mostly in the inside, and can be determined by a click of the safety – in MA it is, as the model letters suggest, automatic. But this isn’t reliable, as many users converted the safety to non-automatic. But let’s look attentively to the place where the model designation should have been, and we’ll see some of the remains of it, and it sure looks like it used to say “Model Izh 58 MA”.

Pak Izh-58da

So, this gun was made some time between 1976 and 1986. The letter A on the rear locking lug seems to suggest 1976 as the mfg date, but it’s hard to say, because the serial No on the lug is almost invisible (filed off?).

As a sidenote, the bottom of the gun’s action is missing the “Soviet sign of quality” – which confrims it being Export grade. The Soviet sign of quality happened to precisely match Dodge logo, and so it would be a big copyright issue if guns with these image were sold. I expect some relegious people would be reluctant to wear a gun with a pentagram on it, too.

Pak Izh-58b

The problem with model ID of this gun, as a matter of fact, come down to years of hard use and substandard gunsmithing it saw. It’s hard to wear out a roll-stamped engraving from wear alone, so I suspect someone at some point sanded the action (perhaps as a re-bluing project). All screws are misaligned, and I think I see a piece of foil sticking out from under the hinge pin – which would indicate a homemade attempt to fix loose barrels. The serial number on the action doesn’t seem to match the one on the rear lump, and the letter on the action is not from Cyrillic alphabeth, so God only knows what amount of repair works this gun underwent.

Pak Izh-58c

However, in spite of all abuse, this gun still goes bang and, in some parts of the world, is considered a perfectly usable and even desirable hunting weapon. That’s what they love Russian guns for.

read more about Russian gun model ID


85 thoughts on “Baikal Model Identification.

  1. Hans-Peter Savage says:

    Good morning Aleksei,

    may I ask you a question? Is this really a Baikal?
    If so: which model could it be? I have never seen a Baikal O/U before with a safety on the right side.

    thanks a lot and greetings from Germany

    (you don’t need to publish this comment, but I did not find a e-mail adress on your page to contact you directly, so I contact you via comment)


    • Guess I have to add a PM (or “mail me”) button somewhere 🙂 Hans-Peter, it’s perfectly OK to ask, and I don’t mind giving the answer here. The gun pictured is TOZ-34, made by Tula Arms Works (Tula, Russia) and retailed under the brand name “Baikal” in the Soviet era. What you see on the side of the action is not the safety, but the barrel disengagement lever. You turn it downwards, then open the action as for reloading, and the barrels come off for cleaning or whatever. This lever was introduced in 1974; before that, the same effect was achieved by pressing the front trigger and simultaniously opening the gun.

      I wasn’t aware that it was sold in Germany as “Tundra”.


  2. Hans-Peter Savage says:

    Most Germans don’t know much about Russian shotsguns and think, all O/Us are “Baikal Tundras”. I’m still angry about myself that I once checked the actual offers of big German gun dealer too late and so missed a mts-8 sold als “Baikal Tundra” for 400 Euros …


  3. Carsten Svensgaard says:

    I am looking into buying an IJ-58 with exactly the same stamps on it, but we cannot identify the stamps for the choke?

    Can you point me towards a translation of the remaining stamps or any other indication how choke can be told from the stamps? The seller cannot find any other markings on it (no numbers, stars or anything else)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Most guns made by IzhMech before CIS standard proofs were adopted in 1993 don’t have any indication of choke size. Neither was it necessary, since almost every gun came with standard constrictions – for 12 and 16 gauge Izh-58 it was .5 mm (half-choke) in the right, and 1.0 mm (full choke) in the left barrel.


    • John says:

      The chokes for these guns are on the top left barrel. Example 28″12GA2¾” MF… =28-inch barrel 12 gauge two and three quarter inch chamber Modified full

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Russian Gun Model Identification II: MTs Over/Unders. | Aleksei Morozov's page

  5. Reece Barter says:

    Greetings from Australia!
    I have an IJ58 MA and wish to identify the year of manufacture.
    If you respond to me by email, I can send you pictures of the markings..

    Kind regards,

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I recently acquired a shotgun from a local gun show and I believe it is a Baikal but am looking for more information on the date of manufacturing. The model is an IJ-18 and the serial number is P07956. On the side of the barrel it reads MFG IJEVSK USSR MODEL IJ-18 28″ 12GA23/4″M. On the bottom side of the barrel when removed from the stock I see an INC inside a diamond and on the side of the barrel I see a marking that looks like a slanted upper case “I” inside a trapezoid. The last marking I can find is inside the receiver below where the barrel latches in and I see what looks like an upper case “E” inside a diamond shape. If you could help me out with this it would be greatly appreciated!


  7. Hi Aleksei, I have a IJ58mae it has chokes measured as 3/4 and full, it looks good condition except small rusting and is real fun to shoot, its serial number seems really low for a such good condition gun. Does the serial number a00518 make it old? many thanks Heath

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Heath, your gun seems to be 1979 vintage. A gun will age surprisingly slow in caring hands; if you look up catalogue of Holt’s auction in England, you’ll see guns from XIX century that look good as new.


  8. Ol says:

    Hi, loved the article- very informative!

    I was wondering whether you could help me date a Baikal I recently purchased:

    IJ58 MAE, serial number 00755

    It is stamped with ‘made in USSR’


    Liked by 1 person

  9. jacquemont says:

    Hi Alexeï, you seem to be an expert . I love Baïkal shotgun and juts bought a used IJ27 with nice carving (on ly IJ27 , nothing else) from USSR times. Manufacturing N° is C7404812 or C1404812 . Do you know when it was manufactured ?
    (I also have a modern 43 coach gun , many other Russian weapons like 3 MOsin Nagant)
    Thanks a lot for your expertise

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jacquemont. The numbers you quote are inconsistent with the Baikal numbering system. There would have to be a letter and 5 digits, or no letter and 7 digits, the first two being mfg year, or 9-10 digits, (year-model No – gun No).


  10. Peter says:

    Hi Aleksei,

    I’m trying to find a clue on the year of manufacture of my izh 58 16 gauge side by side. Maybe you can help – the serial number is KM 8109. The gun has a straight grip, which seems to be original.


    Liked by 1 person

  11. Peter says:

    Thanks! I read somewhere the ones marked with letters KA were 72-74. Maybe those are just the export models, the one I have must have been made for the local market.


  12. Karl-Olov Sandin says:

    Hello Aleksei!
    I read your articles with great interest! Very informative and entertaining. My son bought himself a Baikal (Vostok?) MC-6 over/under shotgun recently. Very robust and well shooting beast. But we dont know much about it. Can you help us identify it from the stamped number? I think it says: MU6-00 (Kyrillic) and a serial no: 670864.

    Also, there is a problem with it now: inside the mechanism is a fork-shaped blade spring that brings pressure on the triggers. One finger has broke off.
    Any ideas where to find parts to this gun? I suspect it is pretty rare…

    Best regards

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Karl. Well, you’ve pretty much identified the gun yourself – it’s a MTs-6, made about 1967. I don’t have any good news for you regarding the spring, however – there’s no reliable source of parts. See if you can find someone (not necessarily a gunsmith, but the person must have a profound knowledge of steels and their properties) who can make it.


  13. Karl-Olov Sandin says:

    Thanks for you quick reply! As I have understood, there was made about 4000 of these? My son actually managed to fix the broken trigger spring himself. We got hold of suitable spring steel material and with a bit of cutting, grinding, heating, bending and re-hardening plus a considerable amount of elbow grease, the result was quite impressive IMHO, and works perfectly. 100 shots today and no problem. 🙂



  14. Lothar Denswil says:

    Hello Aleksei,
    I have a Baikal model IJ-18 single barrel 20 gauge
    Serialnumber: P14906
    Do you know de production date?
    Kind regards from Belgium,


  15. Hi Aleksei, recently got one shot gun legacy from grandpa. It’s a Baikal IJ-18, UUSR made, 12GA23/4f , with a serial number : K21385. Can you help me with the manufacture date? Can’t find anywhere a relevant list or something. Thanks in advance


  16. Mirko Terze says:


    I’m interested in some information about my shotgun. I got her as a present, and I do not know how old she is, or any details about her.
    The model is IZH 54 serial number is:L 0634

    Thank you for your time.


    • Hi, Izh-54 is one of the most highly esteemed models of Soviet shotguns. It was made from 1954-1969, but yours was probably made in 1963-1969. Follow the tag Izh-54 to find many posts I’ve written about this gun here. When you say the serial No is L0634, do you mean the Cyrillic letter Л or the letter Г?


  17. Nicolai says:

    Hi Aleksei,
    Nice work
    I’ve got a IJ54 sn KK0322 cal12 and IJ sn T17635 cal 16.
    Can U tell me a estimate production year?
    Thank You and greetings from Romania.


  18. Nicolai says:

    And thank you for the response. Is there a way to post or send photos? For the IJh 54 can U tell me a value?
    Thank you.


  19. René R says:


    Can you help date a singeshot Baikal IZH-18M in .410/76? Serial No. 8827600.

    Bought as a IJ-18, bit inscriptions on the side says IZH-18M. Says “Made in USSR” on the other side.

    Markings on the barrel says 10,3 and F(0,70) 90MPa. Does that mean it’s a full choke and steel shot is a no-go?

    Thanks a lot 🙂


    • Hi, your gun was made in 1988. You are correct in interpreting the proof marks: 10.3 is bore diameter in mm, and F is for “Full choke”. “(0,70)” is the actual constriction size… quite a bit too steep for .410 and an extremely high risk of barrel damage with steel shot.


  20. raunooinus says:

    Hello Aleksei,
    I have recently bought an IZ-58 16 cal with serial no/markings BC4323. Can you tell me what year has it been manufactured? I have tried to find clues myself but sofar no luck. Many thanks in advance, and greetings from Estonia!


  21. Rick J says:

    I have a Baikal MU-109, over/under, serial 790038, been in original box, never fired. Handsome weapon! Wondering what it’s worth?


  22. Mustafa says:

    hi sir, I have baikal over and under IJ-27 USSR with no H 14222 can i know the manufacture date & some words about the Gun please?


  23. michael miles says:

    Hi Aleksei, hope you are well.

    I recently bought a Baikal IJ18E. It was so much fun I bought a second. Then I found a spare barrel of a different length with a sling stud, so I bought that too! (Please dont tell my wife)

    I think Ive managed to figure out some of the proof marks, but the one thing Im struggling with is the year of manufacture, but Im hoping you can help me out…

    First gun:
    Serial B14329
    26 inch barrel
    Engraved Hare and Model ID on right. Hound and USSR on left
    .719″ NP 2 3/4″ 3 1/4 TONS LP75

    Proof marks:
    London. Crown over CP. 1637> – definitive black powder proof for shotguns,muzzle loader barrels
    London. Arm holding sword/NP. 1904> – definitive nitro proof for all guns – parabellum pistols
    Klimovsk. “rNC” in Cyrillic in a diamond. Tests of weapons and ammunition control ; laboratory Klimovsk
    Izhevsk. Shield with arrow (could be Baikal logo?). 1950> – Proof house mark
    Tuula/ Izhevsk. H in a trapezium. 1950> – Final nitro/smokeless proof


    Second gun:
    Serial K39737
    28 3/4 barrel
    Engraved Hound and Model ID on right. Hare and USSR on left
    .719″ NP 2 3/4″ 3 1/4 TONS LP76

    Proof marks:
    London. Crown over CP. 1637> – definitive black powder proof for shotguns,muzzle loader barrels
    London. Arm holding sword/NP. 1904> – definitive nitro proof for all guns – parabellum pistols
    Tuula/ Izhevsk. H in a trapezium. 1950> – Final nitro/smokeless proof


    Spare Barrel:
    Serial T51162
    28 1/2 inch Barrel
    12GA 2 3/4″ F

    Klimovsk. “rNC” in Cyrillic in a diamond – Tests of weapons and ammunition control ; laboratory Klimovsk
    Tuula/ Izhevsk. H in a trapezium. 1950> – Final nitro/smokeless proof
    Tuula and Izhevsk. H in a diamond. 1950> – Temporary black powder proof

    Other than the year of manufacture, am hoping you can explain the difference on the first 2 guns of the markings “LP75” and “LP76” Also any idea why the Hare and Hound are engraved on the opposite sides of the action?

    Thanks in advance Aleksei and have a great day!



  24. Michal says:

    Thank you for the article – great stuff. Could you possibly list all know numbers and years or it was already put somewhere on the net?
    My over/under is IJ27E A22960 16/70. Which year of production is that?
    Thank you very much in advance, all the best!


  25. Mike says:


    I just purchases a USSR over and under Baikal 12 gauge shotgun. It’s model is 27E and i would like to know its year of made. Any way i can identify that? I would post some photos, but i do not know if i can do it here.

    Looking forward to your comments.

    Thank you


  26. Mike says:

    Thank you so much! Anyway i can sent over some images of the shotgun? I would really like the opinion and comments of an expert in regards to the condition of it.

    Thanks again


  27. Hugh Conway says:

    I was recently directed to your great website by a fellow forum member here in Canada. Perhaps you could help in providing some additional information on a IJ58M that was given to me by a friend, now passed on. It is in near perfect condition, having been fired very few times…..maybe only one time!
    The serial number is H34580
    Thank you for such an interesting website. I’ve only scratched the surface so far!
    Kind regards

    Liked by 1 person

  28. James says:

    Hi there. I have just purchased a Izhevsk 54 12 gauge side by side. The seller had little detail about it, but it is in very good condition. The serial number appears to be P7157. I am wondering if you are able to tell from that what year the gun was made? Also wondering what choke each barrel is, and which trigger applies to which barrel?


  29. Colin says:

    I have baikal single shot 20 gauge,one of the marking is 20×76 .50,I’m wondering if its 2 and 3/4″ or 3″ chamber
    Thank you!


  30. Catalin Ionut Popa says:

    Hello again from Romania 🙂

    First i will like to thank you for the information from my last question ,very useful to me 🙂.
    Now i have another question ,can you tell me the year that my gun was made after the serial number ?! The number is M 08627.Thank you very much 🙂


Leave a Reply to The Sporting Bookworm Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.