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


12 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!


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