Без рубрики, Russian Hunting Shotguns

The Hammer Guns of Tula

The topic of this post was to be determined by a poll, but it ended in a tie, so I’ll try to match the expectations of both parties in one go.

The Tulka, or a hammer double gun made by Tula Arms Works, is a quintessential shotgun for generations of Russian hunters. It is known under various model names – TOZ-B, TOZ-BM, TOZ-63, TOZ-66, TOZ-54, TOZ-80 – but the differences between the models are minor, and for all practical purposes it’s the same gun, with Greener’s crossbolt and bar-action locks.

 

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Model B (Модель Б), the most common hammer gun from Tula. Image (c) Igor Karklinsh

The design dates back to 1903, when the Imperial Tula Arms Works decided to launch mass production of hunting guns, and is associated with Captain (later General) Sergey Zybin, who was sent to major gunmaking centers of Europe for ideas re: what and how to make.

 

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The more expensive Tula hammer gun with Liege-type locks. Image (c) Igor Karklinsh

It was, however, far from the only design of hammer guns made in Tula. Until 1903, the factory acted as a bespoke maker, with the fantasy of the customer as the only limit. But even after transition to mass production, hammer guns came in at least three varieties. One, the most expensive, had a hybrid “Liege-type” lock with lockplate shaped as a bar-action gun, but the mainspring behind the hammer – so that it didn’t weaken the stock at the wrist, like the traditional back-action, and didn’t require removing metal from the action to house the locks like a bar-action. There was also a cheaper version of the bar-action gun, without engraving and with clap-on fore-end, and a cheaper yet traditional back-action gun without a top fastener.

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The cheaper version of a Tula bar-action gun. Image (c) Igor Karklinsh

According to Igor Karilinsh’s research, Tula guns didn’t have any model names until 1918. They were devised by the new Bolshevick management, as Mr. Karklinsh states, primarily for accounting purposes. It was the Bolshevick, too, who dropped all other models and kept only the “Model B” (Rus.: Модель Б).

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A traditional back-action hammer gun. Image (c) Igor Karklinsh

This is what makes any Tula double “with roosters” (i.e., made before 1917, the “roosters” refer to images of double-headed eagles stamped on the barrels) a highly desirable and collectable weapon.

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18 thoughts on “The Hammer Guns of Tula

  1. Steve says:

    Hi I’m wondering about the status On the to 54 hammer shotgun if they are nitro poof or if they are only for use with black powder

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  2. simon johns says:

    Hello Aleksei I have two Tula TOZ 66 shotguns and have enjoyed your article on them. I have seen an original Tula TOZ 66 instruction booklet and would very much like to get a photo copy. Can you help please ? Regards Simon from Scotland

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      • simon johns says:

        Hello Aleksei Thank you for the quick reply. A Russian original hard copy would be fantastic. Otherwise a nice clear PDF copy would be good. I enjoy shooting my TOZ 66 shotguns. They physically fit me very well and have lots of character. Great fun with the external hammers. Classic shotgunning at its best.

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  3. pascal Jacquemont says:

    Priviet Aleksei, my TOZ-66 is in mint condition. It’s serial number is PN21188. The wood is light “caramel” color . What kind of wood was used for standard production ? Any idea when it was produced ? Spacibo . Pascal

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      • Simon Johns says:

        Hi Aleksei Thanks for the reply. Can you send me some links to what you have found please. I have a French ? brochure on the TOZ 63 and 66 coming to me in the post. I will scan / send you a copy when it arrives.

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  4. simon johns says:

    Hi Aleksei

    I have scans of a English / French “Baikal T03-63 , TO3-66” brochure I have recently bought.

    Whats your email address please so I can send you PDF copies.

    Hope it is helpful to yourself and other Tula TOZ owners.

    Regards

    Simon

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