Two interesting TsKIB guns are featured by international auction houses this year. One is a good sample of Russia’s best gunmaking at a reasonable price. The other is a collector’s piece with a hell of provenance and a price tag to match. Some gun porn below.
A nice MTs-109 12-gauge, sidelock ejector with single selective trigger, Monte Carlo stock, and 750-mm (29 1/2″) barrels will feature at Joh. Springer’s Erben Classic Auction in Vienna. The model was developed in the early 1970s as a gun that would be just as handsome, but significantly cheaper to produce than the mechanical masterpiece/nightmare MTs-9. Most MTs-109 were made as presentation/gift guns, but they can dust clays and kill birds as well as any of them.
With the serial number beginning in 73, it ought to be one of the earliest samples of MTs-109 ever made. In a slightly used condition, this is a fine example of TsKIB guns from the good old days (not the new-make from the previous post), and might well be worth the 2,400 Euro starting price to someone who wants to own a bit of Soviet history that you can take out hunting or shooting now and then.
The other one… well, here’s what Field and Stream writes about it:
This gun was made for and presented to Nikita Khrushchev in 1959, on the occasion of the beginning of the 21st session of the Communist Party. A Vostock M-11, it is patterned after a Purdey sidelock and was made at the Tula Armory, which was founded by Peter the Great in 1712. Everything from sporting guns to cannon and aircraft machine guns have been made at Tula. The armory turned out excellent, Olympic-medal-winning target guns in the ’60s as well as some very fine double guns. Tula made no other double gun quite like this one, though, which is truly one of a kind and a virtual propaganda poster in walnut, deep-relief steel engraving, and gold inlay.
An attentive reader of this blog will see that the description above is not entirely free of minor errors. “Vostock” was an export brand that did not yet exist in 1959, the gun was known simply as MTs-11 (and not M-11). It was made by TsKIB SOO, which was officially unrelated to the Tula Armory (but of course traced its gunmaking ancestry to TOZ’s tradition). And so were the “Olympic-winning ” and “some very fine guns” mentioned later, although TOZ did make its share of good weapons, too. I’ll leave the “founded by Peter the Great in 1712” part rest for now, as it’s a very common statement that is not precisely untrue.
And while it’s true that this gun is unique, creating guns that were “virtual propaganda poster in walnut, deep-relief steel engraving, and gold inlay” was a norm for TsKIB and Soviet gunmaking in general. Dwight Eisenhower’s MTs-8 and “The Montreal gun” are but two examples. Also compare it with the gun that was allegedly made for Leonid Brezhnev, and ended up in the hands of his son-in-law.
Still, the “Khruschev’s Gun” is a piece of history and a unique sample of a high gunmaking art. I understand that it’s not the first time it surfaces at a gun auction in the West, but the owner tends to overestimate the added value of provenance. The online catalog of Morphy’s Extraordinary, Sporting & Collector Firearms Auction is not yet available, so I don’t know what the estimate is, but on the wake of interest to Russia it just might sell this time.
MTs-109 – Joh. Springer’s Erben
“Khruschev’s” MTs-11 – Field and Stream.
“Brezhnev’s” MTs-11 – shotguncollector.com/…10/21/русский-пёрдэ