Behold a Baikal Izh-54, made in USSR, that in 2018 sold at the Rock Island Auction for $9,775, with the estimate of $4,000-7,000 (link). Read on to learn more not only about this particular shotgun, but also about various Izhevsk engravers, their artistic style, and a small linguistic investigation.
The farther away in the past are the best moments of your life, the stronger the memories. I can still remember my first hunt, not in details now but as an emotion. It was a youth hunt with Sverdlovsk hunting club, tutored by Irina Ermakova, a great huntress and mentor. Her worn TOZ-BM hammer side-by-side was the first gun I ever handled. I can still remember its weight, the sounds of hammers brought to full cock, and the awesome impressions of a 15 year old kid first time out in the woods, waiting for woodcock to start its mating flight.
Many years, hunts and guns later, I felt the urge to get and hunt with a hammer double again.
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. Continue reading
Sent the English digest of the Russian Hunting Magazine for 2018 this week. With every issue we choose two best stories, and run condensed English translations of them. When the year’s over, we get them together and publish in a separate issue. Of course, the stories lose a lot when cut from 1,500-2,000 words, but overall they give a pretty good impression of the hunting and hunting gun world in Russia. Here are a few snapshots of the third annual issue, for 2018. Continue reading
Many news sources worldwide reported on the state of emergency declared on the Russian archipelago Novaya Zemlya. The reason for the emergency is that there are over 50 polar bears ‘terrorizing’ the township of Belushya Guba. The animals stay near residential buildings in spite of all attempts to scare them away. The local residents are afraid to leave their homes, and some bears even began to penetrate the buildings. Rosprirodnadzor (controlling body for environment protection) did not authorize killing problem bears. Instead, they formed a commission which was to fly to the islands Tuesday and make a decision on the spot.
The information presented in English-language news sources is accurate (although slightly incomplete), and there wouldn’t be any need in my comments on the issue, if it weren’t for the reaction of the hunting community. “Time to thin the herd”. “Weren’t the polar bears supposed to die because of global warning?”, “bad government won’t let good people kill bad bears”, and comments on these lines seem to fill the hunting pages in social media. And, I have to respectfully suggest that these commenters might be jumping to conclusion without first properly informing themselves of all aspects of the issue. Continue reading
Since 2018 the Baikal MP-155 semiautomatic shotgun is available in the “Profi” grade. The difference from the standard model amounts to a) Ceracote-coated receiver, and b) hand-checkered walnut stock and fore-end. Everything else is your regular MP-155, and even the plastic-tipped fore-end, as far as I know, is now standard for all wood-stocked MP-155.
The Arms&Hunting Expo Moscow, which takes place annually in October in the Gostinny Dvor Expo Center, is, to quote Russian Hunting Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Mikhail Krechmar, a way to tell what the next year will be like for the Russian hunting and hunting gun industry. This is, of course, only partially true: like any attempted futurology, an analysis of the expo can’t account for black swans. Allowing for this, let’s see what’s going to be in store for the Russian civilian gun industry as of October 2018. Continue reading
“How much does my gun cost?” is one of the most common question about Russian guns – especially MTs (a.k.a MC, a.k.a. MU, a.k.a. Vostok) by TsKIB, Tula. Usually, with high-end guns, the best hints on the gun’s price come from what the hammer falls on at gun auctions. But the produce of the “Soviet Purdey’s” seldom grace the halls of Holt’s, Julia’s, and other auction halls. However, as many as five MTs guns could be found in the catalogue of Joh. Springer’s Erben XXIII Classic Auction (Nov. 9, 2017, Vienna, Austria). Continue reading
Yes, there were times when hunting was not only not discouraged, but actively promoted at the state level. Scroll down for English translation.
Of course, there’s a fine print. This poster from the late 1920s, is part of Stalin’s campaign agaitst private enterpeneuship (or what little of it was allowed in the USSR by New Economic Policy). Its main purpose is to encourage hunters to take their furs to state purchasing units rather than private traders. However, this ideological load doesn’t make the facts stated in the poster less real. In fact, everything except the take against private traders is perfectly true today.
“How long will my gun last?” – an important question not just for a shooter on a budget. Some brands measure estimated service life of their shotguns in thousands of shells the gun will fire. For example, Baikal MP-153 semiauto was guaranteed to last 3,000 Magnum rounds (1050 Bar service pressure), and so is its successor, MP-155. How well do the Russian autoloaders live up to these promises? In the natural course of events, the search for the answer would be long and difficult, as few hunters keep accurate records of shots fired and all hunt under different conditions. To make things faster and somewhat more scientific, some journalists and marketers run endurance tests, with thousands of rounds fired in the course of a few days.
But before I tell you how well (or badly) MP-153 and MP-155 performed at such tests (and show a couple of videos with MP-155), let me offer you something absolutely vital for correct interpetation of the results. Continue reading