As I already wrote, in Russia you can get a rifle license only after you’ve owned a shotgun for at least five years. A few years ago TechKrim, a gun and ammo developer from Izhevsk, figured out a way around this legislation. The law makes an exception for “Paradox” bores, that have rifling only in the last 150 mm. of the barrel or less; in addition, Lancaster’s patent “oval bore” does not have any rifling, and so is legally a smoothbore. IzhMech (Baikal) was the first to take advantage of it and offered 20-gauge shotguns with Lancaster’s oval rifling, but TechKrim went further.
Dropped by the Artemida gun shop in Moscow a couple of weeks ago, to put a couple of guns up for sale. One is a 16-gauge Izh-58, “transitional model” with a “round” receiver like on the “M” and “MA/MAE” series guns, but not yet marked “M”. These were made between 1968 and 1971. It had been an impulse purchase that proved itself a little treasure, and became my go-to gun for a number of years.
The other a 12-gauge Izh-43 that I used very little. I bought it for my Dad in 1996, but he would always put off registering it into his own name, and then when I got married and my wife became interested in hunting and shooting I gave it to her. She wasn’t overly fond of this gun, though, with its square shaped wrist and everything, and could never shoot it well enough. Don’t want these guns just sitting in the safe when they could bring a bit of pleasure to someone else, so up they go for sale.
Artemida is the place to go in Moscow if you’re interested in old, vintage and uncommon hunting guns. If you wanna see how a Purdey Beesley-patent self-opener compares to MTs-11, for example, they are likely to have both on display (unfortunately, Russian gun laws do not allow the salesperson to hand a gun over to a customer who doesn’t possess a valid purchase license). They have good connections with the Austrian and German best gun makers – just before the pandemic they had Johann Springer of Joh. Springer’s Erben with a lecture on gun auctioning and Werner Zodia to look over a few fine guns with a gunsmithing problems. And if I ever need help with an import or export permit for a hunting gun, Artemida would be the first place I go.
The mark of a good gun shop is that you get to learn something new every time you visit it. Before coming over, I surfed their website to find out what prices I could expect for the guns, and one Izh-43 up there was uncommon. Most 12-gauge guns made by IzhMech (a.k.a Baikal) in 1963-1991 have the same barrel dimensions – bore: 18.2 mm, length: 725 mm, chambers: 70 mm, chokes: half (0.5 mm) and full (1.0 mm). But that gun was different: 1988 vintage, it featured 750-mm long barrels choked IM (0.75 mm) and F (1.0) mm. Sorry, no pics – the gun was sold by the time I came there. But it goes to show there are exceptions to each rule.
I was surprised to find so many Russian hunting shotguns in the online catalogue of Holt’s Auction (silent bid). Most of them are totally unremarkable, but there were a couple of interesting pieces and also something that drew my attention. Continue reading →
Such news really ought to come with Surgeon General’s warning: “Holding one’s breath on Russian gunmakers’ promises may lead to extreme hypo-oxidation”.
Mikhail Degtyarev of the Kalashikov Magazine reports that all civilian gunmakers of Tula have been united under the same parent company and brand: “Tulskoye Oruzhie” (Rus: Тульское оружие, “Tula Weapons”). This includes TsKIB, TOZ, and the new player Levsha-T. The three Tula gunmakers will have a “co-ordinated product policy”.
I have been informed that the first production TOZ-34 over/unders since 2012 are headed to the shops. The quality is said to be OK. Priced RuR 28,990, which as of November 14, 2019, makes roughly 455 U.S. dollars. No new features: the gun comes with 70-mm chambers, 28″ barrels and fixed M and F chokes, manual extractors and walnut stock. Those who waited for longer chambers, screw-in chokes, and single trigger, are advised to keep calm and carry on waiting 🙂
A few weeks ago I received an e-mail with photographs of two MTs-7-12, which look just like an MTs-7-12 is supposed to look, except that they were marked “1”, “2”, and “Arthur Turner Sheffield” on the ribs. Continue reading →