The Questions and Answers Page.

Have a question about a hunting shotgun made in USSR/Russia?

Model identification, when it was made, how to date it, proof marks, export can I shoot steel through it, what loads to fire in is, choke dimensions, engraving, the meaning of inscriptions and markings, what gun is better, opinions and comparisons, ejectors and extractors, disassembly, fixing and gunsmithing tips, wood and finish, value, price, Tula, TOZ, Baikal, Vostok, Izhevsk, Zlatoust, Vyatskie Polyany, TsKIB (CKIB), Bekas, Saiga, Vepr, MP, MTs (MC), side-by-sides, over/unders, semiautos, single shots, what is the best and worst Russian gun ever – and anything else you’ve been wondering about.

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426 thoughts on “The Questions and Answers Page.


    I have a model 26, wonderibg on bore choke size and what shells i can use, size, type, slugs etc. I see an H stamp underneath barrels. Also a year of manufacture would be great thanks, i love this 12g.
    First letter of serial is C. Followed by 07051 i believe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Daren, the regular chokes for Izh-26 were 0.5 mm (M) in the light and 1.0 mm (F) in the left. You can use slugs (provided they’re designed for full-choked barrels), but I’m afraid steel shot is a no, unless you open the chokes. The mfg year is probably 1970



        So where can i find markings for these? Or the Proof? I have a picture but cant upload. There are diamonds on each side underneath with an H… thanks for the info, i can always get a caliper and measure i suppose. Thsnks again.


      • The factory didn’t mark chokes back then, as a rule, and they were the standard dimensions in almost 100% cases. But there were exceptions, and a previous owner could have had them opened, so yes, it’s a good idea to measure.


  2. Timmy says:

    Hi Aleksei. Yes it is an over and under. I know about if you push the trigger forward it will shoot the top barrel first. No its more like if I shoot it 10 times, one time will not shoot the top barrel.


    • Hi, Timmy, it’s hard to diagnose a malfunction from a distance. The design features a mechanical switch that connects the hammer and the sears, and an inertia block that keeps the other seat from discharge with recoil. So it’s either the switch not going all the way, or the inertia block not releasing the seat in time. If the gun has the same problem while firing the over barrel first, it’s likely the inertia block. Anyway, a good clean up of the internals ought to fix it…


  3. Peter Goddard says:

    Hi Aleksei.
    I bought my 1st Baikal o/u auto eject shotgun 4 wks ago and wonder if you can tell me how old which factory etc. above the safety is C02269, on the upper barrel is 18.2 – 8NP under a little motif – 12-73 90CKG. Rather plain breech with a circle divided into 8 segments and a design i can’t really describe but have a picture of.
    Everybody has told me the tank barrel and railway sleeper jokes but then tell me they are really well made guns. I turned the auto eject off today but failed to alter the barrel discharge order by moving the trigger forward as i’ve read can be done, maybe mine does not do that.
    Many thanks.


  4. Anders Karstroem says:

    Dear Sir,
    I own a Shotgun O/U mad in Russia. IIt is marked “MTsi2 9-01. It´s serial number I 700123. Do you know what year the gun was made? As I understand it from your articles it is a model No 9, but the person I bought it from said it was a model 109.
    What is true?
    Sincerely yours,
    Anders Karstroem, Sweden


    • Dear Anders, from what you wrote it looks like you might indeed have an MTs-9-01, made about 1970 or one or two years later. It is easy to tell MTs-9 from MTs-109 by 1) characteristic “Boss type” fore-end iron; 2) pin for mainspring in the front of the sidelock plate; 3) top fastener (109 doesn’t have any); and 4) self-opening effect (you should feel the barrel pushed open by mainsprings when you open the action of the MTs-9, but not 109). You’ve probably found my post about the best Russian hunting shotgun ever, and if you look at the images, it won’t be difficult for you to see what you’ve got. Or, you can send me the pics of your gun to morozov at huntportal dot ru The Mts-9 is a much more rare and valuable gun than MTs-109, and if that’s what you got, you are very lucky!


  5. Dave says:

    Dear Aleksei,
    I recently picked up a Baikal .410 single-shot, break-open shotgun marked “Baikal IJ-18” on the left side and “Made in USSR” on the right. The barrel is marked 410 GA 3″IM. It’s in great condition.

    When I took it out to shoot for the first time this weekend the 410 shells didn’t want to fit the chamber. I tried two different makes (Remington and Winchester), and while I could push them in there was some resistance. I could get them in, and I could close the chamber, but I didn’t fire any off… is this fit typical of Baikals?
    Thank you


    • Hi, Dave, well, the Izhevsk chamber dimensions can be on the tight end of the spectrum. But as a matter of fact this is the first time I hear of them being so tight they don’t work with quality factory shells. Don’t really know what to advise you. You say “didn’t fire any off” – was it because the gun wouldn’t go bang, or because you didn’t risk it? (fwif Izh-18 is so designed that it would not fire if the action is not safely locked).


  6. Dave says:

    Thanks Aleksei, while I didn’t risk it initially, after receiving your reply I tried the fit again and I think it’s as you said, just a little tight but otherwise ok. I’ll try it out this weekend 🙂

    I wonder if you can answer two further questions for this gun? The serial no. is K08167, can you tell me the year of manufacture? And the choke on this gun?


  7. Kevin says:

    Hi Aleksei, I have just purchased a 16g hammer gun which I believe is a 63. Would it be possible to email you some pictures?


  8. Steven Jonkman says:

    Dear Aleksei,

    A friend gave me his Baikal MU6-0: it probably will be an early ’70. I’m not sure about the chokes and if the barrels are fit for steelshot.

    The first pair of barrels mention: AP and AP (looks like an A but isn’t);
    The second pair of barrels mention: 12AC and 10AC (looks like an A but isn’t).

    Could you please tell me what chokes these are and if they are fit for steelshot.

    Thank you very much for your answer.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Steven. The chokes on the first pair are known as “Tula chokes”, it’s a sort of jug choke that’s designed for maximum spread for Skeet. On the other barrels the chokes are 1,0 mm (Full) in the under barrel and 1.2 (X-full) in the over. Naturally, neither set was designed to work with steel shot. I don’t have any personal experience shooting steel out of older Russian gun barrels, and I don’t have any reliable second-hand information on the topic. If you choose to experiment with your gun, please contact me afterwards and give me the results!


      • Steven says:

        Thanks a lot for your answer. For the pair with skeetchokes I will try low pressure steel (rottweil for example) and for the pair with the fullchokes bismuth. (Lead is nog allowed in Holland). (Baikal mu6-03)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Brandye says:

    I’m trying to find out how old my Baikal is and what gauge it is. Got it when my father passed and I know nothing about it. Has18.2 F (10) 65 MPa stamped on under side of barrel. VI then upside down y and then a K on bottom. Made in Russia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It looks like a 12-gauge, probably made between 1987 and 1994. If there are no letters in the serial no, then the first two digits are the mfg year; if there’s a letter comment and I’ll try to look up the year. Oh, and it came from the factory with a Full choke.


  10. Kent says:

    Hi can you help dating my single barrel baikal CAL12. 4 3/4 model IJ-18M made in USSR serialnumber H11168
    Thanks for yor great work:)


  11. Daniel says:

    Hi, I recently got a 12 gauge Baikal under and over from a old man selling all his hunting gear. It has a elk engraving one one side, a deer on the other and a rabbit under the trigger guard. Most of the info is worn off but has A 05545 on all 3 parts. Wondering what year may have been made and can I use steel shot?


    • Hi, Daniel, it is pre-1987, and back then steel shot was not on the agenda. To date it with more precision I need to know a bit more about the model. Does it have an auto ejector or manual extraction only?


  12. George says:

    Hi, my nephew left me a USSR 12 Gauge, side by side. It has no maker stamped I can find. However, on the trigger guard it has 03-54 stamped on it. Do you know what gun this is? It has a lot of detailed inscribing on the chrome.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Esko says:

    What is difference between MC and MTs shotguns ? Why / when are different names used ? (In forgotten weapons they had gun marked MC but Ian spoke about MTs) ?


  14. I’ve purchased what I believe is a Baikal IZH 54 as a parts gun,but not sure thats what it is. Thats the question. fixed the issue with it, now need a rear stock. anyway after going through all your post it does have 1964 and a serial of y6048 i can take pictures but they also look like the ones that Bladeswitcher put on (only no stock).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Ted, from your description it does look like you’ve got an Izh-54. Re: the stock, keep an eye on this blog or my social networks, I might make an announcement regarding this in the next few weeks.


  15. Jehangir Isran says:

    I have inherited a double hammer shotgun which looks like baikal but is extremely old. Theres nothing more than a baikal logo anf a serial number.
    If u can kindly ascertain its model and year i will really appreciate it.


  16. jason says:

    I have a Remington Spartan SPR310, which I understand is the Baikal IZH-27 12g shotgun.

    My question is: How similar to the Browning SUperPosed are the Baikal IZH-27 shotguns?

    Related to that- you previously mentioned that the Baikal IZ-12 was a predecessor to the IZH-27, and possibly better made. Was the model 27 basically like Browning moving to the Citori- for cost of manufacturing reasons?

    Thank you


    • Hi, Jason, the Izh-27 (12, 59, etc.) are very similar to Browning Superposed, but are also different enough to count as an independent model. Many parts have been considerably simplified as compared to the Browning. Re: your other question – the transition from Izh-12 to Izh-27 was influenced by many factors, including but not limited to cost-cutting, and as far as I understand was mostly dictated by marketing interests. In fact, there would be a significantly greater difference in quality between a 1974 Izh-27 and a 2014 Izh-27 than between a 1974 Izh-27 and a 1972 Izh-12.


  17. Sergiy says:

    I have a 2 baikals over under and one side by side ij 27 and ij58m both shotguns have vague lettering of ICM and MF respectively. Is this for improved cylider and modified as well as modified and full? If so which barrel is which? I cant tell by any other markings. Can i shoot slugs from these ?


    • Hi Sergiy, the letters could indeed refer to choke conscription as you think. In any case you can shoot slugs, provided the slugs are designed to work through full choke barrels, in either gun.


  18. lordbagpuss says:

    I have recently purchased a Baikal ij58 MAE serial number has a K prefix to the 5 numbers, could you advise a date?
    Also the ejector rod/spring is missing, I have searched for replacement parts with no success. Could you advise part numbers or a company that will supply parts?
    Many thanks


    • Hi, Lordbagpuss, from my resources it appears that your gun is made in either 1978 or 1983. Re: parts for your gun, unfortunately I don’t know a source of parts for these guns (yet). Izh-58MAE ejector is not the best design ever, to put it mildly, and if you can live with the gun as it is, you might be wise to leave it an extractor-only.


      • lordbagpuss says:

        Thank you Aleksei great to have an idea of age.
        I have decided to leave it as a non ejector. It’s a great project gun, I’m really enjoying customising it and the disbelief from people when they realise what it is.
        Thanks for your reply

        Liked by 1 person

      • lordbagpuss says:

        It’s a work in progress, I’ve just started refinishing the woodwork again, I wasn’t happy with my previous attempt. I’d be happy to send you some pics once it’s presentable again


  19. James Chappell says:

    Hi there, I have recently acquired baikal ij58ma in nearly unused condition and am finding it very hard to put a date on when it was made. Don’t know if it makes a difference but the lettering is in Russian and the numbers on the gun say C20629.
    Any help with this would be much appreciated

    Thanks James


  20. Dave says:


    I have an o/u 12 gauge that is Russian made. I haven’t been able to find any information on it. If possible can you please shed some light on it.

    The marking on it is: Ijevsk USSR model u-27. There’s a serial number P 09188. It’s a great gun. I’ve had it since the early 1980’s.

    Thank you for any information you can provide.



    • Hi, Dave, it appears that you have an Izh-27. This is one of the best-known Russian hunting shotguns and there is a lot of information available on it online. It was also exported as Remington Spr and Spartan by Remington 310, and the info also applies. I should however note that not all parts from post-1987 guns fit guns made before that date. Anything specific you’d like to know?

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Zach says:


    I have an old Baikal Model IJ-18, 12GA, 2 3/4”, Stamped “Made in USSR”, shotgun serial “T 13684” … According to previous owner, they were its first owner and its never been fired.

    Was just wondering the year of manufacture


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