Izh-54 gold on black background relief engraving
Без рубрики, Russian Hunting Shotguns

A $10,000 Baikal? You Bet!

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.

engraving right side falcon and ducks

The gun, allegedly a gift from Brezhnev to Pompidou, is decorated with relief gold scroll and game scene on black background. Image by Rock Island Auction Co

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Russian MP-155 Shotgun in "Profi" grade.
Без рубрики, Russian Hunting Shotguns

MP-155 “Profi” Grade

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.

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Без рубрики, Russian Hunting Shotguns

“They Don’t Make’m Like That No More!” – endurance tests of Baikal MP-153 and MP-155

“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

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Baikal MP 156
Без рубрики, Russian Hunting Shotguns

MP 156 – First Baikal Inertia-Operated Semiautomatic Shotgun

I have made it a fast rule never to write about a new Russian hunting gun until I personally see it in the shop. Too many times a “new development” failed to make it to the consumer at the last moment. That’s why, even though I’ve read and heard a lot that Baikal is working on an inertia-operated semi, MP-156, I haven’t written a word about it. But starting this autumn, you can actually buy one in a Russian gun shop. Not that it would be a good idea. Continue reading

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Без рубрики, Russian Hunting Shotguns

MP-155 Gets a New Stock.

MP155newstock

The Baikal MP-155 semi-auto gets an upgrade, including a new walnut stock made on a brand-new Italian СNC machine. The new design features a thinner pistol grip and fore-end, and is said to be more ergonomically correct.

Other improvements in the updated gun include better recoil pad, new extended magazine cap, and sling swivels.

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Без рубрики, Russian Hunting Shotguns

The Drama of Perhaps the Finest Baikal Ever

I already mentioned “The Montreal Gun”, created by Leonard Vassev for the 1967 World Expo, in the post about Izhevsk’s best engraver. Thousands of people from all over the world admired this unique specimen of gunmaking art; many were able to appreciate the amount of talent and toil that went into it, but none of them knew what drama lurked behind those graceful lines – or that the gun was in fact No2 of an unvoluntarily matched pair.

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Leonard Vassev’s “Montreal Gun”, right side, “Lenin Afield”. Photo by Mikhail Krechmar.

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