baikal mp-156 inertia operated shotgun
gunmaking, Russian Hunting Shotguns

MP-156: Improvements and Features

Good news: MP-156, Baikal’s first inertia autoloader, is not as bad as my previous post made it sound. IzhMech responded to the customer complaints, and improved their guns significantly. The quality is still a lottery. But, while in the first lots the share of lemons was as high as 50%, today at least 9 out of 10 guns perform well out of the box. Not yet in the Benelli league, admittedly, but that at least makes it worthwhile to say something about MP-156 design.

Most inertia operated shotguns have the inertia module, with the spring that is compressed when the gun recoils, and expands to cycle the bolt, inside the bolt. This is the optimal solution, as it makes the gun more simple, compact and light – and, apparently, more reliable too. With MP-156, however, Baikal took a different route.

If you look at MP-155 and MP-156 parts lying next to each other, you may have a problem telling which is which. Because Baikal placed the inertia module right where the MP-155 has the gas piston! The logic was to simplify the production. With this approach, IzhMech can use not only the same receiver, stock, trigger assembly and barrels, but also the same bolt, and the same action links, to make both the inertia MP-156 and the gas-operated MP-155.

MP-156 inertia operated autoloading shotgun by Baikal

The inertia module in MP-156 is where gas autos have gas pistons. Photo by the Kalashnikov Magazine

Needless to say, it doesn’t deliver the main advantages of an inertia gun: less weight, fewer parts, and better balance. There’s no free lunch in Newtonian mechanics, and the inertia spring now has to do extra work moving the additional mass of the action link and the inertia module body, with more losses on friction, bending in the action links, and more. The links may drag on other parts of the gun, leading to jams, too.

If I know anything about firearms, this design will never be as  light, simple, and reliable as a conventional inertia-operated shotgun, all other things being equal. On the other hand, there are quite a few Russian gunners who are quite satisfied with their MP-156. I don’t think I’ll ever get one (in fact, last year I was offered an MP-156 for free, and declined the offer, as politely as I could). But you’re free to do with your money what you wish.

Photos (c) the Kalashnikov Magazine.

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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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