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.
Post-modernism anticipated. Even though James Purdey pioneered the two-groove stalking rifle, and even is said to have coined the term “Express”, breech-loading double rifles by J. Purdey & Sons are extremely rare. Even fewer of them are built on the house’s trademark Beesley’s patent self-opening action – but what makes this 1898 Purdey double rifle doubly special is that it is used in combination with Jones underlever loclup.
One-two-stop, one-two-stop; as if in a Vienna waltz I go through pages of Joh. Springer’s 22nd Classic Auction catalogue, from Merkel over/unders to Art Nuveau engraving to a few British pragmatisms to possible but unlikely royal provenance, with an occasional nod to a sewing machine – click “More” and dance along! Tra-la-la-la-la!
With all due respect to the mandatory matched pairs of Purdeys, the real queens of this ball are Koersten-type over/unders. I didn’t realize – although it makes perfect sense – that many Ferlach makers built their guns on this platform.
From 1962 to 1987 Soviet citizens could not own rifles. Those who needed a rifle for work – professional trappers, reindeer herders and such – could have one issued by the organization that employed them, but the rifle would be the property of the organization. Private ownership of rifles (and handguns) was banned. Some Communists, however, were more equal than others…
Whether you’re wary of the Danai or not, gift-giving is an essential part of diplomacy. But, ever since the old story of Darius and the Scythians’ present of mouse, bird, frog and arrows, there’s been messages that miscarried – and this gun could be one of them. Continue reading
Which gun is the best is the question that hangs on your definition of ‘best’ness, and for some the best Russian hunting shotgun may well be MP153 or Ij27. Normally, however, people quote exclusiveness, high quality and original design as key criteria. If you want to put it all in a word, that would be “uncompromizing” – meaning no effort is spared to make the gun as beautiful and functional as possible, and no design is too complicated for the craftmanship of the makers. From this point of view, there’s no question that the best gun ever made in Russia is…