"Passport" of Grandpa's gun, front and back covers
Без рубрики, Russian Hunting Shotguns

All That Remains: Identity Tag for Grandpa’s Izh-54

I long thought that document was lost, but this summer, why looking for some totally unrelated document at my parents’ place, I stumbled upon it:  the “Passport” for Grandpa’s old gun.

The “Passport” is a gun’s individual identity document, that Soviet gunmakers used to issue with each gun. It is a piece of thick, glossy paper, which, when folded over, makes four pages of roughly passport size. Currently the identity tag is included in the Owner’s Manual, but until the late 1970s the Owner’s Manual and “Passport” appeared as two different documents.

What information does it contain? Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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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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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.

Continue reading

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Без рубрики, Russian Hunting Shotguns

Russian Gun FAQ.

In preparation for my wild boar hunt, I decided to equip my old go-to Izh-58 with a red-glow sight. This allowed me to get an empirical answer to one of the most frequently asked questions about Russian hunting shotguns: is the front sight screwed in?

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And the answer is… Continue reading

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