Russian Hunting Shotguns

The First IzhMech Repeater.

It’s  a 3-shot semi-automatic announced as a new development of “Izhevsk gunmakers”  in 1959 (so it’s metaphorically if not technically the great-grand-daddy of MP153). It has alloy receiver with A-5-ish humpback profile and from the description it works on Browning’s long recoil principle. The prototype had replacable chokes with Cutts compensator.


What you think is tubular magazine is not – it’s just a hold for the barrel to travel over. Apparently, the two-shot mag is somehow housed in the receiver and/or the grip (sorta Cosmy-style).

I’m trying to figure out if it was an original development or, like many Russian guns, had  a prototype in a Western gun. Any ideas?

Rifles, Russian Hunting Shotguns

What’s Going on with Baikal.

This year saw numerous articles in the national gun and hunting magazines covering the Kalashnikov Group – a holding company that controls a number of Russian gunmakers and defense industry enterprises. The group, apparently, is trying hard to improve Russian gunmaking industry, and the stories about it mean to fill you with hope. This includes Izhevsk, the home town of the Baikal brand. Continue reading

Russian Hunting Shotguns

Baikal Model Identification.

Model identification of Russian hunting shotguns that were exported through official channels is usually very easy. Most guns proudly bear their model designations stamped on the action or barrel(s). Sometimes, however, it’s a tricky thing (if you need help with identifying or dating your Russian shotgun, click here and leave a comment). This is a query I recently received from a very knowlegeable Russian gun enthusiast in Pakistan:

Sir, please confirm the model
Nothing is written on it like IJ-58 or anything else😏

Pak Izh-58d

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Russian Hunting Shotguns

The rarest of rare: MP151


MP151, the first semiauto by IzhMech (Baikal), is basically the Izh-81 pump with gas piston added. Only 100 of those were made, just to see if the concept works. , The most interesting feature of MP151 is that the gas piston can be regulated for lighter or heavier loads by turning a ring near the magazine cup. Further improvement of the design resulted in MP153.



Russian Hunting Shotguns

How do I spell that?

Transcribing anything that was originally spelt in Cyrillics into Latin characters is often a problem. With Russian gun brands, there’s only one simple case: TOZ. Both TOZ (Tulski Oruzheiny Zavod, transl. Tula Gun Works) and Tula give easy and natural renderings. Not so with two other major brands: Izh or Ij?

1. Izh or Ij?

“Izh” is a contraction from Izhevks, the town where the current owner of the Baikal brand, and the producer of most guns ever sold under the brand, is located. The “zh” sound has no equivalent in the English language, but it sounds like the last sound in the French “fromage”; Russian children emit it to imitate a flight of a bug (a big bug, not a mosquito).

The correct way to transcribe it into Latin characters is “Izh”. But when Soviet guns began to be exported, the alternative spelling “Ij” was also used. Which spelling was used more often is a question for research, but offhand “Ij” seems to be the winner. So the dilemma is that “Izh” is more correct, while “Ij” may be more familiar to international audience.

2. MTs or MC?

“MTs” is an abbreviation of “Model of TsKIB SOO”, TsKIB being in turn an abbreviaion for “Tsentralnoye Konstruktorsko-Issledovatelskoye Buro Sportivno-Okhotnichiego Oruzhiya”. This translates as “Central Design and Research Bureau for Hunting and Sporting Arms”.

The first sound of the first word in Russian also hasn’t a phonetic equivalent in English – it’s exactly the same sound as when you click your tongue in disapproval. So, given the translation, it doesn’t seem a stretch to transcribe the enterprize as “CKIB”, and the guns as “MC”.

The problem here is not so much the recognizability – TsKIB guns are unknown to the majority of international gun lovers – than the natural pronounciation of MC as “Am-See”, which is very different from what it actually sounds like.

Anyway, I’ll have to make up my mind sooner or later, as to which spelling to choose, the correct or the familiar. Emotionally, I’m for the former, rationally – for the latter. Call me a nitpicker, or voice your comments on which spelling you would prefer.