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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mts111
Без рубрики, Rifles, Russian Hunting Shotguns

Auction Prices for TsKIB Guns in Europe

“How much does my gun cost?” is one of the most common question about Russian guns – especially MTs (a.k.a MC, a.k.a. MU, a.k.a. Vostok) by TsKIB, Tula. Usually, with high-end guns, the best hints on the gun’s price come from what the hammer falls on at gun auctions. But the produce of the “Soviet Purdey’s” seldom grace the halls of Holt’s, Julia’s, and other auction halls. However, as many as five MTs guns could be found in the catalogue of Joh. Springer’s Erben XXIII Classic Auction (Nov. 9, 2017, Vienna, Austria). 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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Russian Hunting Shotguns

Breda Antares vs. MTs-21.

One of the most common questions about MTs-21, which was Russia’s most popular autoloading shotgun until MP153, is whether it was an original development or a copy of an imported design. I could write at least 3,000 words about it, but let’s see if these two videos will not do the job better:

    MTs-21 takedown.
    Breda Antares takedown.
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Без рубрики, Russian Hunting Shotguns

Russian Gun Model Identification II: MTs Over/Unders.

Of all shotguns made in Russia, for hunting or clay sports, the easiest ones to answer the “What model is that?” question are the Tula TsKIB over/unders. On most markets they were sold as Vostok, but on some as Baikal (and, of course, there will always be gun dealers for whom every Russian gun is a Baikal). The model name is right on the barrel flats; you don’t even have to remove the barrels to see it – just break the gun open, look at the left side next to the upper edge of the fore-end, and there you have it! There will be the Cyrillic letters МЦ (which some transcribe as MTs, and others as MC, and some even as MU) and the number that follows them is the model number. Here, for instance, you have a MTs 6.

Mts6

MTs-6 from Raznoexport catalogue, showing where to look for model number.

The number that follows the model number after a dash is the submodel code. Knowing it, you may be able to tell Continue reading

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Без рубрики, Russian Hunting Shotguns

Interview with Rich Show, double rifle maker.

July issue of Russian Hunting Magazine printed my interview with Richard Show, a gunsmith and gunmaker from Pensylvania, U.S.A. Rich is known for his double rifles on shotgun actions, and he built 24 DRs on Russian Izh-43 action. I couldn’t fail to ask him his opinion about these guns, double rifle making in general, and what it takes to be a small-scale gunmaker in the US. This is the English text of the interview that I sent Rich for verification, along with some photographs he sent me. Thank you once again, Rich, for all the pains you took to make this interview happen. 

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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

MP151e

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.

MP151c

 

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