Medved’ (“bear”) is a series of Russian semiautomatic hunting carbines. Unlike some later rifles, Medved is not a sporterized military action. The first generation – there were four all in all – was designed in the early 1960s and were chambered for the 9.3x54R round. They were volume produced to supply professional hunters with something more efficient than Mosin, Mauser, and other bolt-action rifles left over from WWII. All Medved series carbines were developed and made by IzhMash. Continue reading
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
“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
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
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.
It’s a 3-shot semi-automatic announced as a new development of IzhMash (later Baikal) 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?
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.