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.
More news on what the Kalashnikov Group is up to from Evgeni Spiridonov. All right, so it is not a shotgun, but as much as I can judge, this nice light little .308 carbine deserves a second look.
This rifle is not without history. At about 1972 Leonid Brezhnev expressed the desire to own an autoloading hunting carbine for the .308 Winchester. His wish was the Soviet gunmaking industry’s command, and Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant (IzhMash), the country’s leading maker of automatic small arms (AK, SVD, SKS and a number of hunting rifles) started to design a carbine for the Secretary General – and that ended up with the Izuybr (the name means East Siberian Red Deer). Brezhnev didn’t get to hunt with this rifle – TsKIB was a little faster – and Izyubr remained for a long time as one of the “ghost models”, described in every gun book but very seldom seen afield. Personally, I haven’t seen one even in a gun shop.
Now things may be different, and the Izyubr is said to be on its track to mass production. It is gas-operated, with gas chamber above the barrel and the bolt locking by tilting – a completely civilian action, totally unrelated to the plant’s military designs. Novel features include integrated Piccatini rail. The receiver is solid, and permanently fixed to the barrel, so the scope is likely to keep zero, but you won’t be able to clean the bore from the breech. Like with any Russian weapon, you’ll have to wait until the first mass-made carbines roll out of the factory to pass any judgement, but sure looks like Izyubr deserves rifle lovers’ attention.
Images are from Eugeni’s blog, and there’s more where they came from.