“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
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.
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.
The number that follows the model number after a dash is the submodel code. Knowing it, you may be able to tell Continue reading
In January and March issues for 2017, Russian Hunting Magazine ran Elisaveta Tselykhova’s interview with Sergei Minkov, who used to do pre-production tests of new hunting guns at a model hunting preserve ran by VNIIOZ (Research Institute for Wildlife Management and Fur Farming). Talk about a dream job for a hunter and a gun nut! Sergei handled just about every new item of a hunter’s inventory introduced in the USSR from 1978 to 1991; here I’m reprinting here the part of the interview that deals with the MTs-19 rifle.
All since mid-1990s I’ve been hearing how TsKIB’s workforce, both designers and the “hands” who actually build the guns, are dissatisfied with the management and are quitting their jobs en masse. And all the time I’ve been waiting for some of them to start their own gunmaking business. Well, looks like it finally happened!
From 1962 to 1987 Soviet citizens could not own rifles. Those who needed a rifle for work – professional trappers, reindeer herders and such – could have one issued by the organization that employed them, but the rifle would be the property of the organization. Private ownership of rifles (and handguns) was banned. Some Communists, however, were more equal than others…
TsKIB was an exclusive gunmaker at all times. It’s difficult to estimate production numbers, as they don’t release the figures for models that are still made. There were, all in all, about 4500 MTs-8, about 4000 MTs-6, and even fewer MTs-5. “Russian Purdeys” – MTs-11 and TS-2, copies of the famous Beesley patent self-opener – number about 600 and 125 respectively. The current top-of-the-line models, MTs-111 and MTs-109, were made at the rate of about 12 guns per year (since 1970-1971) and so there can’t be more than about a thousand of them, perhaps much less. Out of these figures, TsKIB’s total output can be estimated at about 25,000 guns. How many of these were exported? My guess is about 10%, and it’s likely to be on the overestimating side.