I took today off and went up to Cabela’s to do some gun trading. I got decent prices on a couple guns, but their offer of $200 for a 1944 Underwood M-1 Carbine was ridiculously low. I therefore traded in my Stoeger Uplander 20 gauge SxS shotgun and Springfield M1911 that I haven’t shot much in years, and came home with a Baikal MP310 over/under 12 gauge shotgun.
I’ve been looking at the Baikals for awhile, since unlike most of the sub-$1000 over/unders, the Baikal has a reputation for being reliable. My guess is that they are the most common sporting guns in Russia. For example, I watched Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (which I highly recommend, BTW) yesterday, and in one scene there is a group of Russians and most if not all have some kind of Baikal over/under.
Since my expected use is a few rounds of sporting clays each year, along with some bird and small game hunting, it should serve me well. If I was going to be running thousands of rounds through the gun like serious clays or trap shooters, I’d drop the coin on a Berretta or Browning.
The Baikal is imported by European American Armory/US Sporting Guns and is made by Izhmash in Russia. They were also imported for a few years by Remington in their Spartan lineup.
The right side of the butt on this specimen has some nice looking grain.
As you can see, it’s also fitted with sling swivels unlike most Western guns. They are for a 3/4” wide carry strap.
The MP310 has a single-selective, mechanically resetting trigger, selectable ejectors/extractors, automatic safety, and comes with three choke tubes for improved cylinder, modified, and full. Compared with most other modern made shotguns that I’ve handled the length of pull is a bit short, which for me is good. At 5’6”, most modern sporting guns have stocks that are a bit too long for me. The Russian guns with shorter stocks fit me better.
As with a lot of other Russian made firearms that I’ve seen, fit and finish is a bit crude. This shotgun is sold as a hunting gun at a moderate price, so it’ll be no big deal if it gets scratched.
The one thing that may need some work is loosening up the action. It’s very tight to open or close. I did remove the butt stock and hose out the action with PB Blaster, then relube with some FP-10, which helped a bit. I’m hoping that a round or two of sporting clays will loosen it up. If not, I found some info on tuning the action.
I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to shoot the Baikal, but I’ll post a report afterwards.