Some people may smirk at the mention of a Baikal shotgun, but our expert reviewer Mike George rates the Russian offering as one of his top 10 guns of the past 50 years. So what's so special about it?

  1. Baikal shotguns are inexpensive BUT reliable
  2. A new over-and-under would be about £617
  3. A new side-by-side would set you back about £562
  4. They are made in the Russian city of Izhevsk in the Western Urals
  5. They probably aren’t created from melted-down battle tanks
  6. However they are built like a T34 tank
  7. In addition, the stocks probably aren’t created from recycled Trans-Silberian Railway sleepers
  8. They are tough
  9. They have great longevity
  10. You can turn the ejectors on and off a Baikal over-and-under
  11. The guns fire bottom barrel first
  12. However push the trigger forward and the top barrel will go first, for the loaded pair of shots
  13. Not many Baikal owners know about point 11 and 12 above
  14. The finish is now much better than it was back in the 1980s
  15. Multichokes are available
  16. The stocks can be a bit on the short side
  17. There’s a good selection of barrel lengths on new and second-hand examples
  18. A Baikal shotgun won’t win any beauty prizes BUT …
  19. If you lose a Baikal rifle on a hunting trip you won’t worry too much about its financial value
  20. The factory that now makes Baikal shotguns once produced extremely tough military firearms
  21. Forget a fancy stock, you buy a Baikal for the quality of its steel parts
  22. It will feel more at home on a hedgerow than at a smart driven pheasant day
  23. It will hold its own against much more expensive alternatives


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