What did our readers suggest?

We recently had a query from a reader, Tomasz Dojnikowski,  who asked: ” Hi guys. I’m looking to buy my first shotgun but do not have a big budget. I’m looking at second-hand Baikal 12g 27E-1C. Are these any good as first shotguns? Not much experience with it. Been using an air rifle for some time.”

So we asked our Facebook readers what they thought. Should Tomasz’s first gun be a second-hand Baikal? What did they recommend? (For more information on buying your first shotgun, read our special section here.)

Here’s what Shooting UK readers said

Rob Eaton They sure would be a good choice if you don’t mind simplicity. But go for an over-and-under with a single trigger as it’s far better and less complicated to learn. They also produce less recoil from cheaper cartridges than a side-by-side. But beware of the low comb on most Baikals if you are of an average or small build as it causes all sorts of problems. However it’s easy to fit a rubber saddle comb raiser to the gun with insulation tape. Again it won’t be so pretty but it will work very well indeed.

Carl Tomblin Excellent guns….so reliable…have old sxs 37 yrs…shot few hundred thousand thro it..o/u bit short in stock for me…just make sure it fits tho or wasting your money

Dave Lune Valley Pendlebury I still have mine which was given to me as my first gun and it was the first gun of the guy who gave it to me. Completely bombproof and still in use!

James Roe Nothing to do with the gun all about the fit. I think side-by-sides are lovely to see but don’t offer the performance

Ronan Baggott Baikal are reliable and sturdy, I have one for 18 years and I have but some shots through it, between rough shooting and clays and it has never let me down once. An ideal starter gun in my opinion

Dennis Humm Difficult to answer. I think you would need to know a lot more. What will you shoot? Does it fit etc. I’ve owned Baikals both sxs and o/u personally can’t fault them. I also used to use their cartridges but that’s another story

Carl Tomblin Dennis Humm ..after using their cartridges ..have you still got any fillings

Carl Tomblin To be honest….due to their price I think Baikal guns introduced a lot of people into shooting

Sean Mee So long as it fits. It’s not fancy, but it is sturdy and will take a lot of abuse in heavy cover without worrying about scratches.

Alex Duggan A sbs (side-by-side) Baikal is a fantastic low budget gun, don’t go for an o/u as you always look the part with a sbs

Peter Cuthbert I’v had a s/s ((side-by-side) Baikal for nearly 50yrs ! Brilliant gun, slightly heavy ! I’ve had numerous shotguns over 70yrs ! I find the Baikal very hard hitting !!

Ryan Mack About as reliable as a railway sleeper with the same refinement and elegance. A lot nicer guns to be had for the same money. Lesser known English boxlocks and Spanish guns, the AYA Yeoman to name but one.

Cyril Jeffery Will outlive the owner !

Baron Von Klinkerhoffen Baikals are bomb proof.

Sporting Gun editor Matthew Clarke remembers his first gun fondly, a Baikal single-barrel 12-bore. He says: “It never let me down.”