I picked this gun up at the world famous Wanenmacher’s Tulsa Arms Show last fall. AFAIK, this bi-annual show (April and October typically) is the largest gun show in North America. The Expo center building used in Tulsa is just over 11 acres inside, accomodating nearly 4,000 tables of almost anything you can imagine in the way of guns (antique, collector and modern), knives, ammunition, and accessories. If you live anywhere near to Tulsa and you haven’t been, I highly recommend you check out the next one.
Anyway, at the October one last year my buddy Kode and I both had an itch to scratch: getting a coach gun. We had been looking at the relatively new Stoeger coach guns, however we ended up finding a matching pair of these Baikals instead. They’re probably a little poorer quality than the Stoegers would have been, but this is the kind of gun we’ll be taking out on the 4 wheelers, camping/fishing trips and just all around kind of use in which we won’t mind getting these guns all sorts of dirty.
They are stamped with the U.S.S.R. markings, indicating that they were most likely made in the mid 1980′s during the Cold War. If you run across any Baikals made after the fall, these are typically poorer quality and I would not recommend you get one of those. Originally these probably had longer barrels but at some point were imported to the US and then cut down to coach size.
One great aspect of these guns is that they don’t have ejectors for spent cartridges. This means that they can be used typically in Cowboy Action competitions (unless it’s the “authentic” class which I believe requires external hammers). I have yet to get into CA, but figure once my kids get a bit older and I have “more time” (yes, laugh I know) I will be able to spend a little time at it.
Overall the gun shoots great. I haven’t patterned it on a board yet, but just from shooting it at a few squirrels and rabbits, I’ve noticed that it holds a pretty tight group for such a short barrel. On mine, the right barrel seems to shoot just a bit higher than the left but considering I don’t plan to use this gun for anything too serious I am not too concerned with it.
It will shoot 3 inchers which is nice, although shooting 3 inch mags out of it certainly will ring your bell a bit since the buttplate is basically like having solid wood. I shoot mostly 2 3/4 shells out of it, although if you were going to use a gun like this for turkey or anything larger than dove I would recommend using 3′s.