Baikal have put together a really impressive range of firearms, and the Baikal IZH 43 shotgun is no exception.
It’s a 2-barrel side by side shotgun which, as the blurb puts it, is the perfect shotgun for the ‘classic’ hunter. The IZH43 comes with different size barrels, depending on your preference, ranging from the 20 inch model (also known as the Baikal Bounty Hunter), up to a lovely long 28 inch barrel. Oh, ok, for completeness, other sizes in between are 24 and 26 inches.
Both the bores and the chamber of the Baikal are chrome plated, to prevent corrosion, and is ready threaded for choke tubes. This brings the overall weight to about 6 and a half pounds (depending on barrel length). It operates by a double locking system, which uses a Purdey’s locking latch.
The Baikal’s stock is made of walnut, which provides not only a beautiful look, but is certainly satisfying to hold.
Unlike a lot of other double barreled shotguns, the Baikal IZH-43 doesn’t have a double trigger. Instead, it only has a single trigger, which is combined with a barrel selector. Obviously, this means that you can’t fire both barrels at the same time!
As is traditional for my shotgun reports, to give you a quick idea of how it looks in reality, here’s a quick video of the IZH43, pulled from Youtube. As a bonus, you get to see the cameraman’s dirty sink as well.
The IZH 43 is one of the cheaper shotguns in the Baikal range. The lower cost is achieved partly by making the stock of slightly cheaper wood, and doing without the thick recoil bolts and recoil pad that are used in other Baikals. But even though the cost is lower, it is still of the same high quality of others, and is as durable as you would expect from a Russian shotgun company (that is to say, it’s very durable!), and is very easy to maintain.
For a new Baikal IZH 43, I would expect to pay something around the $400 mark, but if you look around a bit you could find a bit of a discount on this price.
Other models in this range that you might want to consider are the Baikal IZH43-1c, the Baikal IZH43E, the Baikal 43E-1C, the IZH43K and the IZH-43KH, all of which I hope to write briefly about in the near future.
As an aside, one interesting fact I discovered while researching this article is that the IZH 43 and the Stevens 411 are very (very!) similar shotguns. This is because Savage Arms, the company that now owns the rights to the Stevens range, built a partnership with Izhevsky Mekhanichesky Zavod to build the 411 over in Russia, at the Baikal plant. The 411 is built to Savage’s specifications but, because it rolls off the same production line, has many of the same features and quirks of Baikal shotguns.
So, if you’re looking for a traditional American shotgun, don’t be surprised if you find out it’s actually made in Russia. My advice? Go with the Baikal IZH 43 in the first place!
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