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Thread: Review: Baikal MP-155 Autoloader Shotgun

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    Senior Moderator 12GAUGE's Avatar
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    Review: Baikal MP-155 Autoloader Shotgun

    "Baikal MP-155: The Apple That Fell Far From The Tree"



    AoA Everybody

    If you fancy driving on a long straight and calm road with beautiful countryside around you then nothing beats driving to Peshawar via motorway while listening to the song "yar ko hum ne ja baja dekha, kabhi zahir kabhi chupa dekha".

    The song's lyrics rightfully reflected our enthusiasm for acquiring the most talked about Baikal's new offering MP-155, successor to a very popular and widely respected Baikal MP-153 Autoloader Shotgun.

    One can measure our enthusiasm by knowing that throughout the journey we only discussed Baikal MP-155 and nothing else. wondering and asking each other how it would feel like and how much the quality has been improved over the previous model.



    The moment we entered Fakhr-e-Alam and Sons, almost everybody noticed something quiet similar to Baikal MP-153 in the display cabinet behind the counter. Yup! it was was Baikal MP-155 for which we drove some 200km non-stop.

    All of us rushed to the cabinet because everybody wanted to be the first the get their hands on it. I don't know why but to be honest even I wanted to be first to hold it.

    Anyways, I picked it up when my turn came (civilized bunch, don't you think?). Three things immediately came to my attention. its lightweight around 7lbs, better balanced and the finishing has truly gone south for the winter. lols!



    Anyhow, everything in that particular piece was out of spec. the rib was not straight and the trigger had too much play. not to mention that the whole thing was rattling like a bottle of pills. Among many other slips, the safety button too wasn't engaging (and disengaging) like it should. something didn't feel right but like any die-hard Baikal aficionados, we decided that we must pick one up even if it means flushing the pay-check down the toilet.

    So.....we explained our eagerness to the dealer and he gladly agreed to let us in his store where we assembled like 30 pieces or so only to get the one that had the best of everything. boy! were we surprised or what? things were seriously wrong in almost all of them. either their ribs did not run true, the barrels were not straight (literally!), faulty trigger, bolt release buttons didn't work, choke tubes were not truly centered in the bore (off center choke tubes) or there were serious manufacturing flaws that we noticed while assembling them. in one particular piece, aluminum powder was falling off from inside the receiver. upon closer look we noticed the bolt rubbing against the wall of the receiver. imagine that!

    Since we just had to buy one, we picked the one that was reasonably free from flaws. this particular piece also had the most smooth action when we racked the bolt.



    Moving on.... the grain is pretty decent in this one. wood to metal finish leaves a lot to be desired. Rubber recoil pad is soft and it seems that its made to mimic the look of Beretta's kick-off mechanism however its just rubber covered plastic housing inside a hollowed out butt. this setup isn't appealing to me as it cannot be altered to increase/decrease the length of pull if desired. plus the hollowing out of the buttstock means we cannot install adjustable comb kits on it. bummer!

    Baikal has incorporated shim system in this one that means we can alter the cast and drop to our liking. the shim goes between the receiver and butt stock. what I didn't like about this setup was that unlike other shotguns, shims stand out too much. it doesn't exactly blend in. Anyways, it gets the job done, I can learn to live with it.

    The safety button is huge. good move by Baikal but it doesn't exactly behave like it should. there is too much play in it. when it comes to buttons, I like those that sharply click in and out (or on and off) like a button should.

    The trigger on this one behaved well. there is very little trigger travel which is an improvement I'll give you that but every time I pressed the trigger the bolt or something moved inside the receiver. not necessarily a problem but I don't like unnecessary movements.



    The receiver on this 76mm (3inch) chambered shotgun is definitely shortened which is good. it improved balance and handling over its predecessor Baikal MP-153. the wooden forend extends over the receiver which may look good in pictures but in reality is nothing short of absolutely disgusting. the trigger guard is nicely shaped. plenty of room for gloved finger in there. same is the case with the cartridge release, huge button makes it easy to operate.

    The stepped-up arch type rib is clearly visible in the picture. which is also great in my humble opinion however its a big turn off the moment you see brazing joints under each and every post. this is truly sloppy metal work cause even Darra guys have learned to hide and in some cases avoid brazing work as it ruins the looks of a firearm.



    I also didn't like the forend style. curves are always welcomed but the way forend nut interacts with the forend leaves a lot to be desired in terms of durability. I used almost every ounce of energy in me to tighten the nut but still couldn't get the forend to stop rattling on this un-used gun. good news for those who like mag extenders cause its the same thread therefore MP-153's extenders should work on MP-155 as well.



    Anybody with a sharp eye can see that the barrel and rib though straight isn't finished right. plus I don't like barrels that open up at the muzzle like a blunderbuss. I guess the barrel is intentionally thinned to shed weight but the muzzle is kept the same to accommodate threads for the choke tubes. The barrel bore profile is the same as MP-153 and carries similar proof marks. not proofed for steel shot though.

    A dovetail is machined on the receiver for those who like to install optics. frankly speaking I don't know why would somebody install scopes and aiming devices on a shotgun.



    This out of focus picture clearly shows typical Baikal fashion tiny brass front bead and sloppy metal work as one can still see brazing joints under the rib.....and....whats with the tapering of the rib at the muzzle? I don't know but to me it looks like a Russian version of a bad joke. lols!

    The extended colonial arms choke tube was installed to show that the choke threads are same as Baikal MP-153. thats definitely a good news for aftermarket choke tube users as any Tru-choke type choke from Trulock or Colonial Arms will work.

    This gun however was supplied with a cylinder choke, an improved modified and a full choke. pretty odd combination of choke tubes don't you think? is this me or I am starting to get the hang of Russian humor?

    and No!... we checked them all. the whole inventory of Baikal MP-155s at Fakhr-e-Alam and Sons had the same funny three choke combination.



    Here is another look. The brazing spots look nasty!.



    Here is the Baikal MP-155 standing next to Beretta for comparison. not a fair comparison to be honest but the point here is show how a shim is supposed to blend in and not stand out by extending outside the body of the buttstock and the receiver.



    Has anyone noticed the slightly undersized trigger assembly retainer pin? usually this pin is always flushed from both sides. on Baikal MP-155 they were either too long or too short. the front pin protruding at the front of the trigger guard is the cocking indicator. it shows that the hammer is cocked.



    Another look. the picture clearly shows oversized buttstock joined with the receiver. has anyone noticed the gap between the receiver and the rib?
    Last edited by 12GAUGE; 31-01-2013 at 04:42 AM. Reason: proof reading
    "The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave."
    James Burgh, Political Disquisitions, 1774

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    Senior Moderator 12GAUGE's Avatar
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    Dual extractors just like MP-153 for positive extraction. the bolt assembly is almost identical. similar dual action bars.



    Thats a magazine cut-off switch/lever that converts Baikal MP-155 into a single shot. funny thing about this lever: of all we checked at Fakr-e-Alam, almost all had some sort of a problem. this one as well is a bit too soft for comfort. one, it doesn't positively click into place due to the extension of the forend. secondly, this thing trips on and off just on recoil and third, its only held by a screw and in my limited experience, screws on something that shakes rarely stay in its place.



    Thats a picture of a pristine action. never used and shining like a mirror. this setup of having the gas adjustment spring out of the cylinder and attached to the piston results in the advertised weight saving and a slimmer forend. Frankly speaking, I like this setup. its a lot easier to clean compared to MP-153. but.... then again... if i have decide between the ability to clean vs reliability, I'll always go for reliability.





    I don't know if this new setup over MP-153 is supposed to increase reliability or decrease it but we sure found that out. boy! what a surprise there.



    some surprises literally make you blow a gasket. specially when your hard earned money is involved. lols!



    This small little piece of spring steel holds the gas adjustment spring in its place. in a few pieces back at the shop this particular piece was either dented or broken altogether. don't know if it matters but then again, broken or dented things make me uncomfortable.





    The gun after being put through its paces. as Murphy's law says "if something can break, it will". I can't help but wonder what would happen if this thing ever breaks? I am talking about this small piece of spring steel that looks like a pistol's extractor and holds the gas adjustment spring in place.



    we brought the gun home. cleaned it up real good. lubed everything. took the gun to a range and tried it on skeet and trap. The first thing we noticed how crude the gun was in its operation.

    In over 200 cartridges of various denominations that were fired that day, the gun failed to feed and eject on all of them. it was as if we were shooting a single shot. then the bolt got stuck a few times that we had to remove the forend and yank the whole mechanism a couple of times to get everything back to normal. the ejectors grabbed the shells so hard at couple of times that we had to use a screw driver to pry the shells out.

    same was the case with the safety, either it wasn't engaging or it refused to disengage. it was nothing less than absolutely pathetic. we were not getting any love from this shotgun, that was for sure.

    couldn't get the shells into the magazine tube as well. the opening was so tight and roughly bored that it was scratching the operator's thumb and the shell's body. even the receiver opening (ejection port) was giving us a hard time as it was barely wide enough to manually throw a cartridge in and slam the bolt forward. a slightly enlarged ejection port would definitely help.

    I mean, we tried everything but could not get this monstrosity to work properly. its understandable for a new gun to not eject properly. A new action usually requires a break-in for all parts to settle in properly but this wasn't the case here. the bolt wasn't even moving after firing.

    Usually a gun that requires break-in atleast tries to eject or shows some willingness by moving the bolt back a little bit upon firing. on this one, the bolt was at times stuck so bad that we had to disassemble the whole thing to take out the fired cartridge...and....No! it wasn't the magazine cut-off lever.

    as far as reliability is concerned, the gun totally failed on us. she couldn't cycle anything from 24g skeet and trap loads to No. 8 regular hunting loads. it was an absolute disaster.

    given the performance (or lack of) of the gun we decided to skip pattern testing. whats the point? right?



    End Result:

    I guess, Baikal here focused more on looks and reducing weight than anything else. the production quality which is falling day by day really fell in this one. even today, you can find Baikal MP-153 still better finished than this newly introduced MP-155. I guess, its probably due to the maturity of the manufacturing/production process. Baikal has been producing MP-153 for over 10 years now and it has gotten to a point that even a vodka influenced worker can churn out a reasonable part.

    This gun quiet successfully proved that an apple can fall far from tree and to be honest, there are much better ways to flush your money down the drain. 54K to be precise.



    Final Thought:

    The overall upgrades compared to Baikal MP-153 do have the potential for success but we need to wait a couple of years before the design and the manufacturing process matures/settles down enough to produce consistent and dependable quality.

    when a design ages, it matures, flaws are removed, things are made better as alternate solutions are exploited. weak parts are changed with stronger parts, fragile solutions are replaced by durable solutions as field reports and feedback come in.

    Therefore Baikal MP-155 has a lot to prove before we can compare it to MP-153. even the venerated MP-153 went through quiet many changes before settling down.

    Stick with the tried and tested Baikal MP-153 for the next couple of years or wait till the big players such as EAA jump in. As history tells us that Baikal MP-153 became what it is today only after Remington and EAA came on board.

    As for this particular MP-155, its going back to the dealer for an exchange with the good old MP-153.

    Regards.
    Last edited by 12GAUGE; 31-01-2013 at 04:54 AM. Reason: proof reading
    "The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave."
    James Burgh, Political Disquisitions, 1774

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    Great review, but let me read first.

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    Member Extraordinaire Birdshooter007's Avatar
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    The rotten egg from Baikal hahahaha.

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    PakGuns Elite! Trigger_happy78's Avatar
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    A Very well written picuturized review. Hmmm, So apple can fall far from the tree. Saw and held one myself yesterday at the National traders. Better looking then Mp153, But not impressive.....
    "Guns are smart enough. We need smarter politicians"
    "The right to buy weapons is the right to be free!!!"


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    Lord of War Ch_Adnan's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    great review by our great sir

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    Senior Member Jibz's Avatar
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    I was very eagerly waiting for this shotgun and even more for 12 Gauge's review on it and am truly saddened to read that from aesthetic point of view (which is the only reason why many of my peers didnt go for it), 155 is no different than the 153. Anyways, 12 Gauge sir, a very thorough a nicely detailed review. Its always a pleasure to read you. Cheers

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    PakGuns Elite!
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    Wow what a great and nicely written unbaised review 12Gauge bro.. really loved reading every word of it.. thanks for the nice share.. so we'll stick to 153 and leave 155 alone for atleast 5 years.

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    Expert Member shahroze's Avatar
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    really nice review i was thinking of a master piece here but it did not even compete with its predecessor
    I have no faith in the 'justice' system. Perhaps my actions today,will send a stronger message to the public

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    Senior Member M.ASIF KHAN's Avatar
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    Thank you dear to flush your money down the drain. And keep all of us to keep or money to flush down .
    An honest review by an honest man .
    Always Believe in GOD............. Because......... There are some Questions in Grave That can not be Answerd by GOOGLE.

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    Member Extraordinaire s.cheema's Avatar
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    well written review
    THE ONLY EASY DAY WAS YESTERDAY

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    PakGuns Elite! Ameer's Avatar
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    great review, infact its the most awaited and desired review becoz of this hot mp155 name. thanks for letting us know the reality, it was v informative review.
    Remember the first rule of gunfighting ... have a gun.

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    Member Ashkaari's Avatar
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    Very timely written review Bro 12 gauge in my case, as im out of country now days, upon the arrival of MP-155 I already sent money back home to my friend for the MP-155 (I count myself a Baikal's lover). Tomorrow he suppose to go to take the gun for me from the same shop you picked. Just read your review and called my friend to cancel his trip to Peshawar.
    Bro you are really helping the ppl using this forum.
    Thanks again mate.

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    Member Extraordinaire s.jawad's Avatar
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    12GAUGE sir very well written and i am very glod that over forum have such an experened members like you and sir i am realy imperesd from your deateld review now i think i can't change my baikal mp153 with baikal mp155 again thanks sir for this clearefection THANKS ALOT.
    REGARDS

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    Thanks for very well written review of the much much awaited shotgun . thanks again Mr.12gauge

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    Lord of War Atif Bashir's Avatar
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    OMG what a failure and shame for Baikal MP155. we all were waiting for this gun for replacement of our MP153s. But now we understand that "Old is Gold" so we are completely satisfied with some extra weight but proven reliability. Thanks Hassan brother for your detail review and such a precious information.
    Safety and Safe firearms handling is everyone's "Responsibility".

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    Senior Member doc pistol's Avatar
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    somehow or other i never felt comfortable trusting russian stuff, and after this review i m outta russian stuff....... i d still vote for hatsan

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    Senior Moderator Denovo87's Avatar
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    Very well written review 12G bro; you just deflated the whole MP155 balloon by spending your hard earned money and precious time.
    Let me take the opportunity to thank you for saving Biakal lovers from draining their money by draining your own; thanks bro.

    Why Russians are trying to improve their products that all ready are perfect? What I understand is that after earning a good name & vast market they are now modifying their guns (Viking 446 another example) by just copying competitors blindly and ruining their well researched products.

    On a lighter note; dont accept any offers from Biakal as I am expecting them to make after this honest postmortem report
    Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.

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    Senior Member Jibz's Avatar
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    I wonder, whats going to happen to MP-155 inventory of Fakhre Alam, cause 12 Gauge has really skimmed through it and has given his review on the best piece possibly available with them.

  20. #20
    Lord of War
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    Well conceived review, this gun was on my wish list but now..................
    Last edited by arawan; 28-01-2013 at 04:29 PM.
    Dr. Awan

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