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Baikal MP513M .22 cal

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Toxylon:
Recently, I picked up an almost unused Baikal MP513M .22 cal, for well under one half of retail price, shipping and soft gun case included. I just had to take up on the offer, given that the model seems to have been discontinued, and the fact that there are fewer and fewer guns fitting my springer preferences (wood stock, open sights that can actually be used, .22 cal and up, 18 fpe and up) available each year.

FWIW, I would never buy a new Russian gun and finance the current regime; in this case the money went to a fellow airgunner a couple of counties over.

Grabbing the new gun for a look is a trip onto itself. Basically everything about the MP513M is different from Western springers.

One first notices the lack of weight. At a little under 3 kg (just under 6.6 lbs.), this is a featherweight magnum, even compared to the skinny plastic Gamo magnums.

The amply proportioned birchwood (!) stock is lightly stained and coated with a high-gloss finish, both untypical for springers. There is no checkering, but none feels needed, either. The quality of woodwork and wood finish is better and more precise than on Gamos or Chinese guns, maybe even a bit better than on Hatsans.

The front stock screws have not been countersunk into the wood, as usual; instead, they stand well proud of the stock surface, on large conical washers.

The pivot bolt with a large Phillips head goes straight through the receiver and breech block into a nut on the other side, with a bunch of stacked star washers on both sides providing tension.

The aluminum (!) receiver isnít blued (I donít think thatís even possible, given the material), but finished with a finely stippled, coal-black coating (not Parkerized, as that doesnít work on aluminum, either). A tapered plastic end plug of a matching color and texture sits at the back of the receiver.

The incredibly skinny .22 cal barrel (OD just 13.1 mm / 0.52Ē) is fitted into a massively long breech block. The barrel assembly has a black finish that Iím not quite sure of the type.

The comb-less birchwood stock fits me quite well, and importantly, the open sights line up automatically; this isnít an open sights gun in theory only, unlike many present-day Weihrauchs, some Gamos etc. The 350mm (13.8Ē) LOP is about 10mm shorter than my preference.

There is a thin, hard-plastic butt pad on the MP513. Shouldering the gun, the pad started immediately skidding on my T-shirted shoulder, not good. Hard, solid plastic is also a poor choice for an ultralight magnum with plenty of kick ní shake. I guess this is how Baikal has always done airgun butts, and itís certainly a cost-effective solution. A grippy, squishy, ventilated rubber replacement is needed here, though. It will also bring the needed 10mm of extra LOP.

Cocking the MP513M is different from anything Iíve used before: the moment you break the barrel, an anti-bear trap ratchet is engaged. This will stop the barrel at any point of the cocking stroke.

Bringing the barrel all the way down (a moderate effort, and a surprisingly short stroke, given the reportedly long piston stroke), loading the gun and closing the action isnít enough to make a shot. A large, vertical slit at the back of the receiver contains a spring-loaded hammer that you need to cock for the automatic safety to disengage. Things really are different in the east!

The trigger of my MP513M was adjusted by a gunsmith, according to the first owner, from the reportedly extremely heavy factory setting. Now, the trigger has a very short and light first stage, and a very light pull to break. Far better than an ultra-heavy trigger, nonetheless this needs to be dialed back for a bit more weight to fit my preferences.

When the Baikal goes off, it freaks out like a wild bronco: kicking, shaking, twanging and banging like no other gun of mine. Tell tale signs of a low mass, high-power gun of not too tight tolerances. With this gun, I learned you can even hurt your trigger finger with the dose o' dynamite if you are not careful.

More to come.

Toxylon:
The back sight is very military-like; it works, and has a wide range of adjustments, but apparently ZERO thought went into how it looks. These kinds of things you only notice when theyíre not there.

The plastic front sight tunnel is twice as long as customary. This is due to the very simple yet functional ďsandwich fitĒ of the separate front bead element, which sports a long, rectangular post.

Unlike any other budget springer I know of, the MP513M is tapped for a moderator. However, due to the extra forward length of the front sight tunnel, Western style moderators donít fit there. The tap isnít quite ĹĒ UNF, either (I donít know what it is).


Toxylon:
There is no breech seal on the breech face; it is located at the end of the compression tube, instead, like on some old BSAís. The breech seal is very small, much smaller than in any springer Iíve seen.

There is a thin, hard-plastic butt pad on the MP513. Shouldering the gun, the pad started immediately skidding on my T-shirted shoulder, not good. Hard, solid plastic is also a poor choice for an ultralight magnum with plenty of kick ní shake. I guess this is how Baikal has always done airgun butts, and itís certainly a cost-effective solution. A grippy, squishy, ventilated rubber replacement is needed here, though. It will also bring the needed 10mm of extra LOP.


Toxylon:
A large, vertical slit at the back of the receiver contains a spring-loaded hammer that you need to cock for the automatic safety to disengage. Things really are different in the east!

Toxylon:
I started breaking in the MP513.

On a new gun, I first usually do the Medina barrel seasoning procedure, or shoot tight-fitting quality pellets and pull dry patches in a pattern before cleaning the barrel any. Before I got this gun, it had cycled about 50 RWS Hobbys by the previous owner. Now it was my turn to shoot 80 Silverpoints while pulling dirty, but progressively less so, patches.

The MP513 is very easy to cock; 80 shots at a pretty fast clip while sitting down was nothing, as far as effort goes. Hard to believe this is a 30J+ magnum.

As mentioned, the MP513 barrel is extremely thin: grabbing it for cocking feels like grabbing a childís finger. As soon as the barrel is broken, an anti-beartrap mechanism is activated. It makes a mellow Ďratatataí -sound as the barrel goes down.

Somewhat hair-raisingly, there is zero sensation or sound indicating that the gun cocks: even when you reach the end of the possible barrel travel, there is no hint that the sear has engaged. Releasing some of the pressure and allowing the barrel to spring back a little, the sear catches the piston ďout of thin airĒ. HUH!

The usually tight-fitting Silverpoints go deep into the MP513 breech, with a slight snap. The pellets automatically end up deep enough for leaving some 1.5mm of the breech cone wall visible. Iíve never had a breech cone like this.

The first 100 shots emitted a strong dieseling smell from the bore. Even this smell is something bizarre: I swear it has a tinge of cheap cologne among the stench of burnt oil!

The anti-beartrap ratchet works a bit too eagerly: on a couple of shots, a slight backwards movement of the barrel by me on closing it dynamically caused the ratchet to re-engage, which meant having to re-cock the already cocked gun, as thereís apparently no way back outside of that.

The flimsy safety hammer sometimes releases (re-engages), if I initiate the trigger pull in a certain way. In a sense, this rough and ready Boreal breakbarrel needs a tender touch, due to these alien additions to a proven, foolproof concept. Complexity's a bane...

Taking the heavy-recoil, super-lively 30J Russian Magnum to the chrono yielded a surprise: the Baikal shoots at 16J / 12 fpe level!!!

I know for a fact this gun was originally sold by the local importer as a 240 m/s /  32J model, but the chrono tells me this little-used gun produces little over one half of that Ė like it was made for the British market!

Small wonder the cocking effort was so low. On the other hand, it is hilarious how much outright violence can be packed into this 12 fpe gunís shot cycle.

Getting to know this gun has been like a trip to a far-flung exotic land where no-one speaks a language you know. Now this purchase is also an immediate fixer upper. Cíest la vie.

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