On Target Baikal
PUBLISHED: 10:08 14 November 2012
Sometimes it's difficult to explain why a particular object attracts the eye. This was the case with the Baikal MP46M pistol.
My eye was first drawn to this little beauty at the Redhill Gala where Solware bought a selection of pistols for all to view with the option to purchase if any of us wanted to. Was it its matte black finish or its rustic wooden grips that made me want to pick it up? Actually, I was just bemused by the complex look of the underlever and the manner in which it swept below the open trigger mechanism. To see a target gun that doesn’t need CO2, a diver’s bottle or stirrup pump to charge it means a saving on the pocket and this single-stroke pneumatic Baikal is self-contained when it comes to recharging.
So I picked the Baikal up to take a quick look and a couple of weeks later - after a kind invitation from Carl the managing director of Solware - found myself sitting in their 10m range giving it a fair test.
The Baikal has a fully adjustable anatomical wooden grip, so it’s easy to adapt to suit any size of hand. As I lifted the pistol to take aim, the balance felt perfect.
I always like to get a ‘feel’ for a pistol before I load it and I do this by picking it up and holding it on aim. This enables me to get the grip correct and look through the sights. At you get a good idea if the pistol is going to suit your style of shooting, hence my comment on the balance of the Baikal.
The iron, or open sights at the rear are adjustable for elevation and windage and I like the fact that there is a screw to adjust the elevation and a nut for the windage. This makes them simple and effective to use, with clear symbols. They are very user-friendly and easy to set up from the off, even for the inexperienced shooter.
The trigger mechanism is also adjustable and can be altered for position, travel length, pull weight and overtravel. The two-stage unit was smooth and I found the model I tried was perfect at the factory settings.
I said earlier that the trigger was open and anteriorly it is - however, below is a single underlying plate which with the underlever, cleverly encases the mechanism. This gives the Baikal an individual and unique appearance. It may be worth noting that this may not appeal to everyone’s taste, but it appealed to me.
Loading could not be easier because the underlever automatically throws up the barrel breech once it has been fully extended. When the lever is returned and the pellet inserted, a simple pressing down of the breech cover and the pistol is ready to fire. The resulting recoilless and smooth discharging of the pellet with supreme accuracy - from the pistol not me - leaves the shooter wanting to add another great buy to his or her collection.
A lot of Russian-made items feel agricultural and heavy, but Baikal have got this pistol just right with even the graphics looking neat, almost elegant, with white lettering on the matte black finish.
The Baikal comes in 4.5mm calibre – perfect for target shooting - with a barrel length of 280mm and a surprising 1.3kg total weight. I say ‘surprising’ because the balance of the pistol belies its hefty weight and this is a credit to the engineers of this target piece. It has a pellet velocity of 140 m/s and overall dimensions 420 x 200 x 50mm.
A set of accessories come with the pistol and include a screwdriver, punch, cleaning rod, piston cup, ‘O’ ring, rear notched sight blade, front sight and instruction manual. All these extras are quite the norm for Baikals, not because they need constant attention, but because Russia is a vast land and finding a gunsmith to replace an ‘O’ ring can be difficult.
The cost? Well, I think this pistol is set at a very competitive RRP of £480 and you get a lot for your money, remember no CO2, diver’s bottle or stirrup pump are required.
To conclude, I will use the words at the end of Boney M’s hit single Rasputin, ‘Oh, those Russians!’ One just needs to add a few extra words ‘Oh, those Russians have hit the nail on the head’, and have produced, in my opinion, a fantastic piece of kit.