Baikal MP-131K shotgun (Russia)

The Baikal MP-131K pump action shotgun was  quite an unusual weapon for its time. It was designed at the Russian small arms factory ‘Izhevsk Mechanical plant’ (IMZ), and offered under its trademark name “Baikal” for domestic and export sales. It was designed in 1997 and promoted until the early 2000’s, but in fact very few guns of this type were actually produced. The design for this shotgun is based on the IZh-81K . The Baikal MP-131K was unique in that it had a dual feed, selective magazine option in an otherwise traditional pump action style gun.

This design was intended for hunting, home defense or security use. A versatile design in its utility, it offered an option to quickly select different types of ammunition from two separate magazines – one, a standard fixed tube below the barrel and the other, a detachable box under the receiver.

In hunting scenarios, it gave the shooter an instant choice, for instance, of birdshot or slugs. In a defensive or security scenario it offered a choice between buckshot and breaching slugs or less-than-lethal and lethal rounds, for example. However, the dual feed system proved to be too complex, and its box magazines too expensive to buy. As a result, sales were modest at best and this model of gun may as well have sank into the lake who’s name it bears. During the early 2000’s it was offered to the American market through the EAA company (European American Armory), as the EAA MP131K shotgun, but it is not known how many, or if any, were sold in US.

 

Baikal MP-131K pump action shotgun
Baikal MP-131K Pump Action Shotgun in basic configuration, with extended tubular magazine

 

Baikal MP-131K pump action shotgun
Baikal MP-131K pump action shotgun in ‘tactical’ configuration, with extended tube magazine, as advertised by EAA Corp in USA

 

The Baikal MP-131K shotgun is manually operated, pump action. Its primary feed unit is a traditional underbarrel tubular magazine, fixed to the gun and loaded through the opening at the bottom of the receiver. The standard capacity of the tube is 4 rounds, and optional magazine extensions can increase the tube capacity to 7 rounds.

The same opening at the bottom of the receiver also serves as a housing for a detachable box magazine of a rather unique design. Loading of the tubular magazine can be achieved only when the box magazine is removed from the gun. The box magazine is a single stack unit with a 3 round capacity. In fact, the magazine itself is located inside a plastic box-like outer shell. The inner part of the magazine can be moved up and down inside the shell via the lever on the right side of the outer magazine body. When the lever is pointed forward, the inner magazine is lowered inside its shell, and does not interfere with feeding of the gun from the integral tube magazine. Rotating the lever up to vertical position raises the inner magazine to the feed position, blocking the tubular magazine at the same time.

 

Baikal MP-131K shotgun
Baikal MP-131K shotgun with box magazines detached. Left magazine is in “off” position, right magazine is in “on” (feed) position

 

The Baikal MP131K shotgun was offered in 12 gauge or  3″ magnum chambering, and in a variety of barrel lengths, ranging from 18.5 to 26 inches. It was fitted with a wooden stock and forend. The manual safety was made in the form of a cross-bolt button, located behind the trigger.