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- Last updated: 30/01/2017
Baikal make guns that are famous for their near legendary bomb proof build quality and are a firm favourite with budget conscious hunters. This Russian company has a massive conglomeration of factories called the Federal State Unitary Plant “IZHEVSKY MEKHANICHESKY ZAVOD” (FSUP “IMZ”) or IMZ for short. This started in the dark days of World War Two, making amongst other things, Degtyarev and Simonov anti-tank rifles, Nagant revolvers, PT, AT and TT pistols, and also the legendary Makarov pistol, subsequently recognized as the best pistol of its class. In total more than 5 million pistols were produced at the plant.
York Guns gave me three Baikal airguns to have a look at; their basic springer, a cool co2 pistol and a top of the range single stroke pneumatic target pistol.
The MP-512M - A Budget Priced Spring Rifle
This break barrelled spring piston rifle is fitted with an ambidextrous wooden stock and open sights. It comes complete with a metal cleaning rod for the barrel, a Russian/English instruction manual, and a spare mainspring, something unheard of in most European made air guns. The rifle is sturdily built, the stock is made of birch wood and stained a light brown colour.
The MP-512M is fitted with open sights, the front sight being housed in a plastic shroud on the end of the barrel. The rear sight is metal in construction with elevation and windage drums. Over the chronograph the .177 calibre version gave readings of 560fps with 7.9 grain pellets. That is just over 10.1ft/lbs of power. The .22 version gave 570 fps with 14.3 grain pellets. Giving it 10.4 foot pounds, both are all you need for normal airgun hunting ranges. The shot to shot consistency was good, with both calibres not varying more than 10fps. You can also fit an optical sight as there is a 120mm long sight rail attached to the top of the steel cylinder of the action. This takes standard 11mm scope mounts.
The stock is nicely finished and has a solid butt pad instead of the more normal rubber type, the auto safety catch comes on when you cock the action. The catch is very well situated right in front of the trigger blade. Once set you take the safety off by pulling the catch back towards the trigger, using your trigger finger. It cannot be re-set to safe again without breaking the barrel and re-cocking the rifle. Another safety feature the gun has is an anti-bear trap device. When the safety is off you can see a red dot at the base of the trigger, this is on both sides of the curved steel trigger blade, a plus for lefties. The trigger pull was 3.3kg, which for a basic spring rifle is ok. Testing initially at 10m with the open sights the accuracy was very good. The .177 shot a 19.8mm five shot group and when moving out to 15m for the bigger .22 it was 24.4mm for five 14.3 grain Crosman Accupells. With SMK .22 Spitfires it produced 24.2, 24.1 and a 22.1mm groups. Fitting a 4x32 magnification scope the group sizes halved to 12.9mm for the .177 and 13.9mm for the .22, both at 15m. With a retail price of £122 it really is good value for money.
The MP-654K – A Multi-Shot CO2 Powered Pistol
This CO2 powered MP-654K is based upon the Makarov pistol. Solid is a word I am forced to use again as this is the most robust CO2 pistol I have ever seen in my life.
The top slide can be pulled back to cock the hammer and there is a safety catch on the rear of the slide on the left hand side. Pushing this up locks the trigger off, as well as the top slide. Pushing it back down again and you can see a red dot, meaning the pistol is ready to fire.
The standard 12g CO2 bulb is housed in the magazine, here is where the one and only fault with the whole gun can be found - the magazine release catch. Unlike other pistols this cannot be operated by the hand which is on the gun, as the catch is buried at the very base of the grips underside, right behind the magazine. With the CO2 piercing screw on the bottom of the magazine, which has a larger steel hoop for turning the screw, this gets in the way of the hard to get at catch. Fast magazine changes are impossible with this gun. Which is just as well as each magazine is matched to each gun, even bearing the gun’s serial number on its base. Spare magazines are also impossible to get hold of. All that being said it is also the most accurate BB co2 pistol I have ever shot. The magazine holds 13 BB’s in a slot on the front face. It has a spring plunger which can be locked down to allow BB’s to be fed into the magazine via the exit hole, the plunger can then be released and the magazine put back into the gun, once of course a 12 gram CO2 bulb has be fitted. The simple screw system worked but as I mentioned before the hoop gets in the way of the magazine catch.
The grip has a chequered grip pattern on the sides and rear, the body of the gun also has a diamond grip pattern on the front face of the grip. The gun can be stripped down by pulling the trigger guard down, it pivots on a pin at the rear of the guard. The top slide can then be pulled off the action. It is not a function you really need on a CO2 pistol but it looks very realistic and very cool. It is both single or double action, and the slide can be pulled back to cock the hammer as mentioned before. Over the chronograph it produces half a foot pound of power with enough juice for around 3 magazines. It shot sub 10mm groups consistently at six yards with steel BB’s. This is a quality pistol, heavy and accurate, it would look better with brown grips to match the real Makarov and the magazine catch is fiddly but otherwise I rate this CO2 pistol very highly indeed. (As a footnote Baikal started to produce the MP-654K with brown grips in April of 2011, but York Guns haven’t received any yet, shame!)
The Baikal MP-46M Match Pistol
The finest gun here is of course the most expensive; the Baikal MP-46M match grade single shot pistol. It uses a single stroke charging system via a larger under-swinging lever.
It has multi adjustable wood grips and a multi adjustable match trigger making it possible to tailor the gun to the shooter for best fit and therefore the optimum in accuracy. It does not have a safety catch and the lever is locked into position under the cylinder with a spring loaded catch, breaking this lock allows the lever to be swung forward, via a sheet metal catch under the barrel it pulls open the breech cover, you can also hear air being sucked into the compression chamber. With the rear breech cover open this can be pulled back to cock the trigger, only when this is done can the lever be closed and the air compressed in the cylinder.
A pellet can then be loaded directly into the breech and the rear cover locked back down into position.
The trigger weight was 402 grams (14oz) on the test gun. The pad of my trigger finger sat in the perfect position on the trigger when I had adjusted the grip to fit me. It has further adjustments for pull weight, travel etc., but I left these alone as it was not affecting the pistols performance for me.
The MP-46M is the current production run of the original MP-46. The only visible and mechanical difference is the MP-46M is built with a slightly longer (½ inch or 12 mm) air compression cylinder. As all other components except chamber length and piston stroke are the same, visually the original MP-46 barrel appears to extend further beyond the air compression cylinder than the current MP-46M. The extra length of the air compression cylinder allows the 46M to have a 60fps increase in muzzle velocity over the original 46.
It has a hammer forged barrel, which in my experience make the most accurate airgun barrels. It comes with additional sight elements, both front and rear, as well as spare seals and a coated cleaning rod for a fabric patch.
Over the chronograph the 46M gave readings of 465fps with 7.9 grain match flat headed pellets. That equates to 3.8 ft/lbs. It can be dry fired for training purposes and as you would expect it is very, very accurate. I am no match pistol shooter but I was pleased with the groups I shot at 6 yards, including a 6.7mm centre to centre five shot group and when I shot single shots on five aspect targets I was close to getting five bulls eyes.
Shooting the Baikal trio has been a bit of an eye opener for me, I did expect the guns to be, shall we say, sturdy and rustic, but their performance down range was a revelation. I will buy a MP-654 when they get the brown gripped models in and the MP-512M will get a recommendation from me to any new shooter asking me what to buy for a cheap entry level spring gun. As for the super accurate MP-46M, it was a bit wasted on me. Match shooters on a budget however should give one a good coat of looking at.
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kneeque13 Jul 2020 at 08:33 PM
There was a story some years ago about the Baikal MP654K being capable of being re-converted into a 9mm pistol. It was in the Sunday Post, and I took the paper to the Press Complaints Commission over that article, as their lady reporter had not bothered checking the facts and, in true tabloid style, had not let the facts get in the way of a good story. The story was headlined, "Killer Guns On Sale In Scotland" and was full of misinformations and pure lies. In fact the MP654K, which is made in the same factory as the Makarov 9mm pistol, from parts of that gun, is heavily distressed so that it cannot be re-converted. I do believe that some people outwith the UK have tried fitting original Makarov parts to the gun, but this has usually resulted in the gun exploding and injuring the person who did the attempted reconversion, and I feel no sorrow for them ! The Editor of the Sunday Post made a public apology in the paper for his erroneous article.
Ian Walker-MacIntosh18 Nov 2017 at 04:39 PM
I have heard that the MP-654K Pistol was banned for use in the USA because there were instructions on the Internet to show how to turn one of these Pistols into a ‘REAL’ gun.
John22 Jun 2017 at 07:39 PM
Hallo, i was wondering if you could tell me if the Baikal MP46M air pistol is available with a left handed stock, as i am interested in buying one.
john baldwin24 Aug 2016 at 02:32 PM
If anyone's still interested after all this time, I live in London, U.K. and there are many air-gun dealers stocking the Baikal mp-654k here, strangely banned in the U.S.
It is a great pistol, the 5th generation being the best incarnation, which is a p.m. version ( slimmer grip & thinner magazine) Slide made of heavier cast metal machined on the inside. It has the brown bakelite grips with the red star on. If you can find one of these secondhand it is VERY collectible and the best of all the models many believe. Apart from the p.m. width(as opposed to all the others being ppm) the serial number would have T12 or 13 and the next numbers would be a series of 500's I.e. 501,502, 503, 504 etc. My pistol is T12509335 AND would always be followed by a H, T12509335 H, also, the ejecta oval has a smaller slot leading off towards the rear of the slide. After this generation, the next models reverted to pmm grips with black plastic and lighter un- milled slides. If you want a new pistol,www.rusmilitary.com will export to the U.S. & are very reliable I understand, with every one getting to you over there. Bank round 4.5 lead b.b. are the best for these guns, but I recommend you don't put all 13 in, as the spring is very strong and can squash the b.b.s a bit in some case's causing jams. I hope this helps any fans of the mp-654k, which I believe to be the perfect replica firearm, it shoots great, got the weight, slide racks, field strips( wear leather gloves for this as some springs are off the firearm, extremely stiff & fingers can get damaged) AND, if you can lay your hands on a Gen 5, will not be able to tell the difference from the Russian Army Service Pistol! I have a nice brass 'hammer& sickle' buckle belt with an original leather holster, lanyard that clip to the pistols grip which is great for Military collectors (& fun) seller: eastern front on eBay.
Nickel one next, I think!
All the best to my American brothers across the pond.
Dave Garland, London U.K.
Dave Garland17 Jun 2016 at 05:20 AM
We don't sell anything here at Gun Mart, we test and review them.
I'm not sure if these airguns are imported into the States. let us know if you manage to get hold of one.
Troll Hunter18 May 2016 at 08:46 AM
Hello i was wondering if you ship to the united States
Joel18 May 2016 at 04:05 AM
The MP-654K – a multi-shot CO2 powered pistol.
You say the pistol was solid and well made.
Most BB guns are from melted scrap metal to a BB design.
Your test gun is a REAL GUN!! No joke. Gun quality metal.
They mill the block away and plug the barrel and fit the BB
insides inside. In fact a real 'clip' will fit the gun.
Now you know why it felt so good ! I've got one.
DaveLaw12 Apr 2014 at 12:23 AM
I'm afraid Gun Mart and Shooting Sports magazines review airguns, firearms etc, we do not sell or export them.
Troll Hunter02 Oct 2012 at 07:30 PM
Do you support to ship pistol to China?
Li Bo02 Oct 2012 at 06:18 PM
The writer seems to think that the 46M is a single purpose pistol. Far from it! Mine is used mostly for bench shooting with a 2.5 X scope. This allows me to do head shots on 2in. high plastic soldiers @ 60ft. and beyond. It is the MOST accurate gun out of twelve I own. Love it!
Rolf Schelling07 Jul 2012 at 02:34 PM
Thanks for that Steve.It looks a nice gun though I do prefer pellets rather than BB`s.
Simon15 May 2012 at 08:27 PM
Hi Simon. Not tried one myself yet, but on replicaairguns.com, the tester says that accuracy was poor with the lead balls. The video is worth watching & this is a good site.
Steve11 May 2012 at 06:58 PM
I've been thinking about buying the MP-654K for some time. I read somewhere that Gamo lead balls shoot well in this pistol. Can anyone vouch for this?
Simon27 Apr 2012 at 10:49 PM