Shotguns > Semi-Auto

Baikal MP153 Shotgun

While it’s a little rough around the edges, the Baikal MP153 is intended for hunting and is quite serviceable at $400.

6/18/2012

You don’t need to watch television to know times are hard, and buying a shotgun might be a back-burner idea right now. Nonetheless, there are serviceable semi-automatics that may be had for a reasonable price. With a suggested retail price of $400, the Russian-made Baikal MP153 is one such gun. One might think Baikal is the name of an armory or manufacturing city in Russia, but it is actually the name of the world’s largest lake, located in southern Siberia.

Our test MP153 came in all-black with a matte-finished blued barrel and receiver: The stocks are synthetic and black as well. There is a camouflage version available for a few dollars more. The pistol grip has a narrow stippled section on each side where checkering would normally be. The fore-end is smooth throughout except for a 9/16 inch by 6½ inch area of similar stippling in the finger groove near the fore-end’s top. In test firing, these areas provided a sufficient grip, but in cold wet weather might prove slippery.

The action is very much like the familiar Remington Model 1100, although the barrel extension is a short 2 inches; most run closer to 4 inches. The receiver is steel with a reinforcing thickness of steel running rearward from the point where the barrel extension abuts it in the top of the receiver. Apparently there is not enough flex in this area to cause concern.

The bolt rests atop the dual action bars and locks up into a notch in the barrel extension exactly like the Model 1100. The bolt seems to be built like the 1100’s bolt with takedown the same, which is by driving out a small retaining pin while the firing pin is depressed, then slowly allowing the pin to back itself out of the bolt body under spring tension. At that point the locking block, which mates into the cut in the barrel extension, can be removed. The bolt carries dual extractors that grip both sides of the shell head. The ejector is riveted into the left side of the receiver, where it kicks the fired hull free at the end of the bolt’s rearward travel.

The trigger group uses a two-piece carrier similar to that of a Benelli. In order to lock the bolt to the rear for loading, a small tab projecting from the right front side of the trigger guard must be pushed rearward. In shooting the MP153, we found it difficult to push the tab to release the carrier. Alternately we used a screw-driver blade of a pocket knife, and finally determined that if a finger or thumbnail was used, the release did move, albeit stiffly. The trigger pull averaged a surprisingly light 4 pounds, 9 ounces. That said, there is a large amount of preliminary take up, and once this slack is taken out, the actual pull is very long and somewhat gritty.

Another catch was when loading the magazine. On the range we found that loading the shells into the magazine was not a smooth process. They tended to catch about the time the metal head reached half way into the magazine tube. We never determined the hang up, and it was only a momentary distraction, as with some additional pressure the round slid into the magazine. It was necessary, though, to ensure that the round was fully pushed into the magazine until the latch clicked, which is normal with any tubular-magazine firearm. In its favor, the magazine tube is either stainless steel or chrome-plated, as is the interior of the barrel, which makes cleaning the powder residue from firing quick and easy, and guards against rust and corrosion.

Also to its credit, the action-return spring is wound around the magazine tube, in much the same way as the new Beretta A400. This solves a myriad of jamming problems attributable to those shotguns whose spring is housed in a tube in the buttstock where excess lubricant and dirt collects.

Four choke tubes are included and marked improved cylinder, modified, full and extra full. They varied from the norm in constriction, as do nearly all supplied choke tubes, with the modified tube having less constriction than the improved cylinder. The extra-full, measured with a digital bore micrometer, and when compared with the cylinder bore of 0.724 inches, came out to only 0.014 inches, just shy of light modified’s 0.015 inches.

In shooting the Baikal MP 153, it seemed to handle quite well. At 7 pounds, 10 ounces, it is about average for a gas-operated semi-automatic, although in the hands it feels heavier. With the synthetic stock the weight is more forward, and that helps to keep the swing moving. Baikal recommends firing a couple of boxes of 1¼-ounce field loads before shooting target loads. Too, there is a spanner included that can be used to tweak the gas system for lighter loads and for lead 3½-inch loads that carry a much heavier payload than comparable steel cartridges.

In all, the MP153 shoots well and handles equally so. After some break-in with heavy loads it ought to shoot 1-ounce target loads with some dependability. The Baikal is intended for hunting, and although it’s a little rough around the edges, for $400 it’s quite a serviceable shotgun.

Manufacturer: Baikal, Russia, www.imzcorp.com
Importer: U.S. Sporting Goods/EAA Corp.; (321) 639-4842; www.eaacorp.com
Action type: gas-operated, semi-automatic shotgun
Gauge: 12; 3½" (also 3" and 2¾")
Trigger: single-stage; 4-lb., 9-oz. pull
Magazine: under-barrel tubular: capacity, four 3½"; five 3" or five 2¾"; plug provided to restrict magazine to two cartridges.
Barrel: 28" chrome-lined
Chokes: steel-compatible interchangeable tubes: improved cylinder, 0.006"; modified, 0.0045"; full, 0.012"; and extra full, 0.014" (constrictions based on cylinder bore of 0.724")
Sights: ventilated rib with steel front bead.
Stock: black synthetic: length of pull, 14¼"; drop at heel, 17⁄16"; drop at comb, 27⁄16",
Overall Length: 49"
Weight: 7 lbs., 10 ozs.
Metal Finish: matte blue
Accessories: owner’s manual, four choke tubes, spanner to adjust gas system and choke-tube wrench
Suggested retail price: $400

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13 Responses to Baikal MP153 Shotgun

Eddy wrote:
January 23, 2014

I own this gun and have trouble getting it to cycle anything but Remington shells. This is an issue for me as I prefer Winchester ammo. Any ideas on a fix for this?

john godzik wrote:
October 08, 2013

i got one of these back when they cost 250.00, the vendor had 2 of them and i just got the one, should have gotten both of them, for the price you can't beat the gun, as for jams or problems with 3.5 in, been hunting for years with this thing, and never once had any problems, in fact 2 years ago tracked down a camo one for 350.00 and now i have 2, sure the fit and finish isn't the best , but for what i use it for 'waterfowl hunting and turkey' you can go wrong, i'll let the other guy 1500.00 for an auto.

Roscoe wrote:
April 22, 2013

I have this gun. I bought it in March 2012. I couldn't beat the price. I mainly use it for sporting clays. The biggest load I've used in it is a 1-1/4 oz 2 2/4 round. It cycled these fine but not anything lighter. I finally got fed up with shooting expensive shells to hit clays and cut my recoil spring. I took off a half turn at a time till it would cycle the shells I use. Works great now! Like the gun, easy to take down and clean. I did make my own butt spacer because the pull length is short out of the box.

Andy Blasz wrote:
March 26, 2013

Ive owned a baikal shotgun for 4 years now and I've taken several turkeys and lots of waterfowl, it's a very smoth shooting gun and very light weight. I have never had any issue with the gun clambering 3.5 turkey or goose loads

David wrote:
January 29, 2013

I dont know if the manufacturer make some change since i bought one in 2005 but this is a great gun. I keep it clean and it never let me down, reload target load all the way to 3.5 (11/8 at 1550 FPS). Each waterfowl season he goes trough a minimum of 2 cases of 3.5 and one of target load so more than 5000 shot fired and im pretty sure he can go for 5000 more. Negative side, when brand new every pieces are super sharp due to lack of finition so you need to take care of that or eventualy you will get cut when cleaning/operating. Also after 1 year i try to change the choke, too bad he was ''weld'' in place by rust, you may need to take it out frequently to lube. I bought a SBE2 last year and i had to send it back to italy so the old rusty baikal will get some snows this spring...

Jacob wrote:
December 28, 2012

I just bought mine from a dealer on gunsamerica.com

Dustin wrote:
December 03, 2012

im liking all the reviews im seeing on this gun and also the price. but where would i buy one of these at??? thanks

spidermonkey wrote:
December 03, 2012

It is also known as Remington "Spartan" SPR453 autoloader or at least it used to be

jason wrote:
November 22, 2012

Mine jams too, but its the opposite, it jams when I use anything less than 3.5.

X-Mil wrote:
November 20, 2012

As above, I have the same model as pictured in the article. I had issues with stove pipe etc., while using 2 3/4 loads. After adjusting the gas spring, it solved the issue. I did buy the weapon second hand, and did not receive the standard accessories. I am sure that you will correct your jams by adjusting the Gas Cylinder Nut. Happy Shooting!!!

CommanderBill wrote:
November 05, 2012

I have to agree with Quad, the 3.5" jam every third round or so with total regualarity. All other rounds are jam free.

Blackyo wrote:
October 20, 2012

Hi there Quad God, I purchased one two years ago and have never had a problem cycling 3.5" BB Steel loads I use for goose. I would check with another gunsmith. cheers.

Quad God wrote:
September 05, 2012

I have the exact same gun as the article pictures,and it has worked flawlessly for me with all 2 3/4 and 3 inch shells,but it does not like the 3 1/2 inch goose loads.It will jam every time,no matter what type/brand load,or gas setting.My gunsmith could not resolve this issue either.A friend of mine has one a few years older,and his is the same way with the 3 1/2 inchers.I got a good deal on it,and I use it regularly.If you are looking for an all around auto,this is a good buy.If you want it only for 3 1/2 inch shells,this is not the gun for you.