Tula Choke- Urban Legend Version


Hello Bruce,

How about telling us more about the Russian’s Tula choke development.

Thanks

Kimball

Dear Kimball,

I don’t know the facts for sure, but I will relate to you the story as I heard it. It’s probably part urban legend and part true. Scene: Early ’60s maybe. The US Air Force skeet time is over in Scandinavia shooting in a world competition. Skeet is scheduled to become an Olympic event in 1968. The Russians are there too learning something about a game they hope will contribute to their medal count. Some of the US team members are shooting guns with Cutts compensators. After the match the Russian coach approaches one of the US team members and buys his skeet gun from him. An hour or so later the Russian returns and gives the gun back to the airman without the last foot of the barrel, which included the Cutts. They took the Cutts home with them and studied it. Again, this story may be total hooey, but this is the way I heard if from some Army Marksmanship guys and it makes good reading.

Fast forward a couple of years. The Baikal MU-8 International Skeet gun is seen in the hands of Yvegeny Petrov and Yuri Tsuranov with the now familiar “Tula” chokes. Petrov goes on to win that first IntSk Olympic gold medal in Mexico City and was 2nd or 3rd four years later at the Munich games. Tsuranov sets some world records with the gun too.

Tula is the Russian arsenal similar to our Springfield arsenal. Hence the name. Perhaps the development work was done there, but who knows. Maybe the work was done at the Russian Unitary Plant in Ishevsk where they have the huge arms factory. After Petrov did so well in Mexico and Munich, I bought one of those MU-8s and did extensive patterning with it. The Perazzi Comp I also had a vented choke somewhat similar as did Krieghoff’s 32.

The jug choke on the MU-8s was sort of like the Cutts. It was a cylinder bore into an expansion chamber and then a constriction. The constriction was larger than the bore diameter, but smaller than the expansion chamber. It was just like the Cutts in this respect. The Baikal MU-8s and 6s I saw did not have any sort of venting or recoil slots like the Cutts and Perazzi had.

In theory the Tula choke was designed to separate the fiber wad from the shot column and also to nudge the outside pellets that have been scraped flat by the sides of the bore back into the pattern. It also was intended to lengthen the shotstring, an advantage at skeet yardage with the high pellet count #9 loads. In theory, it wasn’t supposed to work properly with plastic wads, but I got better patterns out of my Perazzi Comp 1 with a jug choke using plastic wad Federals than I did using the fiberwad Federals. I do remember that both my Baikal and my Perazzi really loaded the chokes up with lead and plastic, regardless of which shell I used.

Today’s Olympic 24 gram loads are a far different load than the original 36 gram Olympic loads. I’ve really not chatted with the Army guys to see what kind of chokes handle those little loads best. I do know that Browning says that it’s backbored .740″ Citori barrels aren’t meant for the 24 gram loads. An IntSk shooting pal of mine called them to ask and that was what he said they told him. One of these days I’ll have to pattern them and find out for myself. Of course, it’s soooo much easier just to write what I hear instead of what I test for myself. I might stumble descending from this ivory tower and ruin my manicure if I actually did any real testing.

As an interesting aside, I remember chatting with Jergens Andressen of the Norwegian IntSk team in the late ’70s, early ’80s when he was over here visiting. He shot a Baikal MU-8 that the Russians had given him. Actually, at that time the Norwegian team trained with the Russian team sometimes. Jergens told me that the Russian fit him for his gun. He went to the Moscow area and they took him to a cave. They had a sheet of water running down one of the big walls the way some auto paint shops do. Under lights, they would throw a clay target across the face of this wall covered with water and have you shoot at it. They would observe by the splash whether the shot strike was high or low and adjust your stock accordingly. Seems like as good a way of doing this as any if you have extra flooded caves hanging about.

To adjust the stock, they “slabbed” it. They just sanded down the top of the comb to lower it or cut the comb off and glued on a higher one. Crude, but effective. Don’t know what they did for lateral correction. Probably thinned or thickened the comb of the stock as the Russian guns I had didn’t have any cast. Again, this is what Jergens told me they did, but I have no other verification. Like the Tula choke thing, it makes a nice story.

There you go Kimball. That’s more total hooey, rumor and innuendo about the Tula than you ever thought you’d get. If I write this stuff often enough, I might start believing it myself. One of these days, I’ll have to find out what actually happened.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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One Response to Tula Choke- Urban Legend Version

  1. wally Cruz says:

    I own an MU8 with the the Tula choke. I took it to the Gun Library at Cabela’s and they said they could not find anything on it. I googled Russian Skeet Team shotgun and found your piece.

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