Shortly after World War II, the Soviet Union joined the sporting-arms race against the West to show they could build a Russian target gun that could defeat decadent Western firearms in the Olympics. The TsKIB SOO (“Central Research and Design Bureau of Sporting and Hunting Guns”) came up with the gun you see here. Built around an extremely strong action, with a massive monoblock that provides acres of bearing surfaces for strength, it also has the crossbolt locking design of the German Merkel (at the time being made behind the Iron Curtain, by the way). As a result of its design, it is tall and ungainly. Even though the better grades have pretty good engraving, parts of the gun are held together with large and inelegant slotted screws and the wood tends to be plain. It was clearly a Russian gun, it was not a thing of beauty, and it would never fall apart, and it won.