Blast From the Past: Khrushchev’s Shotgun
This gun, which will be auctioned off soon, is basically a double-barreled propaganda poster for Communism
Today’s gun is a treat, an artifact of 20th century history, and it prompts a movie plug, too. (The Death of Stalin is an unlikely topic for a comedy, but it works, and features Steve Buscemi as Nikita Khrushchev). But I digress. The gun is evidence of what we already know: The worker’s paradise of the Soviet Union was more paradisiacal for some workers than it was for others. If, for instance you were the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, you had nicer guns than the average mechanic or farm hand.
This gun was made for and presented to Nikita Khrushchev in 1959, on the occasion of the beginning of the 21st session of the Communist Party. A Vostock M-11, it is patterned after a Purdey sidelock and was made at the Tula Armory, which was founded by Peter the Great in 1712. Everything from sporting guns to cannon and aircraft machine guns have been made at Tula. The armory turned out excellent, Olympic-medal-winning target guns in the ’60s as well as some very fine double guns. Tula made no other double gun quite like this one, though, which is truly one of a kind and a virtual propaganda poster in walnut, deep-relief steel engraving, and gold inlay.
The sides of the gun feature factories, silos, dams, and wheat everywhere, plus hammers and sickles on the top lever, the trigger guard, and anywhere else the engraver could fit them. The bottom of the receiver features a book which may be The Communist Manifesto and the slogan, “Proletariat of the world unite.” It does have a somewhat un-Purdeylike beavertail forend and skip-line checkering, but this gun is more about excess than good taste, so we can make allowances. Because Khrushchev was only 5-feet, 3-inches, the gun has a very short length of pull, so a new owner may have to add a thick recoil pad.
And, it’s in near mint condition. It comes with a fitted case, and it can be yours if you make the winning bid at the upcoming Extraordinary, Sporting and Collector Firearms Auction on April 24-25 of this year.
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