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300px-Bekas-12M-02 shotgun

Bekas-12M with 26" barrel

The Molot Bekas-M (Russian: "snipe") is a series of Russian pump-action shotguns manufactured by the Molot machine plant in Vyatskie Polyany, Kirov Oblast. The Bekas-M series comprises a wide variety of models, all of which share the same basic receiver and action, but differ in barrel length and choke options. Some models are sold in combination sets (with a single receiver and two barrels), some are supplied with a plastic pistol grip, and most models have a walnut stock and forearm. Its classical design and consistent quality, together with the availability of low-priced sets with two barrels, helped it to gain popularity among hunters and home-defense enthusiasts in Russia.


DevelopmentEdit

The first shotgun aimed at the civilian market, the Bekas-M (based on KS-23 design) went into production in 1997 at the Molot machine plant in Vyatskiye Polyany. It gained popularity among hunters, but was produced only in 16 gauge (which became less common in Russia during the 1990s). Molot began development on a pair of shotguns (semi-automatic and pump-action) with a unified design, chambered in the more-popular 12 gauge. Bekas-Auto and Bekas-M went into production in 1999. The Bekas-M and was produced in both 12 and 16 gauge and had some changes in its design from the original Bekas; most notably, the safety lever was replaced by a cross-bolt safety and the barrel lug was moved from the end of the tube to its center.

DesignEdit

The detachable barrel is locked in place with a dowel at the receiver and a nut at the magazine tube. The barrel and chamber are chrome-coated for increased durability and corrosion protection. The chamber is sealed by rotating the sealing wedge, which locks into the port in the shank of the barrel. Its trigger mechanism is located on a detachable mounting plate. Cartridges are fed from a tubular magazine under the barrel, and shells are ejected from the side of the receiver. The forearm is located on the magazine, and is connected to the slide frame by two action bars. A blocking lever blocks the forearm when the hammer is cocked. A cross-bolt trigger safety prevents an accidental pull of the trigger from firing the gun.

AffordabilityEdit

The popularity of the Bekas-M in Russia was partly due to its low price and the availability of combination two-barrel sets which could be bought directly from the manufacturer for the equivalent of $USD 300. In 2008, the manufacturer stopped selling guns to the public after signing an exclusive contract with the Deryabin-Arms arms dealer. This led to combination sets being sold at gun shops for as much as $USD 1100. In 2010 the contract expired; while Deryabin-Arms is going through bancrupcy, the factory resumed sales to the public directly and through retailers.

VersionsEdit

2.75-inch chamberEdit

There are two main Bekas-M models: the Bekas-12M and the Bekas-16M (the number denoting the gauge), both chambered for 2.75-inch (70 mm) shells. They come in four barrel lengths: a 535 mm cylinder-bore barrel with open sights and 680 mm, 720 mm and 750 mm barrels with three screw-in chokes (0.0 mm, 0.5 mm and 1.0 mm) and have a ventilated rib with bead sight. All shotguns have a black finish, and are equipped with a walnut stock or a plastic pistol grip; the forearm is always walnut. The first production runs had a revolver-style pistol grip with walnut cheeks, which was replaced by a more-ergonomic black plastic pistol grip. There are nine variations in each gauge, differing as follows:

Version Two-barrel set Barrel length(s) Stock Pistol grip
00 680 mm +
01 535 mm +
02 720 mm +
03 750 mm +
04 535 mm +
05 + 680 mm, 535 mm + +
06 + 720 mm, 535 mm + +
07 + 750 mm, 535 mm + +
08 + 750 mm, 680 mm + +

Packing versions are known as "RP-12M" or "RP-16M", followed by the version; for example, a 12-gauge Bekas-M with a set of 535 mm and 720 mm barrels, stock and pistol grip is called an RP-12M-06.

3-inch chamberEdit

There was also a small pilot lot of 12-gauge Bekas-M shotguns chambered for 3-inch (76 mm) shells, known as the VPO-202. In 2010, it appeared in the manufacturer's product catalogue.

Service versionEdit

A "civilian" Bekas-M with a 535 mm barrel can be converted at the factory to the Bekas-M-S "service" version for private security agencies; this version has a bolt modified to leave a mark on the shell.

AccessoriesEdit

The range of accessories for the Bekas-M is limited. The manufacturer offers neither a plastic forarm and stock nor magazine extenders, but cylinder-bore and paradox 15 cm barrel extenders are available. The owner's manual also states that the shotgun can be supplied with an unnamed telescopic sight, bag and belt upon request. An adapter for mounting a Weaver rail on top of the receiver was available, but is discontinued; however, there is an aftermarket adapter made in Tula by EST.

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