As promised, I am reporting on my initial experience with my newly acquired lightly used Remington Spartan 100 Sporting "Baikal" shotgun at the trap range. I got this for $250 OTD, in box with all accoutrements at a recent gun show. I wanted to see if this type of set up suits me before spending big big bucks on a more popular single barrel trap gun. As I have mentioned in a previous post, I have been successfully shooting trap at 16 yards with a Thompson Center 12 Ga, vent rib barrel, but I get the feeling that this is a rather fragile gun compared to the ones regularly seen on the trap field.
This Russian-made "Baikal" shotgun came with a 28-inch vent-rib barrel that accepts Tru-choke screw-in choke tubes but came with 4 chokes (cylinder, improved cylinder, modified, and full) of Russian make. The unlocking lever is adjacent to the trigger guard rather than the more common placement on the top strap. One other interesting and unusual feature is a little lever at the bottom of the action which turned out to be a selection lever for either extracting or ejecting spent shells. My one modification to the gun was to remove the hardened rubber butt pad (you'll love this pad, Comrade, made for Russian shoulder) with a gel-filled Limb Saver butt pad. Ammunition was 2 3/4", 1.5 oz, #8 shot Federal target. Please note that I have not had a chance to pattern the gun, so aim was partly guess work.

Round 1: I initially screwed in the Modified choke. We lined up at our marks on the 16 yard line. Even though I have been working the action with a dummy shell for a few weeks, it took some effort to get the action closed on an actual shell. The spring made a "sproing" noise when I finally got it snapped shut. I missed my first 3 birds (normally I get at least one with the T/C, usually get 3 or 4 at each station). I chipped the fourth and vaporized the fifth. The ejector/extractor defaults to eject. The first shell ejected with another sproing from the spring. I was afraid that the empty would land in the parking lot, but it really just ended up about 10 feet behind me. The second shell landed close to the first. The third and fourth empties extracted rather than ejecting; the last at that position kind of popped half way between me and the first two. This random eject/extract continued throughout the round. Opening the action was relatively easy, closing it required holding the distal (farther from my body) end of the forend with my left hand and the proximal (nearer to my body) end of the stock while giving it a healthy snap. The sproings started lessening over time. I shot a 10 for the round.

Round 2: Changed the choke to Improved Cylinder, altered my stance and gun shouldering a bit, and started hitting a few more birds. The random eject/extract continued throughout the second round. I shot a 13. My shoulders were tired from the effort of closing the action for each shot, but it did start to get a bit easier toward the end of this second round.

Conclusions: I think that this thing has a spring that can be used to either close the action or tow a Russian tank; who says that the Russians aren't good at multitasking? I have read that some people have cut a few loops out of the spring to make things easier. If I can't get things to loosen by breaking in, I'll try that as a last resort. That being said, it's otherwise a workable shotgun. I haven't modified the stock other than to put on the Limb Saver, but was able to get a good high-shoulder mount regardless. The Remington Spartan line was only made for 2 years or so, 2006-2008, and I can see why. After Remington dropped the line, it was picked up by EAA and also can be seen on the market (like Gunbroker) as the Izhvesk (who manufacture this beast no matter who is putting their name on it) M18. I have to admit that despite the aching shoulders and a minor cut to my trigger finger, it was relatively fun to shoot in a challenging sort of way. I'll work with it for a while and alternate with my T/C. I could go back to my Smith and Wesson Model Super 1000 (ie, the first set of Howa S&Ws) semi-auto, but semis do not seem to be particularly welcome on the trap range these days. Of course things would probably improve a lot more if I actually patterned the thing. When I actually get the chance, I'll add to the report thread. In the meantime, I would welcome any other shooter comments from those who have some experience with these.