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Tuning a Baikal Bounty Hunter II for Cowboy Action Shooting
by Roy Seifert

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Disclaimer:  This article is for entertainment only and is not to be used in lieu of a qualified gunsmith.  Please defer all firearms work to a qualified gunsmith.  Any loads mentioned in this article are my loads for my guns and have been carefully worked up using established guidelines and special tools.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for use of these loads, or use or misuse of this article.  Please note that I am not a professional gunsmith, just a shooting enthusiast and hobbyist, as well as a tinkerer.  This article explains work that I performed to my guns without the assistance of a qualified gunsmith.  Some procedures described in this article require special tools and cannot/should not be performed without them.

Warning:  Disassembling and tinkering with your firearm may void the warranty.  I claim no responsibility for use or misuse of this article.  Again, this article is for entertainment purposes only!

Tools and firearms are the trademark/service mark or registered trademark of their respective manufacturers.


These instructions came from a number of cowboy shooters including Blackhills Blackie, Eight Bits (me), Calaveras and Jess Money; my thanks to them for their work and willingness to share.  My comments are in red.  This is a rewrite of my original article; but this time I have included photos and a schematic with parts list.  Since I took the photos after I completed the work the springs in the photos are not the original springs.  Much of what is written here came from two sources on the Internet:

Introduction by Jess Money
Before you even attempt to work on the internals of this firearm, imagine this shotgun as two separate guns having one butt stock and one fore end; because that's basically what you're getting ready to find.

There is a left side and there is a right side and even though in appearance the hammers, sears, cocking rods and cocking cams look alike, they each fit one side of the receiver only.  The exception could be the cams themselves, especially if someone has modified them previously.  Even more reason to put them back on the side they came from.

First off, set up your work area for a "receiver left side” component section and the same for a "receiver right side" component section.  This is a good idea if you're taking the receiver apart for the first time or the umpteenth time.  The parts look almost identical and you want to put parts back in the same way they came out.  Keep your work area clean.  It will become cluttered soon enough so anything unnecessary will be in your way.  Put your soft drink or coffee in a separate area.  You don't want to spill liquid here.

(I clean the plastic containers Chinese soup and foods come in and use them for gun parts when working on guns.  Or you can purchase some plastic containers with lids from the grocery store.)

The Tuning Process by Blackhills Blackie


1)     The first thing you need to do is remove the barrels, stocks, and trigger guard.  Take off the butt pad.  There is a hole in the rear of the stock and a screw at the bottom of that hole.  This screw holds the stock in place.  Remove it and pull the stock free from the receiver.

2)     To remove the trigger guard, remove the trigger guard screw located at the rear of the trigger guard.  Rotate the trigger guard counter clockwise until it comes off. 


3)     Remove the screw that holds the threaded connector (stock mount “T”) and remove the threaded connector.  (This threaded connector only goes on one way.  I put the screw back in the hole to help me remember the correct orientation.)


4)     Next remove the screw at the bottom of the receiver that holds the bottom plate in place.  This can be tight, so use a well fitting screw driver.  (I placed the received in a padded vice and had to use an impact driver to remove the screw the first time.  The second time I removed the screw I used a socket wrench.)  Lift the bottom plate loose from the receiver.  You may have to gently pry this part away from the receiver.  (Be careful not to lose the sear springs.)


5)     There is a pin that passes through the sears from one side of the receiver to the other.  Tap this out with a punch and hammer.  Remove the sears and the two sear springs. 


6)     There is another pin that holds the hammers in the same fashion.  This needs to be removed so the hammers can be taken out.  (Do not touch the rebound springs embedded in the hammers!  Pay attention to which hammer is left and which is right.  I marked mine as you can see in the above photo.)

7)     On the front of the receiver, there are two cams that do the cocking when you open the action.  These are held in place by another cross pin.  Remove this pin and the cams. 


8)     After this is done, you can remove the hammer spring assemblies by pulling them out through the holes in the front of the receiver.  (Pay attention to the orientation of each assembly and note which is left and which is right.)


9)     To change the springs, you will need to compress them while you tap out the pin that holds the cap onto the end of the spring shaft.  Wrap a rag around them so they don't go flying.  I sacrificed a kitchen fork to use as a tool to compress the springs.  (don't tell my wife)  (I didn’t plan on saving the springs so I used a Dremel tool with a cutoff wheel and cut through them.  This made removing the pin much easier.)


10) (Use stock Ruger Vaquero hammer springs and see if the barrels stay open.  If not cut 1/2 coil at a time until they will stay open.  This is a trial and error process.)  They may look a little wobbly, but stuff them into the cleaned out/polished bores.  (To make reassembly easier, I ran a 1/16” drill bit through the holes in the rod and end cap, just to ream out the burrs.  The pin slid back in with only finger pressure.)


11) To change the release lever spring, remove the lever by tapping the pin out that holds the little block inside the receiver that the lever actuates.  (The automatic safety connecting rod should now fall out.  Leave it out if you want to disable the automatic safety.)  I used a hammer spring (main spring) from a 1911 semi auto that was cut to the same length as the Baikal spring.  Smooth the cut end with a file

(If the release lever won’t function with the 1911 spring, proceed as follows:)

a)     Remove the locking lever screw from the top of the lever.


b)     Use a punch to drive out the locking bolt lever, then remove the locking lever. 


c)     Remove the safety mechanism by removing the two pins, one in the receiver, and one through the thumb piece.  Be careful not to lose the detent ball and spring. 


d)     Remove the locking bar. 


e)     Polish the top, bottom, and sides of the locking bar, and its groove in the receiver.  Be sure it slides freely in the groove. 


f)       Polish the locking bolt lever and its bore in the receiver.  It should rotate freely. 

g)     Remove burrs and polish the bottom, and round front of the release lever.  It should rotate freely. 


h)     The cam of the locking bar lever rides in a cut in the locking bar.  All mating surfaces need to be polished and any burrs removed.  This was why mine wouldn’t work with the 1911 spring. 

i)        Reassemble the locking bar, safety mechanism, locking bar lever, locking lever and screw.  The head of the release lever screw is milled at an angle to match the angle of the release lever.  Tighten the screw until the head is flush with the top of the release lever.  Tightening the screw will press the release lever onto the locking bolt lever.  Do NOT over-tighten this screw or the release lever will bind against the receiver.


12) Now would be the time to remove the safety connecting rod if you want to disable the automatic safety.  The safety will still function but it has to be activated manually.  This part should have fallen out when performing the prior step.

13) While the gun is apart, you should take the opportunity to sand and polish all internal parts until they all move freely.  If you skip this step, you could have parts that stick because of the lighter springs.  I used 600 grit emery cloth and oil.  It does a nice job and doesn't remove much metal. 

After all this is done, you won't believe the difference in the gun.  It will open easily, stay open for faster reloads, and have a lighter trigger pull.  Take your time and try not to get frustrated.  It took me several times disassembling and reassembling my gun to get it the way I wanted it.  What I have listed here is the result of this.  Let me know if there is anything else I can do. 

Blackhills Blackie

1.      The safety can be converted so it is a manual safety instead of an automatic safety.  It will still work, but only when you put it on "safe" intentionally.  When you take it apart, you will see a lever that actuates the safety when you open the action.  You can remove this lever and the safety will come on when you put it on, and stay off when you switch it off like your rifle. 

2.      The stock springs cause the barrels to want to close part way when you open it up.  Pushing to the left on the lever keeps it open.  After you replace the springs with the lighter ones, you won't have to do this. 

3.      You're right about the gun being dirty inside.  Mine was.  Besides grease, there was saw dust and other stuff in there.  (The ones I’ve worked on were clean.  Better quality control?)

4.      Brownell's sells a mercury-filled tube that you can install in the stock.  It is supposed to reduce recoil significantly.  I haven't tried one, but I'm planning on getting one.  My wife is going to start shooting the cowboy matches with me and I don't want her to have to deal with the kick of this thing the way it is. 

5.      As for light recoil shells, Winchester makes a light recoil 12 gauge shell.  They are called "Low Recoil, Low Noise Target Load".  The part number on the box is AA12FL8.  They are commonly called "Feather Lights", but I didn't think this is their actual name.  Cheaper Than Dirt seems to have the best price on these. 

6.      The chambers on my gun didn't really need honing.  The shells dropped out the first time I used it.  But I did polish them a little.  I took a bore mop and rubbed some automotive polishing compound on it, chucked it up in a drill, and ran it in and out of the chambers for a while.  I just can't leave things alone.  I also use silicone spay lubricant in the chambers before each shoot.  The shells fall out. 

Comments from Calaveras
Now here are some things I ran into.  First, the stock retaining screw was seriously tight.  It's slotted, so I found a long-shank screwdriver that fit that had a hex at the top of the shank (snap on).  I put the stock in a vice padded well and pushed hard while turning the wrench.  It broke loose.  I believe the wood had swelled and had that screw at about 100 lbs of torque.  If this hadn't worked I was prepared to rig up a hand impact driver that I could hit with a hammer. 

I had no problem driving the pins out for the cocking cams, triggers and sears.  Observe closely, the way they came apart, mark them if you have to.  When I was reassembling, I had to refer to the manual that came with it a couple of times.  I had the barrel upside down that the stock retaining screw goes into and couldn't get the stock to go on all the way. 

I used 600 grit emery cloth and oil and slicked up the sides of the hammers, sears, triggers and the cam that the release lever uses to move the locks.  I cleaned and inspected as I went.  The 1911 hammer spring worked neat.  What I did was take the pin from the cam and just took the stock spring out and cut the same length of the 1911 spring.  I have enough spring left over to do about two more levers.  There is no need to remove the lever or anything. 

The cocking springs are the reason, the foul thing wouldn't open far enough.  You can hold them in a vice and either vice grip or use a fork to compress the springs.  The pin pushes out with a nail.  I didn't even have to drive it.  When you get the vaquero springs, cut them 1/4 longer (2 1/2“ in length) than the Baikal springs.  I then took needle nose pliers and bent the end coil to the next one and closed the diameter a bit to keep it close to the shaft at the hammer end and filed it flat.  I found that the vaquero springs are easy to put together and pin the caps.  I used a kitchen fork and no problem.  I got a little excited when I put the setup in the bore; it felt like it was going to be too big.  Not so, once I got it seated it was fine.  Make sure you have left and right in the proper side. 

I went ahead and polished the receiver at the cocking spring where the barrel hinges.  I don't know if I needed to, but it was rough, so I went ahead and did it. 

Now for my barrels, I removed the screw that retains the extractor and found that I could not even pull it out with my fingers.  I inspected it and found the guide pin bent and I straightened it, but it was still seriously tight.  I polished the pins a lot until I could slide the extractor in and out with ease.  I also polished up the sharp edges on the extractor, not wanting to cut myself in the heat of battle, trying to reload quickly. 

I didn't polish the chambers, as shells didn't stick in my SxS before and I figured I could always do it later.  Once I had the receiver all back together and figured out why the stock wouldn't slip all the way on.  I sanded the stock on the top to give the lever plenty of room and on the sides coming from the receiver to just smooth it up a bit.  I went and sanded the whole thing and wiped on some Watco special walnut stain I had around and it looks great.  I put the screw back in the stock, careful to make it not too tight and the end piece. 

Then to try it.  What a dream; opened easy, fell open all the way with plenty of clearance for reloading and locked up tight.  Smooth, feels like a Browning.  Took it out back and shot a few.  SOLD, it is a great gun, Russian commies or not and every bit as nice as I could hope for.  Now if you decide to tackle it, I will be able to help you, so long as my memory holds out. 

Regards, Calaveras

(Because of manufacturing differences, every one you work on will be a little different.  Be prepared to find things not listed in this write-up.)

Comments from Jess Money
You'll be removing and reinserting cross pins when you remove sears, hammers and cocking spring assemblies so it's important to have a 1/16" punch to start to drive with.  My punch is a Stanley and it looks like a yellow wooden pencil made of steel.  The actual 1/16" punch section is only 1" long.  Since the shotgun receiver is wider than that, you'll need some slave pins to help completely remove the factory cross pins from the receiver.  I sacrificed some drill bits for this and a 1/8" bit, a 3/32" bit and a 5/32" bit worked fine for the job as slave pins.  (I use the Replaceable Pin Punch Set #080-507-000 from Brownells.  The pins are long enough that you don’t need slave pins.)

Once you remove the barrels, look at the two protrusions on either side at the front of the receiver.  These are the cocking cams and you'll be removing the smallest of all the cross pins that hold them in place.  A suggestion here, when the time comes to remove the cams and hammer spring assemblies: drive the cocking cam pin from one side into the receiver body just far enough to completely clear the cam and then remove the cam and spring assembly.  Then tap the pin back in from the other side just far enough to clear the other cam and remove that cam and spring assembly.  Once that spring assembly is removed, tap the cross pin back in flush with the receiver.  That's the safest place for it.

Although not absolutely necessary, a small table mounted metal vice with a 3" jaw  opening will be really helpful when driving the pins, removing the trigger guard, removing screws and then replacing them again.  It helps too when you're filing and polishing the inside of the receiver.  I used some scrap flooring linoleum and glued a piece to each side of the metal jaw with Elmer's Glue and that has been working well for over a year.  A small vice will be sufficient because we're not talking about putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the receiver, just enough to hold it firmly.  Besides, everyone should have a vice around the house for other projects.

A jackscrew is just the ticket for lifting the floor plate from the bottom of the receiver.  I found an SAE stove bolt in my parts drawer that worked just right.  Be sure to remove the long screw from the T shaped fixture at the very back that holds the tang and floor plate together and serves as a receptacle for the butt stock bolt.  Once the floor plate is off, you're looking into the boiler room of the shotgun.  Look immediately for two small coil springs located in the top of each sear.  They sit in a blind hole and they press on the floor plate to return the sears.  They should be heavy with grease.  Take these two small springs and place them where they won't get lost. 

Now, notice anything?  Look closely.  That's right!  You are looking at the bottom of the shotgun.  So, things are a bit different from this view.  Left is right and right is left.  Repeat; left is right and right is left!  When you begin removing parts make sure you place your parts in the correct component areas you made and be sure you remember that left is right and right is left.

Now that the sear return springs are safely put away, let's remove the sears.  Those long legs on the rear are what the trigger tabs actuate.  Using your 1/16" punch, tap the cross pin as far as the punch will reach.  Stop before you get to the area of the punch that is wider than 1/16".  Use your properly fitting slave pin, or drill bit, to drive the pin the rest of the way out.  Remember left is right and right is left and put the sears in their proper component area.  When each pin is removed, mark the end you drove from with a colored pen, china marker or chalk and put this end in first when you replace the cross pin.  A jar lid would be a safe place for your cross pins.  They will roll around on a bench and are easily lost!

Now, for the hammers.  Look closely how the hammers sit in their slots in the receiver.  They are aligned almost vertically on the cross pin.  Remember that because it's important.  Again, using the 1/16" punch, tap the cross pin as far as the punch will safely go, then use the properly fitting slave pin to drive the pin the rest of the way out and put the hammers in their proper component location. 


Now go back and pick up one hammer.  Look at it closely.  Turn it over, upside down and sideways.  Notice that part of the lower section has been milled away and in that section you'll see a hole that has been drilled there.  It actually looks as if the hole was misaligned because there is an open section in that oddly drilled hole.  Inside that hole is a small spring that resembles a hair pin.  In the paragraph above, it was suggested you remember the vertical alignment of the hammers.  It's important to remember the odd hole in the thin part of the hammer, too.  Notice that on the end of each cocking rod there is a small round section, similar to a short piece of a nail, that is 90° to the rod.  This piece fits into the odd hole in the thin part of the hammer and the small hairpin in the hole helps secure the rod into the hammer when cocked.  Neat, huh?  So that's why the hammers are vertical in their slots.  You've got to make sure you press the hammers forward to engage the rod when you're aligning the hammers on reassembly.  Not hard to do but has to be done.  Remember, the cocking rods and cams must be reinstalled and pinned  before you can replace the hammers

Now is the time to tap the last small pin in the front of the receiver that holds the cocking cams and rods.  Notice how the cams fit into the slots in the cap of the cocking rods.  You can completely remove this cross pin, or follow my suggestion about partially removing it.  Remove the cams and cocking rods and place them in their proper component location.  You now have an essentially bare receiver.  A tooth brush, small steel or copper brush can be used to remove debris left from the factory.  An air compressor or even canned air will help blow junk from the receiver after using the brushes.

Taking one component group at a time, examine each piece for wear areas, places that the piece makes contact with the frame and polish the devil out of both sides of each piece of each component group.  Polish the receiver where the parts rub, if possible.  Anything that looks like it should be polished should get the works.  We're speaking of polishing, not grinding.  There may be some areas on the insides of the receiver that could use a few strokes with files of diminishing coarseness but for the most part we want to use 400/ 600 grit paper or a hard Arkansas stone on our component pieces.  A light coat of Rem Oil or similar on the component pieces won't hurt, but don't overdo it.

After you're satisfied with your polishing efforts, reassemble the receiver in reverse order you disassembled it.  When replacing the pins you'll need to use your slave pins again.  Be patient and the gun will go back together just fine.  You may have to jiggle a bit here and twist a bit there and in general hold your mouth just right to align the floor plate into place.  Remember to be sure the stock bolt section on the T should point upward.  Remember, since we're still working upside down, when the butt stock is replaced it will be upside down, too.  DO NOT over tighten the floor plate screw.  You may wish to replace the cocking springs later or reverse your trigger positions.  Snug tight will do for the screw.  DO tighten the butt stock screw securely.

Good luck and have fun!

Jess Money

Note:  After making these changes I used my shotgun for a cowboy match every month for about seven years and never had a problem.  When disassembling the gun to take these photos I noticed it was pretty dry inside.  I lubricated all friction points with Brownells Action Lube Plus #083-050-002 which is a synthetic grease that I use for the internals of all my firearms.

(Courtesy EAA Corporation)


1.      barrel assembly

42.  right hammer assembly

2.      extractor spring

43.  hammer pin

3.      plunger

44.  right sear

4.      right extractor

45.  pin for safety and thumb piece

5.      left extractor

46.  thumb piece

6.      screw

47.  locking bolt

7.      pin

48.  connecting rod

8.      sling swivel ring

49.  locking bolt spring

9.      screw

50.  cam stop

10.  barrel sling swivel base

51.  threaded connecting piece

11.  front sight

52.  locking bolt lever

12.  forend

53.  ball

13.  washer

54.  sear lifter lever spring

14.  spring

55.  safety

15.  latch body

56.  sear lifter lever

16.  forend latch

57.  sear lifter

17.  pin

58.  sear lifter spring

18.  screw

59.  sear lifter level pin

19.  screw

60.  pin

20.  screw

61.  screw

21.  lever pin

62.  trigger plate

22.  left lever

63.  screw

23.  right lever

64.  trigger guard

24.  hinge

65.  trigger guard screw

25.  lever spring

66.  right trigger

26.  screw

67.  trigger spring

27.  receiver

68.  left trigger

28.  cam

69.  pin

29.  cam pin

70.  stock

30.  sear pin

71.  screw

31.  left sear

72.  washer

32.  left hammer assembly

73.  butt plate

33.  plug

74.  woodscrew

34.  plug screw

75.  woodscrew

35.  follower

76.  stock sling swivel base

36.  left rod assembly

77.  sear spring

37.  right rod assembly

78.  wright

38.  cocking lever

79.  pin

39.  cocking lever pin

80.  safety spring

40.  screw

81.  bushing

41.  locking lever



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