Russian or Bulgarian, which is more collectible?
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Thread: Russian or Bulgarian, which is more collectible?

  1. #1
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    Default Russian or Bulgarian, which is more collectible?

    I have an early production Russian IJ70 that's had a lot of rounds though it.
    Just picked up a Military 1989 Bulgarian in sweet condition.
    Wan't to give my son one of these as a defense side arm, as he does a lot of wilderness backpacking here in Colorado.
    Original plan was to give him the Bulgy and keep the Russian, but the Bulgarian is newer, better finish and pristine barrel.
    He needs something utilitarian while I'm more interested in collectability. So the dilemma, which would should I keep and which one to give him.
    Would appreciate opinions.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    IMHO the Bulgy is more collectible than the IJ-70. The IJ-70 is at the bottom of any PM collectible list.(Commercial, with no provenance and an iffy target sight. Early production for an IJ-70 is 1992. Widely available).
    But, the Bulgarian 80s circle ten, is also close to the bottom in collector interest because they are widely available. In comparison to the Russian commercial Mak, many Bulgarian commercial Maks are worth more in collector interest than the circa 1980's circle tens.
    Both have Makarov PM DNA. I have an example of each and appreciate them for what they are.
    Keep the Bulgarian.

  3. #3

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    I have both plus a German. I carry the IJ-70 and the other two are safe queens. So I'd give the Russian to your son for a knock around gun and keep the Bulgarian. If the Russian has "a lot of rounds through it," you might consider a new recoil spring. I had to replace one in the German which also showed signs of a lot of rounds. If the Bulgarian is newish, compare the effort to rack the slide on it vs. the IJ-70. If there's a significant difference, time for a new spring.

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  5. #4
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    If it's a Russian military, it would be different.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inusuit View Post
    I have both plus a German. I carry the IJ-70 and the other two are safe queens. So I'd give the Russian to your son for a knock around gun and keep the Bulgarian. If the Russian has "a lot of rounds through it," you might consider a new recoil spring. I had to replace one in the German which also showed signs of a lot of rounds. If the Bulgarian is newish, compare the effort to rack the slide on it vs. the IJ-70. If there's a significant difference, time for a new spring.
    I was considering carrying my IJ70 back when it was the only Makarov I owned, but I couldn't get over the possibility that the %$^&#* rear sight would snag on something when I drew it.

    Had I been able to locate a spare/loose Chinese or Bulgarian fixed sight slide for it, I would likely be carrying that IJ70 today. Instead, I carry an Arsenal (in full military configuration except for the markings), I shoot my other Bulgarian, and my IJ70 is the safe queen.

  7. #6
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    Default IJ-70

    "Yes officer, I do have a gun in my vehicle."
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    (21# recoil spring)

  8. #7
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    Coin flip for me, both are simply shooters to me. The fixed sight versions are preferable to the adjustable for me.
    Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you're not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. 'Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That's just the way it is. ---- Josey Wales

  9. #8
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    I'm partial to the Bulgarians...
    Looking for USS Casimir Pulaski SSBN 633 items.

    This was the most interesting conversation I was ever not a part of and I look forward to the next conversation on the topic.
    - Pcan

  10. #9

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    IJ70's sit on the used shelf forever in these parts. Bulgarian's get snatched up in just a day or two.

    my vote goes Bulgarian.

  11. #10
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    Your could buy a shooter grade Bulgarian for $200 from sportsman's guide (if they still have them) and keep both.

  12. #11
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    Thanks for the feedback guys. Guess I''ll keep the Bulgarian and give him the Russian. He doesn't know the difference, just that it's a free reliable and accurate pistol.
    Maks are hard to find here in gun shops, or even at the shows.

  13. #12

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    I would consider both potential shooters. Bulgarians are all over the place now since the huge shipment of NOS milsurps a few years back. That said, the Bulgy is a true military pistol and the Russian technically is not. Neither of these are what most around here would consider collectibles. However, the Bulgarian would be higher up on most collector's "keepers list".

  14. #13
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    If your son does a lot of wilderness backpacking, he should carry a pistol of much greater caliber. He may come upon a bear or similar wildlife. Keep the Maks and get him a polymer pistol that he can beat around, but would still be reliable (Glock).


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlag19 View Post
    If your son does a lot of wilderness backpacking, he should carry a pistol of much greater caliber. He may come upon a bear or similar wildlife. Keep the Maks and get him a polymer pistol that he can beat around, but would still be reliable (Glock). Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The Mak is likely to be plenty of gun for anything he's likely to encounter in the Colorado mountains. I've been hiking, fishing, and camping in the Colorado backcountry for over 60 years. Saw a couple of black bear, both departing rapidly for parts unknown. Saw cougar tracks a few times, but none in person. Greatest threat may be from two legged critters. The Mak will do fine for them.

  16. #15

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    There's a reason the Forest Service workers in the Copper River basin are issued H&H .375 magnum lever actions.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by rurallife View Post
    There's a reason the Forest Service workers in the Copper River basin are issued H&H .375 magnum lever actions.
    Which Copper River Basin? The one in Idaho has no Grizzly bears, the one in Alaska does. Colorado has no Grizzlies. According to this link, Alaska Forest Service employees are authorized to carry .375 H&H rifles, but I'm unable to find any .375 H&H lever actions. I'm not sure what your post has to do with the OP deciding which Mak to give to his son.

  18. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inusuit View Post
    Which Copper River Basin? The one in Idaho has no Grizzly bears, the one in Alaska does. Colorado has no Grizzlies. According to this link, Alaska Forest Service employees are authorized to carry .375 H&H rifles, but I'm unable to find any .375 H&H lever actions. I'm not sure what your post has to do with the OP deciding which Mak to give to his son.
    The OP's son was intending to backpack with the pistol. I am figuring this reference is spillover from another very recent thread that was asking a question about potential effectiveness of the 7.62X25 round on Alaskan bears.

    Personally, I figure 9X18 could be a fairly decent (but not ideal) defensive round in Colorado, but I would worry a lot on having to carry it in a gun with a kludged-up lump for a rear sight like the IJ70 has.

    It can be snag city when you really need it (Just ask John Wesley Hardin about what happens when your gun snags up on the draw).

    Give me as smooth a slide as possible for carrying ANYWHERE, and I can't see all that much wrong from this standpoint about the small sights on a Bulgarian Mak.

  19. #18

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    Ronbo6, I understand your preference for a slick slide, but IMHO (ya, I know what are opinions are like) the "kludged-up lump for a rear site like the IJ70 has" is no more likely to snag on the draw than any other handgun with an adjustable sight. I carry my IJ-70 IWB on a regular basis and have never, in practice, experienced a snag even with somewhat bulky winter shirts, vests, etc. I also carry a S&W Combat Masterpiece OWB (concealed) with a somewhat "kludged-up lump" of an adjustable rear sight. No snags in practice. Could be different, I grant you, in the heat of defensive situation. I do practice regularly on my back yard range with any pistol I carry, drawing from concealment and I know about Murphy's Law from personal experience.

    I don't carry my Bulgarian or E German Maks, preferring to save the nice ones. Certainly, the small sights on other Maks are not an issue at self defense ranges. We're very close to being on the same page here.

  20. #19

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    I guess you're right. Can't find a H&H .375 lever anywhere. My friend did stream surveying in Copper River AK in the mid '80's and I could have sworn he said that's what he was issued. Been a long, long time.

    I was just saying that any back country time, a magnum of some sort makes more sense. But if you're an old hand at Colorado, I'll go with what you say. I've heard the old story of a .45ACP bouncing off a bears forehead.

    And a po'd elk is nothing to fool with.

  21. #20
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    Yea, idea of giving him a Mak was just to have something to defend himself.

    More likely he'd need it for some two legged wildlife than anything.

    We have black bears, cougars, elk and moose. The moose are probably the most dangerous, and nothing light weight enough is really going to stop any of these. But maybe scare them away if charged.
    He's getting the IJ-70 and I'm keeping the Bulgarian.
    But all this talk has me looking at an early 60's non-import Russian for a safe queen

  22. #21
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    Let's face it neither of the pistols are collectable, everybody with a Mak fetish has a commercial Russian in 9x18 and/ or a 380 and the Bulgarians have been imported in the tens of thousands. I have all of the Countries except China...bought three unissued with paperwork Bulgarians, these pistols were surely unfired but still not collectable today.
    The collectables include Military Russian, my 99% EG and oddities.....

  23. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colorado68 View Post
    ...But all this talk has me looking at an early 60's non-import Russian for a safe queen
    Nice. Hope you can get it. As collectible as they come.

  24. #23
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    Don't like commercial model anything. Put my polymer 9mm Ruger away and started carrying my bulgy off duty. Bulgy to me is a solid shooting, proven platform...didn't buy it for collecting purposes.

  25. #24
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    Bulgy kits are very rare so i will go with that, Russian kits are hard to get but you will get it, plus US / Russian relations is better now so we expect imports soon.

  26. #25
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    Well, it was a tough choice, but I kept the Bulgy. He was ecstatic with the Russian.
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  27. #26
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    How collectible something is strikes me as a somewhat subjective idea. there are a huge number of Makarovs out there so it is easy to find a niche to collect. Me, I do Soviet PM's with a couple of others because I want to. As some of you know Cameron and I are plugging away, (well, OK, Cameron just sails along,) at a new Volume on Makarovs for the collector. The focus is Chinese, "Khyber Pass" copies, Bulgarians and their .22 conversion kits. I have learned a bit about the Bulgarian PM. As far as collectible examples I'm going to throw out a tidbit for y'all.

    The Bulgarians started producing them in 1975, or rather assembling them from mostly Russian parts. How many pre-1979 Bulgarians do you see out there for sale? As far as the Russian commercial pieces, they still list them in the CONCERN KALASHNIKOV catalog on their web site, but the all the ones you see in the U.S. came in over 20 years ago. For my two kopecs I'd suggest looking out for early Bulgarians and pristine in the box IJ-70A's.

    OK, I'm stopping now. My brain hurts. Cheers, ABTOMAT

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