Heads Up On Merkel Helix Sale

matt85

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eurooptic.com currently has some great prices on Helix rifles:

https://www.eurooptic.com/Merkel-Helix-Rifle-Sale.aspx

handful of these puppies are $2000-$2200 which is crazy cheap for a strait pull rifle these days.

-matt

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CAustin

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Thanks for sharing!
 

Voodooracer

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So tempting! Seriously considering one in 6.5x55........ I can feel my willpower giving out hahah
 

TByrd

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Anyone own one of these? I know there are a lot of Blaser straight pull fans on the site....just curious. Anyone have an opinion?
 

rnovi

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Why yes, yes I do.

I own two Helix actions, three stocks (one grade 6 wood, 1x new plastic, 1x beater plastic) and three barrel sets: 6.5x55, 7mm RemMag, 9.3x62. The Grade 6 wood...it's porn. Pure Porn.

I'll do a more formal write up at some point but here are the highlights:

  1. Yeah, it really is as quick an action they say it is. Truly, a flick of the wrist.
  2. The trigger is 2# and has an odd feeling. It's absolutely 100% predictable, reliable, and great. it's just an oddly, weird soft sorta but not really 2-stagish. I can't describe it. I'd say it felt soft compared to a glass rod break.
  3. If you didn't shoot a 3/4" 100 yard group, it's because you suck. Or the ammo sucked. It sure isn't the rifle. I've fired 1" 200 yard groups - regularly. Yeah, 1", 200 yard groups. And I know, if it didn't happen, it was me.
  4. The rifle takes down in about 10 seconds. Maybe less. Seriously.
  5. Do NOT believe the rumors about the action not being "cleanable". Tap a pin out and the whole trigger assembly drops free and you can get to the geared rails for a full cleaning. That is, assuming you need to. It's largely a sealed action. Put another way...if you've ever disassembled a Remington 870 and pulled the trigger group, you already know how to manage the Helix.
  6. The biggest single problem with the takedown action isn't the rifle. It's the scope. My Warne QD Rings aren't up to what the rifle actually needs. It needs a "zero-stop" type of ring that allows for exactly the same pressure tensions each time. Still, you know you will be reasonably close each time. I consider that issue on me...I could have spent real money buying better rings I suppose.
  7. To take the stock off, you need a really, really long allen wrench. I can't remember the size but Harbor Freight and Amazon carry them for like, $10.
  8. The actions are aluminum coated. Basically, rust proof. The Barrels are coated with some kind of Ti-Nitride. They survived an Alaskan Bear hunt with no degradation and minimal care. Still...I'd use an oil rag on the barrel.
  9. Ergonomics are spot on. It's the first rifle that I've actually not had to "think" about. Merkel Nailed the design.
  10. The "safety" - I love it. Safest Safety ever. Uncocked is uncocked and the Action is Locked. (think 3-way Safety). Up and cocked...action is ready. It is wonderful. And yes, it resets itself into the cocked position with each throw of the bolt. No need to reset the cocker with each shot.
  11. Pro-Tip: To open the action without cocking, just push the cocker up about 1/3'rd of the way. Action opens. Ummm...that's not in the manual. And, ummm...please don't ask me how long it took to figure that out.

Negatives: Can't get the right damn rifle case for it in the USA. I can't tell you how annoying that is...I want the Merkel 2-barrel rifle case...and can't get it even from Eurooptic. (*yeah, search the website, I dares ya)

#1 pet Peeve: And, it's finicky on reloads. No, not the reloads itself...but your brass needs to be perfect. I'm not kidding. Totally perfect. You cannot, and I mean cannot, have a case length too long or a shoulder not pushed back far enough. Neck Sizing is not an option...you have to full length resize, twice. You must have the OAL correct...slightly short (ie: do not try to load at the lands) is better. You WILL jam if you load to the lands.

There is NO camming action ala US style RemChester bolt guns. You cannot "force" a round to fit. It just doesn't work with a straight pull. The leverage isn't there. I wish it was, but it isn't. If that hand loaded round is a little long (bullets into the lands) or off in the shoulder...it will jam up and mess with you. And then the cartridge sticks in the chamber. And since it's a straight pull on a gear, you're actually at 50% strength trying to pull that round out of the chamber. It's a glorious mess.

And it's your fault. Every time.

Seriously - it's my #1 frustration with the rifle. I've never had a factory load issue on new ammo (*even hot Lapua 140's)...but once fired, resized handloaded brass - damnit you sonuvabitch...mothereffingcahcksackingpeaceofschiza...

It's really made me focus on my reloading in a big way.

And you will know when you hit the pretty margins. A little overpressure and a sticky case locks the action instantly. I mean, get the rubber mallet out. A USA bolt gun can cam down and cam up on a round. It really makes a difference on slight overpressures.

Mind you, the action is strong. Brutally strong. Embarrassingly strong. 120k PSI strong. It's 9-lugs polished and blueprinted steel on steel at the barrel strong.

And then you shoot a 1/2" group and get pissed off. Because the rifle will deliver. If, and it's a big iff...you deliver.

Pro-Tip: test chamber every single round before you go hunting. Trust me. You don't want that action to lock up on a slightly OAL long cartridge when the bullet hits the lands. And jams. And totally screws up the stalk because the animal is now laughing and rolling on the ground while you swear at your rifle bashing the butt up against a tree like an M16/AR15 with a jammed round in the chamber.

My final complaint though: the most powerful cartridge is...

9.3x62.

9.3x62 is not legal in all African Countries for Dangerous Game. It will do for Cape Buff in Zim. IF loaded to the hilt.

Ok, I've done that. I've hotloaded it with a hefty case of Ramshot Big Game, shot over a Magnetospeed chrono'ed 2,550 fps with a 286 gr. Nosler Partition in the factory 22" barrel. As in, 75 rounds worth of testing. What it does to brass though is tragic (big shiny ring at the base of the brass)...but every single round ejects with zero issues (*yeah, but don't ask me about my journey in 6.5x55 pressures). I get honest 1" groups at 200 yards and clustered 3-shot groups at 100. I am truly amazed at the accuracy.

I queried Merkel and didn't get the answer I wanted. No plans for anything bigger. That's a problem, IMO.

IMO, there is no reason this rifle cannot be chambered in 375 Ruger or 416 Ruger. The rifle is designed to handle 65k PSI cartridges (270 Win is a factory chambering). The Bolt-Barrel lock up basically is steel on steel IN the barrel - can't really do any better than that for strength. The largest bolt head is a magnum bolt head...same bolt face as a .416 Ruger. OAL of the cartridge is no longer than a 7mm Rem Mag. Case width is no bigger than a RemMag Belt. Would use a slightly modded magazine (more open feed lips), minimal modification there. You can get a 5-round magazine as well...

Nope. Merkel said no. Biggest today (I emailed them in 2016) is a 9.3x62...or 338 WinMag. Honestly, that makes little sense...particularly since Blaser offers it and Merkel (Suhl Germany) makes the barrels for Blaser....

So, it's a rifle with some idiosyncrasies.

Welcome to German Innovation.

PS: Well, screw it. that's as good a review as I'd have done anyway. May as well copy it to the Rifles pages...
 

gesch

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Why yes, yes I do.

I own two Helix actions, three stocks (one grade 6 wood, 1x new plastic, 1x beater plastic) and three barrel sets: 6.5x55, 7mm RemMag, 9.3x62. The Grade 6 wood...it's porn. Pure Porn.

I'll do a more formal write up at some point but here are the highlights:

  1. Yeah, it really is as quick an action they say it is. Truly, a flick of the wrist.
  2. The trigger is 2# and has an odd feeling. It's absolutely 100% predictable, reliable, and great. it's just an oddly, weird soft sorta but not really 2-stagish. I can't describe it. I'd say it felt soft compared to a glass rod break.
  3. If you didn't shoot a 3/4" 100 yard group, it's because you suck. Or the ammo sucked. It sure isn't the rifle. I've fired 1" 200 yard groups - regularly. Yeah, 1", 200 yard groups. And I know, if it didn't happen, it was me.
  4. The rifle takes down in about 10 seconds. Maybe less. Seriously.
  5. Do NOT believe the rumors about the action not being "cleanable". Tap a pin out and the whole trigger assembly drops free and you can get to the geared rails for a full cleaning. That is, assuming you need to. It's largely a sealed action. Put another way...if you've ever disassembled a Remington 870 and pulled the trigger group, you already know how to manage the Helix.
  6. The biggest single problem with the takedown action isn't the rifle. It's the scope. My Warne QD Rings aren't up to what the rifle actually needs. It needs a "zero-stop" type of ring that allows for exactly the same pressure tensions each time. Still, you know you will be reasonably close each time. I consider that issue on me...I could have spent real money buying better rings I suppose.
  7. To take the stock off, you need a really, really long allen wrench. I can't remember the size but Harbor Freight and Amazon carry them for like, $10.
  8. The actions are aluminum coated. Basically, rust proof. The Barrels are coated with some kind of Ti-Nitride. They survived an Alaskan Bear hunt with no degradation and minimal care. Still...I'd use an oil rag on the barrel.
  9. Ergonomics are spot on. It's the first rifle that I've actually not had to "think" about. Merkel Nailed the design.
  10. The "safety" - I love it. Safest Safety ever. Uncocked is uncocked and the Action is Locked. (think 3-way Safety). Up and cocked...action is ready. It is wonderful. And yes, it resets itself into the cocked position with each throw of the bolt. No need to reset the cocker with each shot.
  11. Pro-Tip: To open the action without cocking, just push the cocker up about 1/3'rd of the way. Action opens. Ummm...that's not in the manual. And, ummm...please don't ask me how long it took to figure that out.

Negatives: Can't get the right damn rifle case for it in the USA. I can't tell you how annoying that is...I want the Merkel 2-barrel rifle case...and can't get it even from Eurooptic. (*yeah, search the website, I dares ya)

#1 pet Peeve: And, it's finicky on reloads. No, not the reloads itself...but your brass needs to be perfect. I'm not kidding. Totally perfect. You cannot, and I mean cannot, have a case length too long or a shoulder not pushed back far enough. Neck Sizing is not an option...you have to full length resize, twice. You must have the OAL correct...slightly short (ie: do not try to load at the lands) is better. You WILL jam if you load to the lands.

There is NO camming action ala US style RemChester bolt guns. You cannot "force" a round to fit. It just doesn't work with a straight pull. The leverage isn't there. I wish it was, but it isn't. If that hand loaded round is a little long (bullets into the lands) or off in the shoulder...it will jam up and mess with you. And then the cartridge sticks in the chamber. And since it's a straight pull on a gear, you're actually at 50% strength trying to pull that round out of the chamber. It's a glorious mess.

And it's your fault. Every time.

Seriously - it's my #1 frustration with the rifle. I've never had a factory load issue on new ammo (*even hot Lapua 140's)...but once fired, resized handloaded brass - damnit you sonuvabitch...mothereffingcahcksackingpeaceofschiza...

It's really made me focus on my reloading in a big way.

And you will know when you hit the pretty margins. A little overpressure and a sticky case locks the action instantly. I mean, get the rubber mallet out. A USA bolt gun can cam down and cam up on a round. It really makes a difference on slight overpressures.

Mind you, the action is strong. Brutally strong. Embarrassingly strong. 120k PSI strong. It's 9-lugs polished and blueprinted steel on steel at the barrel strong.

And then you shoot a 1/2" group and get pissed off. Because the rifle will deliver. If, and it's a big iff...you deliver.

Pro-Tip: test chamber every single round before you go hunting. Trust me. You don't want that action to lock up on a slightly OAL long cartridge when the bullet hits the lands. And jams. And totally screws up the stalk because the animal is now laughing and rolling on the ground while you swear at your rifle bashing the butt up against a tree like an M16/AR15 with a jammed round in the chamber.

My final complaint though: the most powerful cartridge is...

9.3x62.

9.3x62 is not legal in all African Countries for Dangerous Game. It will do for Cape Buff in Zim. IF loaded to the hilt.

Ok, I've done that. I've hotloaded it with a hefty case of Ramshot Big Game, shot over a Magnetospeed chrono'ed 2,550 fps with a 286 gr. Nosler Partition in the factory 22" barrel. As in, 75 rounds worth of testing. What it does to brass though is tragic (big shiny ring at the base of the brass)...but every single round ejects with zero issues (*yeah, but don't ask me about my journey in 6.5x55 pressures). I get honest 1" groups at 200 yards and clustered 3-shot groups at 100. I am truly amazed at the accuracy.

I queried Merkel and didn't get the answer I wanted. No plans for anything bigger. That's a problem, IMO.

IMO, there is no reason this rifle cannot be chambered in 375 Ruger or 416 Ruger. The rifle is designed to handle 65k PSI cartridges (270 Win is a factory chambering). The Bolt-Barrel lock up basically is steel on steel IN the barrel - can't really do any better than that for strength. The largest bolt head is a magnum bolt head...same bolt face as a .416 Ruger. OAL of the cartridge is no longer than a 7mm Rem Mag. Case width is no bigger than a RemMag Belt. Would use a slightly modded magazine (more open feed lips), minimal modification there. You can get a 5-round magazine as well...

Nope. Merkel said no. Biggest today (I emailed them in 2016) is a 9.3x62...or 338 WinMag. Honestly, that makes little sense...particularly since Blaser offers it and Merkel (Suhl Germany) makes the barrels for Blaser....

So, it's a rifle with some idiosyncrasies.

Welcome to German Innovation.

PS: Well, screw it. that's as good a review as I'd have done anyway. May as well copy it to the Rifles pages...
Thank you. You are a Merkel genius! I learned a lot.
 

Mort Hill

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Your review was awesome! I felt like I was reading a Consumer Report article.
 

rnovi

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Thanks Guys for the kind words! It's a privilege to write it for you.
 

Ravensview

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Great review, thanks, other than being persnickety with reloaded and hot loaded cartridges sounds like a great setup
 

ve7poi

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Thank you informative and good info on reloading brass requirements
Well done.
 

Fastrig

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Bought my Helix off this clearance....wonderful rifle....Have the 300 win mag and 9.3x62 barrels for it. Need to source the extended mags from Steyr Arms (US Distributor) and the double barrel case, though might just go with a Negrini case as that’s who looks to be making the cases for Blaser, Merkel, et al
 

rnovi

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Bought my Helix off this clearance....wonderful rifle....Have the 300 win mag and 9.3x62 barrels for it. Need to source the extended mags from Steyr Arms (US Distributor) and the double barrel case, though might just go with a Negrini case as that’s who looks to be making the cases for Blaser, Merkel, et al

Fastrig, congrats on the rifle!

And thank you very much for telling me who makes the actual rifle cases. At least now I know where to get one.

Best!
 

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