Merkel SxS??

Ray B

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I'm considering a double rifle and reviewing the makers with which I have any experience, the only one is Merkel. I have a Merkel 201E 12 ga made in 1953. It was for several years in the US base at Ramstein trap club where it was fired thousands and thousands of times prior to a servicemember bringing it to the US, where I got it. It is still tight and completely functional. If the Merkel rifles in 470NE are as well built as this 60+ yr old gun I'd have no problem in springing for a new 140AE. However I did a search and noted a few threads where some members have had less than expected results from their Merkels. What are your opinions of Merkels current production of double rifles?
 

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I am very happy with mine.

Got one in 470.

Only thing I changed were to get rid of the varnish on it and had a fine oil finish done.

The action is tight and gun shoots very well.

I would buy one again no problem!
 

bassasdaindia

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IMHO they are very good value for money doubles .
 

IvW

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No problem with the current Merkel double rifles.
 

CAustin

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Ray I would PM @HeinrichH who uses a Merkel SS in 470 NE daily in his work.
 

Ray B

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I tried an IM to HeinrichH but couldn't get it to send (I'm not the most tech-literate person) so I'll post the message here and open the response to anyone that wants to comment.

As noted, C Austin said I should contact you regarding your experience with Merkel double Rifles. so that's what I'm doing. reading through the comments I find them generally favorable, but there is one that is troubling, and it isn't the ones where the poster has some problem with an individual unit, but the comment where someone says "they're a good buy, FOR THE MONEY but then they never say in what ways they fall short of those guns that cost more. I know there are British guns that sell for five to ten times the amount of the Merkel 140AE, but just what are the differences? How is the Merkel inferior to the British or other gun?

My previous experience with double guns involves shotguns. this experience spans the extremes from Savage 24s to Parkers to FN Brownings & Winchester 21s to Perazzis. Comparing shotguns I would say the areas of discernment come from 1. Design for efficient use of the metal and wood & elimination of any metal/wood that didn't serve a purpose; 2. The strength & durability of design, 3. Strength and durability of materials, 4. Ability to personalize fit of gun, 5. Ease of use/application of gun features, 6. Artistic appeal (metal finish/wood grain).

With shotguns I have found that the event of the day determines which gun will be best for me. If it's a day involving a lot of walking after birds that are Chukar size or smaller then the lightweight Parker 0 frame 16 ga with 7/8 or 1 oz load is great; a day with walking to a goose blind and wanting the capacity to knockdown a 12 pound goose points to the Model 21 12 ga 3" magnum, for a day at the trap range means the Merkel 201E 12 ga.

I have not been to Africa, so I don't exactly know what criteria I would want in a rifle. but were I go to Africa, the game I would want to seek is cape Buffalo and Elephant. Since big tuskers are well beyond my budget, a cull type of hunt involving young males or cows would be what I would be seeking.

I presently have a few bolt action rifles of large bore (375 H&H, 375 RUM, 404 J & 458 WM). All Model 70 Winchesters. I'm sure that they (particularly the 404) would fill the needs of such a hunt, but it would lack the "romance" for lack of a better term, of a quality double.

So for the situation and criteria that I have indicated, what say you?
 

Brandon.Gleason

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I've had a Merkel 140 470NE for the past 7 years. The only issue I've had with it was some light rust on the ejector cocking rods that made operating the action a little stiff. After cleaning and lubing it properly, I've not had another problem with it. There are documented cases of these rifles doubling, but no hard evidence that it was NOT strumming on the operators part.
From what I've found, it was regulated with federal premium ammo, which I was able to easily duplicate with handloads that regulate quite well. It's a pleasant gun to shoot with both full power and reduced loads (found a trailboss load that regulates well). Looking forward to chasing buffalo with it this fall in South Africa.
 

Velo Dog

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Ray B,

My first double rifle was a Merkel SxS extractor model, in .375 H&H.
What I liked about it, was that it was accurate and affordable (in double rifle terms).
What I didn't like about it, was that one throat or bore was too tight and 23.something inch barrels are too short for my taste (what admittedly little taste I have) on double rifles / double shotguns.

Rimless chamberings don't appeal to you for doubles so, I won't rant all day long that the Merkel has but one extractor pawl / plunger per cartridge.
Two per cartridge is preferable for rimless calibers (I feel better now.)

I am convinced that my bum chamber experience was an exception rather than a rule from the Merkel factory.
JJ Perodeau claw mounted this rifle for me and re-regulated it to my favorite .375 "bush load" of 300 gr round nose at 2400 fps (low pressure).
No more flat or pierced primers, very accurate as well and ballistic twin of the old Pre-War ".375 Flanged load for tropical hunting".
So still plenty of punch for Africa / Alaska.

If Merkel was offering their plain grade double rifles (like I had) with 26" barrels, I would definitely consider buying another one some day, but now their ejectors are affordable, much to my preference.
I'd probably get it in 450/400 this time.
You could do a lot worse than the Merkel.

One thing I would avoid is anything they make today with "game scene engraving" on it.
Merkel seems to think that a Labrador retriever with a one dimensional horn boss looks like a buffalo and the same dog with shaggy mane looks like a lion I guess.
Their elephant always seem to look like pumpkins with tusks.

All that being said, my only double now is a Heym 88B that I bought 2nd hand but in excellent or better condition for $12,500.
It has 25+ inch ejector barrels and special order, fancy wood plus, only sparse scroll engraving, which I definitely prefer.

Unless Leonardo DaVinci himself is the engraver, I do not prefer to have Mr. Buford Billy-Bob Slapnuts, gouging his version of animals into my firearms.

The fit and finish, as well as "intersepting sears" (less chance of doubling) in the Heym, (plus longer barrels seem to be standard with them), are reasons enough that currently, I'd rather save up for 2 or 3 extra years, and just buy a Heym in the first place.

My used Heym only cost me a tad bit more than a new Merkel so, I am very content at this stage.

Enjoy your search, it's part of the fun,
Velo Dog.
 
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ve7poi

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Love mine in 470NE only thing I needed was to get pull to 14 1/2 "
Now that it fits correctly it shoots 5/8" side by side shots at 50m
Just wish my eyesight was like it was 50 yrs ago lol
 

Bos Javanicus

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I have a 140AE in .500 NE. I am pretty hard on things and treat them as tools not glitter toys. 4 x 4s are for bashing through the bush and guns are made for hunting so my toys get a hard life and I think faults would be found sooner rather than later. Function wise they are fine, not as fine as an English double that you pay 4 times more for but functional none the less. I got mine new and the left chamber was a bees dick smaller than the right, this was only noticed when shooting reloads. A reloaded round would drop into the right chamber no problems, but the same round dropped into the left chamber would come up short by a mm or two. No biggy, got a .500 reamer run through it by a gunsmith and all good now. Other than that it's fine, I would of put maybe 500 rounds through it now with no regrets in buying it at all. If you only have enough money to buy a Merkel double then I would recommend it for sure. Although the crappy plastic grip cap is a bit cheap looking.
 

CAustin

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@Ray B I visited the Merkel US Distributorship in Birmingham AL, actually Bessemer, last month. Nondescript building on a side street......but what a showroom inside. The visit was by appointment and an expert was ready to show me what was in stock and what could be ordered, shouldering one was a lot of fun having a real expert explaining things to me as we went along. Here is the best thing I found out....... They have a master gunsmith on sight that can make any repairs ever needed or minor modifications. They do have a version that is just blued with no engraving. Of course you can custom order what you want! Font own one myself but wish I did.
As noted above @Heym 88 has a Searcy double for sale that is priced well and it's a 470 NE.
 

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Although the crappy plastic grip cap is a bit cheap looking.

It is without doubt the worst feature about the rifle!

Had mine replaced with a steel grip cap.
 

Bos Javanicus

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I entered a post earlier about my Merkel .500 NE. Well, I would like to add a little more. Yesterday I was practising with it and had a double discharge. If you have ever had a double discharge from a .500NE you will agree with me that it certainly gets your attention. I couldn't figure out what happened until I turned the rifle on its side. The front trigger was bent right back against the rear trigger and was just touching it, so when I pulled the front trigger it would push against the rear trigger and so the double discharge. How the front trigger can bend like this is beyond me, because as far as I see the forces are working in the opposite direction. I ended up straightening the trigger and I'll be buggered if I can bend it with normal operation and giving it a bloody good squeeze. I heard about this once before happening but couldn't understand how it could possibly happen so just thought it was some made up crap you hear occasionally. Maybe it's because they are made on shotgun actions and the parts aren't up to it, who knows. Anyway I am fast loosing confidence with it and luckily I have been offered the sale of an English double rifle, which I will probably take.
I'm not a Merkel hater or anything like that, but I do believe in mentioning these sorts of issues. Now I'm fairly certain this wouldn't happen on their smaller doubles.
 

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You take a pic of it?

Send Merkel a mail and ask them WTF?
 

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I entered a post earlier about my Merkel .500 NE. Well, I would like to add a little more. Yesterday I was practising with it and had a double discharge. If you have ever had a double discharge from a .500NE you will agree with me that it certainly gets your attention. I couldn't figure out what happened until I turned the rifle on its side. The front trigger was bent right back against the rear trigger and was just touching it, so when I pulled the front trigger it would push against the rear trigger and so the double discharge. How the front trigger can bend like this is beyond me, because as far as I see the forces are working in the opposite direction. I ended up straightening the trigger and I'll be buggered if I can bend it with normal operation and giving it a bloody good squeeze. I heard about this once before happening but couldn't understand how it could possibly happen so just thought it was some made up crap you hear occasionally. Maybe it's because they are made on shotgun actions and the parts aren't up to it, who knows. Anyway I am fast loosing confidence with it and luckily I have been offered the sale of an English double rifle, which I will probably take.
I'm not a Merkel hater or anything like that, but I do believe in mentioning these sorts of issues. Now I'm fairly certain this wouldn't happen on their smaller doubles.

Bos, I'd suggest you contact Heron's, the local importer. I have been told that there was an issue with the heat treating at one stage, yours might have been from this period.

Incidentally, the actions were designed for double rifles and were then adapted for shotguns. You sometimes hear shotgun aficionados complaining that they're too heavy because they were made for rifles.....:cautious:
 

Bos Javanicus

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OK I might just give them a call. If I could replace the trigger with one that I know is as hard as, then it is all happy days again. I don't mind the Merkels, there just seem to be some niggling issues that are starting to bug me. I do like shooting a .500 too . I went out this morning and put 8 shots through it with no problems, so I'll be buggered if I know.
 

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CAustin
Would you have phone numbers for Birmingham outlet. My search is coming up blank and I would very much like to see it. Thanks so much
Jacques
 

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I entered a post earlier about my Merkel .500 NE. Well, I would like to add a little more. Yesterday I was practising with it and had a double discharge. If you have ever had a double discharge from a .500NE you will agree with me that it certainly gets your attention. I couldn't figure out what happened until I turned the rifle on its side. The front trigger was bent right back against the rear trigger and was just touching it, so when I pulled the front trigger it would push against the rear trigger and so the double discharge. How the front trigger can bend like this is beyond me, because as far as I see the forces are working in the opposite direction. I ended up straightening the trigger and I'll be buggered if I can bend it with normal operation and giving it a bloody good squeeze. I heard about this once before happening but couldn't understand how it could possibly happen so just thought it was some made up crap you hear occasionally. Maybe it's because they are made on shotgun actions and the parts aren't up to it, who knows. Anyway I am fast loosing confidence with it and luckily I have been offered the sale of an English double rifle, which I will probably take.
I'm not a Merkel hater or anything like that, but I do believe in mentioning these sorts of issues. Now I'm fairly certain this wouldn't happen on their smaller doubles.
The Merkel is not made on a shotgun action. Their shotguns are made on their rifle actions. So strength is no issue.
 

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