Simson & Co. Questions

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by mfgeng, Jul 8, 2018.

  1. mfgeng

    mfgeng New Member

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    Hello All. Hope everyone is doing well.

    Does anybody here have any experience with Simson & Co Suhl? A coworker is considering selling his double and I happen to have always wanted one of these pre modernity double rifles.

    He doesn’t know much about it, it’s in Decent condition, bluing is worn on the receiver from carry, stock has some dings, etc. It looks like it’s been on many safari trips or possibly lived in county with a PH at some time during its life. I’ve requested photos of the proofs and details on all the markings to attempt to ascertain what period it’s from.

    Is there anything I should watch out for on a Simson? I know to make sure it’s on face and the bores are in good shape, and that’s about the extent of my understanding.

    I do understand that fine English doubles are preferred, but will a Suhl double hold it’s value well? Are they a desirable double rifle?

    I’m interested mainly in a historical double that can be fielded for large NA game, possibly a Buffalo in the next few years or so. I’m partial to the big bore doubles over the “magazine” rifles. It’s more of a scratch an itch type rifle that I can go shoot and admire while dreaming of my once in a lifetime trip.

    Any thoughts?

    M.E.
     
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  2. D.M.V

    D.M.V AH Fanatic

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    Im interested to see info as well. I have a bayonet from a military surplus rifle made by them. 100 years old. The steel you can tell is quality. Reminds me of a Swedish mauser i have as well over 100 years old and metal is in really good condition.
     

  3. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    I have no personal experience with a Simson & Suhl rifle... I have handled (not shot) a few of their sxs shotguns and always thought they were really well made and seemed to be good values for the money.. I just never bought one (despite thinking about it several times) for some reason..

    Im not certain, but I think there is some sort of relationship between Simson and Merkel? I think Merkel either bought them at some point, or Merkel built stuff for them at some point?
     

  4. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    Simson Co of Suhl guns were made in the same plant as Merkel and other makers and many of those shotguns and rifles have many similar features. There are one or two Simson double rifle shooters on this forum and one or more may chime in soon.
    My Simson .405 DR is based on a Simson 12 gauge double gun and is very sturdy and not unattractive.
    [​IMG]
    When researching my purchase, I posted questions like yours on the German Gun Collectors Association forum where there are folks with much detailed information. I also searched the Internet for other information on Simson guns.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
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  5. mfgeng

    mfgeng New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback so far. I had presumed that the Simson Doubles were fairly uncommon, but not really rare. If there are only a couple on this forum, they must be pretty scarce.

    Beautiful double CRS. Looks like somebody did a fantastic job on the conversion. I especially like the scalloped receiver.

    Just wanted to try to get a feel for what other think about these Simpson rifles before I pony up the funds. Thank you.
     
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  6. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    I would suggest a little research. First, you need to look at the proof marks and determine if it is a pre- or post World War II rifle. The pre-war rifles were very well made and if still in good condition (back to that in a moment) can be an excellent buy. The post-war rifles up until reunification were produced under Soviet occupation and can run the gambit from pretty good to truly awful.

    Any previously owned double rifle needs to be thoroughly inspected by someone who knows what they are doing - a very, very rare attribute in this country. If any of the screws on the action are buggered, I would walk away from it quickly. It means someone without a clue was monkeying around inside. You need to verify that it is on face - that the barrels sit firmly against the breach face without any gap or play - check it with the forend off. Any wiggle or movement at all - walk away. Check that the barrels are still properly soldered. They should ring like a church bell when dangled by the forend hook. Many older barrels were subjected to hot blue tanks in this country, often destroying the cohesion of the original soldering. They make a "clunk" when struck with a wooden dowel or mallet. If it "clunks" walk away. Those are only the most basic inspection items. The very best investment you can make is have someone like JJ Perodeau http://jjperodeau.com/ inspect it while on approval before you buy it. He will let you know what if anything needs repair and what that repair will cost before you buy it. It is very easy to get a "deal" on an old double only to find out it needs many, many hundreds of dollars of repair work to make it serviceable; an investment that often far exceeds the eventual value of the repaired rifle.

    I speak with the benefit of a long and very expensive education.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
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  7. mfgeng

    mfgeng New Member

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    Thank you Red, very helpful indeed.

    I had learned the hard way on rib separation and ringing the bell on a browning superposed. Like you mentioned, expensive.

    This gun has proof marks of U G B over crowns, which I believe from my research indicates it was proofed prior to 1939. I can’t quite puzzle out the proof house mark, but I’m still looking at all the information online.

    I will contact JJ Perodeau and see if the rifle can be shipped to him for inspection.

    I’d love to have it, we’ll see if it checks out.
     
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  8. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    Mfgeng,
    Thanks for the compliment and it now has a little German silver stock oval with my initials. I pick that up this coming Thursday.
    The Standard Directory of Proof Marks can tell you a lot about the Simpson gun. Mine was proofed in the 1930s and still locks up tight and shows very little wear. Also shoots 4 rounds into less than a one inch circle at 50 yards.
    Arizona Dave on this forum has a .405 Simson double also.

    The scalloped receiver is typical of Simson guns and is more interesting than a plain straight line. Brian Dudley made the stocks for mine and the scallops complicate somewhat the metal to wood joining, but he does great work.
     
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  9. AZDAVE

    AZDAVE AH Elite

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    Good morning. You will find a good bit of information on the internet. The German shooting groups have always responded with very good information.
    I also second @Red Leg comments on the between the wars vs after WWII and to have it checked by a knowledgeable double rifle gunsmith, and that is a very select group of smith's.
    My 405 double was built between the wars, proofed in 1933, chopper lump barrels and will shoot better than I can. The one between the wars are very well made and worth perusing.
     
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  10. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    [​IMG]
    New butt stock oval goes well with coin finish action.
    [​IMG]
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2018
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  11. D.M.V

    D.M.V AH Fanatic

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    Beautiful
     

  12. HWL

    HWL AH Fanatic

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    Found another Simson, completed by Gunsmith Hubert Ehrhardt from Suhl, Germany in 8/93.

    Cape gun, 9,3x74R, 20 ga 3" with Zeiss Diavari ZM 2,5 - 10 x 48 T * German # 1 on claw mounts.

    5.7059171.57693284.jpg 5.7059171.738951265.jpg 5.7059171.949515823.jpg 5.7059171.1291143947.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018

  13. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    Nicely done, but that scope seems too large in comparison to the size of the gun.
    Is this your gun?
     

  14. HWL

    HWL AH Fanatic

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    It's in an auction, and I am just bidding.

    HWL
     

  15. markferrigno

    markferrigno AH Enthusiast

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    I have a 1980's Simson Suhl Drilling (2x16ga x 7x65r), very good forearms. The 7x65R barrel is a tack driver. Well made firearms but good advice on checking the fit and screws.
     

  16. Gert Odendaal

    Gert Odendaal AH Elite

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    I am contemplating building a 45-70 Government double rifle on such an action..I believe the Simson action to be extremely strong..any comments in this regards will be much appreciated,,(y)(y)(y)(y)
     
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  17. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    Hi again Gert. I started a response on another thread, but will continue it here.
    Yes, I think the Simson guns are well made and strongly made, as were most guns made in Suhl. After these many years, mine still feels like a new gun; it either was not shot much or wears very slowly.
    I bought this .405 double rifle from Bob Heynden who made it for himself, but I finally talked him into selling it to me; I shoot .1895 .405 and really wanted a .405 double rifle.
    [​IMG]
    I also wanted a .45-90 double and Bob and I had one agreed upon based on a same era Merkel 12 gauge he had on hand. His untimely death stopped that project but did eventually allow me to purchase his personal deer rifle, a 45-70 with 26 inch barrels made on a Beretta GR2 action. Another sweet handling and shooting DR. with many of the action features that Bob sought for donor guns.
    [​IMG]
    Beretta also has a long and storied reputation and the GR2 is a good action for a DR.

    Since you are planning to make your own DR, you may be interested in the original posts on a gun making site by Bob on each of the above rifles. If so, let me know and I will provide links to those posts.
     

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  18. Gert Odendaal

    Gert Odendaal AH Elite

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    CRS, thank you kindly for your response...the world really is a small place. I got most/all of my technical data/procedures from Bob Hyden, he was a great, great person , I am privileged to have communicate with him for at least two years in regards to him building conversion doubles..I got a lot technical specs from him..I commenced with a process to buy his .450 NE nr 2 Jeffery barrels and reamer from him when he passed away...I asked Marie if she will be able to conclude the purchase..unfortunately she told me she was not able to locate the two .450 nr 2 NE barrels and the reamer..I did send more pm to her via Nitro Express forum but up to now did not receive any answer or response...I would say Bob Hyden was the finest conversion double rifle builder I was privileged to know.. (y)(y)
     

  19. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    Yes, modern communications has shrunk the world considerably.

    Bob was generous in sharing his information and knowledge.
    Ellis Brown, author of the book "Building DR on Shotgun Actions", spoke well of Bob and even let me bring my two Hynden doubles to the show -and- tell part of his 2018 class at the gunsmith school in Tishomingo, Oklahoma. We also went hog hunting after that before he returned to Colorado; some fun and he is a fine shot on running game. Ellis was shooting a 45-70 DR that he had made for a client and I was shooting my Hynden made Beretta 45-70. I can PM a link to the story is you like.
    If you do not have the second edition of Ellis's book, I recommend that you buy one ( Marie did have Bob's copy for sale at one time).

    Since you knew Bob, may I assume that you have no need for the links to his Nitro Express posts on building my Simson and Beretta DRs?

    I do feel privileged to own Bob's personal deer hunting DR. He hunted with it for 10 years and there is only one minor stock abrasion - it looks like a new gun!

    Another note - I have documented both of these DRs using the Pappas Provenance document in MS Word. It is a good way to keep the history of important rifles and shotguns. Cal approved my sharing this with others shooters. :cool:
    Of course, Cal has some good DR books too and he knew Bob also.
     

  20. Germanfan

    Germanfan AH Member

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    I don't know that much about DRs, only own two, but I am also a member of GGCA, lived in Germany for about 7 years, and do have a pile of German firearms literature. Simson was a Jewish family in the Suhl area prior to 1939. That didn't bode well for the family to be in Germany, so some arrangements were made that they could "hand over" their equipment and facilities and be allowed to depart Germany, which they did. As most arms companies switched to military arms production, sporting arms were produced in very low numbers during the war years. When the war ended, Suhl was in the Soviet occupation zone or former East Germany. As sporting arms production restarted, many stamps were used in consolidated factories - Simson, Haenel, Sauer, Merkel - often these firearms look identical, and often, they used the same model numbers or very similar. Simson model 74E (ejector shotgun) was identical to the Merkel 47E (ejector shotgun), although later the merkel was a CC receiver and the Simson was a game scene engraved silver finished receiver. I have post war catalogs from Haenel, Simson and Merkel and all the pages and photos are identical and the covers are the same with the only change being the fabrik manufacturer reprinted on the covers. I also have a document from JP Sauer delineating the legal arguments about warranty service by JP Sauer, then located in West Germany and NOT performing warranty work on Sauer guns made in East Germany by former Sauer workers who were still living in the East. Pre War Simson guns are well built and usually a very good buy as they are often overlooked. Merkel and Sauer were the stronger businesses with Sauer restarting production in the west, and Merkel dominating the east. Haenel has reemerged in recent years with bolt action rifle production. BTW, look at the bottom of the receiver for the "TW" stamp, the vertical down leg of the T is the up leg in the middle part of the "W" - that is for the Thalmann Werke - Thalman Works factory in post war Suhl, Germany, about like General Motors making Chevy and GMC and Oldsmobile, etc.
     
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