Merkel

Merkel has been building rifles in Suhl Germany for well over 100 years. They are somewhat unique in that they have never built complete military rifles and only a few parts for the military during WW1 and WW2. Founded by three Master Gunsmith/Stock-maker brothers, Merkel’s focus has always been on building the best and most lavish sporting rifles in the world. They’ve been favored by rich and famous the world over; from Arab Sheiks, to Presidents, to movie stars, etc. Merkel guns are typical German; over-engineered and over-built, with unbelievable quality and attention to detail.

The downside to this is that they’ve been so expensive as to be completely out of reach to the average American sportsman. I’ve read articles about Merkel for decades and still lust after them at the SHOT show every year. Unfortunately I’ve never had an extra $5-50,000 dollars lying around to spend on a new hunting rifle, and if I did the gun would go straight in the safe. That’s not how I roll. My rifles get shot, carried, exposed to the weather, and generally “loved-on” a lot.

In 2010, Steyr USA bought Merkel USA making Steyr the exclusive US importer of Merkel rifles and shotguns. Of course Steyr is headquartered in Austria, and have long been acquaintances of their German neighbor Merkel. As Steyr USA has continued to learn and prosper in the US market, they’ve been able to help Merkel along the way. Steyr released their “Prohunter” bolt action rifle to the US market a couple of years ago. The Pro Hunters are amazing sub-$1000 bolt action hunting rifles, and have sold well. Evidently, Steyr finally convinced Merkel that it’s easier to sell under $1000 guns, than it is to sell $5000 to $50,000 guns. And wow……has Merkel responded.

Welcome the Merkel R-15 to the United States. These are built at the same plant in Suhl Germany that all Merkels come from, and will retail for- ready for this? - UNDER $700. The R-15 has everything and more that the American hunter needs, and nothing more. Just because they are not ornately engraved or plated, don’t think for a minute that they aren’t made to Merkels exacting standards, attention to detail, and typical superb German craftsmanship.

The wood and synthetic stocked guns technically differ only in the stock. The barrel, action, and finish are exactly the same. These are straight up, to the point, hunting rifles. Three features really stand out to me; the large slightly backswept bolt knob. The knob is probably large enough to be considered tactical in size, and is ergonomically perfect with the back-sweep. The magazine release is completely ambidextrous, secure, and very fast to operate. The “wings” that serve as the release are different, and are arguably better than competing designs. It’s frankly the best compromise between speed and security that I’ve seen. Finally, the bolt lock is a great design that’s been very well executed. The bolt is locked securely on safe so it won’t inadvertently come out of battery, but is still easy to over-ride to chamber check or administrative loading/unloading the rifle. When you’re wearing heavy gloves and find it difficult to use a 3-position safety is when this feature comes in very handy.

The two different stocks produce rifles that feel and handle differently. The synthetic stock version feels very slim, light and fast. The wood version feels at least a ½ lb heavier, and like a larger rifle. The wood is absolutely beautiful dense walnut, and the finish is an understated matte. The wood version contains two cross-bolts to insure that the effects of recoil don’t ever crack the stock, and also moves the sling stud to the tip of the forend, so your support hand doesn’t slam into it during recoil. If you love blue steel and walnut as much as I do, the choice between the two stocks is easy.

Neither of these rifles are safe queens. They’re designed to be used hard for generations, and for the resulting scratches are scars to bring back memories of the hunt. If you want a $50,000 Merkel for the safe and mantel I’ll sell you one, but these aren’t it.

Merkel is making a very limited quantity of these rifles, and offering this introductory pricing in an attempt to get them established in the US. Once this happens, we expect prices to go up significantly. They simply can’t offer this much rifle at this price for long.

Products

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MER-R15-243-WOOD-RH-22IN
MER-R15-270-SYN-RH-22IN
MER-R15-270-WOOD-RH-22IN
MER-R15-243-WOOD-RH-22IN
R15 .243 w/wood stock. 22" Barrel
MER-R15-270-SYN-RH-22IN
R15 .270 RH w/synthetic stock. 22" Barrel
MER-R15-270-WOOD-RH-22IN
R15 .270 RH w/wood stock. 22" Barrel
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MER-R15-308-SYN-RH-22IN
MER-R15-308-WOOD-RH-22IN
MER-R15-6.5x55-SYN-RH-22IN
MER-R15-308-SYN-RH-22IN
R15 .308 RH w/synthetic stock. 22" Barrel
MER-R15-308-WOOD-RH-22IN
R15 .308 RH w/wood stock. 22" Barrel
MER-R15-6.5x55-SYN-RH-22IN
R15 6.5x55mm RH w/synthetic stock. 22" Barrel
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Our Price: $679.00
Out of stock
List Price: $699.00 , Save 9%
 
MER-R15-9.3x62-SYN-RH-22IN
MER-R15-9.3x62-SYN-RH-22IN
R15 9.3x62mm RH w/synthetic stock. 22" Barrel
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List Price: $699.00 , Save 9%
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