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 Post subject: Merkel 200E Opinions
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:46 am
Posts: 9
Was at a gun shop today eying up shotguns, and a Merkel 200E caught my eye. I am not really that familiar with Merkel, but the gun just has "the look" so I asked to see it. It fit me pretty much perfectly, and the fit and finish is miles ahead of most of the new Berettas and Brownings they had on the racks.

The gun is 12 gauge, has 28" barrels, fixed/fixed chokes, double triggers, has a "cheekpad" extension on the stock, and is in what I would call very good to excellent condition. Asking price is $2k.

The salesman was not to thrilled with the idea of me buying this as a clays gun. I am a very casual shooter who has been using an older Browning Auto-5 with polychoke for all my shooting. I probably shoot 1000-1500 rounds per year, a mix of trap, skeet, sporting clays, and table mounted manual launchers. As you may be able to tell, I love older guns, but the Auto-5 just doesn't fit me right. The salesman's concerns for me with the Merkel were the double triggers and fixed chokes. I am also concerned about putting 100 rounds through this thing in an afternoon and ending up with a bruised shoulder. Maybe if I use 7/8 oz loads?

What are your thoughts on this gun? Is it a decent price? Will it be a handicap for me going forward (even if I have a gunsmith open up at least one of the chokes?). I love the feel and the uniqueness of it, but I also want to improve my shooting and not feel like the gun is holding me back.

Thanks




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 Post subject: Re: Merkel 200E Opinions
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:24 pm
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Location: Tucson, AZ
I shoot S/C's three times a week, using any one of three Merkel 200e's and really enjoy their feel, swing and reliability. I am a hunter and I do not compete, I primarily shoot S/C's for entertainment during my off season, the Merkel is well suited for this and a joy to use.

I regularly use single and double triggers, and find I prefer double triggers as I have instant choke selection, once you adapt their use becomes habit.

I do reload and only shoot 7/8 Ounce loads in both my 12 and 20 Gauge guns, also a vest with reactor pad makes the recoil negligible.

If competing in S/C's, then this would not be my first choice.

Great choice, Good Luck,

Gene

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 Post subject: Re: Merkel 200E Opinions
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:46 am
Posts: 9
Thanks for the input, I emailed Merkel about the gun and they sent back that it was made in 1968. Not sure if that is better than any other year? If something should go wrong with this gun, am I going to have to search for a gunsmith that has mystical powers over European doubleguns and then spend $500 once I find him?

Also i meant fixed full/full chokes in my OP.


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 Post subject: Re: Merkel 200E Opinions
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:57 pm 
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Location: Tucson, AZ
Herbert Wohlmuth at Steyr Arms, located in Alabama, has repaired my Merkels the time one needed it for a broken hammer spring, repair is not a problem. I would send the barrels to Mike Orlen, look under Gunsmithing forum for contact info. He opened my chokes for a very reasonable fee, did a excellent job and his turn around time is great.

I have Merkels ranging from 1957 to 1985, and their quality is high throughout those years. Merkels were made in the GDR before reunification. I don't own any made after reunification, so cannot comment on their quality.

I really enjoy shooting my 200e models, and I shoot some a lot, one of my favorites has well over 10,000 rounds through it with no problems, they are long lived.

The one thing I would look for on any used Merkel for sale,is galling on the Hinge pin and/or knuckle where the forend joins the action. These guns are built to very tight tolerances, during break in galling is easy to introduce when they are not properly lubricated.

Gene

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 Post subject: Re: Merkel 200E Opinions
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:46 am
Posts: 9
One other thing, when I was inspecting the gun at the store I had the action open, and then walked across the room to place it on the table. I set it down with the action open, and my thumb on the lever that opens the action. My hand hit the table first and my thumb I guess applied some force on the lever, and the gun made a loud "click" and I think the release lever snapped back to its original position, although the action was still open. I didnt really think anything of it, but when the salesman tried to close the action a couple minutes later, he had to "open" the lever again to be able to close the barrels.

I'm not really sure if this is exactly what happened, but is this indicative of excessive wear? Something that should make me think twice about this gun?


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 Post subject: Re: Merkel 200E Opinions
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 11:23 pm 
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Location: Tucson, AZ
If you had placed the gun on it's right side, then the weight of the gun plus your grabbing it, probably put enough pressure on the hold open latch to cause the break open lever to close. On the early 200e's there is a lever that projects on the right side when the break open lever is engaged, it holds it in the open position till either, the action is closed or the small lever is depressed which releases the break open lever to a locked position.

Clear as mud, but I do not think their is cause for concern, of course, it is always advisable to have a knowledgeable gunsmith check the gun over before purchase.

Gene

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 Post subject: Re: Merkel 200E Opinions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:49 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 11:16 am
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Location: Western, WI
I have a couple older 200E's and my 1955 has that top lever release button on the right side. A simple push releases the top lever and takes the tension off the spring when the gun is disassembled for a length of time. The oblong button is fitted so well that you wouldn't know it's there when the action is closed.

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 Post subject: Re: Merkel 200E Opinions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:55 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:46 am
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OK, sorry for all the questions. One thing i forgot to check, do these guns have a field type safety that turns itself back on every time the action is opened, or is it purely manual? The automatic types get annoying when shooting clays.

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Merkel 200E Opinions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:08 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:24 pm
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Location: Tucson, AZ
All of my 200e's (5), have a manual safety.

Gene

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An e-collar is a great tool in the right hands, and a weapon in others. Nuff said!


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 Post subject: Re: Merkel 200E Opinions
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:56 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:55 am
Posts: 95
Location: Worcestershire, UK
I have a 203E (and a 303E), both 12 bore 28" and they are fine with sensible loads (up to 1 1/8 oz). For clays I usually shoot 3/4 oz, but that is from choice, not necessity. Merkels are lovely handling guns, much underrated (in the UK anyway). The only problem I have had has been a broken mainspring on the 303E, and both guns (double triggers on the 203 and single trigger on the 303) have needed the trigger pulls adjusting (were VERY heavy), but now behave perfectly at about 4 lbs.


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 Post subject: Re: Merkel 200E Opinions
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:05 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:23 pm
Posts: 448
Location: Upper Midwest
I have a 16 gauge 200E with double triggers. Mine is very light at 6lb 3oz, so I shoot mostly 3/4 oz reloads in it while shooting targets. The 12 gauge you're looking at is somewhere between 6.5 to 7.2 pounds. I would shoot targets with 7/8 oz loads no faster than 1200 fps. I reload so this is easy for me. The chokes are probably crazy tight, so you'll want to open them up. 200Es are incredibly well made guns with fantastic handling. I like the way they look. When you bring yours to the range you will get some very funny looks from the other shooters.
Jeff




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