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 Post subject: DDR Merkel Model 8 Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 7:20 am 
Field Grade

Joined: Thu May 09, 2013 11:39 am
Posts: 44
Location: Rhode Island, USA
Hi all:

I'm interested in purchasing an East German Merkel Model 8 in 16-gauge. I have a few questions.

First, what is this kind of stock (picture in attachment) intended for?

The gun is choked 0.030" and 0.037", so I'm curious what this gun would've been intended to be used for, considering the high comb and tight choke. Which leads to my next question.

Second, are most of the Model 8s in the US made for the US market or are they guns that were imported as used from elsewhere? The seller hasn't listed a date code, but the gun's marked "Made in GDR", which makes me think Merkel made the gun for export (GDR is DDR in German - why would Germans mark a gun in English for domestic sale?).

Third, can these guns be threaded for Briley factory chokes or only Thin-Walls?

Thanks in advance!




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 Post subject: Re: DDR Merkel Model 8 Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:39 am 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:03 pm
Posts: 172
it is a cheek piece stock with pistol grip. Probably the most common German stock style for their domestic market, even with DT guns. Usually cast off for right hander.

The tight chokes do not surprise me. Full and Xtra Full for 16 gauge. I am assuming they are 70mm (2 3/4 inch) chambers but that too should be stamped on barel flats or water table or possible the ejector faces. German hunters shoot fur as well and feather and these tight chokes on their doubles seem pretty common unless someone ordered more open chokes or they have been opened along the way. They are not chrome lined bores so opening the chokes is no big deal. I'd recommend Mike Orlen in Amherst Mass.

The "Made in GDR" marking came out in the 1970s or so (I believe). I have a 1971 Merkel O/U not marked as made in GDR, even though it was obviously made in Suhl under Communist control as is virtually everything made in Suhl post WW2. One factory turned out Merkel, Simson, Fortuna, Haenel, etc. shotguns. Many of these guns were sold into West Germany. US Import restrictions kept many of them out of the US until after German re-unification in the mid 1980s. If there was a US Importer it should be stamped or etched with name and city per ATF regulations. If it came back into US from a service member or diplomat then it might not have importer mark.

There will be a date code stamped on the barrel flat or water table. Typically just month and year like 0571 or 5/71 for May 1971 as an example. Probably a Q1 symbol signifying export grade stamped or etched on the rear lug as well.

Hope this answers some of your questions.


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 Post subject: Re: DDR Merkel Model 8 Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 10:40 am 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:03 pm
Posts: 172
Actually looks like a Monte Carlo stock now that I am looking more carefully. Have you been able to get stock drop dimensions from the seller? Doesn't look like a typical field stock to me. I guess it was designed to shoot high with that comb. Like trap, rising birds, incoming driven birds perhaps. FWIW I'd get dimensions that work for me or a 3 day non shooting return right.

Not sure about Briley but most German shotguns of modern Era have adequate barrel wall thickness for thin wall chokes. I believe Briley asks for you to send barrels in for their inspection.


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 Post subject: Re: DDR Merkel Model 8 Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:26 am 
Field Grade

Joined: Thu May 09, 2013 11:39 am
Posts: 44
Location: Rhode Island, USA
simslax wrote:
Actually looks like a Monte Carlo stock now that I am looking more carefully. Have you been able to get stock drop dimensions from the seller? Doesn't look like a typical field stock to me. I guess it was designed to shoot high with that comb. Like trap, rising birds, incoming driven birds perhaps. FWIW I'd get dimensions that work for me or a 3 day non shooting return right.

Not sure about Briley but most German shotguns of modern Era gave adequate barrel wall thickness for thin wall chokes. I believe Briley asks for you to send barrels in for their inspection.


Right, at first look, I also thought the stock was a normal German-style hogback stock with a cheek piece, but then on second glance, the stock is relatively straight, not dropped like a hogback should be.

I emailed and received a date code of September, 1979 and the stock dimensions are:

Comb: 1 3/8
Heel: 2 5/8
Cast off: 1/4


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 Post subject: Re: DDR Merkel Model 8 Questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:03 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:03 pm
Posts: 172
Well "comb" measurement is simply not enough detail here because of the monte carlo stock shape. I'd want to know the "drop at cheek" measurement on that stock (taken about three to four inches behind the front or nose of the comb). If it is also near 1 3/8 inch then the stock will be virtually parallel for head placement, even if the butt sits low and well into your shoulder pocket.

To my eye that is trap style monte carlo stock and that shotgun is going to shoot high.
Just my opinion --- but I know it would not fit me as a field gun and I would not buy a 16 gauge sxs for trap. It is not a simple task to just rasp and sand down that monte carlo comb and produce normal field stock dimensions.

Sept 1979 sounds correct for the "Made in GDR" marking. I misspoke earlier-- my Merkel O/U is dated May 1970 (not 1971) and it does not have the Made in GDR engraving on it. It says only Gebruder Merkel with Suhl below that. But of course it was made in GDR .




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