Model: 202 E
Year of Manufacture: The original barrel and receiver are from the late 1940’s, at least two other barrel sets were manufactured in the late 1960’s-1970’s?
Caliber, Barrel Length, Choke, and Sights:
5 Barrel sets: (not in order of photography)
1) 12 gauge Over/Under (marked 28.8862 LB), the top bore measures .680”, and the bottom .700”, 27 ¾”
2) 20 gauge Over/Under (marked 40) , the top bore measures .590” , and the bottom .600”, 26 ½”
3) 12 gauge Over/Under (marked 28.88862 Merkel), the top bore measures .719”, and the bottom .719”, 27 ½”
4) .243 Winchester Over/Under . Barrel length 25”. This barrel set is mounted with a raised front ramp on which a beaded blade is mounted. The rear sight is also on a raised ramp and is a fixed sight in a dovetail slot. In addition, there are scope mounts and a Carl Zeiss Diatal – D 4×32 scope. The scope has the wide leg European duplex crosshairs. The serial number found on the bottom of the scope is “844086”. The scope optics are clear and of highest quality. The external scope is in very good plus condition with just a few handling marks and no dents or dings. The claw mounts show little use. There is a leather carrier with strap provided as well as rubber scope end covers. The leather is in very good condition with good stitching and has just a few scratches.
5) 12 gauge over 7×57 Over/Under (marked 20907). The top barrel bore measures .672”. The barrel is mounted with a bead atop a full length rib with a two position flip up rear sight. In addition, this set is mounted with scope mounts and a Hensoldt Wetzlar Diavari-D 1.2X-6X scope. The scope is a combination duplex and dot sight. There are three heavy bars at 90, 180 and 270 degrees. There is a fine crosshair connecting the 90 and 270 legs with a dot centered between them. The optics are clear and top quality with a small visible spot / occlusion about 1/3 of the way down from top center. The size of the three legs change as the power changes. There are detent stops for each half power level from 1.5-6. There is a serial number “215958” on the bottom of the scope. There are claw mounts attached to rails below the scope that fit into European mounts on the barrel. There is minor wear on the rail and mounts. The external scope has a few minor dings and scratches but no dents. There is a leather carrier with strap provided as well as rubber scope end covers. The leather is in very good condition with good stitching and has just a few scratches.
Action Type: Top Break Lever Actuated Over/Under
Receiver Markings: Markings for the barrels have been described below. The receiver has three sets of marks: 1) the left horizontal rail is marked with two proof marks, “NPF”, and an eagle, and “2405-67”, 2) the right rail is marked with three proof marks, “NPF”, Eagle, Eagle over “N”, and “4160.69”. Inside the receiver, it is marked “875.71: with another NPF and eagle proof. The bottom of the receiver is marked “Suhler Waffenwerk / Gebruder Merkel Suhl”. There is a beautifully detailed engraved scene of an eagle swooping down to three ducks just starting up in flight in a marshy area on the left side of the receiver. There is some surface pitting and discoloration. The right side shows a dog pointing at three pheasants with another pheasant in the background amidst trees. This surface also shows some surface pitting and discoloration.
Buttstock Configuration & Condition: The buttstock wood is beautifully grained and nicely checkered. The checkering is still sharp. There are scattered circular splotches on both sides of the buttstock, where perhaps chemical drips removed the finish. Otherwise, there are very few dings or marks. The LOP measures approx. 14 ¾” from the front trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttstock rates in about very good overall condition. The lower forend wood is common to all barrel sets. This wood is checkered and in very good condition. The checkering is sharp. There is just a small ¼” crack ahead of the release lever metal. The metal of the lever and the hinge has turned a dull gray. There is a finger guard behind the trigger guard made of rubber, an interesting accessory. Please see our photos.
Receiver Overall Condition: This receiver retains about 60% of its metal finish. The balance of the finish shows a general dulling of the finish over the engraved areas, with some minor surface frosting throughout the frame. The trigger guard is blue but has turned dull and has some beginning erosion. The lower tang behind the trigger guard is blue, also with some beginning erosion. The top of the receiver at the lever down to the safety has turned dull gray with some light surface erosion. The screw heads are sharp and undamaged. The markings are clear. Overall, this gun rates in about Very Good condition, with great metal and natural honest age.
The 12 Gauge O/U (LB) Barrel Set (number 1) (Newer Barrel)
The stocks are in good condition with some handling marks but no chips or cracks. The right side of the stock has compression marks about mid length, and a small compression gouge behind the rear screw. The stocks rate in about very good overall condition. This barrel set retains about 90% of its metal finish. The balance of the finish shows some mild pitting on the left side ejector, and some thinning/discoloration on the right side of the barrel set at the receiver. The screw heads are sharp. Overall, this barrel set rates in about Excellent condition. Markings: The bottom of the barrel set is marked “LB” in an oval, “Bohler Antinit NG”, 12/12/170, 28.8862 , and 2405.67″. There are four proof marks present. Bore Condition: The bores are nearly mirror bright. There is no erosion
The 20 gauge barrel set (number 2) (New Barrel)
The stocks are nicely grained wood in good condition with some handling marks, mostly on the left side, and a compression mark on the right side at the back of the wood. The stocks rate in about very good overall condition. This barrel set retains about 90% of its metal finish. The balance of the finish shows some minor scratches on the left side of the top barrel at the muzzle, and a small spot of surface rust about 3” back from the muzzle on the top barrel, right side. There is slight thinning of the blue on the right side of the barrel set at the receiver. The screw heads are sharp. Markings: The bottom of the barrel set is marked “20/20/78” and “40”, there are two proof marks , one resembles a script “E” and the other is unknown. The bottom of the barrel close to the receiver is marked “4160.69” “NPF” and eagle proof marks. There is a sling swivel installed. This barrel set has ejectors. This barrel set rates in about Fine overall condition. Bore Condition: The bores are bright almost mirror. There is no erosion.
The 12 Gauge O/U Merkel Barrel Set (number 3) (Original Barrel – Refinished)
The stocks are in good condition with some handling marks but no chips or cracks. The stocks rate in about very good overall condition. This barrel set retains about 80% of its reblued metal finish. The balance of the finish shows scattered dings erosion and mars that have been blued over. The rib has dings and small areas of blued over pitting. The screw heads are sharp. Overall, this barrel set rates in about Fair condition. Markings: The sides of the barrel set are marked “Gebruder Merkel / Suhl”. The bottom of the barrel near the receiver is marked “12.70mm “N” proof mark “SUHL” and “740”. The bottom of the barrel by the stock lug is marked “28.8862” and “Bohler Stahl” “Weichlot” “12” “L” “K” and “S”. There are several “GM” stamps. Bore Condition: The bores are gray. There is pitting and erosion in both barrels.
The .243 O/U Rifle set (number 4) (Newer Barrel)
The stocks are smooth wood with no cracks or chips. The stocks rate in about very good condition. This barrel set retains about 85% of its metal finish. The balance of the finish shows some surface pitting about two inches in front of the forend wood on the left side, and some minor scratches on the lower barrel at the muzzle. The rear sight looks case hardened and has some surface rust that should clean up well. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are clear. Overall, this barrel set rates in about excellent condition. Markings: The bottom of the barrels are marked “243 243 Win.” And 28.8864”, and “Bohler Rasani”, and “876.71”, there is an eagle and NPF proof as well as an “M” or “W” in a shield, and another proof marks that looks like “GD” over something. Bore Condition: The bores are bright. The rifling is sharp and deep. There is no apparent erosion. A good cleaning will improve these bores.
The drilling barrel set (number 5): 12 gauge over 7×57 (Original Barrel – Not Reblued?) :
The stocks are smooth wood. There is a small gouge and a small chip missing on the right side rear. The stocks rate in about Very Good overall condition. This barrel set retains about 50% of its metal finish. The balance of the finish shows general thinning and some scattered surface pitting on both sides at the sling swivel. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are clear. Overall, this barrel set rates in about Good condition. Markings: The left side of the barrel set at the receiver is marked “Gebruder Merkel / Suhl”. The bottom of the barrels are marked “20907”, and “St. m G / 9 gr.”, and “W.K.” in script, and “12 7×57”, and “Bohler Stahl” with a star , and “7mm 57” and “433”, and crown over “N” proof, and an eagle over “SUHL”, and another eagle and a crown over “C”. Bore Condition: The bores are bright there is no erosion. The rifling is sharp and deep.
Type of Finish: Blue Barrels and Engraved White Receiver
Finish Originality: Mix of Original & Refinished. Original finish on the receiver.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We did not fire this shotgun.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: There is a Browning leather case that holds three barrel sets provided along with 5 barrel sets and two scopes with mounts. The barrels and the scopes are described above. The condition of the Browning case is very good, if just a little dirty. The inside of the case is clean and “fur / synthetic fur” lines the case where the three barrel sets and the receiver / butt stock are held. The fur is white and a little dirty from storage. The other compartments inside the box are leather lined and are clean in Very Good condition. The box itself is flesh colored leather in Very Good overall condition, with some dirt on the front face but remarkably few dings / losses. The case is very serviceable. There is some frosting of the brass hardware. All of this will clean up well with some effort.
Our Assessment: What words can describe a five barrel set Merkel, with three shotgun sets, an over under rifle and a drilling: magnificent, spectacular, outstanding one a kind, custom, unique, superb, privileged, WOW! They all apply. This is from the Merkel website: “…but the beauty of a Merkel is more than skin deep. Qualities like cold hammer-forged steel barrels, actions built to perfection and high strength locking systems make your Merkel shotgun an heirloom to be passed down from generation to generation. Both side-by-sides (SxS) and over-and-unders (O&U) incorporate such features as Greener cross-bolts, or Kersten locks and double-barrel locking lugs.
All Merkel guns and rifles are fitted entirely by hand under the most stringent quality control procedures. Merkel shotguns are designed to meet the most demanding requirements not only for the field, but for competition as well. A long list of international and Olympic competition medals have accompanied the Merkel name throughout the twentieth century.”
We contacted the Merkel (Steyr) shop in the U.S. and discussed this fine gun with the helpful people there. It appears that the serial numbers and the proof marks were applied in Austria after the Merkel left the German factory. Ludwig Borovnik (Austria) was an authorized agent / manufacturer for Merkel who filled orders for additional barrel sets. There is a copy of the receipt from Ludwig Borovnik dated March 1970 that lists the 20 gauge barrel set and the matching serial number to this gun.
This gun is just magnificent. One of the most highly embellished works of art we have ever handled.
Sold For: $8,580