American Rifleman - October 2016 - 94

DOPE BAG

W

MERKEL MODEL 40E SIDE-BY-SIDE

hile some German makers
have devoted themselves to
more modern, technologically
advanced shotguns, Merkel still makes
traditional Teutonic over-unders, sideby-sides and drillings. But making oldschool guns the old-school way costs
craftsmen time, and therefore, money.
When importer Steyr Arms asked
for an "entry-level" gun, the Merkel
40E was the result. It seems a sticker
price of $6,995 to $10,995 is a barrier
to entry for some. The 40E, at $4,595,
is a Merkel without all the cosmetic
work that goes into hand-finishing
the stocks and hand-polishing and
engraving the metal of its other guns.
This is a "bird gun" in the vernacular
of the southern hunters that import
it. It can be used for other things,
obviously, but it is the Germanic
interpretation of the side-by-side
game gun perfected in England, in

The test gun's blued double
triggers were remarkably crisp
and consistent in pull weight.
An automatic safety on the
tang moves to the rear when
the action is opened.

94

terms of lines and features, about
a century-and-a-half ago.
The 40E's action is a self-cocking
Anson & Deeley boxlock. Its 2.15" tall
receiver is made from a steel forging
(Merkel offers three frame sizes, but
only 12- and 20-gauge on the 40E),
and like one would expect, it is stronger than it needs to be. There are side
clips on either side of the water table,
providing extra strength where the
chambers butt against the receiver.
The receiver's bottom is 1.53" across,
while it measures 1.63" where the
receiver and barrels meet.
Lockup is by an H-shaped locking block in the receiver that mates
to Purdy-style double underlumps.
And there is a third locking point,
a 0.247"-diameter Greener crossbolt
top lock.
Merkel cold-hammer-forges its own
barrels in house and then rust-blues
them. The 277⁄8" barrels have fixed
chokes, and the 20 gauge was listed
as "Improved" for the right barrel and
"Modified" for the left. Both bores
measured a slightly oversize 0.626" (20
is nominally 0.615"), with the right
barrel's choke constricting .0061"-
right where improved cylinder
should be. The modified barrel's 0.011" constriction was
right on the money for that
choke, too. The top rib is
grooved to reduce glare,
tapers from 0.46" at the
breech to 0.31" at the
muzzle, and is topped by a
OCTOBER 2016

AMERICAN RIFLEMAN

single 0.15" brass near the muzzle.
The 40E opens via a blued top
lever, and it has an automatic safely
on its tang. When the gun is opened,
the safety button moves to the rear,
revealing an "S" on the tang, and
both triggers are blocked. Ejection is
selective-automatic, but the gun can
be converted to extraction-only by
a gunsmith. A single-selective (via a
button on the blade) mechanical trigger or traditional double triggers are
available, but the test gun had blued
double triggers, which proved remarkably crisp and consistent in pull
weight. The front trigger's right barrel
has a more open choke, while the rear
trigger's left barrel is tighter. If a bird
gets up out there a ways, the hunter
needs only to slide his finger back and
slap the rear trigger.
Retention of the splinter fore-end,
which has 28-l.p.i. machined checkering
in a bordered point pattern, is by a steel
Deeley & Edge latch inlet into its underside. There is light engraving, the screws
are timed and the inletting as extremely
well done. Like the fore-end iron, the
long blued tang of the trigger guard was
well inlet flush with the stock, and its
screws are timed, too. The wood-to-metal
fit was deliberately and universally proud
where the stock and receiver meet.
The sample 40E has a straightgripped, or English-style, stock (a
pistol grip with a plastic grip cap is
also offered), and this is another area
where the price concessions come into
play. Called "Grade 2" (out of five) by



American Rifleman - October 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - October 2016

Contents
American Rifleman - October 2016 - Cover1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - Cover2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - Contents
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 3
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 4
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 5
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 6
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 7
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 8
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 9
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 10
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 11
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 12
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 13
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 14
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 15
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 16
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 17
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 18
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 19
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 20
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 21
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 22
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 23
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 24
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 25
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 26
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 27
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 28
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 29
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 30
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 31
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 32
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 33
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 34
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 35
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 36
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 37
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 38
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 39
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 40
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 41
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 42
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 43
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 44
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 45
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 46
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 47
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 48
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 49
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 50
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 51
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 52
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 53
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 54
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 55
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 56
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 57
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 58
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 59
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 60
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 61
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 62
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 63
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 64
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 65
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 66
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 67
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 68
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 69
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 70
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 71
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 72
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 73
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 74
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 75
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 76
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 77
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 78
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 79
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 80
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 81
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 82
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 83
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 84
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 85
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 86
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 87
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 88
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 89
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 90
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 91
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 92
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 93
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 94
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 95
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 96
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 97
American Rifleman - October 2016 - C1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - C2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - E1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - E2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - MW1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - MW2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - S1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - S2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - SW1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - SW2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - W1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - W2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 100
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 101
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 102
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 103
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 104
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 105
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 106
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 107
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 108
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 109
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 110
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 111
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 112
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