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Thread: Help to identyfying Suhl gun

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2015

    Help to identyfying Suhl gun

    I got the old gun - officially Merkel Suhl (8x57IR - 16/65). According to stamps, the first proof was between 1912-1939 and the second at March 1955, probably (NDR)? According to form the word "Nitro", it was impletented in Zella Mehllis, but I dont know if it is the first or the second proof. There is not complete inscription on the top barrel: M-----J.B/Suhl (due the placement riflescope montage). There is one Kersten lock. Is it possible it is Merkel Suhl? The serial number is quite low 15xx. I cant read the stamp on the block over and under the "crown with N" and "U" - it looks like letters HK or something that and on the second side are two stamps probably of the proofing house.

    I will be very happy for your response


    Here are some photos:

    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    here is the photo of the top rib

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    East Alabama
    Your gun was proofed at Zella-Mehlis in July,1932(7,32), and was the 355th to be proofed in that month(ledger number 355) The ledger number seems to have been confused for a second proof date. At this time, Suhl did not stamp the ledger number onto the guns, so the existence of a ledger number indicates it was proofed at ZM. Another indication of this is the word "Nitro" being in "Script", Suhl used Block letters. Since it was proofed in ZM, it is highly unlikely to have been put together in Suhl, therefore, unlikely to be a Merkel Brothers. Suhl makers almost never had their work proofed at ZM. However there was a good bit of commerce between these areas. It was common to have ZM guns marketed by Suhl firms and for ZM makers to buy barrels/ receiver forgings from Suhl firms. There were several "Merkels" other than the famous Merkel Brothers. There were also other firms whose names started with "M". Since the inscription on the rib is only partially remaining, I'm afraid you won't be able to ID who put the gun together, or who marketed it.
    I was pretty excited to see the scope mounts on the gun. Many German guns came to the US with claw mount bases; but no rings/scopes. There is a thread on this forum about mounting scopes on these guns, this thread is active now. I reported on that thread and others that Ernst Apel Wuerzburg(EAW) had developed a retrofit system to economically convert old claw mount bases to swing mounts. Your gun has either this or a similar system installed in the old claw mount bases. If you have the swing mount rings/scope, it would be very helpful if you would post photos of them mounted and dismounted.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Your gun is definitely not a "Merkel, Suhl", neither a Gebrueder Merkel, nor a Oskar, Bernhard or E.A. Merkel. You are right, it was proofed in Zella – Mehlis, but only one time, 7/32 = July 1932. "855" is a typical Zella – Mehlis proofhouse ledger number, gun number 855 proofed that month. It was proofed for either the 8x57IR or IRS cartridge, as the land diameter 7.8mm shows.
    The o/u combination gun is a typical product of the Zella-Mehlis guntrade: single Greener crossbolt, Blitz locks = triggerplate lockwork, style and engraving.
    You don't show the proofmarks of the shot barrel. It is likely a 16 bore. If there isn't a "70" among the proofmarks, it is chambered for the 65 mm = 2 ½" case.
    I read the first letter of the maker's address as an H. "B/Suhl" means "bei (=near) Suhl", a common way to get the more prestigious "Suhl" into a humble Z-M address. The HK besides the proofmarks points to the maker also, but these marks were not registered. Combined with the 1930s date that leaves us with the possible gunmakers Heinrich Kolb, Heinrich Koenig, Hugo Koenig, Hermann Krausser, Hans Kuehrt, all active at the time in Zella-Mehlis and nearby villages.

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