Merkel is aiming to punch a toehold into the American market with a new rifle – the Merkel R-15 – that comes with everything but a hefty price tag.
Merkel has always had a knack at marrying elegance and performance in their firearms.
The German gun maker has been churning out truly unique and accurate specimens for more than a century. But whether it was one of its ornate double rifles or innovative Helix straight-pulls, shooters were going to pay to own a Merkel. But the times appear to be changing.
Recently, the Teutonic manufacturer expanded its gun library to include a model that should score a bull’s eye with the budget-minded. In the $700 range, the new Merkel R-15 has a price point that fits right into the American market. And if it preforms like the rest of the company’s offerings, then it could turn out to be among the best values out there.
The R-15 is a marked break from the company’s traditional fare, which focused on firearms that started at $5,000 and went up from there. Most likely, this change in course has been due to Steyr acquiring Merkel around 5 years ago. The Austrian gun maker has made a concerted push into America in recent years; the R-15 project appears to fit very much into this effort.
Merkel is offering two variations of the three-lug bolt action. There is a Grade-1 walnut stock model weighing in at 7 pounds 4.4 ounces. And there is a synthetic-stocked model that tips the scales at 6 pounds 9.8 ounces. There is also a price difference between the variations, with the wood-stocked R-15’s MSRP being $799 and the synthetic’s being $699.
Both models of the rifle share a number of common features, including the eight different calibers they're available in: 6.5x55mm, .243 Win., .270 Win, .308 Win., .30-06 Sprg., 9.3×62 Mauser, .300 Win. Mag and 7mm Rem. Mag.
The standard calibers are outfitted with 22-inch barrels, while the magnums have 24-inch barrels to help the rounds better achieve their ballistic potential. Standard calibers come with a three-round detachable box magazine, while the magnum’s holds two.
The R-15 comes without sights but is drilled and tapped for Savage-style mounts. The rifle has a direct trigger tuned to a snappy 2-pound 10-ounce pull weight.