by Charlie Jacoby
Generally, I like the sleek, new single-shot break-barrel rifle from Merkel. The company lent it to me for a week of red hind stalking in Argyllshire (my film is at the bottom of this review).
It is designed as a ‘mountain’ rifle: lightweight and with the break-barrel rifle’s reputation for greater accuracy than the bolt-action. It is Merkel’s go at matching the Blaser K95. I prefer the K95 (disclosure: Blaser sponsors films on Fieldsports Channel, Merkel does not).
The K5 grew out of the K120, the rifle Merkel produced for its 120th anniversary. Compared with the K3 and the K4, the stock shape makes it look prettier.
Here is Sebastian von Stauffenberg from Merkel to talk through the rifle:
It is a hogback stock with a Bavarian cheek piece. The stock has a double fold. This is both goodlooking (as Sebastian says in his film) and an important consideration. You are probably going to put a scope on it. Check this stock shape works for you and your chosen scope.
The stock on this rifle is in wood and has ebony finishes, which gives it a sense of contrast. Merkel has now changed the ebony to palisander wood for the finishes on the fore-end, pistol grip and the release.
The trigger system is adjustable longways and sideways. It is also wider than usual Merkel triggers, which I like.
Merkel has developed a silent new handcocking system for this rifle. Decocking is simple and easy and is more secure than a simple safety-catch. The gun simply can’t fired with cocking it.
It has a jaeger tilted block breech which locks steel on steel. One feature is that the block is removable. You simply take off the fore-end, take out the barrel, you push back the breech, click a button and you take out the entire tilted block. The block includes the firing pin. Pop it in your pocket and it reduces the rest of the rifle to a useless piece of wood and metal.
There are four versions of the K5
- The black version has a black bascule and the letters K5
- The Arabesque version has a silver-finished receiver with arabesques on it
- The Jagd version has an individually engraved receive with an animal on each side – including roebuck, wild boar, red deer, whitetail, fallow
- The custom version is whatever you like: a standard silver receiver but any kind of engraving you want on it.
Would I buy it? I prefer wood to carbon. Even though the Blaser K95 carbon is able to produce a much better-shaped stock than anything you can buy in wood, it’s wood all the way for me. I’d buy the K5 if I couldn’t afford the K95.
Want to see the Merkel K5 in action? We take it on a hind cull in Scotland:
Find out about the Merkel HLX suppressor here