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  #1  
Old 11-26-2008, 01:29 AM
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Question Rex Merrill


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Anyone here ever heard of or know anything about Rex Merrill single shot pistols. I believe they were made for long range shooting. Great craftsmanship but I know nothing about the one I acquired.
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  #2  
Old 12-05-2008, 05:47 AM
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The original Merrill pistols were accurate, but as they were chambered in heavier calibers, many of them had extraction difficulties, due to a relatively weak extractor. Many of those guns could be seen on IHMSA firing lines in the late 70's and early 80's with their users carrying a cleaning rod "just in case", to punch out the empties that failed to extract.
Mr. Merrill sold the business (perhaps in the 70's, as I recall) to Jim Rock, who subsequently renamed the pistol the RPM XL (for Rock Pistol Manufacturing). Jim ultimately developed an improved lever actuated mechanical extraction system which worked well. The external extractor and lever could be seen on the outside of the action on these guns.
Jim was an extraordinary long range shooter and set perhaps 80 or so national silhouette records shooting his guns. Bob Kelly, who worked for Jim was also a frequent record setter and championship winner, fully the equal of Jim. Jim finally retired, well into his 70's, around the turn of the century, and his son-in-law, Gary Wrigley, a well known silhouette shooter, began to produce some pistols. I don't recall the name of the new small manufacturing company, but it might be "Granite Mountain..?"
The RPM and earlier Merrills could have interchangeable barrels, but each had to be fitted at the factory, as opposed to the "over the counter" adaptability of their competitor, the T/C Contender.
I own only one RPM XL with 2 barrels: a .356 Win. 12", and a .30 Merrill in 14 1/2". Both are quite accurate, particularly the .30 Merrill.
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  #3  
Old 12-05-2008, 05:51 AM
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I just noticed your screen name, "Missouri Raider". Gary Wrigley lived in or around St. Louis when I last had contact with him. If you can locate him, he may be able to tell you more.
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  #4  
Old 12-10-2008, 01:57 PM
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Gateway Precision Arms

The original Rex Merrill Sportsman Pistol often referred to as the narrow frame version was intended primarily as a silhouette or target pistol. It lacked some of the perks of the newer models such as the external mechanical extraction, thumb lever actuated opening, etc., and was most often chambered for rimmed cartridges such as the Merrill and Rocket series. Many of the older guns came with slab sided barrels and were hand crafted works of art. I have a beautiful hard chrome 10.5" narrow frame in .30 Merrill that is exceptionally accurate, and has accounted for a number of whitetail deer.

The newer wide frame model known as the RPM Hunter is equipped with the thumb lever, and the positive extraction system, which allows the use of the rimless cartridge designs (i.e. 308 Win., .358 Win., etc.). Factory muzzle brakes and a Talley scope mounting system are also available from the factory. With the exception of a very few prototype stainless steel frames, both the Merrills and RPMs are finished in hard chrome. This pistol design employs a large barrel underlug that bears directly against the frame, and is substantially stronger than the locking system used by T/C. There is no stress on the hinge pin, and RPM's can safely be fired without the hinge pin in place.

I understand that Jim Rock is now doing some business in Tucson fitting in-stock barrels to the older narrow frame models. Gary Wrigley sells new guns, and can retrofit the older models with the positive locking system, and thumb lever actuated opening.

The name of the company is Gateway Precision Arms, and the address is:

Gary J. Wrigley, President
GATEWAY PRECISION ARMS
8301 Crest Industrial Dr., Ste. C
Afton, MO 63123-2509
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  #5  
Old 12-10-2008, 05:15 PM
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Welcome to the forum, and thank you for that detailed information.
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  #6  
Old 02-13-2009, 04:23 PM
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Rex-Merrill

Very true about the extractors on the old ones.

I used a .30 Herrett and a .357 mag for IHMSA competition back in the early '80's.
The .357 was loaded hot!! (Jim Rocks loads) using 200 grain bullets... unfortunately, they wouldn't extract... hence the cleaning rod to pound them out... I think that was eventually outlawed...

I saw this thread and had to go pull it out of the safe. Originally it had what I remember as a roller trigger that was much too sensitive. They replaced it with a very light trigger... Thumb safety, and the Krieghoff style barrel release...

Jim
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  #7  
Old 02-21-2009, 03:12 AM
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As a follow up to Sawfish's comments, my RPM XL Hunter is one of the ones with a stainless frame. I bought it at live auction at the SCI Convention in Las Vegas in '97. The SCI lion and shield logo is also etched into the frame. It was originally a .356; I later had Jim retro fit the .30 Merrill barrel.

Last edited by Ken ONeill; 02-21-2009 at 03:14 AM.
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  #8  
Old 03-02-2009, 08:26 AM
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.30 Merrill cast bullet loads

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken ONeill View Post
The original Merrill pistols were accurate, but as they were chambered in heavier calibers, many of them had extraction difficulties, due to a relatively weak extractor. Many of those guns could be seen on IHMSA firing lines in the late 70's and early 80's with their users carrying a cleaning rod "just in case", to punch out the empties that failed to extract.
Mr. Merrill sold the business (perhaps in the 70's, as I recall) to Jim Rock, who subsequently renamed the pistol the RPM XL (for Rock Pistol Manufacturing). Jim ultimately developed an improved lever actuated mechanical extraction system which worked well. The external extractor and lever could be seen on the outside of the action on these guns.
Jim was an extraordinary long range shooter and set perhaps 80 or so national silhouette records shooting his guns. Bob Kelly, who worked for Jim was also a frequent record setter and championship winner, fully the equal of Jim. Jim finally retired, well into his 70's, around the turn of the century, and his son-in-law, Gary Wrigley, a well known silhouette shooter, began to produce some pistols. I don't recall the name of the new small manufacturing company, but it might be "Granite Mountain..?"
The RPM and earlier Merrills could have interchangeable barrels, but each had to be fitted at the factory, as opposed to the "over the counter" adaptability of their competitor, the T/C Contender.
I own only one RPM XL with 2 barrels: a .356 Win. 12", and a .30 Merrill in 14 1/2". Both are quite accurate, particularly the .30 Merrill.
Ken, Hi. You mentioned in your replay that you've had good accuracy with the .30 Merrill. I have one that I've used many years ago when involved in Silhouette. I used jacketed bullets at that time. Do have any reduced loads using ~200gr. cast bullets? I certainly would appreciate any help. Thanks.

Adrian T.
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  #9  
Old 03-16-2009, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tambasci View Post
Ken, Hi. You mentioned in your replay that you've had good accuracy with the .30 Merrill. I have one that I've used many years ago when involved in Silhouette. I used jacketed bullets at that time. Do have any reduced loads using ~200gr. cast bullets? I certainly would appreciate any help. Thanks.

Adrian T.
WolfTrap here,
I load for both Jacketed and cast 30 Merrill using the RCBS 165 Silhouette and 200 SACO boolit in which the 165 was more accurate. If interested I'll jot down some data for you.
I also load both ways for XP 6BR* 7 TCU TC/XP, 7BR MOA/XP, 7International TC 30 Herrett TC/Merrill, 357 Herrett TC and Bob Milek/Steve Herrett's XP-100 300 Herrett Pistols.
WolfTrap

*Only caliber that doesn't work for me
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  #10  
Old 03-19-2009, 03:05 AM
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Hi WolfTrap. I located some RCBS 165 gr. Sil I would like to take you up on your offer for handloads for the Merrill with that bullet. Thanks.

Adrian
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  #11  
Old 04-23-2009, 02:28 PM
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Question 30 Merrill

Quote:
Originally Posted by WolfTrap View Post
WolfTrap here,
I load for both Jacketed and cast 30 Merrill using the RCBS 165 Silhouette and 200 SACO boolit in which the 165 was more accurate. If interested I'll jot down some data for you.
I also load both ways for XP 6BR* 7 TCU TC/XP, 7BR MOA/XP, 7International TC 30 Herrett TC/Merrill, 357 Herrett TC and Bob Milek/Steve Herrett's XP-100 300 Herrett Pistols.
WolfTrap

*Only caliber that doesn't work for me
Can you tell me what primer do you use for the 30 Merrill ? I have a bunch of 225 brass necked to 30 cal for the 30 Merrill. Thank you
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  #12  
Old 04-28-2009, 03:31 AM
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I had a bunch of Federal BR primers small and large I used in competition. I know it's overkill for most of the shooting I now do. But I have them, so I'm using them up.

Adrian
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  #13  
Old 04-28-2009, 04:20 PM
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Tambasci,
I'm sorry for the delay in responding, but I just saw your inquiry a few moments ago. No, I'm sorry I don't have any 200 gr. loads. I always used the 150 Hornady.
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  #14  
Old 08-24-2009, 08:17 PM
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Just passing thru and have to comment. I visited Rex's shop,just up the road from me in the late 70's. Fell in love with a 22 LR pistol with a scope and a wire wrist rest. He showed me a 30-30 and I thought..."what in the world". Then he showed me the IHMSA targets it was used on. He had farmers come in on off season and help him build the guns. I was fascinated by the whole process..... so close to home. Little did I know at the time that I would become a hand cannon IHMSA shooter a few years later. Ate supper with his son(Steve?) in 84 at the IHMSA Internationals at Idaho Falls. I have to wonder who/where Rex's first pistol ended up at. It was crude...but the beginning of it all. The shop is still standing as of a few weeks ago in Rockwell City,but it's a furniture store or something like that. I still have Rex's obit hanging on the refrigerator....someplace under all the magnets.
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  #15  
Old 01-23-2010, 07:01 PM
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Question Owners Manual or any printed material

Hi: I am looking to acquire an owners manual or sales brochure or any printed material on the operation of the Rex Merrill pistol?
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  #16  
Old 02-04-2011, 05:39 PM
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I too have been looking for info on that pistol. Pretty much a ghost on the internet. Just found out that Rex's son, Linus"Buzz" Merrill passed away last year at 74 years. Rex was 91 and passed away in 1999. I have met and shot with Jim Rock and Gary Wrigley,years ago. Somebody needs to find a lot of info and write a book before it is all lost to time.
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  #17  
Old 02-05-2011, 04:54 AM
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A good friend of mine and a gunsmith used to shoot two of the RPM pistols in NRA Hunters Pistol a .22 LR and a .32-20 .I'll see if he still has them and maybe some more info.Very accurate handguns.
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  #18  
Old 02-06-2011, 08:22 AM
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rpm XL

I have 2 rpm xl's , with a extra barrel for each. 357 mag / 44 mag and 32/20 / 22 lr match excellent guns ! extremely accurate i shot these 2 in sillewet matches for about 10 years and did very well with them shooting in the AAAA class . i used cast bullets exclusively in all calibers. 357/ 200 gr rcbs, 44 mag /240 gr rcbs sil , 32/20 165 gr rcbs sil.
They are alot better to shoot off hand than the contender but now you can use the taco hold but i stopped shooting before this became popular
I have sales catalogs that i could photocopy and mail out ! just pay costs
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