7 mm Merrill

by
posted on November 10, 2014
ram.jpg

I am pleased to say that the original idea for this wildcat cartridge was mine. Since I am the most un-mechanical male on the planet, the actual development of the cartridge had to be done by Bob Smith and (mostly) Jim Rock of RPM (Rock Pistol Manufacturing). These guys know about mills and lathes and all. We all wanted a moderate velocity handgun cartridge in 7 mm, as that bore size looked to be just the ticket for long-range handgun work. It was the 70s and the heyday of IHMSA (International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association) matches. Targets were the thick steel cutouts of animals, placed at as much as 200 meters from the firing line. Since the targets were heavy, it took a pretty powerful blow to topple one. That’s particularly true of the 200 meter ram, which weighed 54 pounds. The range mandated an accurate cartridge with a flat trajectory.

It was a blue-collar sport and the founders were sensitive to the economics of shooting, so inexpensive single shot pistols were the order of the day—Contenders and Merrills. In these guns, a rimmed cartridge was clearly superior to all others, so I spent a lot of time pouring over ammunition manuals and loading books. I wanted a rimmed case (for easy extraction) with a medium powder capacity and convertible to 7 mm. There were no super computer programs to do the searching for you in those times.

After no small amount of effort, the lightbulb over my head went blink one night. My base cartridge was the .225 Win. It was based on the venerable .30-30 and designed by Winchester to replace the .220 Swift. Unlike a couple of other 7 mm wildcats, we gave the 7 mm Merrill the same shoulder angle as the 7 mm Rem. Mag. Using medium- to heavy 7 mm bullets in neck-expanded and fire-formed .225 cases, we got power, flat trajectory, accuracy and (barely) bearable recoil. I was happy to be associated with the project.

Latest

Maynard Carbine
Maynard Carbine

I Have This Old Gun: Maynard Carbine

Six years after his tape primer’s appearance, Dr. Maynard debuted a unique drop-barrel carbine. It was light, simple and easy to operate. One merely lowered a lever to permit the gun’s barrel to tilt downward off the frame and expose the chamber.

Editor’s Choice: Dementia And Firearm Safety

The 64-page booklet put out by DementiaEducation, Inc., discusses the topic of Alzheimer’s disease and the other causes of dementia with particular emphasis on how they impact responsible firearm ownership and use.

The Armed Citizen® Jan. 30, 2023

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

New For 2023: Glock 47 MOS

Designed initially as a contract gun for United States Customs & Border Protection agents, the Glock 47 MOS is now available to the commercial market.

Preview: Nebo Slim+ 1200

Nebo’s Slim+ 1200 is a multifunctional tool that carries very easily within a pants pocket or a purse, thanks to its convenient footprint.

Glass Bedding A Rifle Stock

Stock bedding isn’t the quickest and easiest process, but it can be done—and done well—with the proper preparation, tools and patience.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.