My landlord (yes I had to leave my house because of work at least for a while) asked me to store a few of his firearms for the winter while he went to Florida. I have a safe to keep them. Plus he knows I have some knowledge of the net and he wants to sell some guns. So I've been doing some research on the guns starting with this Emil Kerner u. Sohn rifle.
This is a German rifle built by Kerner and his son. They operated out of the Suhl region in Germany which was famous for firearms before the World Wars. I have seen it said that Kerner and his operation actually became known as Suhl, the company that builds the rimfire rifles we hear are equal to Anschutz rifles. That's one thing I'd like to know more about.
I'm currently living in the Cincinnati region, which has a substantial German heritage. So it's no surprise that a rifle like this would show up here. My landlord doesn't really know much about the history of this rifle so I'm trying to learn what I can.
First a few things about the rifle. It's a .22 Hornet. It had quite a few black powder rounds fired through it so there is some pitting inside the bore but it isn't substantial. There is a small chip in the stock around the receiver but it causes no problems.
This rifle has an octagon barrel and a double set trigger, both of which are very common to these rifles. There aren't that many of these rifles around that I can find but they all seem to have the same barrel and trigger. And the trigger is fabulous. I test fired it and told my wife that's a 2 oz. trigger. Then I asked my landlord and he said indeed it was a 2 oz. trigger. It is a very sweet design. It's no wonder it was popular in German rifle making.
Yes that's a finger rest below the trigger guard. It's also the release for the break down action of the rifle. It is a single shot rifle. It also has a very think palm stock. Again these are common features although the exact design of the finger rests varies from maker to maker to suit their tastes I suppose.
The barrel has iron sights installed including a v rear sight with another v sight that pops up for firing longer distances. But there are claw type scope mounts on the rifle. I'm not sure if these are Redfield type mounts but someone hinted they were. I'm not that familiar with them myself.
You might have noticed there is some metal work on this rifle. There are examples of similar rifles that have a great deal of ornate metal work. Those rifles can get very expensive. This one is fairly plain in comparison. It does have some information under the barrel.
Notice the crowns. There are also flower patterns around the rifle and a large crown design on the receiver.
Now for what I've learned about similar rifles. There seems to be two different styles of rifles that are related to this design. One type would be the German Schuetzen Rifle. They share the octagon barrel, the double trigger, the cheek riser, the small front stock and the iron sights. Schuetzen rifles were used for competitions mostly in Germany. The contests date back as early as any firearm accuracy contests. They started in the military and eventually spread to the civilian population around 1840. There was also a very active Schuetzen competition organization around Cincinnati up until the first world war when anti-German sentiment caused the competitions to end. But those rifles generally had butt stocks made to fit around the upper arm instead of butting against the shoulder. You've seen the curved stocks I'm sure. Those rifles can be very ornate. Some were clearly made for royalty in fact. They shot off hand for 200 yards which explains the heavy barrel but the light front stock. There were limits on the type of rest a person could use on the front stock too. They were generally confined to using particular ammo and I don't think the .22 Hornet was one of their choices. Still there are a lot of similarities to the rifle here in my safe.
Shooting black powder .22 Hornet ammo would date this rifle to just before WWI when the Schuetzen competitions were at their height in this area. But this rifle doesn't have the curved butt stock so again there are questions.
There is another type of German rifle that is also very similar and came out of the same regions of production. The stalking rifle shares many features with the Schuetzen rifles. They have the octagon barrels, the double triggers, the cheek rest and sometimes the thin front stock. Those guys also often had the same type of butt stock (shoulder type) that the rifle here has.
I have a lot more information I've picked up about these rifles. I know the one here has a standard layer of patina that is similar to what I see in the photos of all these rifles both of the Schuetzen type and the stalking rifle type.
So of course I'm fishing for information here. All I can get. And the main question is as always, how much is it worth? Is it a stalking rifle or a Schuetzen or neither? Is it something else? Did Kerner really go on to become known, with his sons, as the Suhl rifle makers. Some rifles actually ave Kerner's name and the word Suhl on them. There are photos of them around the net but I don't have permission to use those photos.
Any help would be appreciated. I don't want to try to burn someone up selling this rifle but I don't want to see my landlord come up short either. I'm doing this mostly as a favor although he did offer me a small amount to help him sell the rifle. I don't want someone to be doing my research for me but if you know the answers to some of my questions I'd be obliged if you could help me. I help people when I can. I'm hoping I can find some help now myself.
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February 3, 2013, 01:41 PM
Very nice rifle. Those are typical german claw mount bases, not redfield.
cheek piece is more austrian style than german.
too bad the scope isn't still with the gun since fitting a new set of rings to those bases will run a minimum of $400
February 3, 2013, 02:54 PM
My landlord is great at making his own stuff. He has a machine shop and he swears he can build a set of rings for this rifle easily. Looking around at the other work he's done I don't doubt it one bit. He even says he can fabricate any parts that might break on the rifle. I had said it would be really hard to find parts if something went wrong. That's all well and good for him but I don't have a machine shop. I'd think really hard about buying this rifle myself if I didn't have to worry about parts. I'm not into collectibles too much but this rifle has to shoot great. I haven't had a chance to shoot it yet but I hope to soon.
The scopes I've seen for these guns don't look real great anyway IMO. They have a very small objective lens compared to what we see now. The rifle was made to shoot off hand mostly anyway I believe so I'd probably just keep using the iron sights. But everyone has their own tastes.
What about the stock says Austrian? I've seen a lot of German rifles with this stock but I sure don't know the whole story by a long shot.
February 3, 2013, 03:24 PM
The .22 Hornet's ancestry is generally attributed to experiments done in the 1920s using the black-powder .22 WCF at Springfield Armory. Winchester adopted what had so far been a wildcat cartridge in 1930, producing ammo for a cartridge for which no commercially made guns yet had been built. It wasn't until 1932 that any company began selling commercially made guns for the cartridge.
February 3, 2013, 03:49 PM
the rings are not easy to make and even harder to properly fit to the bases.
the claws must be fitted so that the bottom of the ring fit 100% to the top of the footplate, with zero play sideways and up and down. the rear ring height can now be determined by measuring the distance between the rear base top to scope tube, measurement should be within 0.002", again making sure front ring is in 100% contact with footplate, and no stress. Then ringheight is milled and last the locking is fitted to rear ring/base, again with 100% fit in base recesses and locking slide. If done correctly, scope can be put on and off with no impact change and no stress on tube/action. There's a lot more involved in fitting, but this is a brief explanation of the process.
because of the spacing of the bases you will have to use a scope with a small objective or use very high rings to allow the scope to pivot up high enough to release the front ring.
if your landlord has a full machine shop it would be much easier for him to make a set of dovetails with talley or eaw swing style tops
the cheekpiece on that rifle is more common on austrian built rifles but the rifle could have been built for an austrian customer or the smith might have just prefered that style over the more common pancake style
February 3, 2013, 03:55 PM
5.6x36R is the german version of the 22 hornet, its sometimes marked 5.6mmx35 or 5.4x35.
can you post a better pic of the marking on the underside of the barrel
February 3, 2013, 05:40 PM
as for value, I would say put it in a large firearm auction (maybe even gunbroker), to get maximum value.
February 3, 2013, 06:04 PM
Here's a copy of that photo that I didn't reduce. I was trying to avoid as much data size as I could on the photos. I can take a better photo most likely if I work on it. I can get out a different camera with macro lenses if nothing else. But I think this one will help out.
There is a marking that says 5,3mm and then it says 3/25. I couldn't find any reference to either. My landlord has been shooting the rifle for years so I guess it must be .22 Hornet or he's getting senile one. ;)
I figure I will put the rifle up for sale on an auction site but I should go with a reserve since it isn't my rifle. I will be discussing this with my landlord anyway. Whatever he says I guess.
Gordon from what you say that puts the rifle being made a little later than I had thought. I had seen that the .22 Hornet went back 80 years but that was in an old post. I had thought it might have come out just before WWI but it sounds like it would have been after that war. That makes me think it is less likely to have been used as a Schuetzen rifle. But maybe there were some contests after WWI in this area. Again it was a very popular sport around Cincinnati way back when. I would have thought it wouldn't have been until the 30's that a whole lot of anti-German sentiment got going with Hitler and his wacky bunch coming to power. But this is all guess work really. Not having any date markings at all and the records from that era of manufacturing having all been destroyed in WWII makes for some tough going on research.
To be honest I really don't care all that much about the date. I'd just like to know what the primary function of the rifle was. Both the Schuetzen rifles and the stalking rifles seem to bring a high price these days but I'd like to know how to list it in an auction. I'd like to know where I should set the reserve too. I'd hate to see my landlord lose money on this like his "friend" from the LGS tried to do for him. I know that disappointed him because he expected more from the guy because they had known each other a long time. But he knew his rifle was pretty valuable. It was certainly more than the $300 he was offered for it. It's worth a lot more than that going by the other examples I've seen and what they sold for. I'm sure my landlord isn't going to hold out for some crazy price like some people do on the auction sites but I doubt he would want to list it and see it sell for $20 either.
February 3, 2013, 08:35 PM
You show what I would call a light stalking rifle.
The (Crown) [letter] stamps on the bottom of the barrel are German proof marks, the (Crown) E signifying that it was considered an Express rifle and tested with a heavier load. I can't see the 3/25 being anything but the date it was tested.
Caliber 5.6x35R is the German smokeless loading of the old .22 WCF. It is more powerful than the (mostly) black powder .22 WCF but not up to the .22 Hornet. I think it retains the larger .226" bullet of the WCF and not the .222-.223" bullet of the early Hornets.
It is commonly referred to as the .22 Vierling because it was often used in the fourth barrel of a multi-purpose gun. A typical vierling would have two shot barrels, a high power rifle barrel, and a small game barrel.
The barrel is rusty probably because it was shot with corrosively primed smokeless ammunition, not black powder.
It is not powerful enough for even the small roe deer of Europe. They have rabbits and hares there that are a good deal bigger than the US cottontail or jackrabbit, maybe that is what it was aimed at, kind of like the English Rook and Rabbit Rifles which are of similar configuration.
Or maybe you could shoot an auerhahn. I don't know if that would be considered sporting, kind of like shooting a turkey with a rifle instead of a shotgun.
February 3, 2013, 09:15 PM
February 3, 2013, 09:19 PM
.22 Vierling= nitro
February 3, 2013, 09:35 PM
very cool rifle. whats the deal with the Double triggers on a single barrel?
February 3, 2013, 09:55 PM
whats the deal with the Double triggers on a single barrel?
its called a double set trigger. the front trigger can be used as you would normaly, but if you pull the rear trigger first it sets the front trigger to a pull weight of just a couple ounces.
it sounds complicated but once you've worked with a couple of them they are quite simple
February 3, 2013, 10:02 PM
One on the triggers when pulled is a "match grade" trigger while the other is regular I believe, or something along those lines. It is worth alot more than 300 dollars. I would set the reserve at what the least, your friend is willing to take for it, maybe enter it in a live auction, as there are some big spenders who dont know the value in firearms and could overbid. But first, you need to know the value as it could be very rare.
February 3, 2013, 11:30 PM
I knew that primers could be corrosive but I thought certain types of black powder could be corrosive also. At any rate that's what the owner said caused the pitting and I'm just not familiar enough with black powder to know any different. I hear things but they could come from bad sources. I think the deal was the black powder would hold moisture against the steel on the inside of the bore and that is what would cause the pitting. But again I'm no expert on any of this.
Are you saying this rifle would not be safe with .22 Hornet ammo Jim? I know that's what my neighbor uses. I wonder about the length of the chamber and the ammo and whether they match up correctly. I haven't seen any signs of damage in the bore. And again that's something I've read on the net about cartridge length not being right for the chamber. Specifically I heard that about shooting .22 shorts in a rifle designed only for LR's.
If you're familiar with the set trigger on CZ's lobo9er then you'll have a pretty good idea how this double set trigger works. Instead of pushing the trigger forward to "set" the trigger to a lower pull weight you use another trigger to do the job. I saw double set triggers on shotguns when I was a kid and people would bring expensive European shotguns to our backyard trap range. They were beautiful guns but I never even saw anyone shoot one. They were basically collectors items at the time. I had never seen an actual double set trigger on a rifle until I saw this. I knew they were out there but I had never seen one.
That's the plan for setting the price reserve on this rifle Awsomepossum. The problem is the owner doesn't know what the reserve should be either. He was counting on me to figure that out for him actually. I'm just plugging along trying to learn all I can including what kind of prices these rifles bring.
I will say what I've seen on rifles similar to this and the competition rifles (I think it is true that this is more of a stalking rifle or maybe just a Frankenrifle). I've seen the competition rifles go for as high as $50,000 but those were clearly rifles made for royalty. The one I'm sitting on is not like that. But I have seen them go from between $500 and $20,000. The more ornate the rifle the higher the price generally. And I saw lots of stalking rifles going from $2000 to $15,000. I have no idea where to put this rifle in that range. Even some of the plain jane models I've seen were getting high prices. I think that may be a function of who made them. Ballard seems to be the most sought after brand but from what I've read Emil and his family were known to produce quality work. There just aren't very many of them though. That makes them rare but it also makes them hard to get a price range on them.
What I'm thinking is to try selling the rifle with a $2000 reserve and see how that goes. It isn't out of the world of reality I don't think. I could be wrong of course and if I am feel free to tell me so. I've learned a lot in this thread already and I hope to learn a little more. I'm not asking for bids here or anything. I'm just trying to get some direction so I don't look too much like an idiot.
BTW the owner has used this rifle mainly as a groundhog rifle. It seems to be about the right size for that. There is a substantial coyote problem here too. I would assume this rifle would deal with them fairly well.
February 4, 2013, 12:07 AM
Black powder residue can hold moisture and be corrosive, no doubt about it.
BUT: The old style chlorate primer is a much worse corrosive agent. It deposits little grains of potassium chloride down the barrel which pick up humidity and turn into little drops of salt water. Ick. Actually early smokeless rifles were more likely to rust than black powder guns because everybody knew that you had to thoroughly clean black. The newfangled smokeless didn't leave much in the barrel to see, so why bother, right? Wrong.
ALSO: I find no indication that the 5.6x35R Vierling was ever loaded with black powder in Europe. To the contrary, my sources say it was produced by loading the old .22 WCF with smokeless powder and jacketed bullets instead of black and lead. Also, quoted velocities even from early days are just too high for black.
If your guy has shot it with .22 Hornet without signs of excess pressure like pierced primers and sticky extraction, it is probably ok. Frank DeHaas cautions against it because the German barrels are smaller I.D., not larger as I thought. But if he can, he can.
February 4, 2013, 12:56 AM
I think I'm going to want to see the rifle fire several rounds of .22 Hornet before I list it for him. I wouldn't want something to blow up in someone's face (literally and figuratively). My guess is that it would be ok because as we all know test results are usually fudged on the side of caution. I'd like to know where the owner got the idea it was .22 Hornet too. And also why he thought it had black powder rounds fired through it.
BTW it sure looks like it has had black power residue in it. There's some residue signs for sure. It sounds like a really good cleaning is in order to makes sure of exactly what kind of shape the bore is in.
Sun Tzu warrior
February 4, 2013, 11:30 PM
THe markings in the post #8 said 5,3mm. Not 5.6.... just saying, that would make the bore
0.211841 or .212"
February 5, 2013, 12:02 AM
There are two things working here.
First, the BORE diameter, land to land, is what is given, not the groove or bullet diameter which is larger.
Second, the bore was checked by a proofhouse employee probably with a plug gauge that he found to be a slip fit in the bore. He was not going to go after it with a driven slug and a micrometer, he had a hundred more barrels to check before lunch. So the number is probably a bit small even for the BORE diameter. A measurement of 8.7 or 8.8 is common on nominal 9.3mm rifles.
February 5, 2013, 10:11 AM
That 5,3 mark threw me off too. I didn't realize it was an actual measurement of the bore. I couldn't find anything that matched up to that. Heck even the comma between the numbers had me going a while. I've never seen a mm measurement written that way (comma between numbers instead of a period).
The only bullet I found that measured around 5.3 was the 5.45x18mm Soviet which actually measures 5.33. But that's a pistol cartridge and came along after this rifle did.
February 5, 2013, 10:17 AM
European usage is for a comma as the decimal point instead of a period.
And some places a period as the separator between digit groups in large numbers, just the opposite of US practice. Others just leave a space.
And by the way, a billion in Europe is more than a billion in the USA.
February 5, 2013, 10:59 AM
Yeah I figured that was the story. It wouldn't have surprised me to see some cryptic letters on this rifle. Some of them took some study to know for sure what they were but that had to do with the patina I guess.
I know a billion is different in Europe. It's 1000 million in the US. It's a million million in Europe. That's what we would call a trillion. Our (US) system makes more sense IMO.
Sun Tzu warrior
February 5, 2013, 09:59 PM
@ JIm Thanks for setting me straight!
February 5, 2013, 11:50 PM
Interesting. Some interesting information in the thread. I never knew that either, Jim, so thanks for explaining it so well.
February 6, 2013, 12:12 AM
Just think of all the lost information on these types of rifles TimboKhan. With everything in Germany getting blown up during the war records were pretty much all gone concerning what were oddball rifles even before the war or at least they never had the kind of world wide success the Brits and Italians had with firearms before WWI. But from what I see in this rifle that German engineering quality was alive and well and lots of small time operations were putting it to use. This rifle was made by a man and his sons. That's it. But according to some it because what we now know as Suhl rifles. But even that part is up for debate because the documentation just isn't there. Of course when a rifle factory was bombed the last think they tried to save was the paperwork. They wanted the machinery to keep working.
The parts seemed to be off the rack parts but they were high quality from what I can see and there were enough differences between rifles to make them distinctive. There was a lot of gun making knowledge that got blown up there IMO.
February 6, 2013, 10:05 AM
And the other problem is that Suhl was in East Germany, out of contact with the Free World for 50 years or so. Herr Walther got out and resumed operation but a lot of fine old gun companies did not.
February 6, 2013, 10:37 AM
Very true Jim. BTW do you know the story of what became known as Suhl, the company as opposed to the region by the same name where lots of small operators seem to build quality rifles?
I do know that Suhl is considered to be on par with Anschutz in terms of quality. I read a couple of references that seemed to say that Kerner was the starting point for the company that made the Suhl 150 fo example but finding good information on that is probably going to require access to the KGB archives or at least it seems that way.
February 6, 2013, 10:45 AM
Never heard of a company named Suhl, that is the city where a lot of German gunmaking was concentrated.
Smallbore shooters like the "Suhl 150" target rifle but that is nomenclature for rifles made in the Haenel plant in Suhl under Red management.
February 6, 2013, 11:09 AM
XX & Sohn - might as well be a bigger operation.
As this combo usually meant son would take over one day.
It could be a dozen expert gunsmiths working for them.
Interesting rifle. And thread.
February 7, 2013, 01:24 AM
Wow there's so much to learn. I knew the region was famous for gun makers but what I had read was the Kerner had much to do with that. Maybe he did but clearly Haenel did.
Carl Gottlieb Haenel's, who started a gun making company in about 1840, descendents . improved on a pistol designed by Emil Zehner. His company along with another gun maker who also improved on that Zehner design followed also by his descendants was a guy named Schmeisser. His descendant, Hugo Schmeisser, went to work for Haenel's company in the 1920's. They collaborated and produced what was known as the Haenel Schmeisser Pistol. It was a great design and helped make the whole region of Suhl famous.
A member of the Haenel played a role also in developing the STURMGEWEHR 41. He produced actions for earlier production models that were known by a different name but the development continued and they gave the world the first assault rifle. Hugo Schmeisser was captured by the Soviets and worked on the development of the AK-47. He later went back to Suhl working for the Reds and for an organization that bore Haenel's name. That was the post-war connection to that name.
At any rate those people along with many others including Sauer and Kerner gave the Suhl region a big time reputation for firearms making. I saw a report from Himmler to Hitler about the region and several of the gun makers there but it dealt with hunting rifles.
This could be a long chase for any real detailed information on the rifle I have. I could have a whole lot of time in research on this rifle. Or I could just count on the fact that enough people know about the craftsmanship of the region and who Kerner is to make for a decent price on the rifle. It really should be worth it. There's a lot of history there and it is one fine example of firearms. It seems to be as well made as any rifle I ever saw including some much more modern designs. I actually think some of the newer designs are better but they weren't made in th e 1930's or earlier. BTW Kerner copyrighted the name "Kerner and Company Sporting" as a gun maker from the Suhl region. That existed from 1935-1935. The rifle I have here would likely have been older because it didn't mention that company name. Kerner made rifles alone then with his sons and then with the company from what I understand.
There are many other famous gun makers from the region including Sauer and the company that made the Luger. With a bunch of companies, different firearm categories, a messed up naming convention, two totalitarian empires to deal with and a lot of lost records it's a wonder any of this information still exists. It's about to give me a headache trying to track it down, I know that. :)
I do appreciate the shared knowledge here. You can just assume I don't know anything about the players here. I'm only going by what I've read on the net besides what I've read here. I do appreciate the info though. It is interesting. It's just complicated too.
February 7, 2013, 10:56 AM
In the 1911 Alfa (Adolph Frank of Hamburg, Germany) catalog, light stalking rifles like yours are priced at 62 - 106 Marks. More for fancy engraving, of course. A good scope and mounts would be as much as the rifle itself.
If you wanted something exotic, a .30-30 Winchester all the way from America was 120 Marks.
A real scheutzen target rifle was around 200 Marks.
February 7, 2013, 06:10 PM
Didn't Stevens make a Scheutzen rifle too?
February 12, 2013, 10:22 PM
Stevens and Winchester and Ballard that I can think of offhand.
Nnot as fancY as the European stuff, but accurate.
February 13, 2013, 06:33 PM
I heard that the Ballard rifles were the best when it came to accuracy and they were highly sought after. But I thought they were German rifles too so what do I know? ;)
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