Merkel Helix Alpine - jamming


Rare for me to post a question - this one is on behalf of another member who is currently in a field / wood somewhere in Lithuania

He is shooting at this moment , he has experienced major jam up with Federal 180 g and a fellow shooter has loaned him RWS rounds which have improved matters

Issue was bolt not returning and requiring some mechanical "assistance" to unjam it

Has anyone has similar issues with the Merkel Rx Helix Alpine and Federal ammo ?

Air temp is around -4 so we are not far off what it felt like this morning in Sussex - he it was cold up the high seat

Any answers much appreciated , I will text him answers


Well-Known Member
I believe this may arise due to the different spec between C.I.P and SAAMI ammo and the chamber machining that the manufacturer of the rifle has adopted and also the tolerance of the machining.

Merkel are probably working to C.I.P standards with highly precise machining. Throw in the fact that although the Helix is a 'straight pull' the bolt head itself requires some initial rotation to disengage from the lugs in the barrel before starting the rearward travel, so there is some inertia to overcome there, and a lock up is possible if the cartridge case is in anyway tight in the chamber.

I've experienced the same thing when using Privi cases in my Helix with the .308 barrel, but not with Lapua or Norma cases.


Thanks for this , we did a zeroing session and did not have issues. My initial thoughts were tolerance issues plus the cold, but its not that cold. The rifle is brand new fired 50 rounds max. He is using RWS rounds - not sure which ones and the problem seems to be resolved.


Well-Known Member
I've put maybe 600 rounds through mine (Sako, RWS, Nosler & Hornady) - I had this happen in the summer when re-zeroing / range time with the 58g Hornady's - it was one of those rare occasions when the heat haze wasn't playing up the sight picture so I just kept going. Gun was hot by then and I could not pull the bolt back to extract - waited 10 and it then cycled.

Never had it happen when cold or any other brand cycling issues


Well-Known Member
I don't have a Helix, but I had a similar problem about 4 years ago. I attached a new moderator to my Blaser 308 Match Barrel. The shot sounded fine and the bullet was a few inches lower expected. However the bolt would not open and seemed to be locked tightly inside the barrel. Everyone assumed it was the addition of the Mod which had created the problem causing pressure built up. Eventually the bolt was removed and there were no pressure signs thankfully. An inspection of the barrel showed that there was some rust inside the chamber. The barrel was cleaned thoroughly and we tried again. Glad to say that everything worked. However, when I tried the mod on my 300WM it was love at first shot. POI was again a few inches lower as expected but the noise was but a pop. Recoil barely registered....................I haven't shot the 308 since.