A featherweight-style rifle always appealed to me as the slimline classic with timber stock and Schnabel fore-end sets them apart from other options, and stumbling across an advert the Schnabel fore-end of the Sauer 100 Classic caught my attention so I carried out some research to help inform my decision to buy one.
Browsing at my local gunshop I was instantly attracted to the coffee-coloured timber stock and feel of the Sauer 100 Classic and, at a price too good to pass, I ordered my new rifle in the increasingly popular 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge. The Model 100s are Sauer’s entry-level rifles designed to compete with the barrage of other economically priced European-made varieties. Built entirely in Germany, Sauer 100 rifles are by no means made cheaply and are actually equipped with barrels structured to the same high standard as Sauer’s prestigious Model 404 rifles, a strategy also used by Tikka which have Sako-made barrels on their T3X rifles.
Arriving in a ‘no frills’ cardboard package, I was pleasantly surprised to find the rifle came supplied with a cotton gun sock for protection, an Allen key for trigger adjustment and user manual.
The Classic style is designated the ‘Ergo Max’ timber stocked version which sets it apart from other Model 100s fitted with synthetic stocks, dura beechwood the timber used as a cost-effective alternative to walnut. To walnut purists this may not have the same appeal but beechwood is still an attractive piece of hardwood, robust enough to handle the rigours of hunting and heavy recoiling calibres.
The matte finish highlights the natural grain of the timber and Classic-style chequering on the pistol grip and Schnabel-style fore-end reinforces its European heritage, ambidextrous palmswells on the pistol grip and slightly inclined straight comb enhancing its functionality. The feel of the rifle is one of the main reasons which sold me from the start, the palmswell natural in the hand and the comb made shouldering and taking aim a breeze. This seems a common trait with most European rifles and Sauer have done a great job adhering to tradition. A rubber buttpad helps absorb felt recoil and tastefully embossed on the base of the pistol grip is the Sauer logo.
An impressive design feature on this rifle but not exclusive to the Model 100 is Sauer’s flush-fitting detachable polymer magazine, locked securely by their trademark one-piece alloy triggerguard and magazine bottom frame and removed easily by pressing a release button forward of the magazine. The double stacked magazine holds five 6.5 Creedmoor rounds and additional magazines are available on request.
In quick time my inquisitive nature had me removing the barrelled action from the stock. A little puzzled at first, I soon discovered only the rear hex head screw is a direct action screw, the front one not, the short front hex screw only tightening to a double-ended, female-threaded nut, securing the alloy bottom frame to the stock. The other end of the female-threaded nut tightens to the front action screw, holding the barrelled action securely to the stock. A recoil lug integral to the alloy bedding block fits snug to a recess on the receiver, correctly positioning the action before the screws and nut are tightened.
A 10mm socket is needed to tighten the threaded nut and this isn’t a simple rifle to strip and assemble out in the field but nonetheless a solid bedding platform. All take-down information is in the user manual.
The distinct sloped sides of the Sauer 100 receiver are CNC-machined from a single bar stock with non-reflective matte blue finish, the cylindrical base allowing for positive bedding with the top of the receiver drilled and tapped to suit Remington Model 700 bases. Available to order are Sauer Hexalok mounts though I had some Model 700 bases on hand.
The ejection port is wide enough for fast, unobstructed ejection and easy top-loading of single rounds, the offside of the receiver carrying the tastefully machined Sauer 100 logo. Three action sizes are available for small, medium and magnum calibres.
The triple lug push feed design of the bolt allows for a 60-degree bolt throw, enabling ease of bolt cycling with low mounted scopes, and the bolt face almost entirely surrounds the cartridge case head with the claw extractor sealing the ring of the face, dual plunge ejectors ensuring positive ejection. Once closed, the rear of the bolt sits flush with the receiver and the tang. The cocking piece indicator is at the centre rear of the bolt and protrudes, highlighting the red indicator of the firing condition and retracts once fired.
The bolt knob has an unusual looking bolt grip but is firm to hold, practical in every sense and can be unscrewed and replaced with alternative bolt designs available on request. The bolt action glides beautifully in the receiver with no lateral movement and is removed easily with a small release button to the left rear of the receiver. On the right rear is the three-position safety, the ‘fire’ condition indicated by a red dot occupying the foremost position, ‘safe’ by the central white dot and ‘bolt lock’ the rear white dot. I found this safety conveniently operated by my master thumb and one of the easiest and quietest I’ve used.
The Sauer 100 has a fully adjustable single-stage trigger and can be safely and easily adjusted from 4.4lb (2kg) down to 2.2lb (1kg). Adhering strictly to user manual instructions and using the supplied Allen key I adjusted mine as close as possible to the minimum 2.2lb, and while not adjusted as low as my custom rifle triggers, the break was crisp with no noticeable creep.
Not quite as pretty as the S202 or S404, the Sauer 100 barrels are all personality and not so much looks. In my opinion the practical matte burnished blue finish bucks unwanted reflection and looks good enough without added ‘lipstick or eye shadow’. The cold hammer forged barrel is guaranteed for sub-MOA accuracy, the medium sporter being 22^ (560mm) long, having a recessed crown and free of open sights. The 6.5 Creedmoor has a 1/8^ twist.
Range and field testing
First impressions had me a little frustrated with the functionality of the magazine to stock fit. On loading and fitting the magazine up, the distinct click of the magazine release catch wasn’t felt or heard – the catch was stuck to the recess of the stock. A quick flick with the fingernail released it but to fix it permanently, I fitted a washer between the front action screw hex nut and magazine bottom which relieved pressure between the timber and release button and I had no more issues.
My original intention was to use factory ammo only and trialling Hornady 129gr SST Superformance, 129gr InterLock American Whitetail and 140gr BTHP American Gunner ammo confirmed the 1/8 twist favoured the heavier 140gr projectiles.
With ambition taking hold I couldn’t help myself and succumbed to the reloading bug, buying Hornady dies and my all-time favourite Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets in 140gr. I settled on a load of 41gr of ADI 2209 shooting consistent sub-MOA groups, which virtually duplicates on paper the same point of impact as the 140gr BTHP American Gunner factory ammo at 100 and 200m.
The Sauer 100 Classic has accompanied me on numerous outings but due to relentless drought it seemed nature was implementing pest control in its own way and nothing of any game status presented, but during this time I formed the opinion the 100 Classic was comfortable to carry in hand and slung over the shoulder. Late seasonal rain saw the shades of landscape change from brown to green and with it a change of fortune. More recently the rifle was used to take a red deer feeding on fresh green shoots of grass, the hind poleaxed by the 6.5 Creedmoor for our first venison cuts of the year.
Confident of its hunting credentials, the Sauer 100 Classic is ideal for those seeking a practical rifle with traditional timber look. For a rifle of prestigious German heritage costing a competitive $1130 at time of writing, the Sauer100 Classic is a budget beauty. Distributed here by Outdoor Sporting Agencies, the added advantage of a five-shot magazine and availability to buy additional magazines makes it perfect for pig culling, wild dog and deer hunting. For the full array of calibres and specifications visit the Sauer website.