Sauer S100 classic XT
- By Pete Moore
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 15/11/2017
It all started in 2013, when both Sauer and Mauser parallel launched mechanically similar hunting rifles; the S101 and M12. Big deal, two more expensive guns if you judged by their flagship 202 and M03 models. But no, for the first time these two prestigious names went in the other direction; easily shaving £1000 from their bigger brother’s price tags.
Both rifles proved an instant success, OK they were not switch barrels, nor were there lots of stock and or finish options. What they were, were a pair of decent and no nonsense hunters, which, apart from the Dura Safe de-cocker on the 101 and 3-position safety on the M12 and some cosmetics, were near identical and well-priced for what they were!
Mauser went on to offer other variants of the M12; Sauer later on instead introduced an even more cost-effective product, the S100. It’s visually similar to the 101, but shows some design changes, the best being the loss of the Dura Safe, which and like the Blaser R8’s de-cocker, is a bit awkward to operate when the rifle is shouldered and on aim. In its place, a more traditional, 3-position safety catch, located rear/right of the action. It pushes forward to FIRE, middle SAFE bolt unlocked and rear SAFE bolt locked.
Feed is the same as the 101 with a 5-shot (standard calibres) polymer magazine, with a release button at the front of the well. There’s also an adjustable trigger that can be set from 2.2 to 4.2 lbs via an Allen screw in the blade.
The 101 has what Sauer calls EVER REST bedding, with a free aluminium bedding block that the action engaged with by two vertical pins; as before, there were front and rear action screws. The 100 keeps it even simpler, as the recoil block engages in a pocket in the normal manner. But there’s an extended stud that a nut tightens on to pull the action down into the stock. There’s a smaller stabilising screw at the rear, going up through the bottom metal. Sauer calls this their EVER REST ACTION bedding. Taking it apart, it looked solid enough, and I experienced no bolt binding or other problems in use.
Two major changes from the 101 are the bolt engagement and barrel retention. The 101’s 6-lug bolt engages directly with the barrel extension. The tube is secured by their ‘HEAT LOCK’ process. Essentially the receiver socket is heated and the barrel chase forced in and when it all cools/ shrinks, an anti-rotation pin is fitted. The 100’s barrel is threaded in the traditional manner, with locking abutments in the receiver for its 3-lug bolt.
You get two furniture options; the synthetic ERGO MAX polymer or the beech Classic. The build is simple, ambidextrous and well-designed and comfortable in the aim and even in larger calibres like 30-06 surprisingly recoil-friendly. Grip is augmented by chequering on the wood and moulded-in textured sections on the synthetic. The forend shows a semi- Schnabel tip and fixed sling swivels fore and aft; annoying in this day and age that they did not fit QD studs! The butt is finished off by a decent rubber recoil pad and the length of pull (LOP) is a comfortable 14.5”.
The bolt shows a swept back handle with a synthetic ball end and a short 60° lift angle. Like the S101 and M12, the bolt face shows twin ejector plungers. At the rear of the shroud is a red, cocked action indicator pin, it’s recessed and can be both seen in the day and felt in low light.
The receiver shows a good-sized ejection port, with the front and rear bridges drilled and tapped for all Remington 700-type commercial mounts. However, Sauer offers their HEXALOCK mounts and a set was provided for testing. These consist of a hollow, 3-lug pillar base that screws to the receiver bridges and an upper ring with a 3-socket rotor and locking lever. Essentially, it’s a reversed M03 QD system, though adjustable for tension via a rotary cup washer (pin tool included). Slacken off the 25Torx bolt in the base of the upper ring assembly, and with the pin, rotate the washer to adjust. Sauer says it should take a firm push to lock/unlock, they also say that they will return to zero when removed and re-fitted!
Typically, the S100 is built on a single (long) action size, so it can cater for Mini, Medium and Magnum calibres. The cartridge overall lengths (COLs) being taken up by filler blocks in the magazine. Calibres cover most of the favourite numbers: Mini - 222/223 Rem (4-round), Medium - (5-round) - 243, 270 and 308 Win, 30-06, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5x55, 8x57IS and 9.3x62, Magnum - (4-round) - 7 mm Rem Mag and 300 Win Mag. It’s good to see Sauer addressing market forces with the inclusion of the Creedmoor, but the others will cover pretty much any requirement!
My tester came in 30-06, with a 1-11” twist rate and a 22” barrel; a bit short for an 06 and similar cartridges in my opinion! Sauer lists all the twist rates on the rifles spec sheet. The Mini calibres barrels are also 22”, but the Magnums are 24”. Sauer importer (Blaser Sporting) supplied a Minox 3-15x50 ZX5 scope and I added a Brugger & Thomet, Tiger, muzzle-mounted moddy to the standard 15x1mm thread (protector included). Ammunition went to Hornady’s 150-grain Interbond and their new 178-grain ELD-X Precision Hunter and I threw in for good measure Winchester’s now classic 150-grain Ballistic Silver Tip.
Accuracy testing was done off the bench at 100m and in the field on muntjac and roe deer. Some might consider the 06 a bit heavy for these small and medium species, but all makes of ammo gave instant knock down, unsurprisingly full pass throughs and did not show excessive or peripheral meat damage either! Sometimes a bigger hammer is better!
As can be seen, all three cartridges performed well within the limitations of the 22” barrel. Hornady shows their Precision Hunter load at 2750 fps/3001 ft/lbs, but as shown in the Test Results chart this was significantly reduced. Velocity quoted is an average figure, taken from three chronograph readings.
Good enough figures, though more 308 Win than 30-06. My old Mauser M03’s 30-06 barrel was 23.5” long and with my 150-grain Nosler Partition reload that was doing around 2950 fps and producing an impressive 2915 ft/lbs and shooting sub-1”. So, as can be seen, an extra inch or so is no real impediment to handling but certainly gives the edge in these more powerful calibres!
That aside, I found myself warming to the S100 in a way I never did to the S101, even though they are physically near identical. The price alone makes it a serious consideration, especially in a market where what were budget guns like Howa’s 1500 have now risen in cost to over £800. Plus, in the case of the S100, as the barrel is threaded in, it would be possible to swap it if it ever got shot out too. However, given the quality of these Sauer-made tubes that seems highly unlikely for a hunting gun!
The HEXALOCK mounts are reasonably easy to set up and offer a true QD ability with a comforting return to zero function, and are not that expensive compared to Sauer’s 404. Plus, you have the added advantage of being able to use standard Remington-style mounts and on a fixed barrel rifle perhaps that makes more sense! Unless you go scope-specific as to bullet weight/type and game species you are hunting.
In use, the S100 cycled reliably and showed admirable performance and accuracy. I liked the 5+1 capacity, plus the reasonably sized ejection port allows easy single loading and unloading. The magazine release catch is quite low in its concave well and you might have trouble ejecting it if wearing gloves. The safety is nice and simple in operation, but the lever is sprung and if it gets caught on anything it might flip to FIRE position. But taken into account with the rifle’s general shootability, good price and performance potential, just things to be aware of!
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