Sauer 100 Ceratech & Cherokee
- By Chris Parkin
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 22/01/2020
The Ceratech and Cherokee models from Sauer are further updates to the ‘100’ range of entry level, yet first-rate rifles I have used extensively in multiple variants.
Other than colour, both can be treated identically in terms of design and function, their forte being the baked on Cerakote finish for corrosion and abrasion resistance. This ceramic coating over the barrel and action is in ‘Grey Ice’ looking like bead blasted stainless steel on the Ceratech, with the Cherokee showing a deep green with digital camouflage finish to the stock. Both look superb but in fairness, especially the looks of the Cherokee which cast a nice non-camo balance with discretion in the field.
Sauer’s cold hammer forged barrels Have always proven themselves capable of great accuracy in my hands. This one shows a 17mm crown sporting profile swelling out to the gently swamped reinforce, perfect in length and weight for ideal balance on a stalking rifle in light to moderate calibre. They are supplied screwcut 15x1 in the UK for a moderator. The cylindrical receiver shows threaded anchors for a picatinny rail in Rem 700 dimensions and I have used Sauer’s QR Hexalock mounting system and Picatinny rail from Britannia, the latter being my preference.
Sauer’s triple lug action with 60-degree bolt lift shares elements across the Mauser and Sauer brands to no detriment whatsoever, it is an excellent product, here with lugs locking directly into abutments within the action rather than the barrel tenon to maintain integrity under the pressure of firing. It’s in my higher echelon group for manual operation reliability and speed from the twin stacked 5-round polymer magazine. One factor this illustrates is that bolt knob design, your tactile interaction with the rifle, that varies between models from Sauer and Mauser and has a noticeable effect on the core mechanics of the otherwise similar actions. Anyway, bolt lift is light and smooth with a slick mechanically engineered feel through the handle to all operations, paired with superb surface finishing for a slick, noise free and unjammable stroke, it won’t stutter when rushed, even if deliberately encouraged. A bolt handle (wellbalanced here with a 60mm extension) to that of the bolt’s shaft and diameter which in this case, has three recessed lugs and a single raceway for the bolt release catch (to the rear left of the action) to maintain rotation with and allow removal from the gun. This shows a push feed bolt face with twin ejector pins throwing cases well clear during the hunt and never feels breathlessly weak when first heaving those expanded hot tight brass cases from the chamber.
You can load the mag from above through the ejection port or removed from the rifle with a single button to its front on the underside. This polymer magazine is the same as that seen on the Sauer 101, Mauser M18 and M12, very reliable and quiet to handle, load and feed ammunition into the breech from. It also feeds single rounds cleanly that are dropped in on top of it and not clipped into it. It is in my opinion the best system on the market. A single release button ahead of the well drops it into your waiting palm and spares are easily clipped back in place for long firing strings.
The trigger shows a single stage pull, adjustable from 1000-2000-gram range, ideally suited to a hunting rifle whose trigger guard is spacious enough for gloved fingers in winter. Breaks are 95%+ crisp with a curved 8mm blade providing a nice seat for your index finger pad to sit centrally, and well-judged reach from the grip on the stock’s open radius grip. It feels perfectly matched to the rest of the action in terms of precision and usability in all conditions. Extreme cold never altered the feel and the magazine isn’t so tight a fit that a little dust or dirt will jam it in position.
I’m not a total lover of the safety catch though, it is a threeposition knurled lever above the firing hand thumb to the right side of the action, forward for fire with rearmost to `safe` the gun with a locked bolt. An intermediate position allows bolt operation with the action `safe` but with the long lever and lightly sprung, although operable silently on the hunt, does seem to get accidentally snagged by my sleeve when cycling the action. I found myself on several occasions squeezing a trigger to find the catch to have been unknowingly applied and set SAFE, nothing dangerous but if you add gloves and cuffs on a bulky winter jacket, these will exacerbate the matter so Sauer, pretty please, make the safety catch lever a little smaller with a slightly stiffer spring.
The stock follows the ergonomic pattern of its Sauer brotherhood, a slender comb rising slightly upward towards the recoil pad’s heel. This tweak keeps the recoiling stock moving slightly away from your face’s induced pressure on the comb to minimise the effects of felt recoil, and it works well. At maximum extension, the bolt remains 9mm clear of the comb which given the likelihood of scope mounting seems 5mm more than is necessary. Sauer’s 365mm length of pull (14¼- inch) suits me perfectly with a medium grip radius and reach to trigger. It mounts well for immediate action, remaining neutrally balanced with no mod and slightly forward of the front action bridge with one fitted, depending on the weight and length.
The light DPT moderator offered excellent balance with the usual effective sound moderation, ideal for a stalking rifle. Sling studs are fitted front and rear with moulded in chequering to the grip and forend. The barrel’s fully floated and remains so in most firing positions with no effect on accuracy. It’s a good compromise in size for plentiful grip and space for your thumbs without toughing the barrel or looking too bulky.
The gun retains elegant lines and although ultramodern in design, materials and manufacture, reflects back up classy European sporting rifle genetics. I like the slender comb allowing good cheek position without lateral jaw pressure and the recoil pad stays nicely planted in your shoulder. It’s solid throughout and screwed in place but no discernible hard spots remain to bite into you through recoil. It’s a placid gun to fire, modded or not, and shows excellent manners with little muzzle lift.
Not so much for hunting, but when zeroing or on the range, that sloped comb also minimises recoil transfer into your cheekbone and head and shows discreet mould lines to add a little `texture` to the otherwise bland looks of synthetics in black. Not so on the Cherokee, whose digital camo provides a nice contrast without looking too militaristic. It is also notable the stock doesn’t clunk or echo when bumped, it is well dampened acoustically, further assisted by the slightly stippled for a softer, warm feel.
Removing the twin 4mm headed Allen screws in the bottom metal drops the assembly out but the action is retained in the stock by a 10mm nut, threaded onto the M6 stud emerging below the action at the barrel interface. Removing this requires a 10mm socket wrench. An aluminium ‘Ever Rest’ bedding block is bonded into the otherwise simply injection moulded polymer stock which is stiff and shows plentiful reinforcement ribs along the whole length of the slender forearm. Transmitted recoil showed no intrusive noise reverberation signature or irritating `clonk` if knocked when being carried and was easy enough to wipe down, resisting being marked too easily. This rifle is a tool at the end of the day.
No left-hander is offered, but the minimal palm swell and neutral cast to the butt and comb make the gun acceptable from either shoulder and frankly, on a hilly, rocky arduous hunt, I found the gun a pleasure to carry and use. It can be noted I fell quite badly on the Ceratech rifle on a hunt and considering the rocky surface with me landing on top, it resisted damage very well with minor marks to the barrel, stock and bolt handle. It did not lose zero though and that really impressed me, it was heavy lateral bump that would thoroughly upset a lot of rifles.
My 3-day encounter with the Ceratech showed sub-inch groups at 100-yards before a two-day hunt and decent 3-inch groups at 270m from seated and prone positions with federal ammunition. I was immediately relaxed and confident with lack of multipositional zero shift, both shot from a bipod or free hand which would be our likely hunt requirements. The Hunt was a success and given the steep glacial terrain and need for highly inclined shots on occasion, was a huge boost for the growing trust between me and the rifle. So much so that I snatched the opportunity back at home to use its Cherokee twin.
I had more time and freedom on the range with this one and took to Hornady’s 165gr Superformance ammunition with SST bullets. The Chronograph showed a consistent 2666fps from the 22-inch barrel with consistent performance on target at 500-metres! I shot a sub-140mm group with five rounds here that for a hunting rifle, factory ammo and bipod, felt pleasing in light winds. Notable was the heat tolerance of the cold hammer forged barrel that would happily hold a 10 round, two magazine string of shots on targets with a sporting scope atop.
The 100 is a fine rifle, a sound buy with Cerakote finish fending off some hard knocks during testing. More range time with the Cherokee illustrated impeccable manners on target with accuracy far beyond hunting ranges.