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The guns of J.P. Sauer & Sohn.

* Few gun makers have weathered the centuries of feast and famine, peace and war, and just plain bad luck that constitute history. Those few that did survive the ravages rav·age  
v. rav·aged, rav·ag·ing, rav·ages
1. To bring heavy destruction on; devastate: A tornado ravaged the town.

 of time have gone on to become institutions in the industry--the pinnacle to which others aspire.

The firm of J.P. Sauer & Sohn is such a company. The quality of the firearms they produce has become legend, and few need an introduction to their fame.

A classic example of German tenacity, their offerings have spanned the spectrum of sporting arms--from finely finished pocket autos to best grade drillings.

Few American shooters have had the opportunity to handle the Sauer rifles, knowing them only from perusing the various shooting and hunting "wish books."

The photos, specifications and limited descriptions normally found in the various catalogs do manage to excite the senses of eager readers, but just don't (and really can't) convey the subtle physical features that make the difference between a nice production-grade "fits-all" and a truly fine firearm. There really is no substitute for handling the real thing ... and handle them we did!

Our evaluation began with the Model 3000 drilling. It seems drillings have always struck Americans as odd, being neither fish nor fowl--the imaginings imaginings
Noun, pl

speculative thoughts about what might be the case or what might happen; fantasies: lurid imaginings 
 of someone who just couldn't decide what he wanted in a gun.

One must understand the European approach to hunting to appreciate the beauty of the drilling design. In much of Europe, seasons don't exist as we know them in the States. Most hunting takes place on private reserves and the hunter may encounter beast or fowl at any time--much like hunting in the Western U.S. where deer, bear or elk elk, name applied to several large members of the deer family. It most properly designates the largest member of the family, Alces alces, found in the northern regions of Eurasia and North America. In North America this animal is called moose.  season may overlap dove, quail quail, common name for a variety of small game birds related to the partridge, pheasant, and more distantly to the grouse. There are three subfamilies in the quail family: the New World quails; the Old World quails and partridges; and the true pheasants and seafowls.  or chukar chukar

Popular small game bird (Alectoris chukar), a species of partridge. Stocked in many countries, it is native from southeastern Europe to India and Manchuria. It has a brown back with strongly barred sides and a black-outlined whitish throat.

Some may argue that the serious hunter wouldn't think of a "mixed bag" hunt and would pursue one or the other, but never both. Well, times are changing. Today's big-game hunts are getting very costly, and, in an effort to get their money's worth, many hunters are turning to the safari method--that is, getting all you can while you're there! And this is where the drilling makes sense. As a one-gun battery it has no equal.

Contrary to one's first impression of the drilling, it is not muzzle-heavy and cumbersome. Most specimens have about the same weight and feel as the average American 12 gauge side-by-side shotgun. Our sample gun was no exception.

Its 25-inch barrels made it very short and handy, and enhanced handling to the degree of most top grade sporting rifles. This barrel lenght is also about the optimum for both shot and rifled barrels in terms of ballistics ballistics (bəlĭs`tĭks), science of projectiles. Interior ballistics deals with the propulsion and the motion of a projectile within a gun or firing device. .

Though available in a variety of European and American calibers, our sample gun was chambered 12 ga.x12 ga.x9.3x74R. The latter chambering is Germany's idea of a .375 Mag, though actually .36 in caliber and not quite as powerful as the big H&H round. At 7-1/2 pounds it is a very light and handy "magnum."

At first glance, the rifle barrel, which is slung neatly below and between the shot barrels, seems abnormally thin and makes one question its capability of delivering consistent accuracy as a rifle. Actually, the barrel is so securely attached to the shot barrels for its entire lenght that most vibrations are effectively dampened. As a result, most high-grade drillings shoot nearly as accurately as out-of-the-box bolt guns.

When chambered with the appropriate calibers and equipped with a fine scope, such as the Zeiss, the drilling is capable of securing game at ranges out to 300 yards. Now put that scope in a quick-detachable claw mount that virtually rezeroes when remounted, and you have a very versatile package.

This high class marriage of shot and rifle barrels was made to order for the increasingly popular sport of turkey and boar hunting, and deserves serious consideration from those camps.

The pains of skillful skill·ful  
1. Possessing or exercising skill; expert. See Synonyms at proficient.

2. Characterized by, exhibiting, or requiring skill.
 attention to detail are quite evident in this tri-barreled beauty. Wood to metal and metal to metal fit is nigh nigh  
adv. nigh·er, nigh·est
1. Near in time, place, or relationship: Evening draws nigh.

2. Nearly; almost: talked for nigh onto two hours.
 on perfect. All surface finishes are impeccable--even screws hidden from view by the forearm are embellished!

Engraving engraving, in its broadest sense, the art of cutting lines in metal, wood, or other material either for decoration or for reproduction through printing. In its narrowest sense, it is an intaglio printing process in which the lines are cut in a metal plate with a  of the Greener-style action is conservative and tastefully taste·ful  
1. Having, showing, or being in keeping with good taste.

2. Pleasing in flavor; tasty.

 done. The European walnut stock is classic in nature, with a Bavarian comb, oval cheekpiece, and ample, well executed checkering on the pistol grip pistol grip
a. The grip of a pistol, shaped to fit the hand.

b. A similar grip sometimes used on a submachine gun or other firearm.

 and beavertail forearm. All in all, this gun exudes class.

To the uninitiated un·in·i·ti·at·ed  
Not knowledgeable or skilled; inexperienced.

An uninformed, unskilled, or inexperienced person or group of people.
, the operation of three barrels with two triggers may seem a bit confusing. Actually, it is quite simple.

What is usually mistaken for a tang safety button is the means by which the front trigger is actuated ac·tu·ate  
tr.v. ac·tu·at·ed, ac·tu·at·ing, ac·tu·ates
1. To put into motion or action; activate: electrical relays that actuate the elevator's movements.

 to fire the rifle barrel. Pushing the button forward to accomplish this also raises the rear sight, which is normally folded down in the full lenght rib. The front trigger is of set-trigger design. It can be adjusted for a very light touch, for fine long range shots, or it may be fired unset un·set  
1. Not yet firm or solidified: unset gelatin; unset cement.

2. Not mounted in a setting: an unset gem. 
, as in a snap shooting situation.

In the heat of pursuit, one might easily forget which barrels were fired, were it not for the cocking indicator buttons, which are conveniently located on either side of the barrel latch lever.

Lowering the rear sight deactivates the rifle firing mechanism, allowing the shot barrels to be fired. Those shot barrels, by the way, were choked modified on the right and full on the left, with chambers 2-3/4 inches long.

In every respect the Model 3000 is one of the world's great firearms and continued sales prove it to be quite popular. However, with a suggested retail over $3,000, this is not the average man's gun. But, on second thought, it isn't really that expensive in relation to other "toys" that we commonly see and consider buying.

Campers, boats, motorcycles, etc., cost as much, or more, and actually depreciate depreciate v. in accounting, to reduce the value of an asset each year theoretically on the basis that the assets (such as equipment, vehicles or structures) will eventually become obsolete, worn out and of little value. (See: depreciation)  in value. Their use and enjoyment is usually limited to a few select weekends and that's it.

The drilling, on the other hand, is an investment to be enjoyed whenever it is taken from its case.

It's true, the Model 3000 drilling is a very specialized gun. But, it is the uniqueness of its function that makes it so special--a uniqueness that American hunters have overlooked too long.

Also available is the Model BBF BBF Brother's Brother Foundation (Pittsburgh, PA)
BBF Big Block Ford
BBF Box/Box/File (file cabinet under the work surface)
BBF Buffet Breakfast
BBF Bumblefoot (band) 
 54, which is a combination design that possesses a single shot barrel over a single rifle barrel. Lacking one shot barrel, it is, of course, lighter than the Model 3000. Quality of material and finish is on par with the drilling and will satisfy the most discriminating sportsman. Although it has only a single shot barrel, the BBF 54 is essentially the same as the 3000, with almost identical features.

Our sample was chambered in .30-06x16 gauge and was embellished with the typical Teutonic oak leaf Oak leaf may refer to
  • the leaf of the oak tree
  • Any of several cultivars of lettuce, as in red oakleaf
  • Oak Leaf, Texas
  • Oak leaf cluster, a U.S. military decoration
 and acorn motifs.

As you may or may not know, the 16 gauge is the European "standard," just as the 12 has been in the U.S. So it is only a "weird" chambering to the uninitiated. It's a lot more common in the U.S. than many gun scribes Scribes is a text editor for GNOME that is simple, slim and sleek, and features no tabs, auto-completion and much more.

Scribes is Free Software licensed under the terms of the GNU GPL.
 would have you believe. Our sample retails for $2,887 and is a work of art.

Sauer and Sohn also offers more "conventional" rifles, and I use that term loosely. While their Model 90 appears to be just another pretty bolt gun, appearances can be deceiving. Likening lik·en  
tr.v. lik·ened, lik·en·ing, lik·ens
To see, mention, or show as similar; compare.

[Middle English liknen, from like, similar; see like2
 this rifle to other bolt actions is like saying the space shuttle space shuttle, reusable U.S. space vehicle. Developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), it consists of a winged orbiter, two solid-rocket boosters, and an external tank.  and a Piper Cub are one and the same 'cause they both have wings. As in the space shuttle, outstanding engineering makes all the difference with Sauer's rifles. However, the superior design isn't immediately obvious upon introduction to the Model 90--no, it's the quality of material and finish that really grabs you.

The dark European walnut on our samples displayed good figure with tight, curly grain--the kind that ripples when bathed in sunlight. Checkering was of the "cut" variety, as one would expect, and laid out in simple, but functional, patterns.

An interesting feature is the Wundhammer palm swell on the right side of the pistol grip. This slight mound is designed to fill the void between the palm of the trigger hand and the pistol grip that results when a rifle is shouldered. This amounts to better control of both the trigger and the rifle, which, as you've probably reasoned, means you should shoot better.

Unlike the drilling, the Model 90's stock is of the California style, sporting a Monte Carlo Monte Carlo (môNtā` kärlō`), town (1982 pop. 13,150), principality of Monaco, on the Mediterranean Sea and the French Riviera.  comb, beavertail cheekpiece, rosewood rosewood, popular name for the ornamental wood of several species of tropical trees, especially for the heartwood of certain leguminous trees of the genus Dalbergia of the family Leguminosae (pulse family). Brazilian rosewood, or jacaranda (D.  fore-end tip and grip cap--all features that make a racy rac·y  
adj. rac·i·er, rac·i·est
1. Having a distinctive and characteristic quality or taste.

2. Strong and sharp in flavor or odor; piquant or pungent.

3. Risqué; ribald.

 looking rifle. Thankfully, the designers opted to withhold the white line spacers from between the grip cap, fore-end tip and recoil recoil /re·coil/ (re´koil) a quick pulling back.

elastic recoil  the ability of a stretched object or organ, such as the bladder, to return to its resting position.
 pad. Instead, the mating of contrasting wood at these points is mediated by what appears to be a thin wafer of ebony.

Another surprise is the oil finish of the wood. I don't mean that spray-on stuff that dries dull and looks like an oil finish; I mean a real oil finish ... the kind that soaks in and makes the grain down under come alive with a nice warm glow. You know the kind.

All the Model 90s that were sent for evaluation featured free-floating barrels, including the Mannlicher-styled short rifle. Even the muzzle muzzle

1. the part of the face supported by the maxillae and nasal bones; the part of a dog's head anterior to the stop and cheeks, containing the nasal passages and bearing the nosepad. Longer in dolichocephalics and practically nonexistent in brachycephalics.
 cap of the latter didn't make contact with the barrel.

However, unlike the average free-floating stock, Sauer's barrel channel is cut a tad larger than the barrel, enough to allow a slip of paper to pass between the barrel and forearm. This means there are no unsightly un·sight·ly  
adj. un·sight·li·er, un·sight·li·est
Unpleasant or offensive to look at; unattractive. See Synonyms at ugly.

 and uneven gaps along the barrel.

Interestingly, the accompanying manual recommends weather-proofing the barrel channel by sealing the edges with soft wax. This would prevent the elements from damaging the wood, yet would not affect barrel vibrations.

Of tubular design, the receiver has gracefully sculptured surfaces with no sharp corners.

The 90's bolt is very slick, both in operation and design. A mechanical engineer I know said he'd like to have just the bolt to place under a glass dome for display. He said he'd put it on his desk to impress his colleagues. I'm sure it would, too.

Upon first glance, it appears the bolt has no locking lugs! Closer examination reveals that it is of two-piece construction. The forward portion simply glides back and forth, and doesn't turn as in conventional designs. Turning the bolt handle down cams the locking lugs out of the bolt body and into corresponding recesses in the receiver, thus locking the breech breech (brech) the buttocks.

The lower rear portion of the human trunk; the buttocks.

breech, britch

the buttocks of an animal; the backs of the thighs.

Because of this mode of operation, the bolt slides through the receiver so smoothly that you would think it was riding on ball bearings ball bearings nroulement m à billes . In fact, with the action open, dipping the muzzle down just slightly will cause the bolt to slam fully forward--it's that slick! What this means is smooth and silent operation.

Extraction is accomplished by a sturdy, spring-actuated, claw-type extractor, and the ejector ejector
n by common usage, a device used to remove debris and fluids by negative pressure. Another term is
aspirator. See also aspirator.
 is of the plunger-tyep--mounted in the bolt face. And speaking of smooth and silent, the tang mounted safety not only disengages the sear, but locks the bolt. A small button at the root of the bolt handle unlocks the bolt so the chamber can be emptied without negating the safety.

The sear engaging extension of the striker/firing pin arrangement also bears mention, in that it extends beyond the back of the bolt to act as a cocking indicator.

A single set trigger was incorporated into the 90's design and is adjustable for the "set" mode. Some shooters don't like the set trigger, claiming it is dangerous because it can go off before the shooter anticipates. The cure for that is not setting the trigger so lightly.

In some rifles with set triggers, it is possible to set the trigger so light that merely moving the bolt handle will set off the rifle--obviously a dangerous situation. Well, that can't happen (programming) can't happen - The traditional program comment for code executed under a condition that should never be true, for example a file size computed as negative. Often, such a condition being true indicates data corruption or a faulty algorithm; it is almost always handled  with the Sauer. The Model 90's trigger is designed so that if you open the bolt with the trigger set, the trigger simply unsets itself. The rifle does not fire.

As in most bolt actions, Sauer's are vented for escaping gas, in the event that a primer should blow or a case separate.

On the left side of the receiver ring is what appears to be a small silver plug in a hole. At firts, i thought it was a gas vent with a plug to seal out dirt. To my surprise, it turned out to be a loaded chamber indicator The loaded chamber indicator is a safety device present on many semi-automatic slide handguns. It is a small button (though sometimes a rod, such as on the Ruger series of .22LR handguns, which are not slide pistols), generally located just behind the ejection port on the slide of the . It is actually a spring-loaded plunger which is activated by the cartridge entering the chamber and is both visible and readily felt as it protrudes above the surface when the chamber is loaded.

Just ahead of the trigger guard A trigger guard is a loop surrounding the trigger of a firearm and protecting it from accidental discharge. In some cases, an ammunition cartridge is integrated with the trigger guard.  is the release button for the box magazine. It is very simple, foolproof actually, and holds three rounds.

I was pleased to see that all the rifles wore iron sights. I think it's a mistake not to have a back-up system for optics. But we won't go into that here. What did bother me though was the fact that the sights were not adjustable for elevation. However, if the sights are only used in a pinch and not pushed into use beyond 100 yards, the point of impact between varying bullet weights would not be enough to make much difference on a "deer-size" target. Judging by the rifle's other well thought out features, I can only assume that this must have been the reasoning.

We topped each of the Model 90s with Redfield glass in Redfield rings and mounts in the form of their Illuminator illuminator (light box),
n a source of light with uniform intensity for viewing radiographs.


the source of light for viewing an object.
 on the Deluxe .243 Win. and the Low-Pro on the Standard Model 7mm Remington Mag, both in 3-9X. The .308 Short Rifle wore the 1-3/4-5X Low-Pro to maintain the handiness of its design.

Each of these scopes is of the Widefield design which expands the field of vision horizontally about 25 percent. The Illuminator features some optical wizardry wiz·ard·ry  
n. pl. wiz·ard·ries
1. The art, skill, or practice of a wizard; sorcery.

a. A power or effect that appears magical by its capacity to transform:
 that offers ultra clear visibility. It's well worth its weight in gold on a long-range rifle. The Low-Pro is just that--a lower profile scope that does the job with less bulk.

Our 100-yard groups were about what we had expected from an out-of-the-box rifle using factory ammo. What we didn't expect was that the .308 Short Rifle would turn in the best group of just under 1-3/4 inches using Winchester 180-grain soft points. All who shot the Sauers agreed that handloads, or even more testing with a greater variety of factory ammo, would reduce group sizes considerably.

All in all, we were quite pleased with the Model 90. In fact, the only thing that we thought might be changed in order to appeal to the American market was the rifle's weight. At 9-1/2 pounds, scoped and unloaded, the 7mm Mag is just a bit too heavy to tote around all day. The other calibers were also a bit heavy for their power range, unlike the drilling and combination gun, which were very lightweight for their caliber.

Model 90s are available in a wide choice of both American and European calibers, suitable for anything you care to hunt--from prairie dogs to elephants.

Again, we're talking about high priced goods. The Short and Standard models start at $1,150 and top out at $1,337 for the Deluxe model, which features better wood, finish and the gold-plated trigger.

For more information on Sauer's entire line of the rifles combination guns, contact their U.S. representative, Jeffries & Fischer, 28 Durham Road, Dept. GA, Madison, CT 06443.
COPYRIGHT 1985 InterMedia Outdoors, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Renner, Roger
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Date:May 1, 1985
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