Affordability + Performance = Sauer Model 100 In 6.5 PRC.
How The Sauer Model 100 In 6.5 PRC Stacks Up:
- User can adjust trigger between 2.2 and 4.4 pounds with a hex wrench.
- Company guarantees MOA performance out of its cold hammer-forged barrel.
- Three-position safety has long travel to “fire” to ensure it isn't unintentionally in the wrong position.
- Reverse slop of comb better positions the eye to the optic and reduces felt recoil.
- Rifle tested produced 1.847-inch groups at 300 yards.
Sauer introduced its Model 100, chambered for Hornady’s 6.5 PRC cartridge, during the 2018 SHOT Show. Yes, I know, that was over a year ago, but it took almost that long for me to get a rifle to test. I almost passed on reporting on it, because, in a way, it’s old news. Almost.
However, given that you can pick one up on the street for less than $700, and because it’s chambered for one of the best long-range cartridges now available (the 6.5 PRC), it deserves some recognition. And you deserve to know about it.
The Stock And Manual Safety
The Sauer 100 Classic XT is fitted with what’s called an Ergo Max synthetic stock. What sets this stock apart is the reverse slope of the comb: It’s higher at the heel than at the nose. This is the way rifle stocks should be made, because it better positions the eye behind the optic, lets the rifle slide past your cheek during recoil and actually reduces felt recoil because it helps the rifle move straight back when fired. (Actually, a West Virginian named Melvin Forbes pioneered this stock design in 1985 on the fantastic lightweight rifles he designed for New Ultra Light Arms.)
The rifle also has a very well-designed three-position, three-function manual safety. It’s positioned in the common location—just to the right side of the action, behind the bolt. In the most-rearward position, the rifle is at “safe,” and the bolt is locked closed. In the middle position, the rifle is still at “safe,” but the bolt can be opened. And, in the most-forward position, the rifle is set to “fire.” The uniqueness of this safety is that the two “safe” positions are close together, while the “fire” position is located about 0.75 inch forward. This means that activation is positive, and you should never inadvertently have it in the wrong position.
Trigger And Barrel
What really stands out is the trigger. The trigger can be user-adjusted from between 2.2 and 4.4 pounds—without disassembly—by simply using a hex wrench to twist a screw that’s recessed just above the face/shoe of the trigger. Out of the box, the trigger on the test rifle broke incredibly clean at 2.5 pounds. It felt so good that I left it alone.
The rifle’s barrel measured 24 inches long and 0.652 inch at the muzzle. This is a cold hammer-forged barrel with a blue finish to match the action. Sauer guarantees 1 MOA of accuracy for five shots at 100 yards. I only fired three shots at that distance in order to zero the Crimson Trace riflescope, but I can guarantee that the rifle is a sub-MOA performer. Let me explain.
At The Range
Typically, magazine editors prefer their gun writers to test rifle accuracy by firing three to five five-shot groups at 100 yards from a solid benchrest. Admittedly, that was my plan, but just as I was stepping out to the range, my gunsmith texted me, asking me to attend a 300-yard benchrest match the next day. I thought that would be fun, but I also thought it would be an ideal way to test the Sauer 100 XT Classic in 6.5 PRC. After all, this cartridge is truly intended for distance. In addition, I had a great, new, long-range precision riflescope attached to it.
The match consisted of firing three five-shot groups from a benchrest at 300 yards. Rules allowed for seven minutes to fire each group, and before your first group, you were permitted some sighter shots.
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I dialed in eight clicks of elevation correction, fired one shot and found I was good to go. My first three shots for record clustered into a nice group that looked to be less than 2 inches. And then … the match was interrupted by cows; about a dozen cattle just strolled right out on the range. (Hey, that’s what long-range shooting in West Virginia is like.) We shut down for about 15 minutes and then finished our string of fire. I must have altered my position, because my next two shots landed an inch apart—but 2.5 inches from the first three. Group size was 4.144 inches. Ugh! I must have altered my positioning behind the rifle.
On my next five-shot string, I did everything right and fired a 1.847-inch group, which turned out to be the smallest group fired in the light rifle class. Four shots into the last string, I had what looked like a nice cluster of about 2 inches. And then—as it almost always happens when you fire the last shot of a five-shot group—I jerked the trigger.
The final shot landed 2 inches low, out of the group, opening it to 3.355 inches. My average for the three five-shot groups was 3.115 inches. An MOA at 300 yards equals 3.141 inches. So, there you go—sub-MOA confirmed with less than two boxes of ammo fired. (As a side note: Had the “nut” behind the trigger done his job, I think his average would have been closer to 2 inches.)
Granted, this is a somewhat limited test of a somewhat new rifle, but I was impressed with its performance. The stock offers great shooter interface, the trigger is exceptional, and the rifle shot very well—obviously, better than I did.
Considering you can pick one up for well under a grand, the Sauer 100 XT Classic should make a great long-range hunting rifle … and might even help you win a benchrest match (I got second place).
The article originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.
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