Sauer 404 Offers Flexibility in a Bolt Action

Sauer 404 Offers Flexibility in a Bolt Action
The Sauer 404 offers bolt-action fans plenty of flexibility.
The Sauer 404 offers bolt-action fans plenty of flexibility.
The Sauer 404 offers bolt-action fans plenty of flexibility.

From style of stock to caliber to trigger pull, nearly everything on the Sauer 404 can be modified.

Sauer has been making firearms for some time now. And in that span, Germany’s oldest gun manufacturer has always been innovating.

The company's latest leap forward is in its rifle lineup with the introduction of a new bolt action. The Sauer 404 definitely is designed with European shooters in mind. That said, its features have the potential to have crossover appeal State side.

For Yankees hunting for a Teutonic gun, the biggest selling point of Sauer’s new creation is its eminent flexibly. The gun can be fully adjusted to fit a shooter and their preferences in the blink of an eye.

The new Sauer 404 can make the jump from medium to magnum calibers by swapping bolt heads.
The new Sauer 404 can make the jump from medium to magnum calibers by swapping bolt heads.

Along these lines, perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the 404 is its ability to jump between calibers, a feature popular in Europe and known in some corners as a switch-barrel system.

While the concept is nothing new, the way Sauer executes it is rather forward looking. The 404's appeal is it literally only takes minutes to convert calibers due to the rifle’s modular design.

For most caliber conversions only the barrel needs to be swapped and is quickly removed and replaced through loosening and tightening of three retention screws. But the 404 can also jump from medium to magnum calibers through a removable bolt head that can be taken off and replaced via a release switch.

For shooters who have grown accustom to the fast caliber switches of AR-style rifles, this could strike a cord.

Sauer has also put a lot of engineering into the 404’s Quattro trigger, making it among the most tunable in the world of bolt-action rifles. In addition a pull weight that can be modified from 1.7 to 2.7 pounds, its position can also be changed.

The trigger has .3 inches of adjustment on the length of pull and can swivel left and right 5 degrees. The latter feature is meant to give shooters more solid finger placement.

The 404 breaks down into an extremely compact package with the fore and butt stock both removable with a few turns of some screws. This has the potential to go over big with hunters who tramp deep into the backcountry, given the firearm can be reduced to fit into a rucksack.

A handy aspect of the rifle's disassembly is Sauer has integrated the breakdown tool into the rifle. The front swivel pulls out and doubles as an Alan wrench that can be used nearly everywhere on the gun. The only feature it is not compatible with is the trigger’s length of pull and side-to-side adjustment.

With a modular design, the Sauer 404 can be tailored to nearly any shooter.
With a modular design, the Sauer 404 can be tailored to nearly any shooter.

The one aspect of Sauer’s new rifle that some American shooters might find a bit out of the ordinary is how the rifle is cocked. Instead of cocking upon the bolt opening or closing, the 404 features a manual system.

The rifle is cocked by a slide at the rear of the gun, similar to systems found on other European bolt actions. The rifle then can be un-cocked moving the slide down again, making for an incredibly safe system.

The rifle’s furniture is interchangeable. It has a new universal scope mount. And it also features a magazine lock, which prevents losing its detachable box magazine in the field

The Sauer 404 is available in four different models and 13 calibers. Presently, the rifle’s MSRP is $3,800.


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Elwood Shelton is the Digital Editor for Gun Digest. He lives in Colorado and has provided coverage on a vast spectrum of topics for GD for more than a decade. Before that, he was an award-winning sports and outdoors reporter for a number of newspapers across the Rocky Mountains. His experience has consisted of covering the spread of chronic wasting disease into the Western Slope of Colorado to the state’s ranching for wildlife programs. His passion for shooting began at a young age, fostered on pheasant hunts with his father. Since then, he has become an accomplished handloader, long-range shooter and avid hunter—particularly mule deer and any low-down, dirty varmint that comes into his crosshairs. He is a regular contributor to Gun Digest Magazine and has contributed to various books on guns and shooting, most recently Lever-Actions: A Tribute to the All-American Rifle.


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