Sauer 100 Stainless XTA review

Review: Sauer 100 Stainless XTA rifle


Sauer’s new 100 Stainless XTA is a handsome, well-designed and very accurate rifle with a stock that provides a pragmatic answer for a hard-working hunting rifle carried in the most extreme weather conditions.

Its utility lies not only in its no-nonsense approach to being an all-weather rifle, but the attractively contrasting combination of stainless metalwork and soft-touch black polymer stock. The metal requires less attention during a foul-weather hunt and the stock will never shift or move due to absorbing moisture. 

You can tell at a glance that this stainless steel/synthetic rifle can handle anything that extreme climatic conditions can dish out, without missing a beat.

Sauer 100 Stainless XTA review
The Sauer is attractive as well as pragmatic in its build.

The Ergo Max stock is classically styled, an injected glass-reinforced, moulded unit. There are no visible mould lines and the overall surface is smooth with a soft-touch finish. 

There is a black rubber recoil pad and instead of chequering there are panels of impressed stippling on forend and grip. They afford a secure grasp and are more friendly to the hand than a sharp diamond pattern.

Being sharply curved, I found the pistol grip very comfortable to grasp. The slim, tapered forend is rounded on the bottom, making it comfortable to hold offhand, and it also has a schnabel tip — a classy touch.

Sauer 100 Stainless XTA review
The Sauer shot very accurately with a wide range of ammunition

A synthetic comb insert in the stock can be adjusted higher to suit the conformation of your face and cheek. Length of pull is 37cm. All of my rifles have a 34.5cm LOP, but I found the extra length fitted me pretty well and left the scope with 9.5cm of eye relief.

The Sauer’s action bears a close resemblance to that of the Mauser M18, but is made of stainless steel and the left side of the receiver, instead of being round, has a dished area with “Sauer 100” in relief. 

The bottom metal is different too: the M18 has the trigger guard moulded as an integral part of the stock, whereas the Sauer’s is a one-piece alloy unit with a nicely contoured guard that looks very upmarket. 

Sauer 100 Stainless XTA review
The Sauer’s bolt face is deeply recessed and houses two plunger-type ejectors and a sliding-plate extractor.

The bolt release, a rocking catch on the left rear of the receiver, is identical to that of the M18.

The medium profile, stainless steel barrel is cold hammer forged with a 1:12” rifling twist.

A major contributing factor to the Sauer 100 XTA’s accuracy potential is the company’s Ever Rest bedding system. This consists of a 30mm long aluminium bedding block and from there on out the barrel is free floating. 

Sauer 100 Stainless XTA review
Bedding plate in the stock supports chamber section of barrel, and a ridge on its rear end enters a slot in the receiver ring to act as the recoil lug. 

The 100 XTA doesn’t have a conventional recoil lug. The bedding block is dished at the front to be a close match for the contour of the barrel and is then recessed with a ridge at the rear that extends upward to engage a slot in the receiver ring. A 10mm nut attaches the barrelled action to the bedding block and controls the torque at the front of the receiver ring.

If you try to remove the stock by removing the front and rear action screws, you’ll find the action is still securely held to the stock. The front action screw merely serves to hold the bottom metal in place. 

Before the stock can be removed, it’s necessary to remove the retention nut and another screw in front of the trigger housing. 

Sauer 100 Stainless XTA review
Trigger with integral safety is adjustable from 1.0-1.9kg without removing the stock

The rear action screw secures the trigger housing to the tang, but it is left in place.

The ejection port is partially enclosed, a detail which adds to the stiffness of the action and promotes accuracy. The port is wide enough to allow you to insert
a cartridge into the magazine to single-load the rifle.

The bolt is of the fat-body design common to many makes of rifles today, and it has a low 60-degree lift.

Sauer 100 Stainless XTA review
Nicely shaped trigger guard assembly is alloy with flush-fitting magazine. A grip cap carrying the Sauer logo is inletted into bottom of the grip.

The bolt face is deeply counterbored with its wall interrupted only for passage of a sliding-plate extractor. Twin spring-loaded, plunger-style ejector rods situated at two o’clock and six o’clock consistently pelt fired cases out at a low trajectory so that they miss the scope tube.

A spring-actuated bolt-release catch acts to guide the bolt. Engaging a long lengthwise groove milled into the bolt body, it supports movement of the bolt in a very uniform and steady manner, preventing any wobble and aiding smooth bolt travel.

Additional machining was eliminated by having the bolt lugs lock behind shoulders on a steel ring sandwiched between the barrel shank and receiver ring, a la M18. 

Sauer 100 Stainless XTA review
Butt has an insert in the stock that allows the comb to be adjusted for height.

Study of the Sauer locking system reveals some very careful engineering. Each lug moves just past its receiver cam on bolt closure yet without any wasteful over-rotation or overlap.

The receiver ring tends to entrap and control any gas escape. Not only does it lack gas ports in its walls, it is blocked off at the rear by the enlarged shoulder behind the bolt head, leaving only the magazine feed ramp for gas release. But the Sauer 100 lacks the large flange that the Mauser M18 has on the bolt sleeve to deflect any gas flowing to the rear along the bolt exterior.

The trigger is the same unit fitted to the Mauser M18 and from the factory it consistently lets off at 1.36kg. It is excellent, crisp and totally inert without the slightest hint of any creep or backlash. It made the rifle a pleasure to shoot.

The trigger is externally adjustable by inserting a 1.5mm Allen wrench into a hole in the base, which has a smooth surface and a width of 0.30” (7.6mm). Adjustment range is 1.0-1.9kg, but I saw no reason to tinker with it.

Sauer 100 Stainless XTA review
The rear end of the bolt is contoured to match the shape of the receiver’s tang. Rocker safety has three positions and bolt knob is ribbed.

The rifle uses the M18’s double-stack, five-round polymer magazine (four in magnum) that’s easy to load. 

Sauer uses one action length for short- and standard-length cartridges, no matter if they are short like members of the .308 family or .30-06 length. Other action lengths include a mini for the .222 and .223 and a magnum for the 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag.

The magazine clips in and fits flush with the trigger-guard assembly, something that really looks neat and I’m very much in favour of. 

Removing the magazine to refill it is easy — you simply push on a serrated button located in a circular depression behind the front guard screw and it drops out easily into your hand.

The receivers on many European rifles have their upper surface designed to take their proprietary or a similar expensive mounting system. Aussie shooters will be happy to know that the receiver of the Sauer 100 XTA is contoured to take Remington 700 bases which are not only affordable, but rugged and reliable. 

I had a good supply of .308 factory ammo on hand for accuracy testing. The Sauer 100 is a hunting rifle and the results with different loads were very good to excellent.

Taking averages from three five-shot groups from each of eight types of .308 ammunition, they were all very close to MOA, with a best average of 0.73 MOA and a largest of 1.11 MOA. The loads covered bullet weights of 130gn to 180gn, too.

Adding the Zeiss Conquest V6 and five rounds to the Sauer increased its all-up weight to 4kg, which is a bit on the heavy side for lugging around the high sierras. It should be fine, however, for lower elevations where weight is not a factor and it’s not too much of a burden to carry on a long hike. If I owned the Sauer 100 Stainless I would reduce its carrying weight by fitting a lighter scope.

If you are looking for a genuine all-weather rifle at a reasonable price, you’ll look a lot farther to find one that will be better than the Sauer 100 Stainless XTA. 

A SAFER SAFETY

The Sauer 100 and Mauser M18 are both made by Mauser in Germany and they share many components, including the three-position safety. The engineers obviously spent a great deal of time making these rifles as safe as possible.

Should the safety be disengaged while the bolt is in its unlocked position, the firing pin remains blocked from forward travel until the bolt is rotated to full lock-up.

To test this feature, I chambered a dummy round with the safety disengaged and then pulled the trigger with the bolt rotated about halfway toward its locked position. This released the firing pin with enough force to automatically complete bolt rotation to lock-up, but the firing pin fell short of reaching the primer of the chambered case.

I repeated it several times with the same result – the firing pin never once made contact with the primer.

Lifting the bolt handle far enough to re-cock the firing pin and then rotating the bolt to full lock-up before pulling the trigger allowed the firing pin to fall and fire the round.

SPECS

Type: Thee-lug bolt-action centrefire

Calibres: Mini – .222 Rem, .223 Rem; Medium – .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5×55 SE, .270 Win, .308 Win (tested), .30-06, 8x57IS, 9.3×62; Magnum — 7mm Rem Mag, .300 Win Mag

Capacity: 5+1 (standard rounds); 4+1 (magnums)

Barrel: 22” (59cm) cold hammer forged, 1:12” twist

Overall length: 42in (107cm)

Weight: 7lb (3.2kg)

Stock: Injection molded Ergo Max, ambidextrous palm swell

Trigger: Single-stage adjustable from 2.2-4.2lb (1.0-1.9kg)

Safety: 3-position rocker

Sights: None; drilled and tapped for Remington 700-style bases

Manufacturer: Sauer, Germany

Price: $1690 RRP (2022)


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Nick Harvey

Nick Harvey is one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He has been writing about firearms and hunting for more than 65 years, has published many books and uncounted articles, and has travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject is unmatched. He has been Sporting Shooter's Gun Editor for longer than anyone can remember. Nick lives in rural NSW, Australia.

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