Clay On the Road: Blasting Prairie Dogs with the Sauer 100 Rifle

The author spent a week behind the Sauer 100 Classic XT helping control Utah’s prairie dog and coyote population.

Earlier this month, I took part in a prairie dog hunt in Utah with Sauer Rifles and Minox optics. In addition to controlling the prairie dog population, Coda Hunts, an outfitter based in Highland, Utah, took us in small groups to hunt coyotes. Our guide Corey Lundberg was an absolute pro. Between his calls and decoy dog, Lundberg called in coyotes at times of the day it should have been impossible. At every spot we sat to call, in came a dog within an hour. It was incredibly impressive. Hands down, this is the man I would pick if I needed a guide for a coyote hunt.

It was a fantastic trip and gave me exposure to a side of the firearms industry I don’t normally see. I played with some toys that we will be featuring full reviews on in the coming months, but here is a short overview.

Shooting with Sauer

The Sauer 100 Classic XT offers excellent accuracy and high-quality at a very low price point. Photo Courtesy: Sauer

For a long time, Sauer has been a European hunting brand without much representation in the U.S. J.P. Sauer & Sohn’s has a long standing history of making top-quality rifles and most of their products aren’t the most affordable; we’re talking in the $5,000 and upward range. However this year, they launched a new Sauer 100 Classic XT with an MSRP of $699. These rifles are nice feeling, with great triggers and ergonomics. The real killer, however, is the accuracy. Granted, we had a few hundred warm-up shots over the course of our week, but we reached out with our Sauer 100s chambered in .223 on prairie dogs way farther than we should have been able to. One of the other hunters nailed one at 740 meters. I thought I had an unbeatable shot about an hour later with a confirmed hit at 780 meters. Then at the end of the day, Phil Massaro won with an 880-meter first-round hit. These rifles will shoot and are at a pricepoint that won’t break the bank. Although, we had one consistent problem. The .222 Rem. calibers did not feed out of the magazines. We treated them as single shots and loaded them individually during the hunt. Hopefully Sauer has figured out a solution. The other chamberings, .223 and .22-250, fed the HSM 55-grain varmint loads like champs.

In addition to hunting prairie dogs, the author and other writers took their Sauer 100 Classic XTs to chase coyotes.

This hunt was my first exposure to HSM ammunition, and we shot a mountain of their Varmint Blue load. This is a polymer tipped 55-grain projectile, and the source of those insane shots. Needless to say, I am impressed by the accuracy. And if you watch the video from the hunt, you will be impressed by the terminal ballistics on prairie dogs.

Minox Riflescopes were also a new product that I tested during our varmint depredation, and they worked well. When it comes to clarity of glass, the Germans are hard to beat, and the Minox glass was no exception and high-quality. We tested both the 5-15X and the 5-25X models of ZX5i, and both were fantastic. They held up to a beating of hundreds of rounds and the treacherous drive across prairie dog country. I am looking forward to testing one of these on the home range.

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Minox is a German-based glass company that offers high-quality riflescopes with illuminated reticles like the Minox ZX5i. Photo Courtesy: Minox

Skoping it Out

This piece of gear was probably the highlight of the trip for me, which may strike you as odd for a gun guy. The problem lies that I’m a gun guy that writes and takes video for a living. Pistols and carbines make it easy to share a review, a technique or concept on video. Often the targets are in the same frame as the shooter, and it’s easy for audiences to see what is happening.

For example, long range makes it challenging to tell a story. It’s one of the most interesting disciplines to shoot, but it often ends up sounding like a fish story. “I shot this target way over there. Here is my paper target. It was awesome! You shoulda’ been there man!”

The Phone Skope mount allows users to attach their phones to a riflescope or spotting scope. Photo Courtesy: Phone Skope

The team at Phone Skope solved that problem. They created a device that mounts your phone or iPod Touch to a spotting scope, and it works like a wet dream. The video accompanying this writing, is a compiled video that the Phone Skope crew made for us using spotting scopes and iPhones. It is fantastic.

Users can customize their mount to their cellphone, or they may buy this universal mount from Phone Skope. Photo Courtesy: Phone Skope

My Phone Skope mount is already in the mail, and it is going to change the way I review rifles. The price is around $80, and it is worth every penny. Not only can you share the videos of your hunt, but it’s also great for training. If you are shooting solo, you can hands-free record and check on your phone between shots. They also make GoPro adapters, and a variety of other useful items like USB power banks. I strongly recommend that you check out Phone Skopes.

Springing into Action

We also got to see behind the scenes with Action Targets with a tour at the factory in Utah on our last day. This company is massive, I had no idea the amount of indoor ranges they build every year. Originating in 1996, Action Targets has continued to build innovative ranges throughout the U.S. and currently has built facilities in 40 other countries. We spent some range time testing some of the new indoor training systems they are building all over the country. They also showcased some of their new outdoor targets. They are entering a lineup of portable gongs and reactive targets for the average consumer market this year. We have some upcoming reviews about the new lineup. These targets may be coming to a range near you.

Action Targets are launching new lines of targets. Shooters can select the shape for the PT Gong. Photo Courtesy: Action Target

For more information about Sauer rifles, click http://www.sauer.de.

For more information about Coda Hunts, click http://codahunts.com.

For more information about HSM Ammunition, click http://thehuntingshack.com.

For more information about Action Targets, click http://www.actiontarget.com.

For more information about Minox Riflescopes, click http://www.minox.com/index.php?id=zx5_line&L=2.

For more information about Phone Skope, click https://www.phoneskope.com.

To purchase a Sauer rifle on GunsAmerica, click https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?Keyword=Sauer%20rifles%20bolt.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • RJinTexas June 29, 2017, 7:31 pm

    What few people realize is that it only takes about twenty prairie dogs to consume and reduce as much grass in a year as one cow. When weather gets severe P-dogs stay underground were they still eat grass roots killing the grass and leaving large baron spots that further reducing the amount of usiable pastures and the number cows the rancher can graze in his pasture.

  • Campbell King June 26, 2017, 1:32 pm

    Where are the kittens ?? I wanna shoot kittens !! Let’s go kitten misting ~~ meow

  • Tripwire June 26, 2017, 10:19 am

    Clay.. I hate you! I had my hunt planned, bought a sweet Savage 243 HB just for this hunt, bought the best shooting bench made (http://www.doashootingbench.com/contact) loaded a shit ton of 243 with Nosler varmint bullets and the hunt was cancelled because a plague swept the towns. I’ve no idea how long it takes the towns to make a come back but I’m so pissed off I may just say screw it. Lived in MT for over 40 years and never took time to go hunting and now this..sucks! So while i don’t really hate you I do envy you and that’s as bad.

    • Brian June 27, 2017, 10:19 am

      Have you tried the Pierre National Grasslands near Pierre SD? I was there a few years ago and there were plenty. The NG office there has a map with the town sizes on it

  • Treker June 26, 2017, 9:46 am

    Nice shooting, great varmint control! Maybe you could use a live trap & send a few hundred to those who want to cuddle with these varmints. Maybe they could start a dog town in their yard.

  • Duece June 26, 2017, 9:38 am

    Clay, I am surprised, and a little disappointed, that you would be so positive about a rifle that did not load properly.

    • MarkWynn June 26, 2017, 2:59 pm

      Speaking of accurate, reasonably priced varmint rifles … Ruger has several models, and they’re made in America.

  • David Brantley June 26, 2017, 8:24 am

    Yeah, Zorro. I bet you would rather see them poisoned to die a slow death and spreading poison to scavengers and the environment rather than instant death. You are complete ignorant of the level of destruction caused by these pests, not to mention the hazards to livestock. Why do you even read websites like this?

  • Zorro June 26, 2017, 6:16 am

    Why not just put kittens out in the field and blast them – for God’s sake really…? What’s the purpose of killing these animals other than to just kill…?

    • Joe June 26, 2017, 8:31 am

      Zorro – You are a city boy, you can’t understand farmland –

    • Alan June 26, 2017, 9:28 am

      Unless you’re a devout vegan, ANYONE who criticizes hunting and shooting for population control is a hypocrite.
      You fools come here with your ignorant attitude and get all righteous, then go buy your meat at the grocery store so you don’t have to deal with it.
      And don’t start on the “killing” part of it, when it may not be consumed, UNLESS you kill mice and rats in your home and eat them. SAME THING.
      You wanna bitch?
      Call your Congressperson and complain about the Dept. Of Ag POISONING over 3 million prairie dogs in the State of Colorado ALONE every year.
      A few shooters killing P.D.’s is NOTHING compared to that.
      Self-Righteous assholes and their poor feelings! Oh, Boo Hoo.
      Betcha you’re gonna enjoy that Burger, Brat, Chicken or Steak grilled out on the Barbie this 4th, eh?!??
      Ok, rant over.

      • MarkWynn June 26, 2017, 3:03 pm

        Suggest the “vegan” and meat on the table arguments don’t apply to exploded prairie dogs, Alan. Might stick to an argument that applies. Thanks

        • Alan June 28, 2017, 1:28 pm

          OK, but you don’t get off that easily. Explain your reasoning behind that statement, please.

    • Tripwire June 26, 2017, 10:13 am

      Zorro, I’ll try to be nice in my reply to your comment because i think it was based on ignorance. I’ll simply ask you if you’ve ever had to shoot a horse? All horses are beautiful creatures and IMHO are right up there with dogs s mans best friend. So back to the question, I’ve had to shoot a horse that broke a leg in a gopher hole ( a gopher as we call them are actually some kind of squirrel that lives under ground) A gopher is about a third the size of a P-Dog and just a dangerous to livestock and they ruin many thousands of acres of range land.
      So, until you have had to deal with the issues of P-dogs you don’t have a dog in this fight. You have the right to comment but commenting out of ignorance is well…ignorant

      • Mr. Sparkles June 26, 2017, 11:52 am

        Very well, and politely spoken Tripwire.

      • Dewey June 27, 2017, 12:08 am

        I admit my ignorance about shooting horses with a broken leg, although I have heard of it. Is it not possible for a vet to repair and cast a horse’s broken leg? No one I know would kill their dog for a broken limb, they’d take them to the vet and have it fixed. Is a horse’s skeletal makeup somehow different? Are equine bones physically incapable of healing?

        • Palerider June 30, 2017, 10:58 pm

          It depends where the break is, how bad it is and can you afford the bil?l If it can be set, pinned etc. If it’s in a joint, it’s impossible to fix. Horse’s run at pretty much maximum torque on their legs, sometimes a “break” is actually more like an implosison, destroying tendons, muscle and blood veins. This kind of break is again, impossible to repair. Just in case you actually care to know…….

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