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
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.
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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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 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.
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.
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.