Sauer 100 Pantera Rifle Review
- Thursday, 14 January 2021
Sauer 100 Pantera - Professional hunter and deer stalker Peter S Jones reviews the Sauer 100 Pantera.
It maybe that having seen and handled so many rifles, it is no surprise that I ache for something a little fresh. Many rifles are eye wateringly dull in design as though the manufacturer has either sleep-walked through the design process or set blandness as the objective.
For this reason, rifles that have caught my attention in recent years have been the Sako S20, Blaser R8 Ultimate and the Benelli Lupo, all of whom have challenged design.
Make no mistake, other rifles such as the Tikka T3, Browning X bolt, Sauer 101 are functional, accurate and effective however, in my experience, beginners to deer stalking these days expect a little more, particularly, in relation to the rifle stock.
New recreational hunters who have the luxury of having even limited financial flexibility on their spend, want a stock that fits rather than an off the shelf, one size fits all design. Of course, with improved design and additional features comes a price tag, I understand that, I really do, but in the case of the Pantera the extra few hundred pounds is in my view, money well spent.
It’s not you, it’s me! A simple classic design is usually all that you need. But is ‘need’ the objective? Or is it ‘want’? In fact, I’d go so far as to say that a simple classic design for most people that hunt deer and shoot at average ranges out to 200 yards, is indeed all that you ‘need’ for 95% of your hunting, and if all you need is a simple functional tool at a reasonable price, then good for you. Many people, who step into an average priced car are perfectly happy with the average performance and the bland looks, but they wouldn’t expect Jeremy Clarkson to climb in beside them and look anything other than sullen and bored with their choice. Will it get the job done? Yes, but come on! Life is a little more than that isn’t it? Well, it certainly is for most of my clients, they are not buying a rifle as tool for work, they are buying a rifle because it’s exciting!
It is with great relief therefore, that Sauer have introduced a little ‘pizzazz’ to the design of the Sauer 100 Pantera. However, at £1,600-00 RRP have they been bold enough? Because for a similar spend, there is some stiff competition.
Founded 260 years ago in 1751, Sauer & Sohn are Germany’s oldest rifle manufacturer, and so there is a wealth of experience and know how. I myself have owned a Sauer 202 for around 15 years and it has proved a reliable and capable companion. I also absolutely love the Sauer 404, which I feel was an absolute triumph. As for the Pantera? Well, it certainly goes a long way to lift the soul.
The main feature of the new Pantera? (Pantera by the way translates as Panther - my 5 year old would love it – he calls himself Bagheera!) is the stock, which, like many new rifles these days, aims to fit itself to the varying somatotypes of the shooter and is specifically aimed at those who shoot prone using a bipod.
Sauer have opted for an ‘ErgoFlex’ design with no chequering anywhere on the stock, I am not sure that this isn’t a mistake from an aesthetic perspective however, instead they have gone for a grippy matt black coating which certainly does the job as well, or even better. The design also incorporates a curved, height-adjustable recoil pad, which can be adjusted by a total of 5.5cm. There is also a height-adjustable comb, that is supported by two steel rods that provide 3cm of vertical movement. The setting is then secured via two thumb wheels on the righthand side. Like many designs, the comb must be lowered before the bolt can be removed. However, on the Pantera there is no reset position that returns the comb to the selected height, instead it is down to the user to reconfigure the height each time.
The stocks pistol grip is one area of the rifle which has been a huge success, it is well proportioned, comfortable and with a palm swell, improves the shooters ability to place the trigger finger perfectly on the blade.
Another simple but excellent feature of the stock in my view, is the ‘hand stop’ on the lower aspect which when shooting prone, allows the shooter to pull the stock into the shoulder for a firmer hold. This feature alone I find extremely beneficial to prone shooting.
The forend of the rifle is wide and flat and includes vents through the barrel channel to aid cooling, added to which it looks cool! There is also a single stud for a sling at the rear behind the hand stop and two at the forend to accommodate a bipod and/or a sling.
Stock aside, standard calibres include: .243 Win, 6.5x55 SE, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win and 30-06 Springfield. As for the .270? Perhaps Sauer can advise me please? Considering this is a rifle purpose built for prone shooting, something that accounts for most shots in the Scottish Highlands, where the .270 is king, to have left this calibre out, would be an error of judgement.
The trigger offers no surprises, adjustable from 2.2 - 4.4 lbs, it’ll cover most tastes and in line with all Sauer’s, it is excellent, clean and crisp. The safety is also excellent and intuitive, it pushes all the way forward to fire, the middle setting is safe with bolt operation and the rear setting is safe with the bolt locked. Simple, intuitive and effective.
Like many successful rifles manufacturers, Sauer rifles come in all shapes and sizes however, if you want something a little more exciting than the classic, then it would undoubtedly be the Pantera that you should reach for.
To read reviews of other popular rifles click here: rifle-reviews
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