By Bruce Potts
Friday, 30 October 2009
Sauer Wolverine Rifle review: Accuracy and finesse make the Sauer Wolverine a great all-round performer, says Bruce Potts.
The 202 series, from German rifle maker Sauer, is a modular system with all the variations stemming from one common action, enabling you to reconfigure the rifle to tackle any sporting situation. Usually this takes the form of simply replacing wooden stocks for synthetic ones to beat the harsh weather or changing the barrel to substitute a more suitable calibre for the job in hand. The Wolverine model, however, is very different. Its adjustable cheekpiece and larger fore-end stem from target shooting origins, as does the large, in length and diameter, fluted barrel topped off with a different match-grade trigger. The result is a highly accurate sporting rifle with the finesse of a match-grade target gun.
Enormous is really the only way to describe the Wolverine’s barrel. At 26in long, it is chosen to gain maximum velocity from any cartridge for which the rifle is chambered. The outside diameter is 1.14in at the receiver end, tapering to only 0.95in at the front of the fore-end and 0.75in at the muzzle, which gives it that classic extra-heavy varmint profile. To reduce the weight, to aid in cooling from high-volume firings and to look good, there are seven symmetrical flutes cut along 22in of the barrel’s 26in length. The muzzle is well finished with a recessed and squared crown to avoid any inadvertent damage to this crucial area and to maintain peak accuracy as the bullet exits the barrel. The finish is a tough, silky matt blue, complementing the action, and no open sights are fitted — this is a varmint model not a Sporter.
In .223 Remington, the rifling twist was one in 10in (actually one in 9.85in) so there was potential to use some heavier bullets for the field tests.
The action is manufactured from a single piece of steel for integrity and forms the foundation to which all of the Sauer rifles attach their barrels, triggers, bolts and magazines. The barrel is secured by three cross-bolts that extend across the front of the receiver and securely clamp it in place with the aid of a locating peg. Precision engineering and the fact that the bolt locks into the back of the barrel maintain a strong, safe union. There was less than an inch shift at 100 yards in the field tests.
The solid-bodied bolt has a short 60° bolt lift and six forward locking lugs, which lock directly into the barrel with extraction achieved by a single claw extractor on the right side. Ejection is by a sprung plunger, which flings your valuable brass rearward. The bolt handle is not the usual traditional butter knife profile, but a more practical rounded ball end to aid fast operation when a swift second shot is needed.
A comfortable stock
The walnut stock blends a varmint profile with some features from the target world for comfort and a better shooting position. The butt stock is a plain yet strong walnut with little figuring, but what it lacks in looks it makes up in functionality. The height of the central section of the stock can be adjusted to ensure your cheek can fit correctly against the stock. In fact, there is no cheekpiece, rather the comb section of the stock is raised, being 5.5in long and secured by a single Allen key to a maximum height of 2in.
The fore-end (on Sauers this is a separate piece of walnut) is very wide at 2in for its entire length, tapering to 1.5in over the barrel to secure your fingers. There is a nicely textured stippled panel of 8.75in length on both sides of the fore-end, but not underneath. The pistol grip is also stippled. It looks chunky, but the additional girth enhances the feel and shootability of the Wolverine.
Trigger, safety and magazine
The Wolverine has a match-grade trigger unit with a 700g setting and very precise let-off, unlike the standard Sauers’ set trigger arrangement. You can adjust it, but I recommend that you leave it alone and concentrate on your quarry. The slim triggerblade has an almost straight profile and only needs a slight touch for a perfect shot.
The push-button safety is near silent and conveniently sited at the rear of the action in a recess. Depress the plunger and the Wolverine is safe. Push up on the button inside the trigger-guard with the trigger finger and you are ready to shoot. The detachable magazine is a single-column feed box. Loading is a bit of a pain due to two sharp lips at the front that aid in centring the round into the chamber. To release the magazine, you press a small button at the front of the magazine and the empty clip is ejected.
I fitted some fixed Apel scope bases and a Nightforce NF 12-42x56 scope to wring every ounce of accuracy from the Wolverine. Interestingly, most of the factory ammunition shot very well, especially the Remington and Norma 50-grain loads. The best accuracy was achieved with the reloads.
Don't miss this week's Shooting Times (on sale Wednesday 22nd May)! Get your FREE BOOKLET containing 24-pages of top gundog training tips! Plus, Tim Bonner goes wildfowling on the Blackwater estuary! Buy your copy today!
Subscribe today to Shooting Times magazine - The UK's leading weekly shooting title!
Shooting Times are giving away a fantastic Compact 150 automatic trap plus mini barrow from Bowman