J.P. Sauer 3000 Lux, German 12 gauge/7x65R Drilling

J. P. Sauer und Sohn GmbH (Sauer & Sohn) is a German manufacturer of firearms.  Founded by Lorenz Sauer in 1751 in Suhl, Thuringia, “The Green Heart of Germany,” the company is the oldest recorded firearms manufacturer still active in Germany.  The company’s production remained in Suhl for two centuries through numerous accomplishments.  Lorenz Sauer went into partnership with J. S. Spangenberg in 1774. 

In 1815, Johann-Gottlob Sauer started managing the firm; in 1820, he began manufacturing weapons of war as well as percussion and needle-fire hunting arms.  Johann Paul Sauer became the manager of the company in 1835 and founded his own workshop.  Three years later, he founded the company Spangenberg & Sauer with Ferdinand Spangenberg.  The firm expanded in 1849 to be known as Spangenberg, Sauer & Sturm, Suhl.  The gun designs of the company were entered at several world fairs beginning in 1851 and won numerous prizes and medals, as Johann Paul Sauer and his son Lorenz created the new name of J. P. Sauer & Sohn and utilized a trademark of a standing giant with a club, associated with the name in 1873.

The firm decided to produce hunting weapons in 1880 at a branch located at Französischestrasse 40-41 in Berlin.  A year later, they produced their first drilling, a three-barreled weapon.  In 1895, with Franz Sauer serving as the sole owner, the first self-cocking three-barreled gun with a separate cocking lever for the rifle barrel was introduced.  The company’s branch in Berlin moved to Jägerstrasse 59-60 in 1900.  By 1915, the luxurious version of the Model XVIII double shotgun, also known as the Meisterwerk shotgun, was produced for Sauer’s most demanding customers.  By 1940, the German military was responsible for the majority of the company’s sales.  The M 30 Luftwaffe-Drilling became a hunting arm of almost mystical popularity.  After the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945, the partition of Germany by the victorious Allies left the city of Suhl – and the Sauer firm – in Communist East Germany.

The new J. P. Sauer Company was founded on March 26, 1951 by Rolf Sauer, and investors who saw the value of the Sauer name and reputation.  They decided to build a new factory in Eckernförde in Schleswig-Holstein on the Baltic Sea between Flensburg and Kiel.  An important research and development facility of torpedoes for the German Navy (Kriegsmarine) in World War II was located here and had employed seven thousand skilled workers that were out of work when the facility was razed in 1948.  The construction of the new Sauer factory began in 1951 among the rubble and 200 of these skilled workers were hired, together with 70 skilled craftsmen from Suhl and the original Sauer factory who were able to leave the Russian occupation zone.

The Sauer Drilling became the most popular arm of its type in the world in 1956, in part because the Sauer Drillings were the first rifles to have revolutionary new hammer-forged rifle barrels.    From 1960 through 1999, the model 80 Sauer Drilling was produced for the Colt Company in Hartford-Connecticut and became known as the Colt-Sauer Model 3000 Drilling.  This was a basic Anson & Daly type drilling with a Greener safety as they had already been made formerly in Suhl.  It was available with 16 gauge, and 12 gauge shotgun barrels and six different rifle calibers. 

The basic Model 3000 or Drilling 3000 was produced from 1955 to 1997 in shotgun calibers 12, 16 and 20 with a variety of accompanying rifle calibers.  The gun featured a Blitz action, pistol grip with cheek piece, Purdey double sliding bolt with Greener cross bolt and Greener safety on the side.  The scalloped action has a straight ending towards the stock, loading indicators on the top strap, double triggers and extractors.  The Model 3000 was made in at least two versions: standard (STD), and premium (LUX); lightweight with alloy action (DUR), and barrels of Böhler Antinit Stahl (ANT).  The Lux version featured more decorative wood pieces and an engraved receiver.  The final versions of the Model 3000 had separate handling of the lock for the rifle barrel.

In 1965 the Murmann Family became the new owners of the company.  Rolf Sauer, who had led the rebirth of the company, died in 1972.  In the year 2000, Michael Lüke and Thomas Ortmeier acquired the company.  They also own the Blaser Company and the new Mauser Company.  In 2009, J. P. Sauer was re-founded in Isny im Allgäu, a town in south-eastern Baden-Württemberg, Germany, where Blaser is located.

In March of 2013 a new modern manufacturing facility was started in Isny that combined Sauer, Blaser and Mauser under one roof.  Barrel production and SIG Sauer pistol manufacturing have remained in Eckernförde.  Currently, the Lüke and Ortmeier Gruppe own the company and have its headquarters in Isny im Allgäu, Germany at Ziegelstadel 20.

This particular J. P. Sauer & Sohn Model 3000 Luxury West German drilling is in caliber 12 X 12 X 7.65R.  It is rated as having 98% plus original condition.  With a serial number of G3533, the weapon was produced in 1967 at Eckernförde.  The weapon has 25″ solid matt ribbed barrels.  A tang barrel selector that raises the rib leaf sight when pushed forward to select the rifle barrel; rear sight designed for a 100 meter shooting distance.  The front trigger is a set trigger when using the rifle.  

The excellent condition shotgun bores measure at full choke and half choke and accommodate 2 3/4” shells.  All barrels are Nitro proofed.  The coin finished game scene on the engraved receiver shows an elk on one side and a deer on the other.  The gun has a Blitz action and Greener style side safety.  The streaked and checkered European walnut stock has a matching one piece checkered and full beavertail fore-end with a Deeley style release.  The weapon measures 14 ½” length of pull.  There is a Sauer factory butt plate.  The left bore diameter measures .719”; the right shotgun bore is .728”.  The left bore restriction measures .032” while the right is .035”.  The drop at heel (DAH) is approximately 3”; the drop at comb (DAC) is approximately 1 ¾”; the DAF is approximately 2”.  The unloaded gun weighs 7 pounds and 8 ounces.  It is fitted with sling swivels.

The 7x65R is a rimmed bottleneck cartridge designed by famous Leipzig arms and ammunition manufacturer Wilhelm Brenneke in 1917, providing an edged version – for easier extraction – of his already popular 7×64.  It uses a case 65mm (2.559”) long.  The shoulder angle is 20.25 degrees and it uses standard 7mm (.284”) bullets.  Norma offers four factory loads for the 7x65R, three with 170 grain bullets and one with a 156 grain bullet.  The Norma 156 grain Oryx bullet is loaded to a muzzle velocity of 2723 fps and muzzle energy of 2569 ft. lbs.  The 200 yard figures are 2200 fps and 1678 ft. lbs.  The 170 grain Vulkan load has a muzzle velocity of 2657 fps and muzzle energy of 2666 ft. lbs.  The 200 yard figures are 2143 fps and 1734 ft. lbs. (very similar to the .308 Winchester.)

Leupold introduced their four-star-plus, VX-3 1.5-5x20mm Illuminated Reticle (IR) riflescope in 2010 and one is on this weapon.  It is the All-American interpretation of a European/African safari or dangerous game scope, boasting a one-piece, 30mm main tube, illuminated reticule and a 1.5x minimum magnification to maximize the field of view.  VX-3 optics are fully multi-coated using Leupold’s proprietary Xtended Twilight Lens System that specifically matches the lens coatings with each lens element, based on its glass type and index of refraction.  The lens edges are blackened to reduce internal reflections.  Highly abrasion resistant DiamondCoat2 is applied to all exterior lens surfaces.  Like all Leupold Gold Ring scopes, the VX-3 is made in Beaverton, Oregon USA. The tubes and adjustment turret are CNC machined from solid 6061-T6 aluminum bar stock for maximum durability.  The front of the tube and the rear of the ocular bell are threaded for Leupold Alumina accessories.  All Leupold Gold Ring scopes are covered by Leupold’s industry standard setting Full Lifetime Guarantee, regardless of whether they are still owned by the original purchaser, with no receipt or registration card required.  Note that this is a flat-out “lifetime guarantee,” not a “limited lifetime warranty.”

This particular VX-3 scope has an overall length of 9.6” and weighs 13.3 ounces.   The red dot reticule (left) provides accuracy for shooting the rifle, while the surrounding red circle shows an excellent approximation of the expected 12 gauge shotgun patterning.   It has a field of view at 100 yards of 66.5’, with the scope set on 1.5x.  The highest magnification actually is calibrated at 4.5x.  The battery providing illumination is a CR-2032.  The images seen through the VX-3 are crisp and clear, with good contrast.  Flare and coma are well suppressed, as are all other visible optical aberrations.  Color rendition is accurate and well saturated.  Compared to other scopes of its type, the VX-3 1.5-5×20 Metric has good center sharpness and very good edge sharpness.  The degree of illumination of the reticule can be set to four daytime settings and four low-light settings.