I recently had the pleasure of taking part in a prairie dog hunt in Elk Mountain, Wyoming. Triple Curl organized the event. The stars of the show were Sauer, who premiered their new rifle, the Sauer 100 Classic XT, and Minox. Minox had a suite of scopes available for use. Aside from Sauer and Minox, SilencerCo, HSM Ammunition, D.O.A Tactical Shooting bench and PhoneSkope also sponsored the event and brought out some awesome products. To supplement the prairie dog hunting, writers were taken out in small groups to hunt coyotes.
Day 1 of the event found me departing the Albuquerque Sunport and headed west to Salt Lake City. As I landed in Salt Lake, I grabbed a cup of coffee and called the event organizer, Cory Cannon of Triple Curl. Cory is a bear of man who greeted me with a big smile and strong handshake. After jumping in the cab of his giant truck, he asked if I would help him run some quick errands and get the Sauer 100 Classic XT rifles zeroed for the event. “Of course!” Cory drove me up to the Bountiful Lions Range in Salt Lake City. Joining us were Seth Ercanbrack of Action Target and Cory Lundberg, a professional hunting guide and owner of CODA Hunts. The three off us made short work zeroing the rifles. I relished the time: it offered an early glimpse of the Sauer 100 Classic XT rifle and Minox scope, and provided an opportunity to hand pick a rifle from the pile we had brought and configure it for my big frame. After packing up the rifles, we returned to the airport to pick up the other writers, grab a quick bite to eat, and drive 5 hours to Elk Mountain, Wyoming. We arrived in Elk Mountain, where we checked into the Elk Mountain Hotel and enjoyed a nice dinner. After dinner, the writers and Industry personnel enjoyed a meet-and-greet, and various company representatives spoke about their products. After dessert, we retired in preparation for an early morning.
Day 2 of the event saw us up bright and early. We were served a wonderful breakfast, then driven out to a ranch south east of Elk Mountain. Prior to the shoot, SilencerCo attached suppressors to the rifles. The suppressors used were the Saker and the Omega. The rifle I would use for the shoot was a Sauer 100 Classic XT chambered in .223 Remington. Since the rifles were not zeroed with the suppressors attached, I was slightly worried about a shift in my zero. I was promptly able to dismiss that fear when I ranged a prairie dog 100 yards away, and dispatched it with a head shot.
For the duration of the hunt we shot off benches from DOA Tactical. The benches are modular in design and allow you to configure the bench for shooting style and body type. When long guns are involved, there is some gear I never leave home without. Typically, I take a Harris bipod, an Accuracy 1st rear bag, a Kestrel 4500 weather station, a Bushnell Trophy spotting scope, my Sig Kilo 2000 range finder and my smart phone which has Applied Ballistics.
After checking my zero on the head of a prairie dog at 100 yards, I entered atmospheric data provided by the Kestral 4500 into the Applied Ballistics software on my phone and glassed the range until I found a rock at 600 yards. Since I did not have a chronograph, I needed to true my ballistic calculator by adjusting the velocity until my 600-yard hold lined up with what my bullet was actually doing down range. After 3 shots on the rock, I trued my ballistic solver and got to shooting. Since I could monitor atmospheric conditions and had good ballistic data, most of my kills were between 400 and 700 yards. The Sauer 100 Classic XT proved extremely accurate. Atop the Sauer 100 Classic XT was a Minox ZP5 5 – 25 first focal plane rifle scope. The scope was equipped with the MR4 grid style reticle. I am a huge fan of Horus style reticles and I greatly appreciated the MR4. The MR4 excelled when I started to shoot prairie dogs past 600 yards. During the day, I had a nice 1/2 value wind moving left to right that was gusting between 12 and 15 miles per hour. Observing splash in the reticle made follow up shots lighting fast. The glass was clear on the Minox ZP5, and the parallax was perfect. My longest shot on Day 2 was a prairie dog at 740 yards. We packed up in the late afternoon and went back to the lodge for an early dinner.
After dinner Cory Lundberg of CODA Hunts asked the writers if we wanted to go hunt coyotes. Several of us jumped at the opportunity. We donned camouflage, grabbed our suppressed Sauer 100’s, jumped in Cory’s truck, and headed to a nearby ranch. We made several stands. During our last stand, Cory called in a nice coyote within several hundred yards. A writer took a shot, but was unable to connect. With the light fading we headed back to the hotel.
Day 3 of the event was similar to Day 2. After an early breakfast at the Lodge, we were driven out to a ranch to shoot prairie dogs. The primary difference was that Cory Lundberg took groups out to hunt coyotes throughout the day. Cory is truly a master at his craft, and could bring in coyotes at all times of the day. During Day 3 I fired several hundred more rounds through the Sauer 100 and had zero issues. My longest shot on Day 3 was a prairie dog sitting at 780 yards. Aside from some feeding issues with the Sauer 100s chambered in .222, all the rifles performed well. After a successful day of hunting, we packed up and headed back to the lodge for a nice dinner and an adult beverage.
Day 4 found us up bright and early in preparation for our drive back to Salt Lake City. We arrived around noon and were treated to lunch, then a tour of the Action Target factory and corporate headquarters. After the tour, we drove to the Ready Gunner shooting range to test out Action Target’s new range system. I will cover both Action Target and Ready Gunner in separate articles.
The Sauer 100 rifle, Minox ZP5 riflescope, and SilencerCo suppressors are fantastic kit. The Sauer 100 rifle was extremely accurate. Aside from some feeding issues with the rifles chambered in .222, throughout the trip the .223 Remington, 22-250, and 6.5 Creedmoor ran 100%. The Minox ZP5 was clear, the parallax was perfect, and the MR4 reticle was outstanding. If you are in the market for a new hunting rifle I would consider the Sauer 100, and I don’t think you can go wrong with a Minox scope. A big thank you to Cory Cannon of Triple Curl. Fantastic event.