J.P. Sauer Drilling
ŠPaul M. Alvarez 2003
The German machinists frequently turn simple tools into works of art. Blending art and ingenuity, nowhere is this more evident than in their gunmaking. An example of this is "gun art" this drilling manufactured by J.P. Sauer and Sons in Suhl Germany sometime before WWII. Between 1903 and 1938 from the style of the proofmarks. It was originally intended as a working tool rather than a show piece, yet something as simple as the company logo and the makers name is hand engraved and embellished on the action. Even the screws are engraved! This certainly does not make the gun shoot any better, but it enhances the pride of ownership.
This Sauer has a box-lock action with a Greener cross-bolt for strength. The button on the tang selects between the rifle barrel and the shotgun barrel. When the rifle is selected the rear sight pops up for use, when the shotgun barrel is selected the sight lays flush with the rib for an unbroken sighting plane. The safety is on the left side of the action just above the triggers. The top rib is set-up for a quick detachable claw mount scope.
Drillings are the most versatile guns available for hunting. At the touch of a button you have available either a double barrel shotgun or a combination rifle and shotgun with an instant choice of shot, buck, slug, or bullet.. They are popular in Europe for two primary reasons. First, the hunting seasons there are such that you might be hunting birds and large game at the same time. Second, the gun laws tend to be much more restrictive than ours and owning multiple firearms is sometimes prohibited or, at least, very difficult. With the increasingly more restrictive laws in this country, guns of this type might have a place in our future.
A Drilling handles about as well as a normal side-by-side shotgun and comes to the shoulder very readily. Being able to use one gun for all of your hunting has the advantage of only needing to learn one set of controls. Additionally, it provides you with the opportunity to practice and hunt all year round. Clay pigeons during the off season, birds, small game, all with your deer rifle!
The most common configuration for these pieces is a pair of 16 ga. shotgun barrels with the rifle tube in either 7X57R, such as this one or, if more power is needed, in 8X57R, though they can be had in a variety of other calibers as well. The 16 ga. is preferred because it results in a smaller and lighter action than the 12 ga. while providing almost as much power. During WWII the German Luftwaffe used to issue a Drilling to their pilots for survival use chambered in 12 ga. over a 9.3X74R tube, a cartridge that is in the same class as the .375 H&H!
The 7X57R cartridge, although never loaded in this country, is very popular in Europe. It is one of a series of rimmed sporting cartridges that Mauser developed from their rimless versions. The 7 mm rimmed is identical to the standard 7 mm Mauser in all dimensions with the exception of having a rim for ease in extraction when used in Drillings, single shots, and combination guns. RWS lists 6 loads ranging from a 123 grain cone point at 2920 fps to a 177 grain Brenneke TIG load at 2460 fps. Muzzle energy is around 2300 ft.-lbs. Norma has two loadings, a FMJ and a Soft Point, both weighing 150 grains, at 2690 fps. Brass is available from both companies and standard .284 bullets are plentiful. The only challenge in reloading this cartridge is comming up with a load that hits to point of aim. This cartridge is suitable for any but the biggest game on this continent.