The history of
J.P. Sauer & Sohn

The history of
J.P. Sauer & Sohn

The history of
J.P. Sauer & Sohn

Experience the origin

Immerse yourself into the thrilling history of the oldest German hunting rifle manufacturer! Exclusively for you, we have summarised the most important events of the last 270 years.

1751

1751 

The SAUER family, originating from Nuremberg and consisting of gunsmiths, founds a company in Suhl. The founder is Lorenz Sauer.

1753

A fire turns the town into a pile of ashes. Many people lose their lives and many important documents about the founding of the SAUER company are destroyed by the fire.

1756

The beginning of the Seven Years’ War brings new orders to the company. Saxony allows the Suhl rifle manufacturers, including SAUER, to deliver 25,000 rifles to Prussia.

1774

The brand ‘Gewehrfabrik Suhl’ was previously used to describe all the gunsmiths’ workshops scattered around the city, which had their handguns or individual parts of them sold by gun dealers.

1811

1811 

SAUER is the first German company to manufacture military rifles, as well as hunting and sporting rifles.

Picture: For Preußen – The Scharnhorster Infanteriegewehr, Model 1809

1836

1836 

In 1836 Johann Paul Sauer (*1808 – †1882), the grandson of Johann Paul Sauer (*1746 – †1833), founded his own workshop on the site of the later factory.

Picture: 16 caliber transverse shotgun, made around 1835.

1839

Johann Paul Sauer replaces Wolfgang Heinrich Sturm and now, together with Ferdinand Spangenberg, directs the fortunes of the royal rifle factory, which is now known as ‘Spangenberg & Sauer’. Factory production and the division of labour could no longer be halted.

1873

1873 

Johann Paul Sauer and his sons Rudolf and Franz found the company J.P Sauer & Sohn.

1879

As a partner in the Spangenberg & Sauer company, Ferdinand Spangenberg’s widow signed the contract to sell the company to Johann Paul Sauer after his death. One year later, the Königliche Gewehrfabrik Spangenberg & Sauer is deleted from the commercial register.

1880

1880 

Due to the high demand for high-quality hunting rifles by the growing middle-class generation of big game hunters, the extensive machinery for military weapons production is converted to the manufacture of hunting weapons. The newly developed means of transport such as railways and steamships open up markets on all continents for the rifle manufacturers.

1895

1895 

SAUER continues to grow and is a driver of innovation in the field of hunting rifles: The first SAUER self-cocking drilling with separate cocking lever for the ball lock is launched.

1915

1915 

The SAUER Meisterwerk shotgun model XVIII with sear, single trigger and ejector – engraving by Franz Schilling. The Sauer & Sohn sidelock is the only one of its kind that can call itself perfect. Until today, the Meisterwerk shotgun is designed in the old SAUER style and offered with fine English arabesque as standard engraving by J.P. Sauer & Sohn.

1918

Major orders force the company to expand its premises, take out loans and hire new staff. At the end of the First World War, however, this overcapacity leads to a collapse with the loss of orders. The new beginning was extremely difficult for SAUER, as the traditional sales markets were shattered and both purchasing power and capital were low.

1921

1921 

SAUER takes over the elaborate production of the typewriter ‘Fortuna’, which was developed from a simple machine from the Mercedes works. Ongoing orders to equip the Reichswehr, which could have compensated to some extent for the lull in the production of hunting weapons, do not materialize, as the rearmament of the Reichswehr is limited or prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles.

1930

1930 

SAUER develops its first expertise in the construction of light hunting rifles: Introduction of the triplet Mod. 30 – also in light steel, Mod. 30 L

1931

Introduction of the slightly simpler Drilling compared to the Mod. 30, the somewhat simpler Drilling Mod. 32. also in light steel (Mod.32 L).

1932

Einführung des gegenüber dem Mod. 30 etwas einfacheren Drillings Mod. 32. ebenfalls in Leicht-Stahl (Mod.32 L)

1933

After the National Socialists take power in Germany, the Treaty of Versailles is revoked and rearmament is officially pursued after initial secrecy. SAUER receives the order for the delivery of 10,000 Carbines 98k. Gradually the numbers of units are increased.

1933

1933 

Official introduction of the over-under Shotgun (Bockflinte) Mod. 33. Also available as over-under shotgun rifle (Bockbüchsflinte) and over-under rifle.

1936

Introduction of the new break-barrel rifles Mod. German Patent No. 679834 “Universal trigger device for combined rifles”. German Patent No. 695730, “Double preventing locking device for double barreled rifles having two single triggers.”

1941

1941 

For the deployment of the various German troop types in Northern Africa, the Wehrmacht command must provide a number of special devices and uniforms appropriate to the climate in North Africa and to combat in the desert. The responsible commanders of the Luftwaffe decide to provide a part of the flying units with a hand weapon that should help them to kill an animal for food after a shootdown or emergency landing in the desert. It was to be a survival weapon. Thus the Luftwaffe Drilling M30 is produced in 12/65 caliber and 9.3x74R.

1945

At the end of the war, American troops occupy Suhl. 18 SAUER buildings are destroyed. Russian units take control. 30% of the equipment and machinery are dismantled. Production of hunting rifles continues with 9,500 units. After the takeover by the Soviets and expropriation, J.P. Sauer & Sohn is deleted from the commercial register.

1948

VEB FORTUNA Werk Suhl (now located in the GDR- eastern Germany) is founded (formerly J.P. Sauer & Sohn), which is later integrated into VEB MEWA Ernst-Thälmann-Werke Suhl. Years later, the factory still uses the brand name J.P. Sauer & Sohn for its hunting rifles.

1950

Rolf Sauer sells all rights to the name J.P Sauer & Sohn to a group of industrialists in the Federal Republic of Germany.

1951

1951 

In the FRG, the company J.P Sauer & Sohn GmbH is newly founded in Eckernförde and is the first manufacturer of hunting rifles in the Federal Republic of Germany after the war.

1956

1956 

Drilling Model 3000: The Drilling 3000 is launched as the successor model to the popular S53 Drilling in DUR (breech block made of dual light metal), LUX (with rich engraving, horn trigger guard, luxury stock) and ANT (barrels made of Böhler Antinite steel) versions with an expanded caliber selection. Since the 1950s, it has been the best-selling weapon of its kind worldwide.

1972

1972 

The “Schweizer Industriegesellschaft (SIG) is looking for a production partner for its newly designed pistols and finds one in J.P. Sauer & Sohn in Eckernförde. Sauer has the necessary capacity and expertise to bring the P 220 and P 230 models to series production.

1976

SIG Holding AG took over 90 percent of the share capital of J.P. Sauer & Sohn, until the complete takeover in the 1980s.

1981

1981 

SAUER launches the Model 80 bolt action rifle, which is immortalized in 1981 by its successor, the Sauer 90. Soon, daily production rises to 50 guns.

1985

1985 

Sauer 200, the first modular bolt action rifle in 14 calibers and numerous engraving variants appears. Instead of the hitherto almost inseparable unit of barrel, system and stock, a modular weapon is created. Mounted in the system case, all components can later be exchanged in a few simple steps. The technical prerequisite for the new assembly method is a bolt system with direct locking of the chamber in the barrel. The stock is no longer the load-bearing element, but the bolt housing.

1993

1993 

The S 200 is further developed into the bolt action rifle Sauer 202, which sets standards in precision and design to this day.

2000

SIG Holding AG leaves the gun business completely. J.P. Sauer & Sohn GmbH is taken over by Michael Lüke and Thomas Ortmeier. Both entrepreneurs are passionate hunters.

2006

2006 

With the SAUER 303 self-loading rifle, a semi-automatic rifle with the elegance of a classic bolt action is launched for the first time.

2009

J.P. Sauer & Sohn GmbH, which focuses exclusively on the production of hunting rifles, moves to Isny in Allgäu.

Handgun- and defence production remains with the Sig Sauer brand in Eckernförde until 2019.

2012

2012 

With the introduction of the SAUER 101, the success story of the classic bolt action rifles is extended in a non-modular way and the family tree of the SAUER 80 and SAUER 90 is extended by another generation.

2015

2015 

The SAUER 404 is launched as an improved successor to the legendary SAUER 202. The proven modular system has been perfected and enhanced with decisive details. SAUER also sets a milestone in light rifle construction with the model variant SAUER 404 Synchro XTC. By using a perforated stock made of hand-laid carbon, the weight of the rifle can be reduced to about 2.7 kg.

2016

2016 

With the introduction of the SAUER 100, J.P. Sauer & Sohn presents a non-modular bolt action rifle that has all the premium features of a SAUER hunting rifle in terms of design, quality and precision. The S 100 raises the standard in the entry-level class to a new level. Its convincing features make the S 100 the benchmark in its class.

2016–2017

2016–2017 

The tradition of successful shotgun cooperations at SAUER creates a next generation of shotguns. In cooperation with Fausti, the SAUER double-barreled shotguns Apollon and Artemis (as a ladies-only shotgun) are developed. In 2017, SAUER launches a self-loading shotgun for the first time in its history. The SAUER SL5 is developed in cooperation with the Italian gun manufacturer Breda.

2020

2020 

With the SAUER101 Highland XTC with real carbon stock, Germany’s oldest and most traditional gun manufacturer not only sets an in-house weight record, but also presents a new high-tech finish on barrel and receiver that is second to none.

2021

2021 

Founded in Suhl, rebuilt in Eckernförde and brought to perfection in Isny: The experience of 270 years has given rise to weapon legends that perfectly combine classic craftsmanship with the most modern technologies and knowledge and have inspired generations of hunters since then and will continue to do so in the future!