The letters are not new; they've been used to designate
high-performance rifles for decades. Standing for the
German words Sharf Schutzen Gewehr (Sharp
Shooters Rifle), SSG defines what this new rifle imported
by SIG Arms is all about. As for the number 3000, it eludes
to a quantum leap in bolt-action rifles through the next
Made by the century-old firm, Sauer, of Germany, the
SSG 3000 certainly boasts some features that render it
a departure from some established principles while
incorporating many proven ones as well. Offered in .308
Winchester caliber, the rifle comes with a 23.4-inch
semi-heavy, cold-hammer-forged barrel with a built-in
muzzle brake. Weighing in at 12 pounds, the rifle's recoil
comes nowhere close to the level of discomfort, but the
muzzle brake serves to keep the sharpshooter on target
for rapid follow-up shots if necessary. Blocked on the
bottom, the muzzle brake does not kick up a dust signature
Unlike most European precision fifles, the SSG 3000 uses
U.S. quick-detachable bases and rings, in particular, Warne
Q.D. Premier mounts, or Warne Q.D. Maxima (Weaver-style)
along with an optional Weaver Rail adapter. With a Harris
Bipod adapter, the rifle will also use any model Harris bipod.
While some may prefer a heavier bipod, I find the lightweight
Harris Bipod to do everything I want a bipod to do.
Modular in design, the SSG 3000 allows all major components
to be easily removed for service, or caliber conversion as
described below. Taking advantage of proven synthetics,
the rifle uses a proprietary ambidextrous black McMillan
Fiberglass Tactical Stock. Designed in a semi-target-style,
this stock has a competition-style pistolgrip, an adjustable
cheekpiece and a non-slip rubber butt pad adjustable for
length of pull using the spacer system. Along the bottom
of the forend is an accessory rail, and Michaels of Oregon's
flush sling mounts are also molded into the stock.
Using a modernized Mauser-type bolt, this part is rigidly
contained in the SSG 3000's steel receiver leaving only
the oblong ejection port to gain access to the breach.
Using a Sako-type extractor, the bolt has a standard
plunger-style ejector, six interrupted forward locking
lugs, and a large, round, plastic bolt knob.
Located on the upper right side of the receiver, the safety
transcends down through the rifle to protrude into the
center of the trigger guard just forward of the trigger.
To put the SSG 3000 on SAFE, simply depress the safety
from the top. To ready the rifle for firing, push the safety
up with the trigger finger inside the trigger guard. The
safety locks the bolt closed when applied, and must be taken off
SAFE to open the bolt.
To remove the bolt, put the safety OFF and lift the bolt
handle. Now put the safety ON, pull the bolt back and
remove, making sure that the adjustable checkpiece is
low enough for it to clear. To replace the bolt, simply
insert it into the receiver and close with the safety ON
or OFF. lf the safety is in the ON position, the bolt will
close and lock in that position on SAFE.
To disassemble the bolt, remove it and turn the cocking
piece counter-clockwise until the striker rests at the
bottom of its channel. Now retrace the striker with a
flat instrument and continue to turn it counter-clockwise
(I used a key). When the striker is resting atop the
rear of the bolt body to the right of its channel, continue
to turn it a few degrees until the striker assembly unlocks
and is free of the bolt. The striker spring will remain
captive, but the striker group can otherwise be disassembled
for cleaning and lubrication. Reassembly is in reverse
order, and can be accomplished without tools with moderate
Atop the front of the receiver is a steel stud for use
in attaching a mirage deflection ribbon. The manual
depicts dual prongs at the front end of the ribbon that
hook into the muzzle break. During high temperatures
such ribbons help prevent heat waves from interfering
with one's view through a scope.
Most different about the SSG 3000 is its unique detachable
box magazine. Rather than being of the now conventional
double column, 2-position feed-type, this magazine is
an in-line type of single column, single-position feed.
Although this magazine holds only 5 shots, it extends
as low as the bottom of the trigger guard in a magazine
housing that is part of the stock. To release the magazine
from the rifle, use the index finger to depress the
ambidextrous button release just forward of the bottom
of the magazine. A spring-powered magazine ejector
will cause the magazine to eject downward into the hand.
In addition to its simple bolt disassembly, the SIG SSG
3000 can be further disassembled with relative ease.
After removing the two action hex bolts, the entire
barreled action can be removed from the stock. Although
it would be almost never necessary to do so, the barrel
can then be easily removed from the receiver by unscrewing
three hex bolts at the front of the receiver, removing
a locating pin, and pulling the barrel out the front of
the receiver by hand. Instructions for this procedure
are in the owner's manual.
Perhaps the only reason one might want to remove
the SSG 3000's barrel is to convert the rifle to fire .22
Long Rifle ammunition for practice or competition.
This requires a .22 caliber barrel, bolt, magazine well
insert and .22 rimfire magazine. However, this capability
also allows easy conversion to cartridges compatible with
the .308 Winchester such as the .243, 7mm-08 and others.
Capable of being fine adjusted, the SSG 3000's match-type
trigger is of the two-stage variety which 1 prefer to any
other. The trigger on our sample rifle breaks at a clean
3 pounds from the factory.
Offered in three basic packages, the SSG 3000 can be had
as the Level I, II, or III Tactical. Although the rifle remains
the same throughout, it is the accessories that make the
difference in designation and price. Furnished with only
a carrying case, the Level I Tactical SSG 3000 comes with
no scope or bipod. In addition to the carrying case, the
Level II Tactical comes with the Leupold Vari-X III 3.5-10X40mm
Duplex Reticle Scope and a Harris bipod. SIG Arms'
top-of-the-line Level III Tactical comes with the Leupold
Mark 4 M1 10X40mm Mil-Dot Scope and Harris bipod along
with the carrying case.
In addition to the three packages, SIG Arms offers a variety
of accessories for the SSG 3000 including both Leupold
scopes, both types of Warne bases and rings, Harris bipod
and adapter, Ultra Black Sling, Q.D. swivels, and carrying
case, and spare magazines.
Upon receiving the only Level III SSG 3000 in the country,
I was limited in time I was able to keep the rifle for testing,
so I wasted no time in doing just that. Equipped with a
Leupold Vari-X III 3.5 -10x40mm Duplex Reticle scope, our
sample is designated by SIG as the Model JE5SR-2. This
scope will allow the rifle to do anything one could ask
out to 200 yards.
Test firing the SIG SSG 3000 with several established
Match Grade .308 Winchester cartridges proved it capable
of high precision accuracy. Extremely smooth in operation,
the rifle demonstrated total reliability, its single-position-feed
magazine leaving the cartridge no place to go but into
the chamber. Equally pleasing was its fine two-stage
fully-adjustable trigger that let off at a crisp 3 pounds,
an ideal all-around weight.
With the majority of our 100-yard three-shot groups
running well under one inch our test sample averaged
just below one MOA overall. A thorough breaking in
would no doubt improve this accuracy substantially,
making the SSG 3000 worthy of filling any precision rifle
If you're looking for a high-grade bolt-action rifle, check
out SIG's brand new SSG 3000. For information on all
their fine firearms, contact SIG Arms, Inc., Dept. SOF,
Corporate Park, Exeter, NH 03833; phone: 603-772-2302.