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SIG Sauer Cross Rifle: SIG Returns to the Bolt Action Market

Straining the limits of if-it-ain’t-broke, don’t-fix-it-ness, SIG Sauer’s last bolt action rifles came to market when jeans were loose, Wayne’s World was in theaters, the Army was buying M9s from Beretta, and computers were running Windows 95. That was the unassailable SIG SSG 3000, born in 1992, and of much smaller renown, the SIG Arms SHR 970 imported to the US later in the '90s.

Since then, SIG focused its R&D efforts in the semi-automatic realm, with great success. And after more than 20 years, the company is finally putting its rollmark on a new bolt action rifle.

The SIG Cross is a departure from traditional rifle design, featuring a short action built on a one-piece receiver with a barrel nut securing an extension-equipped barrel. At the heart of the Cross is a massively strong, three-lug, floating bolt head that rides in a modular bolt carrier and locks into a barrel extension.

The Cross's bolt head is reinforced to deal with SIG's forthcoming high pressure, hybrid cased 277 SIG Fury ammunition. The bolt also features a bayonet firing pin, and an interchangeable bolt handle.

SIG put a pre-production Cross in our hands during a visit to the SIG Academy in late fall. There were only a few Cross rifles in existence at the time, all late-stage prototypes, so we were ecstatic SIG offered us an hour of solo range time with its new baby. We put about 80 rounds through the rifle shooting groups and some steel.

We ran the 16-inch, 1:10, 308 Winchester chambered variant, but SIG says the Cross will also come in 6.5 Creedmoor and SIG’s new, high pressure, hybrid-cased 277 SIG Fury cartridge originally developed for the US Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons program. SIG’s waiting on SAAMI approval for the 277 Fury and hopes to have it in time for the SHOT Show 2020 launch of the Cross. While exquisitely overbuilt for 308 and 6.5 CM, the three lug bolt with reinforcing lobes is made to safely contain the higher pressure of 277 Fury.

SIG's Cross is a lightweight, folding, three-lug bolt action rifle. This late-stage prototype is shown with SIG’s Sierra3 BDX 4.5-14x optic. The right side folding stock is skeletonized, allowing the bolt handle to pass through.

We benched the rifle on a bipod and bag, loaded a few mags with Federal’s 168-grain Gold Medal Sierra Matchking and went to work. The Cross’s tightest 5-shot group was an impressive 0.47 MOA and with SIG’s Sierra3 BDX 4.5-14x scope. (We clocked the ammo at 2397 fps with an 11.9 SD.) This is top shelf accuracy, especially from a factory gun, and indicates the Cross should be a half-minute shooter, or better, out of the box. Further, this is excellent performance considering we used only one type of ammo, a 14x hunting scope and a thick, duplex reticle in an impromptu accuracy evaluation.

SIG’s design totally free floats the barrel, not even using the barrel nut to hold the handguard, as is common in AR-style barrel interfaces. At first glance, you might think that’s what’s going on here. But, under the hood, the tubular handguard bolts to the receiver and is further stabilized by an extended 0-degree optic rail that bridges the receiver and the handguard. (Some people are confused by the term AR-style when talking about the barrel/handguard interface here, so we'll say it plain — AR barrels cannot be used on the Cross.) At release, there’ll also be a 20-degree accessory rail option, as well as a direct mount for 30mm tubes.

The proprietary trigger is a two-stage, cartridge style affair with a 2.5 to 4-pound adjustment range. It felt crisp and clean; we liked the shallow-curve trigger shoe. We ran the bolt through a mag of ammo like it bought a drink for our girlfriend, and it took the beating without binding. The compound curve bolt lever was right at our finger-tip when coming off the trigger, and the short, 60-degree throw only made things faster from there.

The Cross buttstock features a novel, one-handed quick adjust comb height system.

The Cross buttstock features a novel spring loaded comb height adjustment. When the rotating locking lever is released, the riser pushes up under spring tension. Push down with your cheek and rotate the lever closed to set the height with one hand. Very slick.

At an impressively lightweight 6.2 pounds, this version of the gun was set up as a hunting rig. Boomers might scoff at the folding stock, but the rest of us will love how compact the rifle is when moving in the field. SIG’s engineers are still fine tuning things, but say they are aiming for a 6.5 pound final product. We’re told we’ll see a variant geared more toward the tactical market in the spring.

The 0 degree rail bridges the receiver and handguard, adding rigidity. SIG says the dust cover may or may not make the production version of the rifle.

As for other changes as the Cross goes from prototype to production, SIG says it's considering eliminating the ejection port cover. Hunters are sensitive to sound, and those that load the chamber when they come on an animal may not appreciate the slapping noise when it snaps down after running the bolt forward.

The gun will ship with a 5-round Magpul AICS compatible PMAG and a tapered muzzle device adapter.

SIG says the gun will be on shelves by summer, if not sooner, with an estimated price tag of around $1,600 ($1779 MSRP). Half-minute accuracy, compact, versatile, and lightweight – we’re glad SIG took its time bringing the Cross to market. It seems like 20+ years will be worth the wait.

  • Make: SIG Sauer
  • Model: Cross
  • Caliber Configurations:
    16-inch 308 Winchester, 1:10 twist (tested)
    18 & 24-inch 6.5 Creedmoor, 1:8 twist
    (277 SIG Fury variant expected)
  • Magazine Compatibility: AICS
  • Weight: 6.5 pounds
  • MSRP: $1779 (Est. $1600 street price)
  • URL: sigsauer.com
    *Based on a pre-production sample. All specs are subject to change.
  • SIG's Cross is a lightweight, folding, three-lug bolt action rifle. This late-stage prototype is shown with SIG’s Sierra3 BDX 4.5-14x optic.

See SIG Sauer.com for more.


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