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Steyr SSG 69

Sniper rifle

Steyr SSG 69

The Austrian Steyr SSG 69 is a very accurate sniper rifle

 
 
Country of origin Austria
Entered service 1969
Caliber 7.62x51 mm
Weight (unloaded, without optics) 4 kg
Length 1 140 mm
Barrel length 650 mm
Muzzle velocity ?
Magazine capacity 5 rounds
Range of effective fire 800 m

 

   The Steyr Scharfschutzengewehr 69, or SSG 69 is an Austrian sniper rifle. Externally it resembles a hunting rifle, however it was specially designed as a weapon for military and law enforcement forces. Since the mid 1960s the Austrian Army was looking for an advanced sniper rifle to properly equip its own snipers. In 1969 the Steyr rifle was adopted by the Austrian Army as a standard sniper weapon, hence its designation. After the break up of the Steyr-Daimler-Puch company, its firearm manufacturing division became independent. Since 1987-1989 this sniper rifle was produced by Steyr Mannlicher. Eventually this weapon made its name for impressive accuracy and was adopted by a number of countries from all over the world, where it is used by military or law enforcement forces. Currently the SSG 69 is one of the most popular sniper rifles in the world. Export operators include Argentina, Chile, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Jordan, Netherlands, Pakistan, Peru, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This sniper rifle is even used by a US BORTAC border patrol unit. This weapon saw action during numerous wars and military conflicts. The SSG 69 was produced without changes for more than 40 years. Its production ceased only in 2015. It was succeeded by a modern SSG 08 sniper rifle.

   The Steyr SSG 69 is a bolt-action weapon. It is chambered for a standard NATO 7.62x51 mm (.308 Winchester) cartridge. At the time of its introduction in the late 1960s this weapon had a fairly unique design. It was certainly different than most contemporary sniper rifles. Design of the SSG 69 was ahead of its time. It used synthetic materials for light weight and cold hammer-forged barrels for durability. Also it had detachable magazine.

   The SSG 69 sniper rifle is relatively compact. It comes with a 650 mm (25.6") barrel. Furthermore it a very light rifle. Modern equivalents with similar performance weigh nearly twice as much. Also the Austrian SSG 69 proved to be a reliable and durable design.

   This sniper rifle uses an unusual detachable rotary magazine, that holds 5 rounds. The  magazine is transparent, so it is easy to see how many rounds are loaded. The magazine is released by squeezing two release buttons on either side of the magazine. A larger 10-round box magazine was available as an accessory. It protruded down bellow the rifle.

   The stock is made of fiberglass. Back in the late 1960s it was a novelty, as most other rifles had wooden stocks. Contemporary weapons, that were adopted during similar time frame, including the US Army's M21, USMC's M40 and German Mauser SP66, all had wooden stocks. So even though the SSG 69 may not have been the first rifle with a synthetic stock, but it was certainly pioneering that Steyr was using this feature as standard. The buttstock is hollow to keep the weight down. Also the buttstock has a spacer system, that allows for adjusting the length of pull by adding or removing spacers.

   This weapon is popular due to its accuracy. The Steyr SSG 69 demonstrated sub 0.5 MOA accuracy during several international competitions. Back in the late 1960s just a few custom rifles were sub-MOA accurate. The SSG 69 is normally used with a scope. Originally Austrian Army rifles were paired with Kahles ZF69 6x magnification scopes. With this scope the rifle was effective out to 600 meters. Later a Kahles ZF84 10x magnification scope was adopted,. It extend effective range of the rifle out to 800 meters. There are auxiliary iron sights for emergency use.

   There is a standard accessory rail on the bottom of the forearm. It is used for mounting sling studs and bipod. However despite its impressive accuracy the SSG 69 can not match ergonomics of modern rifles. It lacks a proper pistol grip, fully adjustable stock or Picatinny-type rails. Furthermore there is no means of mounting any sort of rail. Despite the fact that the SSG 69 is out-dated, it remains a very competitive design. In terms of performance it meets modern standards.

   There are several variants of this sniper rifle, however most of them have only cosmetic differences. The only anomaly is the SSG PIV rifle, that was designed to be used in conjunction with a sound suppressor.

 

Variants

 

   Steyr SSG 69 PI is a baseline version, used by the Austrian Army and other countries.

   Steyr SSG 69 PII is an improved version with a heavier barrel. This weapon was tailored towards law enforcement forces. It was available chambered for standard NATO 7.62x51 mm ammunition (.308 Winchester), as well as .243 Winchester and .22-250 Remington ammunition. This weapon has got no iron sights.

   Steyr SSG 69 PIV was designed to be used in conjunction with a sound suppressor. It was intended for urban operations. It comes with a shorter 409 mm (16.1") barrel and can handle heavier subsonic ammunition. This weapon chambered for standard NATO 7.62x51 mm (.308 Winchester) ammunition. This silenced sniper rifle is used by Austrian armed forces.

 

 
Steyr SSG 69

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Steyr SSG 69

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Steyr SSG 69

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Steyr SSG 69

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Steyr SSG 69

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Steyr SSG 69

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Personal appeal from Andrius Genys

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