The exterior of the Steyr Scharfschutzengewehr 69 looks a lot like a hunting rifle. However, the Austrian sniper rifle was actually intended for military and law enforcement purposes. The Austrian Army had been trying to equip its sniper force with a proper weapon since the mid-60s. The Steyr SSG 69 was eventually officially adopted by the Austrian Army in 1969.
Originally, the weapon was produced by the Steyr-Daimler-Puch, which eventually broke up. The Steyr Mannlicher ended up being the sole manufacturer of this weapon throughout the period of 1987-89. The SSG 69 is currently the most popular sniper rifle in the world chiefly because of its extreme accuracy. The weapon has been imported by countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Peru, Pakistan, the Netherlands, Jordan, Ireland, Indonesia, India, Greece, Chile, and Argentina. The US BORTAC border patrol unit also employs this weapon.
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Throughout its entire manufacturing period of more than 40 years, it saw no changes whatsoever. Production of the weapon ended in 2015, at which point it was replaced by the SSG 08. Upon its introduction in the late 60s, the weapon was notable for its quite unique design. It was ahead of its time and different from its contemporaries. Its light weight was a result of the use of synthetic materials while it durability was derived from cold hammer-forged barrels.
Another unusual feature of the SSG 69 was its rotary magazine of 5-round capacity. It is easy to monitor loaded rounds as the magazine is transparent. The weapon’s stock is constructed out of fiberglass, which was a novelty since other rifles came with wooden stocks. The weight is kept down furthermore by the inclusion of hollow buttstock. But the weapon is notable more for its great accuracy.
At 0.5 MOA accuracy, the Steyr SSG 69 was one of the weapons in its time that displayed excellent accuracy. Typically the weapon is used along with a scope, with the Kahles ZF69 6x magnification scopes being its frequent pair in the late 60s. The scope of the weapon’s range is quoted at 600 meters. Later, the weapon is paired with Kahles ZF84 10 magnification scopes, which expands its range to 800 meters. However, as much accurate the weapon might be, it still lacks the ergonomics of modern rifles. There is neither pistol grip nor an adjustable stock on this weapon. By today’s standard, the SSG 69 is outdated. Still, it manages to meet modern standards of a rifle.
|Country of origin||Austria|
|Weight (unloaded, without optics)||4 kg|
|Length||1 140 mm|
|Barrel length||650 mm|
|Magazine capacity||5 rounds|
|Range of effective fire||800 m|