SIG Sauer's New Cross Rifle in Magnum Calibers: Review – Firearms News


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When it was introduced a few years back, SIG Sauer’s Cross rifle excited many with its looks, features and price. Here was a lightweight bolt-action rifle with all the positive features of a modern AR. Visually, the Cross stood out from the crowd. It has a handguard like an AR, a magazine well like an AR, and a safety like an AR. Plus, it is short, very light, and features a handy side-folding stock. In the hands, the rifle feels very lively, it is quick to the shoulder and swings easily and its light weight makes it easy to tote on long treks. The Cross makes a good hunting companion, and many took note of this interesting design. It wasn’t long before many hunters out West began pining for a Cross with a bit more impact on target at longer ranges than the short-action cartridges provided. While the .308 Win and 6.5mm Creedmoor work well for the ranges most in the country hunt out, out west, the ranges can get a mite longer. Many desired a SIG Sauer Cross rifle, but chambered in a flatter shooting and harder hitting magnum cartridge. SIG Sauer responded with their new Cross Magnum.

Like SIG Sauer’s Cross rifle concept but want magnum performance? Check out the new Cross Magnum initially offered in .300 Win Mag.

Rather than simply lengthening the action, SIG Sauer took the opportunity to refine and improve the design when developing this new model. The new action is not only longer but it has been designed to allow quick barrel changes by the end-user without disturbing the scope. You can remove the handguard and barrel now while leaving your scope mounted. They also improved the hinge of the side-folding stock. This provides better retention and a stronger lock-up. Plus, the free-floating handguard features full-length M-LOK and ARCA rails for easy mounting of accessories and bipod/tripods. The new Cross Magnum is distinctive looking with its aluminum construction and Coyote anodized finish. The rifle features an effective radial compensator which does an excellent job of reducing felt recoil. The muzzle is cut with common 5/8×24 threads, so attaching a sound suppressor or other muzzle device is straight-forward. Barrel length is 24 inches, and the medium contour barrel is machined from stainless steel. It features 5R rifling and the rifling twist is one turn in nine inches to facilitate use with longer/heavier modern high BC match/hunting bullets.


 Surrounding the free-floated barrel is a long aluminum handguard. This features an ARCA rail along its bottom which allows easy attachment/adjustment of different accessories such as bipods and tripods. The handguard also features M-LOK slots at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. These reduce weight, can be used as mounting points for accessories and provide ventilation to aid barrel cooling. The handguard bolts directly to the receiver, it does not attach to the barrel nut like an AR-15. This makes for a more rigid and robust mounting system and reduces flexing of the handguard. The receiver is a modern looking piece designed for function, but with a definite artistic style to it. An extended M1913 rail runs along the top facilitating easy mounting of long scopes. This extends out over the handguard providing plenty of room when you are setting your scope’s eye-relief. The rifle feeds from an AICS pattern six-round magazine. The magazine well features an ambidextrous magazine release at its rear, inside the trigger guard. This protects it from accidental bumps while also being easy to reach and manipulate. The bolt handle is extended and provides plenty of leverage. Inside the receiver is a beefy three-lug rotating bolt. This cocks on opening and operates smoothly. The receiver is sized to be large enough to handle cartridge lengths up to that of the 300 PRC. Ambidextrous safety levers are fitted just above the pistol grip. The trigger is a two-stage match design.

Rather than simply lengthening the action, SIG Sauer took the opportunity to refine and improve the design when developing this new model. The Cross Magnum is designed to allow quick barrel changes by the end-user without disturbing the scope.

At the rear of the receiver is a hinge for the side-folding stock. The stock folds to the right side of the receiver and tucks in neatly with the bolt handle. A skeletonized design, the comb is adjustable for height while the rubber recoil pad can be moved to change the length of pull and height. Rather than having to carry an Allen wrench or two though, the adjustments are easily made without tools. On the right side of the stock, you will find the controls for making any desired adjustments. These are simple to do. Plus, you will find a sling socket on the right side. On the bottom, a contoured piece is fitted to better ride on bags, and for your off hand to grip. The buttpad is fairly soft and keeps the butt from sliding around while doing a nice job of helping to soak up the recoil.

The Cross Magnum is chambered in the .300 Win Mag seen here with some other popular cartridges (L to R): .308 Win, .260 Rem, 6.5mm Creedmoor, 6.5mm PRC, 6.5x55mm, and .300 Win Mag with its distinctive belt above the rim.

The bare rifle weighs in at 8.9 pounds with an empty magazine inserted. Overall length, with the stock locked in place, is 45.2 inches. Folding the stock reduces the overall length to just 36 inches. The looks of the rifle are very untraditional. You will either love its appearance or hate it. It has a very business-like appeal with not a hint of walnut to be seen. I personally find SIG Sauer’s Cross much to my liking, and the Cross Magnum simply turns up the volume. But not everyone has the same tastes or needs. I was excited to get behind SIG’s new magnum, so I mounted my shop-mule Vortex 6-36x56mm Razor HD Gen III using a Geissele mount. A sling is to a rifle what a holster is to a pistol. One of my favorites for this application is Savvy Sniper’s ( Precision Patrol Sling X. It is wide, has a fast adjust slider and a Cobra quick release buckle. Its width allows it to carry a heavy precision rifle comfortably and it can be quickly cinched down to add tension/support. Finally, I added a Harris bipod on a LaRue Tactical QD swivel mount.


The effective radial compensator does an excellent job of reducing felt recoil. The aluminum handguard mounts directly to the receiver and features an ARCA rail along its bottom and M-LOK slots. The skeletonized stock features a comb adjustable for height while the rubber recoil pad can be moved to change the length of pull and height. The bolt handle is long and well angled to provide plenty of leverage for rapid operation of the bolt.

For test ammunition, I selected three factory loads and one handload. The factory loads ran from 190 to 150 grains and consisted of SIG Sauer’s 190-grain OTM Match, Winchester’s 180-grain AccuBond and their 150-grain XP3. I didn’t have any factory loads heavier than 190-grains so I tried an old handload with a 208-grain Hornady AMAX bullet and a very mild charge of Hodgdon Hybrid 100V powder. Before we see how SIG Sauer’s new Cross Magnum rifle performed, let’s delve into the .300 Winchester Magnum cartridge and why you should consider it. Is there a reason to select this older design over a modern 6.5mm or 7mm? Yes, it is an older design; it was introduced by Winchester Repeating Arms Company way back in 1963. It was preceded by the .264 Win Mag, .338 Win Mag and .458 Win Mag which were all unveiled in 1958. All three of these cartridges were based upon a modified .375 H&H Magnum case.

The Cross Magnum takes the best features of the original Cross design and builds upon them to make an even better western hunting rifle.

When Winchester developed their .30 caliber magnum cartridge, they didn’t simply neck their .338 Win Mag down. Rather than doing the obvious, they instead tweaked the case design a bit. Namely, they moved the shoulder forward 0.156 inch which increased case capacity, but also gave it a relatively short neck. The result of their work was a large belted magnum with a case length of 2.62 inches. Rim diameter is 0.532 inch while base diameter is 0.513 inch. Shoulder diameter is 0.489 inch and overall cartridge length is 3.34 inches. Maximum SAAMI recommended pressure is 64,000 PSI. Since its introduction, the .300 Win Mag has gone on to become the most popular of all the various .30 caliber magnum cartridges by a large margin. Why has Winchester’s .300 Win Mag been so successful all these years while other cartridges come and go? Well, that’s fairly easy to answer. It offers a useful step-up in terminal performance over standard cartridges like the .30-’06 Government for hunters. It will kill anything which needs killing in North America, and do it in a standard length action. Long range shooters appreciate both its exterior ballistics and match winning accuracy at 1,000 yards and beyond. Perhaps, most importantly though, it was developed with the blue collar worker in mind rather than being an expensive snob round. So, loaded ammunition and components are relatively affordable compared to many other magnum cartridges such as the .338 Lapua Magnum.

While the bolt throw is long, the action is smooth and fairly fast. The bare rifle weighs just 8.9 pounds with an empty magazine and it carries well. Three factory loads and one handload were fired from the bench to check the rifle’s accuracy at 100 yards.

Now, all that said, do not think the .300 Win Mag is by any means perfect. It has its flaws. These include a very short neck. It is actually shorter than the caliber of the bullet loaded into it. Many have criticized this feature, claiming a short neck would not hold a bullet in proper alignment with the axis of the bore. Others have criticized it claiming it provided insufficient tension on the projectile to adequately retain it. This issue is said to be exacerbated by the need to seat heavier/longer bullets very deeply to maintain the .30-’06-like 3.34-inch overall length (OAL). Deeply seated bullets will also reduce case capacity. Then there is the belt, which can be seen in the photo of this cartridge. A distinctive feature of Winchester’s .264, .300, .338 and .458 Magnum cartridges, it is little more than a holdover from the British cartridge they are based upon, the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum. However, it should be kept in mind the justly famous .375 H&H Magnum was first introduced in 1912 as the .375 Belted Rimless Nitro-Express. It is old enough to have been originally loaded with cordite and was only the second cartridge to feature a belt. On a long tapered case intended for dangerous game hunting, during this specific period in time, the belt made sense. In the late 1950s, it was a useful marketing tool to catch the attention of the American sportsman. On the comparatively straight wall .300 Win Mag in the 21st century, it is nothing more than a nuisance. Although the .300 Win Mag is designed to headspace on the belt, very few reloaders actually do this. Belt thickness can and does vary, especially from manufacturer to manufacturer. More consistent accuracy can be achieved by head spacing off the shoulder. Reloaders can accomplish this by simply backing their resizing die off ¼ to ½ turn. Known and respected for its punching power, the .300 Win Mag has taken all manner of big game. Its ability to hit hard has endeared it to hunters around the world. Big game hunters interested in shooting long will be interested in the Cross Magnum. Teamed with the right bullet and this caliber/rifle would be an impressive combination.

The design features an ambidextrous safety and mag release along with a two-stage match trigger. The rifle feeds from an AICS pattern six-round magazine. The Cross Magnum is an easy rifle to field strip and maintain.

Conditions during testing were 30 degrees F with little wind. The scope zeroed easily in a matter of a few shots and I got to work at 100 yards. Initial testing consisted of firing four five-shot groups with each load from a rest while recording velocities using a LabRadar Doppler Chronograph. Here, the SIG Sauer proved both stable and comfortable. The safety is easy to manipulate and the bolt proved smooth with cartridges feeding with little effort from the box magazine. Recoil is fairly mild due to the weight of the rifle, effective muzzle brake and recoil pad. It proved comfortable to shoot from the bench. Accuracy at 100 yards proved quite acceptable for a production rifle. However, the barrel heats up very fast and groups opened up on this example once it was hot. The barrel heating rapidly is just par for the course with medium weight barrel .300 Win Mag.

The stock folds neatly to the right of the receiver and nestles in with the bolt handle.

If you want to shoot tight groups, take your time and let the barrel cool between strings. If I had been shooting three-shot groups, this rifle would really shine as I had a number measuring .5 of an inch. But, I was shooting five-shot groups, so they were a bit bigger. SIG Sauer’s 190-grain OTM Match load averaged .8 of an inch at 2,857 fps. You’ll note the velocity is fairly impressive and the payload is a nice step up from the 6.5mm Creedmoor. Switching to Winchester’s 180-grain Accubond hunting load opened the average up slightly to .9 of an inch at 3,058 fps. Winchester’s 150-grain XP3 load opened up to 1.5 inches while averaging an impressive 3,336 fps. My very sedate 208-grain AMAX handload averaged .75 inch with an average muzzle velocity of 2,655 fps.

Here are five rounds of a handload using 208-grain AMAX bullets and Hodgdon 100V powder fired from the bench at 100 yards (left). The SIG Sauer 190-grain OTM Match load shot well, and this is the first five-shot group out of the gun fired at 100 yards.

From the bench, I moved to firing prone off a Harris bipod with a rear bag. I decided to try my hand on the various steel plates and silhouettes at 280, 450, and 500 yards. Here, I found the rifle very comfortable and fun to shoot. The magazine loaded easily, inserted with a push and locked firmly into place. The bolt throw is quite long, but the design of the bolt handle provides plenty of leverage and the rifle fed, extracted and ejected without issue. I like how quick and easy it is to set the stock and comb up to fit me. The trigger was also an aid to shooting tight groups. A two-stage design, it was fairly light and broke crisply. Zero issues were encountered and my 208-grain AMAX handload which stayed sub-MOA at 500 yards. My thoughts? I like SIG Sauer’s Cross Magnum quite a bit. I like the flavor of it, the way it looks and feels. I also like the way it shoots, but the barrel does heat rapidly. It’s a comfortable rifle, the trigger is very good and the recoil is mild. For a hunter shooting two or three rounds, this rifle will impress. However, you can expect groups to grow as the barrel heats if you just want to bang off rounds. I would expect SIG Sauer to expand the caliber offerings in the months ahead. MSRP is $2,729.99.


SIG Sauer Cross Magnum Specs

  • Type: Manual rotating bolt
  • Caliber: .300 Winchester (tested)
  • Capacity: 6+1 AICS box magazine
  • Barrel: 24 in., stainless steel, 1:9-in. twist
  • Overall Length: 45.2 in., 36 in. folded
  • Weight: 8.9 lbs. (empty mag)
  • Finish: Anodized coyote
  • Trigger: Two-stage match
  • Sights: None, MIL STD 1913 rail
  • Safety: Ambidextrous
  • Price: $2,729.99 
  • Contact: SIG Sauer

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