sig sauer cross

Sig Sauer Cross: Bolt-Action Rifle Re-Imagined [Review]

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Cutting-edge advancements in every area have pushed firearm technology to the limit with the current trend to be cutting ounces anywhere possible. The Sig Sauer Cross is one of the most recent big changes in hunting rifles that we’ve seen in a long time.

How does it actually stack up? Will it dethrone the walnut and blued steel of old? Check out our complete review and find out!

sig sauer cross
Sig Sauer Cross in 6.5 Creedmoor with an Area 419 Hellfire Match and Primary Arms SLx 4-14×44 FFP MIL scope

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What Exactly is the Sig Sauer Cross?

Sig Sauer markets the Cross on their website by calling it a rifle for “precision long-range shooting and extreme backcountry hunting.”

I would disagree, partly. For long-range precision shooting, I would never recommend the Sig Sauer Cross. The fact that it is so light makes it a poor choice for something like bench rest groups at 1,000 yards, PRS, or NRL shooting.

But as a dedicated hunting rifle — the Cross really shines.

sig sauer cross

At 6.8-pounds base rifle and only 8.85-pounds with my Primary Arms scope and Area 419 muzzle brake, this is a crazy lightweight rifle that is easy to pack, easy to shoot, and makes getting hits on game super simple easy.

Sig Sauer And First Runs…

The elephant in the room, whenever we talk about Sig Sauer, is that they tend to have issues with their first production run *cough* P320 drop safety *cough* and sadly the Cross was not an exception.

On November 20, 2020, Nutnfancy posted a video online showing that his Sig Cross had a major mechanical safety issue where it could fire when the safety was on.

5 days later, Sig Sauer issued a safety recall on all of their currently manufactured Cross rifles.

Over the next few months, Sig managed to correct the problem and get everyone’s rifles sent back. Future rifles were also changed so that the problem wouldn’t occur again.

Since then, I haven’t heard of any mechanical issue related to the Sig Cross.

While we would always rather that there never be a safety issue to start with — I really liked how Sig handled the issue. 

Fast movement by a major brand to correct an error in their new flagship release is rare to see, but Sig Sauer did it right. 

My Goals And Set Up

I’m a long-range precision shooter and I already have rifles dedicated to that pursuit, what I wanted from my Sig Cross was a dedicated hunting rifle.

But I wasn’t looking for an “any game in North America at 800 yards” type of rifle, I want a reasonable rifle for reasonable distances. Roughly 2,000 FPS/1,000ft.lbs at 500-700 yards.

sig sauer cross

Deer and smaller to about 700 yards, larger than deer to about 400 yards was my goal. 

I have no intention of shooting past about 300 yards for now, but I wanted the rifle to be able to just in case I work up the skill for that distance.

6.5 Creedmoor with the right load and bullet is perfectly capable of that.

To that end — a Sig Cross was very attractive to me.

Chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor I threw a Primary Arms SLx 4-14×44 FFP scope on top and an Area 419 muzzle brake on the end.

The scope isn’t my favorite, but I had it laying around on my scope shelf and it needed a home. It’ll do for now.

The brake I bought exactly for this rifle. This is a beast of a brake and massively effective — precisely what I wanted for my lightweight hunting rifle. While 6.5 Creedmoor isn’t a heavy recoil cartridge, I like to eliminate recoil whenever I can.

First Range Impressions

This rifle kicks ass. Period.

Even from the first range trip, this is exactly what I was hoping for from the Cross.

Lightweight, easy to shoot, and drilling the target is just too easy.

Plus, it’s very easy to hand off to another person also. Both the length of pull and the cheek rest is easy to adjust and readjust making it a great rifle to share.

And being so lightweight and with the recoil tamed so much with the Hellfire Match, this is a very friendly rifle for anyone who can shoot.

I’ve heard several reports of people saying the Cross had a rough bolt but I’ve seen no evidence of that. The Crosses I shot before and the ones I’ve seen at my LGS all had smooth bolts as does my personal one now.

sig sauer cross

I wouldn’t call it Tikka smooth, but it’s very close. Smoother than my Bergaras and Howa 1500s for sure.

Everything about the rifle is locked down and tightly held. Nothing rattles or makes a weird sound and I love that in a hunting rifle as complex as this.

My only complaint so far is that mounting a sling is a bit lacking. There is one reversible QD socket on the buttstock but there is nothing up front. Lots of M-LOK to mount a QD socket on, but that’s an extra part I need to order. I would have liked to see a built-in QD socket like is found on many AR-15 handguards.

The trigger is proprietary to Sig and two-stage with adjustment between 2.5 and 4 lbs. Mine came from the factory right at 2.9lbs and I like it there.

Mine has been very crisp with a great pull. The first stage is very soft with a nice wall before the second stage. The final stage is super crisp and has a nice glass rod break. Altogether, I like it a lot.

Accuracy

Treating my rifle like a precision rifle with a bipod and a rear bag I’ve found that my Cross is pretty solid for what I was expecting. Nothing mind-blowing, but very solid.

120gr Sig Sauer Copper ammo, not too good.

140gr ELD-M and 143gr ELD-X, good.

And I’m almost positive that once I dial in a hand load I will be able to get some kick-ass groups from this rifle.

Using factory ammo and shooting 5-shot groups I’m averaging about 1.25 MOA.

“BUT THAT ISN’T SUB-MOA!!” you might be screaming at your screen right now — correct, it isn’t.

But I’m using 5-shot groups and shooting at least 3 of them for a 15-shot average because I believe in statistics that are actually usable.

The industry standard is a 3-shot group and only your best one counts. Statistically speaking, this is just bad science.

But if I was going by the best 3-shot group then my Cross with 143gr ELD-X is capable of 0.59 MOA.

target

That said, I only tested 3 types of ammo — 120gr Sig Sauer Lead-Free Copper, 140gr Hornady ELD-M, and 143gr Hornaday ELD-X.

My home state of California doesn’t allow any hunting ammo that has lead in it, so I’ll likely use the 120gr Sig Copper when I’m in CA.

Everywhere else, my plan is the 143gr ELD-X.

I’ll stick to factory ammo for the Sig Sauer Copper, but I’ll roll my own for the 143gr ELD-X.

I feel fairly confidant that I’ll find a sub-MOA load once I get into load development, but even with factory ammo, I’m totally comfortable with 1.25 MOA 143gr ELD-X.

Also, just saying, I was using a 4-14x $250 scope with a chevron reticle. This is a budget-tier scope with a reticle that I’m not great with.

sig sauer cross
Okay, I’ll just say it… I don’t like this scope and it’s got to go.

Features, Features, and More Features

Quick rundown on some of the nice extras that a good chassis gives you:

Folding stock for ease of transport!

folding stock

Adjustable length of pull and cheek rest!

Adjustable length of pull and cheek rest

60 degree bolt throw!

60 degree bolt throw

Ambi safety!

ambi safety

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6.5 Creedmoor Hunting Ballistics With an 18-Inch Barrel

Something that tends to turn heads with the Cross is that the barrel is “too short”. Well, it’s not. And I can prove it.

One of the big reasons why people love 6.5 Creedmoor is that it tends to not change velocity in big jumps. 

From small powder charge variations to types of primer to even the length of the barrel, no single factor tends to really push the velocity in a big way in either direction.

While 22″ and 24″ are more common hunting lengths, the difference between 24″ and 18″ in a 6.5 Creedmoor barrel is generally only about 100-150 FPS.

comparison table

Compare that to some other popular hunting cartridges for context, .243 Winchester sees about 250-300 FPS difference between 24 and 18-inches of barrel.

Same with .300 Win Mag, about 250-300 FPS difference.

And even .308 Win normally sees 150-200 FPS between those 6″ of barrel.

Bottom line, chopping off 6″ of barrel on a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle isn’t a major loss in ballistic power.

Depending on who you ask there are two major camps for judging how much power is enough for game.

While shot placement and bullet design are by far the most important, the general rules of thumb are either 2,000 FPS or 1,000 foot-pounds of energy.

With a 18” barrel and 143gr ELD-X ammo exiting at about 2550 FPS I maintain that 2,000 FPS out to 400 yards and 1,000 ft.lbf out to almost 600 yards.

Now frankly, 600 yards is way outside of my ability when it comes to hunting ethically. But 300-400 yards is much more reasonable.

Is This The Future Of Hunting?

After showing this rifle to some friends and family I kept getting basically the same question — why is it so tactical? Why isn’t it a hunting rifle? Why does it look like that?

This will be hard to get across to people and our grandparents might never accept it, but I would strongly argue that this is what a modern hunting rifle looks like. This is what a modern hunting rifle is.

sig sauer cross

I’ve shot ARs far more than anything else so any rifle that is mostly close-ish to that style of layout is very familiar to me and easy to pick up. I would say that likely holds true for a very large segment of the American population and certainly for anyone who has served in the military in the last 50 years.

A pistol grip rifle with an adjustable stock and an M-LOK handguard with an ambidextrous flip safety is more or less what the vast majority of us are very familiar with and is a great platform for anything.

While there is nothing wrong with a wood hunting rifle in .30-06 or a lever action in .30-30 — the Sig Cross is a hunting rifle through and through. And I think we’re going to see a lot more that look a lot like this.

Final Verdict

The Sig Sauer Cross has a lot going for it. From ergonomics to the weight to how well it fits and feels in your hand, this is a beast of a rifle.

Street price is around $1,800 right now and that is a bit steep but anything in the lightweight rifle world is going to be a bit much.

Full disclosure: Sig Sauer sold this rifle to me for review at a big discount.

Even if I had paid full MSRP I would still love this rifle. This is literally everything that I’ve wanted from a hunting rifle all in one easy package.

There are other rifles on the market that try to fill the same role and some of them do it very well. But between the price and the features, the Cross is my top choice.

Wrapping Up

Sig Sauer has a long history of not having the best first runs, but they also have a lot history of fixing the issues and producing amazing products for the rest of the product’s lifetime.

So far, it looks like the Cross is going to be one of those. A rough start, but an outstanding rifle.

I’m really looking forward to taking this to some local PRS matches for the fun of it and out hunting next season.

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