I still remember an article from a couple decades ago about Steyr’s SSG69, the Scharfschutzen Gewehr 69. For us sharpshooters in our 20s, the SSG was an obscure object of desire. When I started my sharpshooting career, all my experience was with a scoped CETME and a Mauser 66, both with wood stocks. Designed from the ground up as a sharpshooter’s rifle, the SSG69 featured a synthetic stock and a 10-round detachable magazine. Both features made it desirable. Many armies and police forces adopted it, and thousands were sold.
Then, the 1990s saw the widespread use of composites, aluminium-bedded actions, adjustable cheek pieces and butt stocks. The SSG was slowly left behind with a new breed of .308 rifles leading the pack. But in the process some things were being left behind: lightness, ruggedness and simplicity. Steyr tried to compete with the market with their SSG04, but it was not in the same league and never caught up to it.