Steyr SSG Carbon now offered in the U.S. (VIDEO)

After more than a year of waiting the latest SSG variant by Steyr Arms is now available to the public here in the U.S. The SSG Carbon, introduced at SHOT Show 2014, features a strong and light molded carbon fiber thumbhole stock and the proven SSG action.

Ironically the delay in general availability was caused by overwhelming demand. Immediately following the announcement Steyr received an “unprecedented” number of orders from law enforcement agencies, and it took 16 months for the company to fill their backorders.

The key to the rifle’s silent success is the stock, which uses a sheet molding compound instead of typical woven carbon fiber polymer sheets. The sheet molded composite stock is less susceptible to cracks along the carbon fiber strands and better suited to a life of hard use, and what gives it the “chipped carbon” look. No two stocks are exactly alike, at least not visually.

Another advantage to using sheet molding compound for the stock is a reduction in felt recoil. Like with a lot of polymers used in firearms, even though the stock is lighter, the recoil impulse still feels soft. On top of that the pistol grip and buttpad are over-molded with rubber for added comfort and the stock has multiple sling points on both sides, front and back.

Steyr is launching with the SSG Carbon in .308 Winchester. Other cartridges may be available down the line as Steyr manufactures the Carbon in four versions, chambered in .243 and .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum. The short action models weigh around 11 pounds and the magnums 13.

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The ridges are a result of Steyr’s famous hammer-forging process. (Photo: Steyr USA)

Like the stocks the barrels also stand out. Steyr is pretty unique in that they do not turn their barrels after the cold hammer-forging process, leaving a series of ridges that spiral down the length of the 20-inch barrel. Steyr doesn’t re-profile their barrels on the chance that the turning process can affect the barrel’s accuracy, something Steyr absolutely stands by.

Other features include a performance single-stage trigger from the factory, which is adjustable and comes set at 3.5 pounds. That’s on the heavy side by target standards but ideal for the Carbon, which is designed for duty. The stock is also adjustable, including the cheek piece and integral rear monopod.

A 20-MOA Picatinny rail mounted to the receiver and a folding bipod are all part of the Carbon package. Other SSG features include the muzzle device and magazine cutoff. Even with its healthy 10-round capacity it’s possible to load directly through the ejection port if necessary. The other models also have respectable magazine capacities at eight rounds in .300 Win. Mag. and six for .338 LM.

The SSG Carbon isn’t an entry-level rifle by any means but considering the materials used and the quality of the base rifle the asking price of $3,695 isn’t out of the question. That’s MSRP and your vendor will probably be able to cut you a deal.