As much as the bolt-action market has exploded, thanks to a nationwide, if not a worldwide resurgence in the platform’s popularity, the platform hasn’t really changed all that much. I like to think that some firearms have developed into the modern era. After all, we have “modern combat pistols” with red-dots and compensators, as well as inner and outer workings that help deem it as such. And we’ve seen and continue to see many modern semi-automatic platforms modernized by design enhancements or complete reengineering, breaking the molds of previous platforms. But that hasn’t happened much with the bolt-action rifle. Remington 700 clones still rule a majority of the market with several companies making the tried-and-true design, many with refinements of their own. But outside of the Desert Tech bullpup design and the Fix from Q, no one has ventured too far with it.
Built to Win: SIG Cross PRS
Sig released the Cross in 2019. I remember it clearly. After having discussions some years prior to that with the team from Sig, I knew it was coming. I had one of the early prototypes for a while and, in short, it was quite awesome. It was roughly 8 pounds, had an 18-inch barrel chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and was as accurate as any other bolt-action I’d shot. It folded and made for a handy package, one I described as the “working man’s” bolt-action—mainly because it could do all and go nearly anywhere without being a burden to the user. There was only one problem. I couldn’t see past the need for a 15-ish pound rifle for uses beyond the ranch and backcountry. But Sig already had plans.
Late in 2020, after or during long COVID lockdowns, Sig had some of us out to New Hampshire for the launch of the P320 FCU. During a break, Patrick Hanley, Cross product manager, and some other folks at Sig pulled me aside to a pickup truck. In hushed tones, they relayed that they wanted to show me something. It was a Cross, but not like the versions I’d previously dealt with. This one was heavy with a long barrel and even weights on it if I recall correctly. They were well on their way to addressing the desires of many of us.
We throw the term PRS around a lot to describe a type of shooting style that many of us appreciate. While the moniker actually means Precision Rifle Series, general use of the term is widely accepted to include a shooting discipline as well as product type. So, it seems fitting that Sig has labeled the latest version of the Cross, the PRS but it stands for Precision Rifle System.
From all that I can see, it deserves the name. The Cross PRS weighs more than 14 pounds sans an optic or weights of any sort. This is accomplished with the help of a rather hefty profile, 24-inch stainless steel barrel. It doesn’t stop there. The construction of the Sig Precision Rifle System received a lot of steel parts. The new Arca rail is steel along with the folding stock and an insert for the pistol grip. Adding the steel at both ends gives the PRS excellent balance right in front of the magwell.
The handguard has plenty of real estate for more weights if you deem it necessary, but my test unit weighs in at 18.4 pounds with a Sig Romeo 6 5-30×56 optic and an Atlas bipod with no magazine inserted or sling attached. The Arca rail is mated to the forend by eight Torx screws, not M-Lok. It’s a sturdy mounting with a clean and modern look. While the bottom of the Arca rail is slick, there are two M-Lok slots at the front end to attach pic rails or other accessories.
Functional & Adjustable Components
The buttstock features a steel extended bag rider that weighs .6 pounds. The stock is fully adjustable in every way except for cant, which isn’t necessary really. On top of the adjustability is its ease of doing so. The cheekpiece can be adjusted by pulling down a small lever that sets the spring-loaded piece free. Simply get behind the rifle with your face on the cheekpiece and adjust accordingly. A knob secures the length of pull, and the recoil pad can be moved up and down with the push of a button. There is also a reversible QD stud built-in.
The receiver remains the same. An aluminum, monolithic type with an AR-type of layout. Imagine the upper and lower as one piece, with the rear cut out for the bolt to travel. This style of receiver allows for a more compact design with controls that are easy to get to. Tabs on either side of the trigger guard drop the mag, and the new safety selector is slick and easy to use with little effort or movement from the shooting hand. It’s designed to serve as a thumb rest as well. The pistol grip is comfortable and straight in the front with good texture for grip, and it features a steel, weighted insert inside of it as well.
More Race-Ready Components
The bolt of the Cross is three lugs with a short 60-degree throw. It’s oversized and beefy for a reason. It features a floating bolt head and has the ability to be swapped out for other bolt face sizes. The bolt handle is oversized and comfortable regardless of what side you run the gun from, and it’s replaceable by removing the cocking pieces and firing pin, which is an easy task on the Cross. An 8-inch, steel pic rail is attached to the receiver with 20 minutes of elevation and adds weight. Cross barrels are interchangeable due to the receiver and AR-type barrel nut.
The Cross PRS gets a new adjustable two-stage trigger as well, and as far as I can tell, it’s nothing to complain about. Take up is light and the second stage is crisp and drama free.
In the Hands
The Cross feels proper in the hands, moving it from place to place. Again, the balance is excellent. You need to shoot the Cross PRS to appreciate what it does. When you’re on the gun and place your hand on the grip, the entire rifle feels compact and manageable. I remember the original feeling the same. It’s tough to describe, but it just feels like you don’t have to work hard at anything. Safety, right there (if you use it); bolt throw, right there; mag release, right there. Cross PRS is efficient if you will.
I was rather impressed by the grip/trigger area. The grip has a great feel and the thumb rest on the selector is excellent. All this places your hand in a great position to do work. I compared this with other rifles, and while visually there doesn’t seem to be much difference, the feel of it tells the tale. The Cross feels efficient, only interrupted by a tad too much effort to lift the bolt—likely due to the three lugs. It’s not hard but can catch you off guard if you don’t secure a solid grip or momentum if you’re the type to lift the bolt with your fingers.
Accuracy was good but this Cross sample didn’t like 140-grain anything, which really surprises me for a 1-in-8-twist barrel. It wasn’t until I utilized 147-grain ammo from Black Hills and Hornady that the groups came down. Maybe the barrel needs rounds on it, which I don’t doubt, as this is often the case. The Black Hills printed .6 inches. I tried Norma 130 grain, which gave a .66” performance. Pretty impressive to have a near 1/2-minute rifle right out of the factory box. Plus, the rifle feels good when shooting it.
The Cross is a modern rifle. A solid receiver design supports interchangeable parts, and it’s dimensionally efficient. If you wanted to, you could ditch the barrel and steel folder for the lighter alloy versions, swap out the barrel for a thinner profile and hunt with the same rifle. While that’s great, I’d simply buy one of each so as not to muddy the waters any.
As of this writing, Proof Research was creating replacement barrels for the Cross. If Proof is involved, it will be right.
The SIG Cross PRS has an MSRP of $2,500, which makes it eligible for production-class competition. That’s excellent because all it needs is an optic and a willing operator and it’s ready to go out of the box. While I love the more traditional style bolt-actions that we run, I also have a strong liking for the Cross. If it were available in a left-handed model, you’d be reading about a personal gun as opposed to a T&E unit. For more information, visit sigsauer.com.
SPECIFICATIONS: Sig Cross PRS
- Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
- Barrel: 24 inches
- OA Length: 44.5 inches
- Weight: 14.2 pounds(empty)
- Stock: Steel frame, folding, fully adjustable
- Sights: None
- Action: Bolt
- Finish: Grey Cerakote
- Capacity: 5+1, 10+1
SIG Cross PRS Performance
|Black Hills 147-gr. ELD M||2,589||.63|
|Hornady 147-gr. ELD M||2,726||.98|
This article originally appeared in the August-September 2022 issue of Ballistic Magazine. Get your copy or subscribe at OutdoorGroupStore.com.