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SIG SG 542 (Sturmgewehr Model 542)

Battle Rifle [ 1980 ]

The SG 542 represented a less-popular 7.62x51mm alternative to the SG 540 5.56mm SG offering.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/13/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The SG 542 was a fixed-stock battle rifle development in the SG 540 rifle series except chambered to fire the 7.62x51mm NATO round. Though an adequate weapon in its own right, the system never found the favor in export orders the way that the SG540 5.56mm type did. The SG540 series, as a whole, was a direct attempt to improve upon the preceding SG530, simplifying the breech mechanism and making the new weapon series cheaper to produce and thusly more fiscally responsible on the commercial market.

The SG542 fired from a 20- or 30-round straight detachable box magazines. Muzzle velocity was reported at 2,690 feet-per-second and a cyclic rate-of-fire of 650 to 800 rounds could be reached. Beyond the SG540 and the SG 542 existed the SG 543 which represented a shortened version of the base SG 540 and featured a folding butt.

Outwardly, the SG542 was a highly conventional rifle. As a "battle rifle" it simply incorporated the rifle-caliber cartridge into its design and, thusly, the internal mechanism had to be reworked to accept and fire the large powerful round. The cartridge allowed for engagement of targets beyond the range inherent in the 5.56mm cartridge while also providing selective, repeating fire in the process. Attaching a scope to the upper receiver and the SG542 could be used by a squad-level sharpshooter or designated marksman. The receiver held all of the major internal working components and included the feed mechanism as well as the trigger group. The forend was shrouded in a smooth casing which encompasses the top-mounted gas cylinder and the low-mounted barrel assembly. Sights were affixed at the rear of the upper receiver and the extreme end of the gas cylinder. The barrel was capped by a flash suppressor. The stock was fixed in placed and ergonomically shaped.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

Switzerland national flag graphic


Battle Rifle

National flag of France National flag of Switzerland Switzerland; France
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Automatic Function
Features a mechanical function to automate the firing action.
Accuracy / Precision
Long-range accuracy / precision capable; suitable for sniping, particularly when equipped with sighting aids.

Overall Length
1,000 mm
39.37 in
Empty Wgt
7.83 lb
3.55 kg

Adjustable Iron; Optional Optics


Delayed Blowback

Blowback Operation
Gas pressure from the rearward movement of the ignited cartridge case provides the needed bolt movement, ejecting the spent case and stripping a fresh case from the magazine.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


7.62x51mm NATO

Sample Visuals**

Graphical image of a 7.62x51mm / .308 Winchester rifle cartridge
Rounds / Feed

20- / 30-round detachable box
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Muzzle Velocity
2,690 ft/sec
(820 m/sec)

SG 540 - Improved SG 530, chambered for the 5.56mm ammunition round.
SG 542 - Based on the SG 540 but chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO round.
SG 543 - A shortened version of the base SG 540 with folding butt.

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Images Gallery

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Image of the SIG SG 542 (Sturmgewehr Model 542)
Right side profile view of the SiG SG542 Battle Rifle


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