Stgw-57, aka SIG AMT

In 1957, the Swiss finally adopted a self-loading infantry rifle after more than ten years of development and experimentation. The SIG Stgw57 was an improvement of the roller-delayed system designed by the Germans during WWII, and it was a very finely manufactured rifle (we would expect no less from Switzerland).

Sig Stgw-57

The Swiss also went headfirst for the “most clumsy looking rifle” prize – although I hear differing opinions on how comfortable or awkward it really is in use. Most of the ones available in the US are the semi-auto AMT model, which have become very expensive. Note the distinctive beer keg charging handle – a feature common to pretty much every Swiss rifle from the 1890s to the 1980s.

SIG AMTWe now have a page in the Vault on the Stgw57, which includes a gallery of photos (high-res available for download as well) and a half dozen manuals in French, German, and English.

10 Comments

  1. “4000 imported into the US”? I thought they only made that much in total! The AMT in this picture is lacking its rifle grenade launch “bumps” on the barrel and bajonet fitting. Is it because of US regulations? With the assault rifle ban dead I wonder why importing de STGW 57 (made semi-auto by the Swiss gov.) isn’t possible. A stubborn BATF?

    • My understanding is that the bayonet lug and grenade fittings were removed from all the export guns in 1969 to comply with some European laws, not just for the US market..

      The US domestic AWB is gone, but there has been a prohibition on importation of “assault weapons” since 1989 and that prevents more Sig 510s from coming into the US. They are also out of production, and were not cheap guns to make in the first place – the market today would probably not support the price and quantity necessary to make new manufacture profitable.

  2. Down in New Zealand the semi auto versions of these in 308 were the most popular helicopter guns back in the 70s for culling deer ( yes we had far too many at that stage of our history). The AMTs far out lasted and out shot the SLR rifles ( British FNFAL) that were common army issue in those days and readily availible. Built to last and very over engineered. Great for Swiss army who sit in prepared positions and firing pits . Probably a tad heavy for general army service.

  3. The Stgw. 57 is not forgotten! As a member of the British Alpine Rifles I shoot in Switzerland and a few years ago acquired one – cost CHF440 (~GBP200 then, ~US$480 now). 4000 PE57s were made, the semi auto only civilian version http://www.swissrifles.com/pe57/index.html, whereas ~740,000 Stgw. 57s were made. With aperture target sights (cost twice as much as the rifle!) I can walk the point of impact of issue GP11 ammunition, click by click, across the 10cm 10-ring of the Swiss 300m target. And you can shoot it standing – bit heavy, but steady. Brilliant gun and bomb proof. Only fault is that it doesn’t have a bolt hold-open which makes cleaning difficult, but a brass drift from the Swiss army surplus shop does the job nicely when put in the groove above the bolt handle.

  4. Hi Ian. The Sig AMT and PE-57 have a few more unmentioned features. The hollow pistol grip has a spring loaded cap allowing space for a pull through cleaning kit and a small flat block used to hold the loaded chamber indicator on the top of the chamber to be held up so you can clean the chamber.to be stored in it. The Ejector swipes the face of the bolt ejecting the empty out rim end first. this allows the ejection port to be shorter than the case being ejected. The mag release on most rifles pivot on one pin. Sig uses 2 pins allowing more ease in it’s use. Use of the winter trigger lightens up the trigger pull and helps shooting accuracy. I think the spring loaded takedown pin must cost about as much as a Liberator pistol maybe a Sten gun. The bi pod of the AMT is fixed at the front, but it can be moved to below the chamber on the PE-57 allowing rapid engagement of widely separated targets with ease. Most AMT’s were imported with a bear thredded barrel with no muzzel break or flash hidder. The replaceable roller recesses allow the gun to be returned to it’s original superb accuracy long after most battle rifles have been scraped as shot out. The SIG’s represent the Rolex’s of military rifles. Expensive but worth its price.

  5. The hollow pistol grip is for the night sight which is mounted over the rear aperture sight when used.

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