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Worland
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



1971 Posts
Posted - 07/05/2004 : 6:34:28 PM
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I received the SSG-97C in 7.62X51 from IO two weeks after making the order. Inside of the card board box, the rifle was still in the factory plastic bag covered in medium weight protective oil. Accessories included were one 10 round thermo-plastic magazine, one 8X42 Belarus PSOP scope, cleaning kit with oil bottle and cleaning rod, one green web sling, one test target and a color manual (English) for the SSG-97 series of rifles.

The SSG-97 Rifle:
The right hand side of the sheet metal receiver is marked “ROMARM/CUGIR ROMANIA”. Left side has the model and serial number “SSG-97C-000X-03”, caliber “Cal. 7.62X51mm” and importer “INTERORDNANCE OF AMERICA L.P. MONROE, NC”. As expected, the rifle has a thin black phosphate finish so common on Romanian arms with bare and rub spots on the sharp edges and some flat surfaces. In other words, a fairly mediocre military finish.

The metal to metal fit was better than expected and all rivets were securely in place and well executed. Numerous deep machining marks were noted on non-critical surfaces of the bolt carrier and bolt, but attention was paid to the areas that require it. The scope rail was securely attached, though numerous rough milling marks were still present. The unusual muzzle brake is welded to the barrel under the front sight and the bayonet lug has been removed. The chrome lined barrel has four groove right hand rifling with 1-10 twist. The sights are typical Simonov / Kalashnikov with the rear sight having “P” battle setting and graduated from 100 to 300 meters. The bolt carrier has the gas piston attached ala AK with the familiar rotating bolt.

The attractive laminate butt stock is well constructed and covered with an even coat of lacquer. It has a poorly fitted and roughly cut grip cap. The butt plate is ribbed metal. Wood to metal fit is poor with numerous large gaps and overly long relief cuts. The butt stock is held securely in place with two screws on top and one nut the under the tang. The upper hand guard was well executed but had numerous runs in the lacquer. As typical with ROMAK’s, the lower hand guard was cut by a blind man. The front end of the lower hand guard was uneven and was covered in four layers of lacquer with numerous runs. This was easily fixed with a file and sandpaper, but seems to be a fairly common defect found on the ROMAK/SSG series.

The Magazine:
The rifle is supplied with one clear thermo-plastic magazine which holds 10 rounds of ammunition. It has a black plastic follower supported by a spring pushing up the rear 2/3rds of it. The black plastic base is marked “CUGIR” over “7.62X51” and is permanently attached to the magazine body with epoxy. The magazine body is ribbed for added support. Loading the magazine was effortless. It is stiff and well built, but it does have some flaws that raised their ugly head during shooting.

The Scope:
The 8X42 scope came in a canvas bag with rubber eye piece and Russian manual. It is labeled “INTER ORDNANCE 8X42 MADE IN BELARUS SERIAL NUMBER 040011X”. All controls are in Russian as is the manual. Luckily, you can down load an English manual on Kalinka’s web site. It comes with a red lamp installed but no batteries (D357 or LR44/A76). At first, the reticule seemed somewhat out of focus, but after firing the rifle a few times, something magically worked back into place and I was rewarded with a very clear sight picture. On par with Bushnell Trophy series clarity, the glass proved clear enough to identify targets past 800 meters. The Chevrons are very fine and provide an exceptionally good aiming point. The reticule lights up with a flip of a rubberized toggle switch located on the mount. There was no red blur or haze around the sighting Chevrons or Range Finder. The 8X42 is far superior to the standard 4X scope and allows the user to truly test the limits of his rifle. http://www.kalinkaoptics.com/cgi-bin/kowstore.cgi?user_action=detail&catalogno=GSPOSP842SVD

At the Range:
The SSG-97 was supplied test fired and the iron sights zeroed. The rifle was provided with a test target shot with open sights at 100 meters. The four shot group measured 2.5 inches. I fired five rounds of LC 66 ball with the iron sights at 100 yards and was rewarded with a very nice 3 inch cluster. I switched over to reloaded ball ammo and found they would not fully chamber. These reloads were full length sized on RCBS equipment after being fired in my M1A Super Match! The SSG has a surprisingly tight chamber on the very lower end of minimum tolerances. One may encounter problems with some surplus and reloaded ammunition.

I switched back to LC ball, and then the magazine gremlin raised its ugly head. The second to the last round in the magazine would jam every time. Upon inspection of the magazine, I found that the bolt would hit the magazine follower when stripping the second to last round. When this happened, the front of the follower would take a nose dive and the last round in the magazine literally imbedded itself into the front of the plastic magazine body. I later determined that the follower is a tad short. Affixing a credit card thick shim to the front of the magazine follower eliminated all feeding problems.

With the 8X42 scope installed, I was able to post some very nice 2.5 inch groups with Indep FNM 86 ball. Hand loaded 165 grain Sierra BTHP’s came in at 1.25 MOA and 150 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips delivered 0.8 MOA. Fired cases were briskly ejected 15 feet to the user’s right. The thin barrel heated up quickly, and with 94+ degree weather with matching humidity, it wasn’t cooling down. I cut the range session short before trying any factory Match Grade ammo, but I had enough evidence of the rifle’s potential. The two stage trigger was gritty at first but smoothed out after just a few magazines. Trigger pull measured at 6 lbs, but felt more like four.

In Summary:
While typically crude as all Com-Bloc martial arms are, the SSG-97 proved more than capable as a designated marksman rifle. The flawed magazine can be overcome with minor adjustments, but I would prefer one made of steel. At $69 per factory magazine from IO, I’m curious if a Chinese NDM-86, VEPR or Saiga magazine would work. At the current price of $694 from IO, the SSG97 is a winner that makes for a nice conversation piece at the range.



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Guns don't kill people. Husbands who come home early do...

Vic
Owner-Operator



USA
10175 Posts
Posted - 07/05/2004 : 9:36:59 PM
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Excellent review and descriptions. I'll sticky this for the others to see it if they are intrested in obtaining one of these rifles from IO in the future. I've found the 7.62 version be similar in accuracy to your report if not a bit worse than your excellent results.

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Michigan Historical Collectables
Owner-operator Gunboards.com
Mosin Nagant.net
http://www.mosinnagant.net




Worland
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



1971 Posts
Posted - 07/22/2004 : 3:19:09 PM
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Guns don't kill people. Husbands who come home early do...


Albert
Starting Member



4 Posts
Posted - 09/03/2004 : 3:48:57 PM
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I've been wanting one but the more recent version in the black poly stock. Have you seen one available? Thanks in advance, Albert


Worland
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



1971 Posts
Posted - 09/04/2004 : 5:55:42 PM
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I haven't seen one offered with a synthetic stock yet. There seems to be plenty of Russian synthetic furniture on ebay and Gunbroker. I imagine they would fit with some minor tweeking.



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Guns don't kill people. Husbands who come home early do...


Horseshirt
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
3028 Posts
Posted - 10/10/2004 : 6:02:59 PM
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Worland,
A recent Shotgun News had an article on this rifle and the 7.62X54. They did not mention the feeding problems you had with the .308. Maybe that was just a problem with the one you purchased. I do prefer the steel mag in the 7.62X54. I am seriously considering buying one, but will have to find a dealer to order it for me. I cannot make up my mind if I want the .308 or the 7/62X54. Do you have any comments as to the advantages of one over the other?

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Horseshirt
I spent most of my money on drinking and women. The rest, I just wasted.


Worland
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



1971 Posts
Posted - 10/11/2004 : 3:43:07 PM
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In the SGN article, Fortier did mention feeding problems with the 308 SSG-97 though he did not elaborate. I have since purchased four more magazines from I-O and have experienced the same feeding problem. It's a minor design flaw that is easily remedied.

Both the 7.62X54R and the 308 version have their draw backs. The lack of match grade 7.62X54R will definitely damper the true potential of this rifle. Even with hand loading, your selection of suitable bullets is limited. Surplus ball ammo seldoms delivers the accuracy one would hope from this rifle.

The 308 version does not suffer from the ammunition dilema. But, I still feel the thermo-plastic magazine was a mistake. At the very least, it should have been reinforced with metal as the AK-74 bakelite magazines are. I have made a "prototype" steel magazine from a 12rd 308 Galil mag. It required extensive modification to the magazine body and a redesigned lock up. It's ugly, but it does work.

Spare parts for the 7.62X54R version are rather cheap and widely available. Also, spare 7.62X54R magazines cost half as much as the 308 version. If you want one for the "neat" factor, buy the 7.62X54R. If you want a real marksmanship rifle, go for the 308 version.

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Guns don't kill people. Husbands who come home early do...


Worland
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



1971 Posts
Posted - 02/05/2005 : 2:40:24 PM
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After reviewing the recent I-O flier, I ordered the SSG-97 Mag Pouch Set (.308 WIN) with Bayonet for $149.95. I received the I-O package just two days after ordering. Inside was a brand new Romanian PSL magazine pouch, four 308 WIN mags, and one new Romanian AK Bayonet.

The first thing that came to my attention was that two of the magazines were brand new, but the remaining two magazines were used. In fact, they showed damage to the front of the magazine just as I discovered during my first shooting session with the SSG-97. It appears my SSG-97 and my original magazine weren't the only ones to suffer from the slight magazine follower design flaw.

I promptly contacted I-O about the damaged magazines, and they agreed to exchange them. In fact, their customer service representative was very polite and extremely helpful. Of course, I'll hold my Kudos until I receive the replacement magazines.

Just as with the orginal magazine, I found placing a small shim on the front of the follower totally eliminates the damage to the magazine when stripping the last round. A thin plastic shim can be epoxied onto the front of the magazine, or you can layer a few pieces of self adheasive film to the front of the follower.


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Guns don't kill people. Husbands who come home early do...


Worland
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



1971 Posts
Posted - 03/20/2005 : 09:20:11 AM
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Six weeks later, and I'm still holding my Kudos for I-O. The replacement 308 mags are still on back order. With something as unique as the 308 SSG-97, I guess one must learn patience when it comes to things like these.

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Guns don't kill people. Husbands who come home early do...


the444shooter
Gunboards Member



21 Posts
Posted - 06/23/2005 : 10:30:04 PM
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Any word on how it shoots with Match grade ammo?

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God bless and shoot straight


Worland
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



1971 Posts
Posted - 06/25/2005 : 5:54:39 PM
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quote:
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Originally posted by the444shooter

Any word on how it shoots with Match grade ammo?

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I've shot three of the SSG-97's in 308, and they all grouped in the 1 to 1.5 MOA arena with commercial match ammo (5 round groups).

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Guns don't kill people. Husbands who come home early do...


ROMAKDADDY
Gunboards Member



USA
21 Posts
Posted - 09/04/2006 : 12:06:20 AM
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Hi guys.new poster here(first post)ive solved the steel mag issue on the Romak3(SSG-97)in .308 i converted a galil 12 rounder to fit with a bit of trimming in the front and a custom latch in the rear.it feeds and fits perfect and no mods to the rifle are nessesary.i also blocked it to 10 rounds for the 922 compliance issue(just in case theres an issue)im thinking of selling them for $50 each or converting a galil mag sent to me for $25.all prices include shipping.
i have one of my prototypes for sale on gunsnet.
http://www.gunsnet.net/forums/showthread.php?t=289653
thanks for the interest.
edit:forgot the pics.....



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gun control=hitting what youre aiming at.

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Edited by - ROMAKDADDY on 09/04/2006 12:26:14 AM


Worland
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



1971 Posts
Posted - 09/23/2006 : 4:34:08 PM
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quote:
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Originally posted by ROMAKDADDY

Hi guys.new poster here(first post)ive solved the steel mag issue on the Romak3(SSG-97)in .308 i converted a galil 12 rounder to fit with a bit of trimming in the front and a custom latch in the rear.it feeds and fits perfect and no mods to the rifle are nessesary.i also blocked it to 10 rounds for the 922 compliance issue(just in case theres an issue)im thinking of selling them for $50 each or converting a galil mag sent to me for $25.all prices include shipping.
i have one of my prototypes for sale on gunsnet.
http://www.gunsnet.net/forums/showthread.php?t=289653
thanks for the interest.

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Excellent job on the mag conversion. I made one prototype SSG mag from a Galil mag and it also functions just fine. I had to trim quite a bit from the feed lips and make a custom mag catch as you did. I still have several OEM mags on order with I-O, but who knows if we'll ever see anymore?

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Guns don't kill people. Husbands who come home early do...


ROMAKDADDY
Gunboards Member



USA
21 Posts
Posted - 10/06/2006 : 10:18:26 PM
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Uli(owner of IO) swears theres more coming....then again hes been swearing that for about a year...lol

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gun control=hitting what youre aiming at.


Worland
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



1971 Posts
Posted - 10/07/2006 : 10:56:31 AM
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quote:
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Originally posted by ROMAKDADDY

Uli(owner of IO) swears theres more coming....then again hes been swearing that for about a year...lol

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I always bug the brothers at their tables in the Charlotte, NC gun shows. "Oli, where are my SSG mags?" .... "Yah, Yah... tay are on da way"

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Guns don't kill people. Husbands who come home early do...


Voltaire
Starting Member



USA
5 Posts
Posted - 10/12/2006 : 11:37:20 PM
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Any ideas on when these guns will be in stock again or have I miss out on something great?!

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Work saves us from three great evils: boredom, vice and need.


Worland
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



1971 Posts
Posted - 10/13/2006 : 1:07:45 PM
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CUGIR has dropped the 7.62X54R ROMAK 3 from its catalog, but the 7.62 NATO version is still in production. As the 7.62 NATO version is replacing the 7.62X54R rifle in the Romanian military, we are at the mercy of the military production line. Eventually, I-O will probably get their hands on another batch, but there's no telling when that will happen. I-O still lists the 7.62X51 SSG as "Temporarily Out Of Stock", so that's a pretty good sign they expect to get more. Even when they secure some rifles, they still have to fight to get them out of Europe. To avoid the hiccups at Italian ports, I-O (and others) have resorted to air lift of rifles from the former Com-Bloc, which does raise prices some.
 
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