SIG Air ASP20 Air Rifle Technology Overview Part One

At last week’s Press Launch of the new SIG Air ASP20 air rifle, the company was amazingly open about the new technology they’ve developed for the product. There’s been a great deal of R&D undertaken for the ASP20 and the company wanted to ensure that we understood all of it.

In fact there’s so much of it that we’ll need two posts to cover the material!

That’s me shooting the ASP20 at the launch above. Photo SIG SAUER.

SIG Air ASP20 Air Rifle Design Goals

SIG decided early on the core design goals for the ASP20. They didn’t want to produce “just another break barrel”, they explained to us. Their aims were for the ASP20 to be superior to any other magnum power break barrel air rifle on the market in three key areas:

  1. Easier to shoot.
  2. Consistently more accurate.
  3. More pleasurable to shoot.

SIG Air ASP20 Air Rifle Technology

From a technology perspective, this meant a great amount of time and effort devoted to the design and engineering of several key features. These included:

  1. Barrel lock-up.
  2. Cocking effort.
  3. Trigger pull.
  4. Rifling.

Let’s take a look at the technology the company has incorporated into each of these areas in the SIG Air ASP20 air rifle…

1. Barrel Lock-Up

SIG Airgun Product Manager Dani Navickas explained to us that they were intent on eliminating the barrel droop that has been endemic in break barrel air rifles. They also wanted to achieve consistent lockup.

So, SIG engineers developed a proprietary “keystone” breech lock design. The geometry of this design eliminates barrel droop – they told us – with matched angles between the breech block and fork, as shown in these CAD renditions.

SIG Air ASP20 Air Rifle Technology Overview

SIG Air ASP20 Air Rifle Technology Overview

Above. Illustrations courtesy of SIG SAUER.

Another key technology is the “Match Drilling” of the pivot holes through the barrel and receiver. This means that the pivot point for the barrel/breech interface was drilled just once through both parts using a jig.

Below. SIG Airgun Engineering Manager Ed Schultz explains the value of Match Drilling.

SIG Air ASP20 Air Rifle Technology Overview Part One

This makes the SIG Air ASP20 air rifle different from other break barrels which have the parts drilled separately then matched together during assembly. This can require additional parts in expensive guns or a poor fit in cheap ones! Either way, it’s clear that the Match Drilling process ensures superior fit and operation for the pivot point of the ASP20.

2. Cocking Effort

First, SIG benchmarked the cocking effort required for other break barrel air rifles – both springers and gas ram guns. They found – as you would expect – that the cocking force required increased with the Muzzle Energy of the guns.

But they also found that the claims of some other manufacturers for cocking effort were not matched by the sample guns they tested.

Just fancy that!

HAM has also found this in some of our comprehensive tests. Some manufacturers’ claims for cocking effort usually seem to be lower than they actually are, just like FPS claims are usually higher than are actually achieved.

Here’s the data SIG presented to us. Most of the individual models are not included in this list to spare their manufacturer’s blushes…

 Maximum Cocking Force (Lbs)Average Muzzle Energy in .177 Cal (Ft/Lbs)
Sig Air ASP2035.020.0

Graphically, it looks like this. You can immediately see that the cocking force for the 20 Ft/Lbs Muzzle Energy SIG Air ASP20 air rifle is close to that of mid-power – 12 to 16 Ft/Lbs – guns. It’s significantly less than other magnum – 20 Ft/Lbs and above – models.

SIG Air ASP20 Air Rifle Technology Overview

This reduced cocking force is largely due to the new SIG SAUER Glidelite cocking mechanism that’s built into the SIG Air ASP20 air rifle. This includes a low friction bearing surface (the green part) for smooth rotation of the cocking arm and decreased contact pressure, SIG explained.

SIG Air ASP20 Air Rifle Technology Overview Part One

In addition, there’s a wedge-shaped detent. This incorporates a double spring design that makes it easier to break the barrel before cocking.

Above and below. Illustration courtesy of SIG SAUER.

SIG Air ASP20 Air Rifle Technology Overview

SIG Airgun Engineering Manager Ed Schultz told us that they had tested this breech/cocking design for up to 20,000 – yes TWENTY THOUSAND – actuations to ensure reliability. That’s real testing for you!

In Part Two, we’ll cover the trigger and barrel technology built in to the SIG Air ASP20 air rifle. Stay tuned!

SIG Sauer ASP20 Gas-Piston Breakbarrel Air Rifle, Beech
SIG Sauer ASP20 Gas-Piston Breakbarrel Air Rifle, Synthetic