Contenders: The Contender has reigned supreme as the most versatile hunting handgun in existence for well over 40 years. The Contender is produced by SSK as a complete gun, or superb quality custom “drop in” barrels may be purchased to fit your frame. SSK’s standard barrel blank is manufactured by Shilen. Shilen barrels have won more benchrest matches than those of any other manufacturer. This accuracy is reflected in SSK custom barrels. If Shilen doesn’t make it, we go to another premium barrel manufacturer to get it. SSK barrel lugs, welding and heat treating duplicate factory specifications.
SSK has chambered well over 200 calibers in the Contender. The most popular are the JDJ series which exist in almost every caliber. JDJ cartridges give the highest ballistic performance in each caliber consistent with safety, long gun life and exceptional accuracy. The most popular are the 226, 6 mm, 257, 6.5 mm, 270, and 7 mm JDJ which are based on the very strong 225 Winchester case. The 309, 8 mm, 338 #2, 358, 375 and 416 JDJ are based on the very strong 444 Marlin case. The 6.5 uses 120 grain bullets at 2400 FPS, the 309 uses 165s at 2400 and the 375 uses 220s at 2250, 270s at 2100 and 300 FMJS at 2000 which gives plenty of penetration to take elephant (in 1984 19 elephant were taken with the 375). The 257 gets up to 2900 FPS with an 85 grain to make it the most effective long range varmint caliber for Contenders, and the same load is excellent for whitetail and antelope.