SSK Khromed Contender G-2 receiver. Barrel is a SSK stainless octagon 375 JDJ.


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.


These cartridges were specifically designed to give the highest ballistic performance in the Contender combining great power and accuracy for big game hunting. They have all see success in almost all areas of the world and the 375 JDJ is the hunting cartridge that made truly big game hunting well within the capabilities of the Contender. L TO R: 309; 338; 8 MM; 358; 9.3 MM; 375 and 416; all JDJ’s. All utilize the strong 444 Marlin parent case. Th 309 For example give 308 Ballistics in the Contender but the Contender cannot handle the 308 Winchester cartridge


These cartridge were specifically designed for the Contender to give the highest ballistic performance consistent within the capabilities of the Contender pistol/carbine. L to R : 6 MM #2, 257, 6.5 MM, 270, 7 MM; all JDJ design. The 6 MM and 257 are terrific long range varmint-antelope cartridges. The 257 is capable of producing velocities in excess of 2800 FPS for a 14″ barreled Contender. Good hunting bullets are available for each of the calibers to make them deer capable in excess of 300 yards.


The Contender cannot handle the 22-250 cartridge but the 222 MAGNUM JDJ equals it ballistics in the Contender. Shown is the original 223 and three versions of the 222 Mag JDJ. Note the case is almost without taper and has a 60 degree shoulder. At left is a Lehigh controlled fragmentation bullet, Center is 40 grain Hornady V-Max and last is a 77 grain Sierra MatchKing. The 75 grain Hornady bullet is very effective on deer where it is legal to use a 2 caliber cartridge.

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.

SSK Flat Side Frame Diamond Barrel configuration.

SSK Flat Side Frame Diamond Barrel configuration.

SSK Fluted Barrel Design.

SSK Fluted Barrel

SSK produces a wide variety of barrel configurations on a daily basis. These are all Contenders.

SSK produces a wide variety of barrel configurations on a daily basis. These are all Contenders

Typical 375JDJ hunting rig. Note Pachmayr grip, forend, T’SOB full length vent rib scope mount and Arrestor muzzle brake. Scope is a 2.5x7x28 Simmons Gold Medal with a parallax, factory adjusted to 100 yards for SSK.

Richard H. Mathewson on 12 July 1999 got this prairie dog at 1115 yards with an SSK stainless 223, shooting the Hornady 75gr. A-MAX. On his seventh shot, the bullet entered the PD’s open mouth and exited the hip.