sig 556 Or?


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lue_119
December 3, 2012, 11:10 AM
Yes ima be turning 21 next year and I've decided id do some research and find the right rifle for me I'm not real big on the ar plat forms cause of the failuers I've seen with them I've considered an ak for the longest time till they started coming out with these 556s and scars and stuff so I thought id get some first hand opinions what would be a good semi auto rifle has anyone heard anything on these new acrs as well? Just curious leave me your input and thanks!

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sawdeanz
December 3, 2012, 11:25 AM
What a great 21st b-day present to yourself! I'm gonna go ahead and guess that plenty of people will come and tell you that the AR platforms are more reliable than you think, but there is no reason not to go with something else just cause you want to.

I also wanted to add that you might consider refraining from calling it an "assault rifle" since it is not technically accurate and helps to fuel negative bias towards guns in general. A better term might be military type semi-auto rifle or some other politically correct term.

Good luck with your search!

lue_119
December 3, 2012, 11:46 AM
Well and see for the longest time I've been a huge ar fan there beautiful looking firearms but I got a friend who owns a dpms panther ar got it decked out hes owned it for maybe 4 years and I've seen it strike primers but no projectile flying out the end of the barrel..leaving hot live rounds everywere was a turn off for me :(

SigMic
December 3, 2012, 12:03 PM
I wouldn't worry about the reliability of the AR unless you plan to shoot a ton of rounds without cleaning or lubing it. But if you want to avoid the Direct Impingement gas system of the AR, you can go with a piston type AR. I'd recommend LMT (~$2k) or LWRC (~$1700), but there are others out there that are less expensive.

briansmithwins
December 3, 2012, 12:51 PM
The Sig a pretty darn good rifle, generally speaking.

Sig has had QC problems, so buy from a store with a good reputation for taking care of their customers.

BSW

Djay
December 3, 2012, 01:28 PM
"Well and see for the longest time I've been a huge ar fan there beautiful looking firearms but I got a friend who owns a dpms panther ar got it decked out hes owned it for maybe 4 years and I've seen it strike primers but no projectile flying out the end of the barrel..leaving hot live rounds everywere was a turn off for me."

That is a very rare occurence in my opinion, especially if you select from many of the better makers - ex. Colt, LMT, Daniel Defense, Bravo Company, etc., etc.

the AR choice has the advantage of a myriad of parts and accessory sources.

JustinJ
December 3, 2012, 01:55 PM
If you go withe the Sig avoid the full length railed version as it is quite front heavy. I'd either stick with the plastic handguards or the shortened gas system.

You didn't mention what your budget is but i'm a huge fan of the Steyr AUG. The AUG mags are awesome but there is also a NATO stock that can be installed for use with AR mags.

Really though i think a good AR would be a better choice for a first assault type rifle. As already mentioned the piston is an alternative if you don't care for the direct impingement. My top three piston driven would be LWRC, LMT and PWS.

Another option though is an AK in 5.56. Mags are more expensive than standard 7.62. An AK74 in 5.45 is another way to go.

lue_119
December 3, 2012, 02:04 PM
Is the piston type ar more reliable? I didn't relize they started making them like that, and as far as budget ima be saving over the time of 9 months givee or take and it'll prolly be something ill wanna be taking out to the range for fun so rounds will be going through it after I seen the ar do what I seen I started looking at the ak and the ruggedness of it but I thought id see what others thought cause there's sooo many new rifles out now

BP Hunter
December 3, 2012, 02:09 PM
Wow, what a great birthday present. WHen I was 21, I couldn't afford didly squat! Yes, the Sig is an excellent rifle. I wish I could get one myself.

CharlieDeltaJuliet
December 3, 2012, 03:31 PM
A Sig is a great choice. Enjoy it, have fun and be safe.

JustinJ
December 3, 2012, 03:54 PM
Is the piston type ar more reliable?

That's the million dollar question. There are quite a few different companies making different piston systems so it's hard to answer such a general question. Generally speaking, in short barrel, suppressed guns and under sustained fire I think so. However, the piston is another part that could break. Piston AR's definitely stay cleaner within the receiver and around the bolt/carrier. Realistically, in semi-auto i don't think there will be any appreciable difference in reliability between a quality DI AR and quality piston AR unless we're talking suppressed or short barrel.

Nickel boron coating of the bolt/carrier will probably add more reliability than a piston for most semi-auto AR's.

Unka-Boo
December 3, 2012, 04:03 PM
After 16 or so ARs, I finally gave up and bought a 556.
I'm a big AK nut as well as being left handed....Sig fit the bill for me....standard, readily available magazines, optics ready, AK like handling/manual of arms.

So far its been a good change, only ran it for one match so far but I think it will turn into a wise choice.

lue_119
December 3, 2012, 04:17 PM
Alright well maybe ima have to check some more of em out but I know I definitely gotta check out a 556 have done a little reading about it and it sounds like a hybrid between an ak and ar using both designs too come up with one great one I have read some bad about even them so I am left pretty torn I want something reliable accurate with easy operation and quick break down for field cleaning and that's something I like about the ar it seems sooo easy to field strip and clean then slap back together and your good to rock and roll again

Skribs
December 3, 2012, 04:21 PM
From what I've read, there is a SLIGHT advantage to a piston system's reliability (as has been mentioned, largely in shorter barrels or over extended periods without cleaning) and there is a SLIGHT advantage to a direct impingement accuracy. However, for most civilian applications (barring target competitions), piston systems will be more than accurate enough and DI systems, especially properly maintained, will be more than reliable enough even for HD.

The big advantage of the DI is that it's popular. While many parts will work on a piston system, there is more support for the DI system. If there's a problem with your gas tube, for example, pick one to replace it or pick anyone who knows about ARs to fix it. If you have a problem on a piston system, get help from someone who knows THAT piston system, because they are all different.

The biggest advantage of the piston system is that some (but not all) can be made to work with folding stocks. I believe the Sig might be like this (can't remember off the top of my head) but I know a lot of the newer military rifles and their civilian counterparts have folding stocks, and are able to because of their piston system (such as the SCAR or the ACR).

One thing you'll find too is that "the perfect rifle for me" at 21 won't be the perfect rifle in a few years. Through experience and additional research you'll find that something else will work better. So while this is an important milestone, don't sweat the decision too much.

JustinJ
December 3, 2012, 04:54 PM
The biggest advantage of the piston system is that some (but not all) can be made to work with folding stocks. I believe the Sig might be like this (can't remember off the top of my head) but I know a lot of the newer military rifles and their civilian counterparts have folding stocks, and are able to because of their piston system (such as the SCAR or the ACR).

The Sig 556 has a folding stock. The sig 516 is a piston AR but does not have a side folder. The only folding stock AR i can think of is made by Para. Rock River also makes a side folder which i guess one could classify as an AR. The difficulty in doing a side folding AR is that the buffer tube is located in the stock so an alternate means of returning the bolt/carrier must be devised.

I want something reliable accurate with easy operation and quick break down for field cleaning and that's something I like about the ar it seems sooo easy to field strip and clean

The 556 is very easy to break down and clean in the field. Generally, the piston does not need to be cleaned very often but it's easy to do so. Unless one wants to clean the piston more often than needed i'd give ease of cleaning to the 556 over the AR.

Skribs
December 3, 2012, 05:11 PM
Yeah Justin, I've asked before and the line between AR and Not-An-AR is very difficult to define. Some piston systems have a different mechanism and can support folding stocks, like those I mentioned.

Personally I prefer the curves of the stock on the SCAR or the ACR, but that's just a preference.

FIVETWOSEVEN
December 3, 2012, 05:17 PM
Well and see for the longest time I've been a huge ar fan there beautiful looking firearms but I got a friend who owns a dpms panther ar got it decked out hes owned it for maybe 4 years and I've seen it strike primers but no projectile flying out the end of the barrel..leaving hot live rounds everywere was a turn off for me

Sounds like either bad ammo or the gun needs a new hammer spring. ARs are plenty reliable.

RCArms.com
December 3, 2012, 06:55 PM
I have all three types on your list and like them all for different reasons.

Sig 556: everything the AK should have been. I own the classic and it was a long time before I warmed up to this rifle. It took slapping an ACOG on it for me to really appreciate just how accurate it is. The Swiss SAN folding stock is top notch and locks rigid. I do not have the 551 lower because I cannot fathom having to stock and use yet another different magazine. Great rifle and a real value.

Pros: accurate, based on a fielded military design, AR magazines, affordable

Cons: heavier than AR rifles. No readily available source for spare parts other than Sig. Factory sights (if present) are not ideal using the HK type rotating diopter drum.


FN SCAR-16

Excellent rifle that shows the attention to detail that FN is known for. Horribly expensive, but has the lightest recoil impulse of any 556 rifle that I've ever fired. Fantastic optics platform.

Pros: proven military rifle fielded by major forces and combat tested. Excellent sights and controls. Best optics platform I've handled and is lightweight and extremely well balanced.

Cons: extremely expensive. No spare parts availability other than FN. Not all magazines will work without damaging the rifle ( P-mags require modification)

Bushmaster ACR: had extremely high hopes for this rifle and still do. Bushmaster had a winner with the Magpul Masada and then they took every good feature and traded it away for cost savings and time savings. Early models were subject to a safety recall. Extremely nose heavy. I own a fixed stock standard handguard with a custom lightweight barrel that brings the rifle back closer to the original Masada concept. One of my favorite shooters.

Pros: reliable and well made. Spare parts are out there with some aftermarket support. One of the better ergonomic fixed stocks on the market. Excellent control layout other than the selector levers. Excellent trigger. Very easy to strip and clean. Smooth in operation.

Cons: overpriced and overweight. Bushmaster missed a HUGE opportunity with this one. The initial price point was $1300 to $1500 which was righ on the money, but it quickly climbed to $2300 and people will usually go for a SCAR for that kind of bank.

This rifle could have been at the top of the pile if it was released with a lightweight profile 14.5" with permanent flash hider attached rather than the 16" m4 profile barrel.


I'll leave the AR info to others. I have several and like them all (all are DI type rifles).

If you would like pics, just let me know and I'll post up some 5.56 eye candy.

Don

Walkalong
December 3, 2012, 07:12 PM
I have a 556 Classic and it is a great gun. It is very accurate. It is very easy to shoot well, both extended and folded. It is heavier than some ARs and lighter than others. It is no more front heavy than some ARs. It is extremely reliable so far. It accepts AR mags, which means all my AR mags interchange.

I immediately fell in love with the first one I shot and bought one myself based on five minutes of gun time with that friends 556 Classic.

A superb weapon.

Unka-Boo
December 3, 2012, 07:36 PM
I should add a little bit:

Part of the reason I even signed up here was for some input on a SCAR thread:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=682587

I borrowed Brian's SCAR for a match and absolutely fell in love with it....BUT, it was about a K more than I had to spend...:banghead:

If price wasn't an object, I'd be sporting one of those, probably the most well thought out 5.56 platform available today.

I have nothing against the DI AR platform, it's a proven and versitile system with a gazillion options and about as many after market suppliers. They would be a good choice if you're so inclined.....where I gave up was from my leftycapableness...I've always fought the left hand driven charging handle, which is even harder to manipulate with optics involved. I've compromised for years, finally deciding to quit compromising and find something that fit my needs better. The Sig was it for the price point I was in.

I'll say that the AK platform is the best "out of the box" left handed shooter platform, which is why I've owned and used them in competition for years. Wanting to go back to a 5.56 platform, I wasn't too keen on my limited AK options so looked elsewhere....Sig fit the bill for me, AK like controls, AR mags of which I have a bunch, and a fairly well designed platform.

Like anything, I'd suggest seeking one out to try before you drop the money. You may be surprised, you might not like it....better to find that out BEFORE you drop a K.....


( eta= can I use the word platform one more time? )

stubbicatt
December 3, 2012, 11:04 PM
After corresponding with Unka-Boo, I took the 556 plunge. I too came up with the AK system and found it superior to the AR15 *for me*. It just fit. I have owned AR15's, including some really nice match rifles (space guns).

I hesitated to buy the SIG due to early reports of issues with quality control, and having seen many of the videos you have probably viewed also.

Unka Boo explained to me how the system fits together and directed me to a couple of videos where he is running a stage with his rifle. I am grateful for his lead in this project.

I have the 556 Classic, and couldn't be happier with the rifle for a poodle shooter. The mechanism amazes me. The cleanup is so easy, even after many rounds fired. The bolt carrier after a few hundred rounds just glides on the rails with no issues.

I cannot comment on the accuracy of my rifle, as I haven't benchrested it with an optic yet, but having zero'd the red dot and the irons, I will say it is minute of clay pigeon at 200 yards.

I don't really have a use for the rifle as of yet, I bought it on a whim so to speak. But it is a fun plinker which I have yet to get fully used to. I prefer my HK G3 clone, and absolutely love that the SIG shares the G3 rear drum sight, with the added benefit of the 1/2 moa windage and elevation adjustments. Neat setup all around.

Girodin
December 3, 2012, 11:47 PM
'm not real big on the ar plat forms cause of the failuers I've seen with them

Look at well made (Colt, BCM, Noveske, etc) ARs that are properly maintained and using a functioning mag and you see very few failures. People see guns like DPMS and others have issues and improperly extrapolate to all ARs. People who teach a lot of carbine classes and see hundreds of guns put through classes every year, and over a million rounds fired will tell you that failures tend to be from bad mags, lower end poorly built/assembled guns, and improper maintenance, to wit, not lubricating it. Here is an article buy one such trainer, Pat Rogers. You may find it informative. http://www.ar15.com/content/swat/keepitrunning.pdf

I've used the Sig 556 a bit. I have multiple friends who have them. Initially there seemed to be reports of a lot of QC issues. That seems to be largely remedied. They are good guns, but I wouldn't dream of trading my N4 Noveske for one.

I like my AKs but would prefer an AR if I had to choose between them.

Honestly, you would probably be very happy with a Sig, a good AR (that can be had for the same price as a Sig), or a SCAR. There are things I like about each of them vis-a-vis the others. There is no one true sword.

stubbicatt
December 4, 2012, 11:43 AM
There is no one true sword.

Again. Well said. So much is devoted to trying to determine "which is best" among competing offerings. Truth is, its the man behind the trigger who makes a difference. For myself, I enjoy learning about the mechanisms of these rifles much more than any utilitarian purpose for them.

henschman
December 4, 2012, 06:18 PM
Don't judge all ARs just by your friend's DPMS. Was that FTF with Russian steel cased ammo? They have harder primers, and sometimes require a heavier hammer spring to reliably ignite.

In any case, DPMS rifles are far from the best ARs out there, and I certainly wouldn't judge them all by that experience. I also had a DPMS years ago that was not very reliable, but I now have a PSA that has been very reliable. The difference is quality, mil-spec, tested parts. I would put a GOOD QUALITY, mil spec AR up against a Sig 556 in a reliability test any day. Look up the torture tests Daniel Defense has done with their rifles for instance. They are basically just regular AR's made to the mil specs, like my PSA.

When it comes to gas piston rifles, the rifles that are made from the ground up as a gas piston rifle are pretty reliable, like the LMT and Sig. But the conversion kits that convert a DI AR to gas piston generally result in worse reliability than DI. A common problem is carrier tilt, due to adding more mass on the top of the carrier, which throws it off balance and makes it rub on the buffer tube and lower receiver. Another problem is that the piston rifles take proprietary parts, which means you have to get them from one company if something breaks, and they usually charge a premium. The nice thing about staying with standard mil-spec parts on an AR is that spare parts are very cheap, and are available everywhere.

lue_119
December 5, 2012, 04:11 PM
Alright well I thank all of you for the incredibly usefull information ima do some browsing andwhen I finalh do get whatever I decide on ill have to throw up some pictures lol thanks again everyone :)

stubbicatt
December 6, 2012, 12:15 PM
Don't judge all ARs just by your friend's DPMS. Was that FTF with Russian steel cased ammo? (snip)

The difference is quality, mil-spec, tested parts. I would put a GOOD QUALITY, mil spec AR up against a Sig 556 in a reliability test any day. (snippitysnip)

The nice thing about staying with standard mil-spec parts on an AR is that spare parts are very cheap, and are available everywhere.

I agree with Henschman. A good quality AR15 is very reliable, especially at the rates of fire which civilians are likely to expose them to. I would not let reliability be a deterrent to purchasing an AR, if it is something you otherwise like.

I personally do not like that rifle. The bolt carrier reciprocating in the buttstock like that is annoying, as is the encrusted filthiness of the bolt carrier/receiver *to me*. But let me be clear: this is a personal choice, not an indictment on the AR in any way, which is an excellent rifle which many people like quite a bit. Sorta like fish, not everybody likes it. :)

So don't let the internet reports of reliability issues put you off. I think that they are exaggerated greatly, and if you pour sand or grit in your rifle to verify its reliability I guess your world is very different from mine, where my rifle is not exposed to such environmental detritus... nobody shoots at me with 105's tossing dirt into the air, nor do I ford rivers and the like with my rifle. Again, perhaps you do this, and if so, your needs are on an entirely different level from mine. YMMV.

Now, as for the SIG, a couple things I like: The reciprocating charging handle combined with a bolt release on the left of the receiver gives the shooter choices as to the method of reload. Something the AR lacks, at least stock. The reciprocating bolt handle also doubles as a quick hasty ultra close range sight... you may have seen those sights the AR guys put on their rifles where they turn it 45 degrees and there are the sights? Well, that's standard on the SIG, and you can choose aiming references on the front end of the rifle depending on offset.

Balance is one of those things you either like about it or don't like. I don't like that the movement of the bolt and carrier of the AR shift the balance of the rifle to the rear like that. One thing about the SIG, at no time does any of the reciprocating mass travel to the rear of the rear sight, thus *subjectively* limiting muzzle rise.

The folding stock is nice for stowage in your vehicle and ease of retrieval.

The iron sights are slick, unobtrusive, and with a low mount red dot sight, the dot just hovers over the top of the front sight post with the rear set on the notch, which to me is the best of all possible worlds. Don't have to fold it up or down, it remains in place. The diopter is excellent at range, and has a neat feature where it won't rotate from the notch to the 300 yard setting, which is either a "love it" or "hate it" feature.

The gas regulator is something I enjoy, not because I have ever had occasion to use the adverse setting, but because of the thought in the design and execution of that gas block. There are two oblique holes drilled through the gas block which will line up with the unused port in the regulator to vent unused gasses down and away from the gas block. Having had a FAL, where that knob gets all sooty and nasty and is a PITA to clean, I appreciate this feature of the SIG.

I haven't tried it yet, but one complaint I haven't seen leveled at the SIG is anything to do with steel cased ammo... near as I can tell it is reliable with that stuff.

While I am led to believe this may not be a standard feature anymore on all of the SIG rifles, the SIG nitrided (melonite process) cold hammer forged barrel is reputed to be quite a bit more durable than the chrome lined barrels so highly sought after in the AR15 world. A neat touch, and I can attest to how easy the rifle is to clean up. Never have I owned a rifle whose barrel is that easy to clean.

Down side to the rifle from my perspective is that the geometry between the grip and the thumb side of the ambi safety is awkward to use. From low ready one has to cant the rifle a bit to the thumb side of the shooting hand to place his thumb on the safety for quick manipulation. There are replacement safety/selector levers available, and I may at some point purchase one of these. Since I use the trigger finger to go to "safe," that is the same for me whether the SIG or the AR15.

The trigger itself is adequate, although to my taste it has a lot of unnecessary over travel.

So, OP, if you get a chance to hold these two rifles, or others in which you have an interest, and maybe even shoot a few, your choices should gel over time to enable you to buy the best choice for you.

Girodin
December 6, 2012, 02:38 PM
I haven't tried it yet, but one complaint I haven't seen leveled at the SIG is anything to do with steel cased ammo... near as I can tell it is reliable with that stuff.

The only complaints I've seen of this were with the first design of the 556R. It was amazing to me that sig would release a rifle chambered in 7.62x39 that wouldn't reliably cycle steel case. However, it is reported that sig has updated that rifle to fix that, and other, shortcomings. The 556R is a rifle that interests me a great deal. I'm still waiting to make sure all the issues were really worked out and that all the old stock is sold through before I buy one.

powder
December 6, 2012, 07:12 PM
SIG

MachIVshooter
December 7, 2012, 05:24 AM
Well and see for the longest time I've been a huge ar fan there beautiful looking firearms but I got a friend who owns a dpms panther ar got it decked out hes owned it for maybe 4 years and I've seen it strike primers but no projectile flying out the end of the barrel..leaving hot live rounds everywere was a turn off for me

That's like deciding all Asian compact cars are junk just because your friend had issues with the cheapest Korean car on the market.

I'd suggest staying open minded and reconsidering your position.

Ar180shooter
December 7, 2012, 12:29 PM
Love the design of the Sig 55X series of rifles. The gas piston/bolt system was heavily influenced by the AK, but the accuracy and ease of mounting optics is more akin to an AR. Best of both worlds IMHO.

stubbicatt
December 7, 2012, 01:38 PM
The only complaints I've seen of this were with the first design of the 556R. It was amazing to me that sig would release a rifle chambered in 7.62x39 that wouldn't reliably cycle steel case. However, it is reported that sig has updated that rifle to fix that, and other, shortcomings. The 556R is a rifle that interests me a great deal. I'm still waiting to make sure all the issues were really worked out and that all the old stock is sold through before I buy one.
Girodin, those I have seen lately have a late summer/early fall "born on" date. Mine was June 21.

I understand there is some indication that SIG is not putting the hammer forged nitrided barrel on all of their rifles anymore. I do not know the facts about this but if I were in the market I would call them and ask them how to discern one with the nitrided barrel from one without.

Don't hesitate to buy one today. I feel comfortable you will be happy with it.

Regards,
Stubb

Girodin
December 7, 2012, 10:44 PM
I understand there is some indication that SIG is not putting the hammer forged nitrided barrel on all of their rifles anymore.

Interesting. I wonder what the deal with that is. I'll have to look into it.

stubbicatt
December 8, 2012, 09:20 AM
One of the SIG556 specific forums I frequent a contributor said that if the barrel isn't stamped near the gas block, then it isn't nitrided. I do not know the truth of this, but would call SIG to verify if it is true, and if so, how to tell the difference.

No kidding, this barrel is the easiest to clean I have ever owned.

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