SIG 556 Classic, critique by Pat Cascio. Modified version of SIG 550/551


Anybody who knows even a tiny bit about true battle rifles, knows that the Swiss military has issued the SIG Sauer STGW90 for years, and that it is nonetheless getting employed. The original STGW90 was the envy of gun owners – who, of course, couldn’t personal them. 1st of all, they couldn’t be imported into the USA. Secondly, they have been pick-fire – a huge “no-no” in our as soon as cost-free nation. The Swiss also created a semi-auto only version, recognized as the PE 90 or SIG 550/551. Nonetheless, American gun owners lusted for a single of these rifles. Only a couple of hundred SIG 550 and 551 rifles have been imported prior to an import ban. SIG Sauer ultimately came out with a semi-auto version in the USA, and referred to as it the SIG 556. This was offered in quite a few diverse versions.

I elected to get the Classic version of the SIG 556, right after checking out a single at my regional gun shop. I was really impressed with it, compared to all the variations of AR-15s on the market place.

Of course, make no error, SIG Sauer firearms are not low-cost, by any stretch of the imagination. Costs have come down some, considering the fact that lots of are now created in the USA, alternatively of Germany, but they are nonetheless spendy! As I recall, the SIG 556 Classic model was retailing for about $1,800, and that was a huge chunk of modify, no matter how you appear at it. I ordered a sample from SIG, for an report quite a few years ago, and in quick order, my sample arrived. It was much more than I anticipated it to be!

But there are generally difficulties in lots of new guns. In this case, there was uncommon put on on the bolt carrier. It wasn’t something to definitely be concerned with – it was self-limiting right after a quick time. 1 definitely good factor was that the 556 was redesigned to take AR-15 magazines, alternatively of the practically not possible to locate, SIG 550/551 magazines. So excellent on SIG for getting sensible sufficient to do this for American shooters.SIG 556 RifleLet’s take a appear at the specs on the 556: 1st of all, as currently pointed out, it is a modified version of the Swiss  550/551 – a single of the wonderful battle rifles of our time. And, it is chambered in five.56mm – and the gun will also fire .223 Remington ammo. It operates applying a gas piston, not a direct impingement gas program. This gas piston is much more trustworthy in my humble opinion, and it does not permit the gun to get practically as filthy as an AR does. The gas piston is also adjustable, if have to have be, for a dirty rifle, or poor ammo. The 16-inch barrel is hammer forged, so it will final a lengthy, lengthy time, prior to getting to be replaced – if ever! There is no separate charging deal with, like you’d locate on an AR-15. As an alternative, it has a charging deal with on the suitable side of the gun – attached to the bolt, and it is rapid to chamber a round. One more benefit is,that the 556 is quick to field-strip for cleaning or minor repairs.

The barrel has a flash suppressor that functions really nicely. On the opposite finish, we have a telescoping stock, that also folds to the side. That is super kool, if you ask me. SIG created quite a few modifications to the stock, and on the model I’m reviewing right now, it is a slightly diverse stock than the a single that came on the initial 556 samples. My sample has storage compartments for batteries for optics. We have a quick Picatinny rail on the prime and bottom of the polymer fore finish.

Marginal Sights

There are also factory folding sights – front and rear, but in my opinion they each are definitely lacking. On my sample that I’m reviewing right here, the fold down (flat) rear sight was missing – but it was a garbage design and style to begin with. The front sight also folds down, but it is only adjustable for windage, not elevation – and that is poorly-made, as well. SIG says this 556 weighs in at eight.two pounds – and the weight is forward. So the gun does not balance as nicely as an AR does.

My original 556 that I bought is lengthy-gone. I did acquire my sample that SIG sent me, but they do not definitely present gun writers that wonderful of a price tag on gun samples if we wanted to acquire them. Lengthy story short…and I could be off on my numbers a bit, but I look to recall paying about $1,200 for my sample. Having said that, quite a few months later, SIG dropped the price tag on the 556 – and you could locate them all more than the ‘net for $999. So I politely asked SIG if they would refund some of the revenue I paid for my sample. That wasn’t gonna come about. So, I ended up later promoting my sample for what I had paid for it.

Not as well lengthy ago, my regional gun shop got a SIG 556 Classic in a trade, and whoever owned it, had the rifle professionally painted in different camouflage colors. It was nicely completed. And, the price tag – nicely, it was nicely beneath what I believed it ought to sell for. So in quick order, a deal was struck and it was mine. Having said that, I definitely forgot how poorly balanced the SIG 556 was – but I could overcome this…or so I believed.

SIG 556 RifleMake no error, SIG Sauer, produces firearms that give outstanding accuracy, and they are created to final a lifetime. They are “that” excellent when it comes to excellent. With no rear sight on this 556 employed sample, I place on an AR 15 fold-down adjustable backup rear sight. Having said that, it was height mismatched, causing the gun to hit about eight-inches higher at 50-yards – not excellent! I couldn’t locate an original fold down (flat) factory rear sight, so I installed a SIG Romeo five red dot sight on the upper receiver, and I immediately had it zeroed. BTW, these sights from SIG are a bargain, compared to lots of other red dot sights on the market place.

Barrel Specs

The 556 comes with a 1:7-inch barrel twist, so it can shoot the heaviest five.56mm and .223 Rem bullets that you care to place by means of it. From Black Hills Ammunition I had the following .223 Rem ammo on-hand. 50-gr Hornady V-MAX, 55 gr FMJ – each brand-new and factory seconds, and as soon as once more, factory seconds are nonetheless brand-new ammo, but just have some cosmetic blemishes, I had 55-gr Soft Point, 55-gr Barnes TSX, 60-gr Soft Point, 60-gr Hornady V-Max and 68-gr Heavy Match Hollow Point – so a excellent mix of ammo to run by means of this SIG 556.

SIG 556 RifleIn all my shooting, and I had quite a few volunteer helpers, we fired 500 rounds by means of the SIG 556 in a couple of hours. 1 shooter, who is quick, had a hard time holding and steadying the 556 – he is definitely quick! But he did a fair quantity of shooting. We did accuracy testing at 50 yards, simply because we didn’t want to stroll out to 100-yards to retain altering targets. We employed a huge boulder, with a padded rifle rest on it for accuracy testing. By teh way, I only publish my personal final results when it comes to accuracy, so if there is a dilemma, I take the heat. We also killed a lot of rocks and fallen trees in our shooting. Lots of exciting just shooting targets of chance like that, and of course unleashing 30-round magazines as speedy as we could pull the trigger is normally a excellent test on how a gun will function when it gets excellent and hot. There have been no difficulties with the SIG 556. There was not a single failure to feed, or eject – it just perked along devoid of fail.


Greatest accuracy was the Black Hills 55-grain Soft Point. I had been hoping it would be their 60-gr Soft Point, as hat has normally been a wonderful correct round for me in ARs. At 50-yards, applying the SIG Romeo five red dot sight, I had groups definitely close to half an inch most of the time – some have been larger, some a tad smaller  and the larger groups – that would be my fault. The biggest group was an inch with the 50-gr Hornady V-MAX and it was slightly more than an inch – which signifies two inches at 100-yards – which is nonetheless excellent accuracy for a battle rifle.

My volunteer shooters definitely liked the 556, even our shorter shooter. But every person complained that the gun felt heavy, and in particular front finish heavy. I had to agree! I had forgotten about this from my original 556 that I bought direct from SIG. In the finish, right after owning this 556 for quite a few months, I decided to trade it off for one thing else that caught my fancy. Having said that, a single once more, I type of regret not maintaining it – it is nonetheless a wonderful gun.

I checked about the ‘net and discovered brand-new SIG 556 samples for $1,300 and employed ones for $850 and up. I will not reveal how tiny I paid for my employed SIG 556 – but it was a bargain.

If you want one thing a tiny diverse than an AR or an AK, then verify out a SIG 556 if you can locate a single. SIG Sauer has lengthy discontinued this model. I think that they scared a lot of folks away with their original price tag tag. That is as well undesirable, considering the fact that it is a wonderful gun.


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