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GUNS Magazine March 2012 Digital Edition - Page 68
A Jacob Gottfredson nyone with even the mildest interest in guns knows the Ar genre has caught on like a raging wildfire. That reality was hammered home with last year’s trip to the SHoT Show in las Vegas. Huge! Start a company, order parts, put them together and get in on the fray! Is the SIg SAUer in that category? First Impressions: It did not take long after opening the case to realize the SIG SAUER 516 Patrol rifle is a quality machine. SIG has taken an American design and coupled it with their brand of design, quality engineering and manufacturing. They have also taken advantage of the situation by fixing some apparent problems in the original design. I was a bit surprised that SIG’s mini red-dot sight was already mounted. A call to the rep who had sent it revealed the red dot was included in the packaged price. At the range, I found they had already sighted the little red dot in. Being interested in what the rifle could do, I mounted Leupold’s new Mark 4, 2.5-8x36mm MR/T M1 with the TMR reticle. I wanted a bit more optical power to test the rifle at longer range than I thought the little red dot would allow. I mounted the scope in Leupold’s high rings. I was amazed at a recent sniper match after examining a piston driven AR with a few hundred rounds fired through it. We took the bolt out and examined the interior. I am used to smudge, powder dust and gunk coating the interior of the gas-driven rifles. Not so with the piston-driven variety. The interior of these rifles look like they have just been cleaned and oiled! We will get to the “why” of that in a moment. The SIG 516 Patrol rifle is likewise a piston-operated action. The rear of the gas piston impacts directly against the bolt carrier assembly. Thus, the SIG 516’s bolt carrier features an integral strike plate in place of a traditional gas key. The rear of the carrier has raised radial ridges designed to reduce friction between the carrier and the lower receiver extension. Additionally, it provides greater reliability under adverse conditions because if dirt, dust and sand enter, it will not increase friction as with a perfectly concentric carrier. The bolt and bolt carrier staying clean through a lot of rounds, lubricant not drying out, plus the advantage of being able to regulate the stroke of the piston in dirty, sandy conditions will significantly help in adverse environments. The adjustable gas valve allows the advanced operating system to reduce carbon fouling, excessive heat and powder gases in the action, ensuring reliability and function. The gas a B A) Breaking the rifle down for cleaning is no different than the typical AR, and it functions exactly the same. Anyone familiar with Stoner’s AR will be off and running immediately. The carrier and bolt have both slight and radical differences. B) You can see the slight differences at the rear of the carriers—the SIG (right) having raised radial ridges designed to reduce friction between the carrier and lower receiver extension. Additionally, it provides greater reliability under adverse conditions, because dirt, dust and sand can The SIG 516 Patrol rifle and Leupold’s new Mark 4 2.5-8x36mm MR/T M1 set up in Jacob’s old benchrest bags to begin testing. 68 valve can be opened to increase gas flow when ammunition or adverse environmental conditions require more cycling energy. Gas flow can also be reduced or shut-off for use with suppressors to prevent stoppage or damage to the rifle when in the suppressor mode. These positions are unobtrusively marked to match up with a line on the gas block. The piston driven system also heats up more slowly. Excess gas in the selfcleaning system is vented out and downward in the forward portion of the handguard just to the rear of the rifle’s gas block through two vent holes in the piston rod. Thus, the bolt and bolt carrier remain clean, and lubricant does not dry out. SIG 516 rifles use 5.56mm NATO chrome-lined chambers and bores. The upper receiver features the traditional forward assist and shell deflector. But it doesn’t end there. The W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • M A R C H 2 0 1 2