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Posted: 11/21/2008 11:15:43 AM EDT
So this weekend I got my new purchase out to the range to give it a run.  I was well pleased.  This is what I wrote up after getting home.

Youtube Video Here

Photo Thread Here


Overall Feel:

I'm pretty sold on it. I like the balance of the Commando variant. The front handguards are 8ozs lighter than the stock 556 abominations. This makes it feel much less front-heavy and with the Aimpoint a bit behind the center of mass that helps even more. I had no difficulty with the charging handle and the optic. I do in fact like the reciprocating charging handle on the 55X rifles and personally prefer it over the AR platforms rear charging design but I would prefer it were positioned on the left like a FAL but that is not to be. I don't like the plastic feel of the folding stock. This is a must fix item for me as I get no feeling of confidence in the plastic tube and pin-and-clip hinge. I will replace this with an ACE folding mechanism but I will preserve the green CTR stock. However, the stock held up fine to the round count today of 300 rounds of mixed ammo.


Performance:

Well this is easy. It worked. No break-in or needing to give it a few hundred rounds to settle in. First shot to last it fired, loaded, and functioned without flaw. It ate Wolf, Silver Bear, Guat 5.56mm, XM-193, and Hornady TAP 75gr. All cycled the weapon and all ejected quite vigorously. It rivals my FAL for forceful ejection. The brass is rather dinged by all the ejecting and whacking on the receiver and falling to earth in a high arching ballistic trajectory. The hotter loads could be found at about 2:00 forward position and three stalls down. The recoil is quite mild and has a rolling character to it rather than a sharp feeling. It’s a little slower to get back on target but to me seemed more controllable in recoil and easier to track the dot than with my AR. The controls are not as well placed as the AR design and that detracts a bit but this is a design feature of the whole family of 55X rifles not just the SIG 556. The AR wins on control ergos in my opinion.


Trigger:

I am starting to get used to the trigger pull on the SIG. To me it is not as wonderful as many claim but it is certainly better than most stock triggers on any AR or FAL I have fired. However it falls on its face next to a RRA national match or other improved trigger system. The trigger has a long take-up that ends when you come in contact with the stop behind the trigger. From there more pressure starts to push in the stop and this breaks the trigger and sends the hammer forward. The reset on the trigger is short as only the small distance the stop moves is required to reset for the next shot. However the trigger on mine is heavy. It is also a bit difficult to tell when your shot will break. I don't know if it’s just what I'm used to but I like that final bit of hard resistance that lets me know it's just about to let go on an AR as opposed to the just increasing stiffness of the SIG's trigger. Perhaps if I adjust the pull down a little more I will like it better. As it stands now I think it is better than an AR trigger but far removed from a good match trigger like some claim it is.


Accuracy:

I was not really equipped to test that in a truly meaningful way. My eyes are not what they were a few years ago and my optic is a 1X Aimpoint. The sight is a CompM4 which comes centered from the factory. After mounting on the rifle it took about 3 full turns of up elevation to get on target. I assume the extra height in the gas system was behind that. I did a quick and dirty bore-sight at 25yds to get on the paper and then adjusted by fire from there. The Aimpoint adjustments are positive and seem to be repeatable just as I expected. As explained below, I opted to skip the backup irons and just dialed in the optic.

The rifle clearly prefers heavy bullets to lighter ones and quality, as always, matters. Wolf 55gr was horrendous. At 50yds it would barely hold a softball sized group. It was useful really for making noise and not much else. Silver Bear 62gr HP followed with just a bit better grouping than the Wolf but still quite a large spread and fairly even. Next I fired Guat 5.56mm 55gr surplus and it was as bad as Wolf producing patterns more than groups. XM-193 55gr FMJ produced better results than any of the previous and dropped 45 of 60 shots into a roughly 2.5" group at 50yds. Finally came Hornady TAP 75gr and it by FAR produced the best accuracy of all the tested ammo. I was able to hold a 1.5" group minus the occasional poor trigger pull on my part. I zeroed the rifle for this and it was simple to hit the 10 ring on a Shoot-N-See target from the bench. It looks like it has decent accuracy but a preference for heavy bullets.

With more trigger time I bet I can improve on this and I will be looking to cook up some 75/77 loads of my own as time goes on.  I also noted that my off-hand shooting (always atrocious really) was a bit better with this setup.  I can not say what that is due to but I did have an easier time settling the dot down when firing.


Fit and Finish:

Well, this is well known to be where SIG has been dropping the ball but all in all it isn't as bad as I was led to believe. There are items that show some lack of attention to detail. My gas block has visible gouges from the hammering done to set the roll pins. I didn't buy a china doll though so while unprofessional it's not something that I will cry to heaven over. The plastic stock and the pin holding it all together are just problems waiting to happen and it's disappointing to see them go that route on it because the concept is very nice. The handguards have some play in them but this is a normal condition and not a problem with the rifle or effect accuracy or firing.

The sights... now they are just pathetic. After reading the manual about adjusting the backup irons I simply decided to forget it. I will replace the front sight with a Sampson after-market post and I will mount my ARMS 40L on the rear. In my opinion this is the one area that SIG really screwed the pouch with. There is no real good excuse to put sights this cheap on such an otherwise nice rifle. They could have developed any number of ways to go about it or simply included an AR-height front post and let us all choose the rears. Instead they made a set of custom sights that would seem at home on an SKS and I have spend the cash to replace it all. I really don't feel irons are, or should be, an afterthought. They are a major feature of defensive or combat oriented rifles and good ones really shine. Alright, rant over.

Lastly is the use of a double screw pin for the front pivot.  Dumb.  Makes take-down for cleaning more of a chore than needed and I don't believe the 55X series rifles used this contraption.  It works on a FAL because there is scant need to remove the upper to clean but the 556 can't be fully disassembled for cleaning without removing the entire upper.  


Bottom Line:

So having shot this puppy today I have to say my impression is quite good. Outside of the cosmetic issues I have and QC issues that others have reported, it's a rifle that has a lot of promise. To me this rifle really hums. It was fun to shoot, it functioned flawlessly, and it felt great to use. The Aimpoint CompM4 is a treat to use with it and I may trade out some of my EOTechs for Aimpoints. It’s not an AR killer I’m sure but it makes a nice addition to the collection. I'm certain this rifle will see more use in the days ahead.  If SIG would put more effort into initial QC it would be easier to trust it a little more.



My immediate plans for changes are:
- KNS push button front pin.
- Samson front sight.
- ACE folding mechanism and stock adapter.
- Standard collapsible stock buffer tube.

With those additions I will be quite happy with the rifle.
Link Posted: 11/21/2008 11:31:20 AM EDT
Why are you changing to a standard collapsible stock buffer tube
Link Posted: 11/21/2008 11:49:21 AM EDT
Originally Posted By MTNmyMag:
Why are you changing to a standard collapsible stock buffer tube


The factory folder is a plastic tube that can not be removed from the hinge.  I feel the hinge is the weak link in that design so I will need to get a standard aluminum tube that will mate with the ACE adapter.  I can then sell the folding stock as there seems to be rather strong demand for them out there.
Link Posted: 11/22/2008 1:39:21 PM EDT
they made a set of custom sights that would seem at home on an SKS and I have spend the cash to replace it all. I really don't feel irons are, or should be, an afterthought. They are a major feature of defensive or combat oriented rifles and good ones really shine. Alright, rant over.


No, it wouldn't.  SKS sights are actually far superior, if not in accuracy than at least in usefulness, durability, and functionality.  Please don't insult the SKS.

The factory folder is a plastic tube that can not be removed from the hinge. I feel the hinge is the weak link in that design so I will need to get a standard aluminum tube that will mate with the ACE adapter. I can then sell the folding stock as there seems to be rather strong demand for them out there.


Sounds like exactly what I'd be doing.  People will buy anything I suppose, so at least you'll get some good money out of it.

I've been neglecting your FAL, I must admit...  One of these days I really need to Duracoat the handguards, cut down the barrel, and put a flash hider on there...
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