the SIG SAUER 516 Patrol
Will It Prove to be As Reliable
As Its Bigger Brother the 716?
Joe W Gorman
Earlier in the year I put the SIG716 Patrol through its paces. It lived up to its rock-star reputation by exhibiting 100 percent reliability and bolt gun accuracy. To say I was impressed would be something of an understatement. That said, I wanted to see if the 716's smaller brother, the 516 Patrol, was just as good albeit in a lighter package and a smaller caliber. What I discovered was all the desirable SIG family traits are shared by these rifles. The SIG516 Patrol proved to be reliable and even more accurate than it's bigger brother!
Ok, so I experienced a failure with the 516 Patrol. Right out of the box with the very first magazine, I experienced a FTF hang-up. Dang it. I can't proudly proclaim that this rifle has never jammed. The gas port was set to 'NORMAL' and I was using the Winchester USA ball that has never let me down before, so I'm not going to blame the moon phase I'm just gonna say, I've experienced A failure with a brand new SIG516.
That's the bad news. The good news is that was the one and only failure I've experienced. I cleaned the rifle thoroughly and all has been well through 800+ rounds so I'm ready to proclaim this rifle 100 percent reliable at this point. The chrome-lined, hammer-forged barrel, and the chromed gas piston system found on the SIG516 patrol are all ingredients that contribute its uber-reliability. And like it's big brother, it comes standard with a free-floating, aluminum quad rail fore-end with four M1913 Picatinny rails so you can hang all manner of gizmos on it.
As a side note, I also took delivery of a Colt M4 about the same time that I received the 516. The Colt M4 finally hiccupped at about round 700. It too was an easily cleared FTF. I mention this as a data point for you reliability buffs out there (like me). Both of these rifles (the 516 and the M4) are very reliable, and if you've seen the SIG torture video, the SIG is incredibly trustworthy, but it is still good to plan for failure by training how to clear your weapon quickly.
Dress it up and it's very accurate too. The stock trigger on the 516 was exactly the same as the stock trigger on the 716: heavy and creepy. I took the path of least resistance with respect to addressing the mil-spec trigger and installed in a drop-in Timney trigger with a 4 pound break. I didn't want to compromise the reliability of the rifle, so I opted for the heavier springs. The trigger is literally a 'drop in,' as in 'no fooling it really drops in.
I installed optics on the SIG516 to be able to clearly view my target. I mounted my trusty Leupold MARK AR 4-12x in a Leupold Mark 2 Integrated Mounting System (IMS) and proceeded to wring out the little Patrol rifle firing from a prone position at the 100yd mark. I should note that the cool flip up rear sight, that can be either a close range large peep or a more precise smaller peep, did somewhat interfere with the eye-bell of scope.
Just a head's up. I also found the time to test the very cool Burris XTRII 1-5x24mm illuminated scope (with the Ballistic 5.56 Gen3 RFP) and mounted it up in a Burris P.E.P.R mount for more short-range engagements (I believe this would be the ultimate 3 guns scope). This scope is certainly fine for long range shooting too, but it's ability to go to a true 1x makes it pretty handy if you are expecting targets close and you want a red dot.
As for accuracy, I've listed the best groups I attained (by ammo type) below. It is worth noting that all the ammunition I tested is 'accurate' and the .270' c-t-c 3-shot group I managed with the Remington match ammo was the tightest three-shot group I've ever fired. I was never able to duplicate it. That particular flavor of ammo stayed around one half-inch for the rest of my testing. All of the polymer tip ammo was accurate through the 516. Both the Winchester Varmint X and the Hornady V Max were incredibly consistent with respect to accurate and velocity. With a 200-yard zero established for either cartridge, a coyote stands no chance against a capable rifleman.