So I finally broke down and bought an AR-pattern rifle. But not just any old AR.
Not me. I've resisted buying an AR in any caliber primarily for one reason: the gas system. I don't like a gun that craps where it eats. I used to deal with the AR in my day job and after 20+ yrs, I just fell out of lust with it.
Give me a gun with an operating rod any day.
Sure, when I remember seeing the AR-15/M-16, I thought the gun was totally cool. That was then.
Give me an AK, or FAL, or M1A, or anything with an operating rod/gas piston system. As long as it's not a direct impingement system.
And then all these piston driven ARs started hitting the streets. Primarily chambered in 5.56/.223, I wasn't too keen on those rifles because I'm not a big fan of the round, but not for the reasons you would think. Yes, it's accurate. Yes, it can do all kinds of things. But my thing is, EVERYBODY is shooting it. It's almost as bad as the .30-06 was back 20-30 yrs ago. You know the type: If you ain't shooting '06, then you just ain't shooting.
Hogwash. Turns me right off, right now.
And I don't want to stock a new caliber. I've got enough to keep me busy as it is. I don't need to be buying new dies and stuff for my RL550B.
Thus my foray into the AR platform had to be on my terms. The rifle had to be piston driven, be in a caliber I stock (preferably .30 caliber), and it had to be affordable, under $2,000.
And then they started showing up. POF-USA has a nice offering, but the price was all wrong. The ones I saw last year were well north of $2500. LaRue Tactical also offers a .308 piston driven design, but again, price was wayyyyy out of my range.
Enter Sig Sauer and their 716. .30 caliber? Check. Piston driven? Check again. Under two grand? Double check. So, after much saving and a really good fun show, (and a lot of arguing with the staff at the fun store about why they needed to sell the rifle to somebody else*) I finally have one.
My initial impressions? This rifle is something to behold. Weighing in at just a hair over 9 lbs, it's a little heavy, but not much. Most of the controls are ambidextrous, with the safety/selector and bolt release being standard AR fare. The four-rail forearm is not really my thing, but it came with the gun, so it stays for now.
Back up irons are nice, and fold down nicely out of the way. The MagPul stock is comfortable and the six position collapsible stock locks up nicely. My only complaint is the lock tab doesn't really lock when the lever is squeezed to move the stock on the tube. Maybe it's not a bug, I don't know. With all the stuff they've done to the AR in the last 8 yrs, it's hard to keep up with.
The rifle shipped with one 20 rd MagPul SR 25 PMag, I've since bought 4 more because hey, you can never have enough mags, right? These drop free on release, no sticking or hanging up in the well. Also shipped with the rifle is the factory 3-point sling. What's nice is there are 3 (with a fourth stored in the butt stock) attach points for the push-button mounts on each side of the rifle; one on each end of the rail on each side of the gun, and the third near the buffer tube on the back end of each side.
The factory box also contained low-pro rail covers, extra panels for the adjustable pistol grip, and a GI-style cleaning kit. I've heard and read that some of these came with a hard case, but not mine.
From the picture above, I've added the stubby fore grip you see, and a Sig red dot sight (not pictured). I"ll know more on the accuracy front tomorrow when I take her out to break in the barrel and check to see how it shoots.
*The argument was basically that they needed to sell the rifle...so I wouldn't have to buy it. And THAT worked out well, didn't it? ;)