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View Full Version : which to buy, 556 or 551


Douglas S Graham
March 29, 2012, 11:43
Weigh in please. Especially if you have both!!!

TIA. DSG.

olgier
March 29, 2012, 11:51
Neither.

sweetwine
March 29, 2012, 13:34
Don't own one yet but will shortly. Looking at the 551A1 model, like the looks. It's the closest thing to a real one most of us will get. Got to handle one and felt good. Only bad thing is magazine cost. But then how many mags do you need?
Some people really like them but some people are haters. To each their own.
If your local gun store has them check them out and make a pick.
Good luck & have fun. :wink:

By the way CDNN has the 551A1 for 1390.00 w/ free shipping.

Insider
March 30, 2012, 01:39
I would get a 551, but I'm happy with the 556.

Mad Dog 7.62
March 31, 2012, 11:57
I think it depends on whether you want to be able to use your AR mags or are OK with needing a seperate supply of 551 mags. I went with the 556 for that reason.
MD

Thorack
March 31, 2012, 18:01
Well,

For me it was the 556 as I have a ton of AR mags and dont want to buy another expensive bunch of mags. In addition the adjustable length of pull on the 556 stock, although a little sloppy helps when I let my wife and daugther shoot. Extremely light recoil on my Sig rifle.

The 551 does look aweful sharp though.

Thorack

Merkava
March 31, 2012, 18:32
I had a 556 and sold it to get a 551A1. I do not regret it.

K.O.A.M.
April 03, 2012, 08:14
I had an early 556, and it wouldn't do anything a quality AR wouldn't do. The 556 was heavier and needed new furniture. I have a 551 clone built on a 556 receiver by Turner Fabrications using an original 551 lower and I have an all original 552. I'm probably going to sell the 552 because they're going for a lot more than I paid and I don't shoot it. The 551 (and I assume you're talking about the 551-A1 that they're making now) is a 556 with a lower that takes the original style magazines. If you're ready to stock up on $40-$50 magazines, get the 551-A1. Otherwise, your best bet is the 556.

MalcS
April 03, 2012, 21:34
I have one of the very early 556's (s/n 27xx) that has all Swiss made internals, and it has been without problem since new. It takes AR mags and AR style stocks.

http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm89/gremlin556/PIC5.jpg

The later rifles had more and more US made parts, and may have had more reported problems. The 551 A1 rifles are supposed to 'look' more like the real 551, but the lowers are not the same as the 'real' ones, even though they take the expensive 551 magazines.

SIG USA did also produce a very limited number of 551 hybrid rifles that were built using 556 uppers and real 551 lowers, but they were very expensive (like $3000ish).
Sold out here: http://sig551.com/index.php/the-sig-sg-551

http://sig551.com/templates/sg551/images/gallery/pictures/SIG_SG551_RS.jpg

There is one on Gunbroker for a lot of $$$ :
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=278872327

You might want to take a look at www.sigarms556.com and see what people are saying about the current rifles - they may have solved the problems by now...

bubbaguns
April 05, 2012, 00:10
I have a 556, but it looks more like a 551. I had a lot of stuff done to it. I kept my 556 lower incase I wanted to use my AR mags in it.

LKY_13
April 05, 2012, 13:38
Neither.

Fail.



Honestly, you con't go wrong with ether. I have a 556 DMR that is buttery smooth and flawless. I plan to get a Patrol upper as well eventually. If you don't mind buying proprietary mags the 551 A1 is pretty damned sexy though. Good luck.

olgier
April 05, 2012, 14:20
Fail.



Honestly, you con't go wrong with ether. I have a 556 DMR that is buttery smooth and flawless. I plan to get a Patrol upper as well eventually. If you don't mind buying proprietary mags the 551 A1 is pretty damned sexy though. Good luck.

LOL Having owned a 556 I hardly see how a "neither" is a fail. I don't care for SIG's. That includes thier pistols. (and I have owned more than a few trying to actually like them).

Buttery smooth and flawless does not describe a SIG in my experience. :p

Edited to add>>>> The sig 556 is the only rifle I have ever owned that broke when it slid to the side when it was leaning against my truck bumper and hit the ground. The locking tabs on the original handguards broke from that tipover/fall.

LKY_13
April 05, 2012, 16:07
Buttery smooth and flawless does not describe a SIG in my experience.

Bummer.

Can't argue with the rifles outstanding track record within the Swiss Military though. Maybe you got one that was assembled on a Friday. I know the US versions had issues for a while, but have not experienced any issues with mine. A friend has an early version with Swiss internals, mine is entirely US made. Granted mine is a different make being a DMR, but both have operated flawlessly. The action on both is like butter compared to every AR that I've ever operated...and you don't have that damned annoying buffer spring rattling around right next to your ear ether. To say nothing of DI issues.

As for pistols. I have an almost stock (changed the mainspring housing) GSR Revolution that with just a trigger adjustment will keep up with (if not out-shoot) 1911's twice or tree times it's price. Not that I'm claiming to be a crack shot, but it's been compared by several sets of other...more capable hands. ;)

Sig for life. Not trying to convert, just preaching the truth since 1979.

olgier
April 05, 2012, 16:31
Oh....you should not have mentioned the GSR. LOL

Had one of those a few years ago, and sold it. The main reason was the damn grip safety had the ridge that ended in a point at the bottom. Was extremely uncomfortable in the hand after 2-300 rds unless I wore a glove. *sigh*
Very accurate, but long shooting sessions became a no no.

I am now shooting one of these.

http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/SmWesson2/upload/images/firearms/detail_md/108411_01_md.jpg

LKY_13
April 05, 2012, 17:23
Had one of those a few years ago, and sold it. The main reason was the damn grip safety had the ridge that ended in a point at the bottom. Was extremely uncomfortable in the hand after 2-300 rds unless I wore a glove. *sigh*
Very accurate, but long shooting sessions became a no no.


Changing out the mainspring housing took care of that exact problem for me...good to go for competition events now (300+ rds).

http://i171.photobucket.com/albums/u287/LKY13_WRC/DSCF2030.jpg

JB Books
April 06, 2012, 15:42
I bought a 556 and converted it to a 551. I replaced the Lower, stock and handguards with Swiss parts.

WWM
April 06, 2012, 21:48
My 551 came into our shop today, haven't picked it up yet, but stopped by to give it a once over. Length of pull and sights are dead on for me, stock locks up nice and tight, almost too tight, mags rock and lock easily, and the BHO release is easy to reach and takes very little pressure to drop. The only thing funky to me is the safety, would have been better turned 90 degrees down so you can flip it with your thumb easier, hopefully I'll get used to it. All in all no regrets and I'm glad I spent the money so far. Can't wait to get it to the range and see how it compares to my other toys.

Clonehead
April 07, 2012, 09:23
I bought a 556 and converted it to a 551. I replaced the Lower, stock and handguards with Swiss parts.

Very nice looking 556 JB, that is exactly what I want to do to mine.

I have the original 556 but have replaced the "fish gill" style handguards with Swiss and put a Magpul CTR stock on it, as well as a set of Aurora sights. It has been 100% reliable.

I did have to send it back because the screw holes in the scope rail had not been countersunk deep enough and the heads of the screws prevented a scope mount from sitting flush on the rail.

JB Books
April 07, 2012, 09:36
Very nice looking 556 JB, that is exactly what I want to do to mine.

I have the original 556 but have replaced the "fish gill" style handguards with Swiss and put a Magpul CTR stock on it, as well as a set of Aurora sights. It has been 100% reliable.

I did have to send it back because the screw holes in the scope rail had not been countersunk deep enough and the heads of the screws prevented a scope mount from sitting flush on the rail.

Thanks, I am planning on replacing the sights, I just haven't gotten them yet.

LKY_13
April 07, 2012, 16:57
Very nice build JB.

mace2364
April 30, 2012, 22:25
I have had the luxury of handling a few actual Swiss production rifles, a 552, and a 543(in Iraq). So when Sig came out with the 551A1 (and it didn't require an arm, a leg, and the rights to my firstborn)I decided to get one. It had not disappointed me in any way, even compared to the Swiss made models. It is one of my favorite rifles, and my service buddies have all remarked how much they liked it better than the M4s we had overseas.

Mags are not the huge problem people are claiming they are. Your new rifle will have a 20% discount on an accessories order from Sig. If you call them(they weren't on the website when I went to get mine) you can get the mags for something like $28 each from them. While slightly more than AR mags, it's not the $50+ they are elsewhere. I like them better then the Pmags everyone is making a big deal about. It's also pretty handy the way they clip together. I also personally prefer the "rock and lock" mag setup. What's more, if this rifle takes off like I think it will, someone WILL start making mags domestically for less than what you can get them from Sig for.

Airacuda
May 01, 2012, 19:23
Mace2364 I like you already. I know this is an AR/M4 country,but my 4 years in the infantry taught me to get a real rifle when I got out. I have FAL's and Steyr AUG's. I am very interested in a 556 or 551A1 and doing my research now. Working at a range I have had the opportunity to fire most everything including the 556's and I like them enough to be saving for one.
I have owned many Sig pistols and have never had any problems at all. I see here too there are Haters everywhere.
I don't hate Ar/M4's...just cleaning and fixing them.:D

metalreptile
May 01, 2012, 20:30
But then how many mags do you need?



:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:

mace2364
May 01, 2012, 23:27
The 556 is ok, but personally I consider the mags to be a weak point of the AR system, hence why I would suggest the 551A1. I'm also of the opinion that things generally work best when they're not mechanically modified to do something they weren't intended to do(i.e. accommodate different mags then what it was designed for) Not trashing the 556. If you have one, and it works for you then great. Having messed with both, I like the 551A1 better, and that's what I bought.

I've shot quite a few different 5.56 caliber rifles in my day, and my two favorites are the Sig 551A1, and the FN FNC. Some people are carrying on about the lower on the 551A1 not being stamped steel like the original, but I don't think it really matters. It still feels like a Sig to me. And the durability argument I consider to be ridiculous. There are lots of photos of people in what used to be Burma, toting around M16s from the 60's and that aluminum hasn't fallen apart yet. So I don't think an aluminum lower is going to give you any trouble.

I am definitely a FAL fan as well. I finished up a para build recently. Eventually I'm going to finish the Israeli light barrel build I've been picking at forever. I do prefer 7.62 NATO to 5.56 for general use and hence why I keep one for my go to rifle. But for a carbine, 5.56 is ok, and you won't be disappointed with the Sig. Before they started bolting crap all over the M4(and it was in the news every night), the Sig was regarded as one of, if not the best, 5.56 rifles out there.

That's my .02 anyway.

BushPig
May 05, 2012, 16:50
I got to fondle a 551-A1 today, brand new. Felt nice, like a Sig. The folding stock is a high-quality item, tight and smooth and sturdy. The front handguards were solid in feel, but they were loosely attached... they rattled. If you put your hand on them and drummed your fingers, they rattled. I didn't like that. I also did not like the rear diopter sight... I'm sure it functions fine, but it was very loosely assembled. Lots of play in the sight. When you rotated it to 200 or 300, it had a lot of side to side play. Definitely disappointing in that regard. The rest of the rifle felt nice. Smooth sturdy positive controls, such as the Safe/Fire selector, the mag release, etc.

I also ran into a guy selling Aimpoint's and Eotech's that talked extremely highly of his Sig 556. He said he'd put it up against any AR out there. He agreed that the rear diopter was disappointing, but said he didn't care because he runs a red dot. I'd probably run a red dot also, but that's not the point... the diopter should be tight, in my opinion.

black sheep
May 05, 2012, 20:50
Mace2364 I like you already. I know this is an AR/M4 country, " but my 4 years in the infantry taught me to get a real rifle when I got out. " I have FAL's and Steyr AUG's. I am very interested in a 556 or 551A1 and doing my research now. Working at a range I have had the opportunity to fire most everything including the 556's and I like them enough to be saving for one.
I have owned many Sig pistols and have never had any problems at all. I see here too there are Haters everywhere.
I don't hate Ar/M4's...just cleaning and fixing them.:D

How on earth did you end up with an AUG?????

Airacuda
May 06, 2012, 10:47
A1/STG-77
1st rifle completely modular,8 second barrel change.
1st clear mags with round count.
1st rifle with optics/magnification.
1st rifle mostly polymers.
Piston reliability and way tougher than it looks.
And thats all in 1977. Add rails and you got an A3.
Used by 30 countries in some way or another. Countries that could have had M16's given to them by us.

I picked up an A3 over a year ago and it was Love at 1st shot. Got a pre ban A1 3 months ago.
I love them. It has got to be the easiest Rifle there is to clean. All that really gets dirty is the gas piston. I clean the rest just to go through the motions.

GM4spd
May 19, 2012, 07:13
Had my 556 converted so I could use the Swiss stock and still take
AR mags---the best part of the 556. I have the long FH to comply with
a 30" LOA requirement when folded! Swiss lo profile tritiums make it cooler still:bow:Pete

http://fototime.com/77CA822748D12D1/xlarge.jpg

http://fototime.com/8D94372F05CF706/xlarge.jpg

MajHenryWest
May 21, 2012, 01:16
If you want a really nice SIG 5.56mm rifle, talk to files member D_S

See his thread on building very nice clones of the 550 & 551 - :bow:

http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=312315

BushPig
May 21, 2012, 08:22
Wow. The anti-Sig 556/551-A1 hate-mongering internet bashing is powerful out there, isn't it?

Gotta admit, it makes it hard to pull the proverbial trigger on one of these Sig's. I have really had my eye on the 551-A1, but the sheer intensity of the negativity out there keeps me from spending the coin. I recognize that there will always be negativity and detractors out there, whether it's Sig 556's or Toyota's or chocolate bars... but it still makes me cautious.

Douglas S Graham
May 21, 2012, 11:31
Well, I finally went ahead and bought a SIG, the 551. I must admit, I love the gun so far. Bought 12 extra mags with the discount, so I have 14 total. Pricey suckers at 33 per, but they are lightweight, and marked for round count, plus you can see the rounds in the mag. Neat. Sure, I have a ton of AR mags and coulda' bought the 556 (and still might). But I really am happy with the 551 purchase. Expensive, sorta, but I don't mind. I would really like a SCAR 17, but not at 3k. So, bought this one, and Mongo Happy!!!

Insider
May 22, 2012, 03:01
I love the 556! Loved it so much I bought the 522 (the 556 is sleeping inside the case).
http://i371.photobucket.com/albums/oo151/insider/BACKUP151-1.jpg

BushPig
May 22, 2012, 09:42
Damn you guys. Gonna make me buy one, aren't ya...??!

:mad: :mad: :mad:

:love:

:fal:

BushPig
May 22, 2012, 09:43
Well, I finally went ahead and bought a SIG, the 551. I must admit, I love the gun so far. Bought 12 extra mags with the discount, so I have 14 total. Pricey suckers at 33 per, but they are lightweight, and marked for round count, plus you can see the rounds in the mag. Neat. Sure, I have a ton of AR mags and coulda' bought the 556 (and still might). But I really am happy with the 551 purchase. Expensive, sorta, but I don't mind. I would really like a SCAR 17, but not at 3k. So, bought this one, and Mongo Happy!!!


Are you gonna do the Swiss handguards and all that?

What sight are you using? A red dot?

Douglas S Graham
May 23, 2012, 05:12
BP, using an Aimpoint micro H1, I really like it too, although it's a bit pricey . Not sure about the handguards yet, as the factory ones seem to be ok. If anyone using Swiss versions has on opinion, I'm all ears!!!:biggrin:

Insider
October 22, 2012, 10:08
The 556 kicks ass! Get a 551 kit and make the conversion, like having the best of both worlds.

LKY_13
October 24, 2012, 10:06
Love my 551 lower and mags...

http://i171.photobucket.com/albums/u287/LKY13_WRC/DSCF2037.jpg

gaijinsamurai
October 27, 2012, 22:31
http://i.imgur.com/CK7pZl.jpg

I love my 556. My Noveske is still my "go-to" 5.56, but the piston-operated SIG is a great back-up.

brunop
October 28, 2012, 03:17
You, sir, have been holding out on us.

:p

gaijinsamurai
October 28, 2012, 07:21
:tongue:
..........

GALILAR308
October 30, 2012, 15:24
I have 2 551's,2 556, a 556 pistol and 2 522's. 551 and 556 are not too different mechanically. 556's have cheap furniture. You would think for all that money they could have some sights.

Cruel Hand Luke
November 01, 2012, 16:27
You can always get a 556 and then get a spare 551 lower (they run about $350) and roll with whichever setup you want to whenever you want to. The upper is the registered part so you can switch lowers without any issues. Get a few Sig mags for your 551 lower and some AR mags for your 556 lower and you have all the bases covered.

tiger222
November 10, 2012, 11:17
http://i50.tinypic.com/259hohe.jpg

everytime I think about selling it, I take it out and get new love. I'd get the factory 551 - there's one on sturm for $2500, or between the two, the 551A1 just because it closer to 'correct'

echo5sierra
November 11, 2012, 00:46
I bought a SIG556 SWAT Patrol from Academy. I have put a few hundred rounds through it. My wife has too. I haven't done a thing to it besides pay for it and clean it, and it is the most awesome AR type rifle I have ever owned. I am not quite sure what the problem with it is. It feeds, functions, fires and works.

Great Rifle!