View Full Version : SIG 556R--remodeled and working well.

January 15, 2013, 21:48
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I posted this on another forum, but since there is not a thread here in the FAL files, I will post up a review of what I consider the best alternative to the ridiculous AK market--The Sig 556r. I will be unbiased in this as best as I can, and will give the best details I can about this weapon platform. There are short comings to the 556 system, and the 556r has not escaped the plagues of Sig's quality control and the 556 platform.

The intent, from my eyes, on the Sig 556 plateform was to have the look of the 55X series of weapons that could made made in the U.S., accept U.S. STANAGS without having to gouge the typical, and now broke, U.S. buyers with expensive import magazines. Again, my take on this due to marketing advantages. But they have had problems.

The 556r when first introduced had its own. The 556r is virtually a 55X model but takes the 7.62X39mm comm-bloc round and AKM magazines. At first, the weapon would not run with real steel magazines very well, and would not cycle through steel cased ammo, the proponent type of round that AKs use and what are lucrative to buyers of the round as it is cheap! After going back and redesigning components and using different metals in key areas, the SIG 556r is having a fresh restart. Unfortunately, the past QC problems from SIG still plagues the weapon acceptance, and there are still a few bad apples out there. It's apparently a SIG problem, rather than a weapon problem.

Mine, however, I ordered it from Gabe Suarez group at the time due to:

He had an instructor that taught a M4 class and I would rather have taken it from them over Yeager's clan.
He appeared to have a solid review of the weapon system considering his AK background.
He had them in stock and was shipping them with a REAL comm-bloc mag over what SIG was giving.

Mine since I have received it and have fired well over 1K rounds with only two cleanings has been working completely flawless in function. It accepts 30 round steel mags and 40 round RPK mags very well (well, one RPK mag I had to grind the back latch a bit).

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I will start off with my dissatisfaction elements of the 556r:

The red dot sight Sig sends should stay as a buyable accessory and send the rifle with iron sights. I don't trust the thing as far as I can throw little toe on my left foot upside down. My real Aimpoints I will, but they should have sent this thing with iron sights considering it is a 7.62x39 rifle.

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The paint chips off pretty quickly after good use--which means heavy use from me. But from my understanding, this is normal.

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The plastic hand guards it comes with are flimsy under my slender but strong hands (Gretsch guitars and .11 gauge strings: round and flat). For the price of the rifle, I was hoping for something a little more solid under my hands. I don't feel comfrortable throwing this around my gravel drive away the way I make my neighbors cringe when I do it with my Noveske/LMT hybrid rifle. Nice thing is: Troy and Samson make full rifle rail systems for the 556.

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(yes, I know the rail is on backwards, and it is quite comfortable).

The selector lever is short for my thumb (and I have a long flexible thumb). Sig could do better and make the lever a little longer for safety conscious American shooters. Kerbs does make a drop in selector that MAC did a review on and will be on order shortly.

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With that all out of the way, this thing is a beast of a rifle. I have done thre 300 round mag dumps and it stays "cool" on the handguards, and keeps rolling. It does speed mag changes virtually flawless (operator dependent of course), and mag inserts are pretty smooth. I do recommend to wear gloves on your support side. Cuts, dings and gashes do occur.

It also runs like a champ dirty too.

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How is this rifle possibly better than the AKM and variants? Sig quality control aside:

It comes optic ready with a bolted flat top rail system. However, those torque screws do loosen over hard...and easy use. Lock tight'em if you want. With a quality optic--not the Chi-Com thing Sig sends you--sight in and roll.

It is a piston gun just like the AK, but it has a longer stroke to cycle the action. The muzzle device is also removable and it accepts most AR-10 threaded muzzle devices rather than AK specific threaded devices. I currently have a Yankee Hill .30cal flash suppressor on it and it works very well. Awaiting a Troy Medieval brake for it now. It does have a bit of muzzle climb to it.

The side folding stock is a major plus and comes standard with the weapon. there are also after market kits to mount M4 style stocks on it, but you will loose the capability to lock the stock to the side. The stock, however, does feel flimsy, but thus far has held up to my abuse.

You have two-three after market sides of the industry for the 556r: the AK market, the 556 market (though small), and a little of the M4 market. This gives the shooter a wider range of accessories to use on the 556r.

For the competition shooters, it comes with a lower rail system (plastic though) and fits a hand stop comfortably for the rifle length hand guards, something the AK unless you get the extended under rail systems. This comes standard (minus the Magpul MOE grip).

Overall I am very impressed with the weapon system, but the quality control needs to be improved, send the thing with iron sights over a red dot that is better used for a .22lr weapon, and the handguards are flimsy. However, aftermarket parts really does improve the 556r system, and furthermore, it comes with a rifle length setup for shooters who use modern techniques.

For a better alternative to an AK that will need more money to be put in to run better than how it comes out of the box, this includes the Arsenal weapons, the SIG 556r is a much better alternative for a weapon chambered in 7.62x39mm.

Albeit, it does not have the rough Russian sex appeal as the AK.

(And you are at behest of mag importations...and U.S. Palm mags will not fit without some modifications.)

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January 16, 2013, 00:05
Nice review. You nailed it as far as I am concerned. I have had my rifle since September. Hand guards are crap. Safety too short. Put the same safety you ordered and changed the pistol,grip too. Put an Elcan Spectre Dr on mine so changed stock to m4 setup with Magpul with snap on cheek piece to get the sight line right.
In other words it needed a lot of tweaking to suit me. Now it does and man it runs! Little over a thousand rounds. Haven't cleaned it the second time. Not stoppage one with Tapco mags. Have some steel Bulgies but haven't used them yet. Around an inch at 50 yards with steel cased ammo.
Ergos stock need improvement, but even stock is a really solid rifle that makes the AK's seem awfully crude. Just make sure you get a July manufacture or later rifle.

January 25, 2013, 16:34
My brother wanted a 556R and got me looking and doing my research on them. Found one on Gunbroker last week and picked it up for about $700.00 less than most were going for.
Seems this one had issues and was sent back to Sig for malfunctions.Hence...No Bidders.
After speaking with the owner who was close enough to meet, I bought it.
It was the newer model which has the steel mag shelf in the lower and other changes for reliability. Shot 20 on the way home. and 40 the next morning and dialed in the red dot. Then I gave it to some AK shooters at the range and had them put their mags in and shoot their ammo. Got 140 rounds thru it with 4 different brands of ammo and 6 different types of mags with no issues at all. They were happy and liked it better than their WASR.
I kind of bought this with the intention of selling it to my brother...but,I like it!
I can also still get ammo for it. Seems Ak ammo is the only caliber we are getting in the amount we order lately.
Just a touch heavier than my brothers Saiga AK but a much better trigger.
I'm a happy camper!

January 25, 2013, 21:06
I absolutely LOVE mine! Purchased it in August & have had zero problems! I don't mind the handguards. They're sturdy, just plastic. ( not a rail guy anyway). I agree it should have come with sights but it did give me an option to put on what I wanted. I used Midwest Industries BUIS. They are fantastic. I also added a ACOG TA33R-13. Worth every penny! I can keep it on steel from shooting positions out to 500 yds consistantly with any steel or brass ammo I've tried.
It is arguably the best "AK" made & I come from over 20 yrs of die hard AK worship. For me, it is the "do just about everything" a "do just about everything" rifle should be!

(before the ACOG. Lucid RDS)

February 09, 2013, 01:00
So are the SIG diopter sights available for this or are the red dots a way to get around making a rear sight that is indexed to 7.62 x 39 trajectories?

February 09, 2013, 10:10
Sig sells the irons withthe HK style drum or you can get AR type sights at Onesourcetactical.com