SIG SAUER is best known for their extensive line of handguns. Over the last few years, the gunmaker’s been steadily expanding into the semi-auto rifle world. Their SIG SAUER MCX is still one of my favorite carbines (especially the shortened version), but that’s still a new gun. And for military contracts and law enforcement the AR-15 and AR-10 platforms aren’t just preferred — they’re required.
To meet that need, SIG SAUER has put a ton of work into perfecting their SIG 516 and SIG 716 lines. The SIG SAUER 716 G2 DMR is the latest and greatest designated marksman rifle designed for SWAT teams, squad level military deployment and civilian hunters and marksmen.
So, how exactly has SIG SAUER improved and perfected the AR-10? Let me count the ways . . .
Starting out front, the 16″ cold hammer forged barrel is a compromise between a super heavy match barrel and a pencil-thin lightweight version. It’s just heavy enough to be rigid under recoil and maintain accuracy from shot-to-shot, and just light enough that firing from the standing position isn’t a Herculean task.
SIG’s capped the barrel with a muzzle brake. Right answer! These days, most manufacturers tend to slap a significantly cheaper flash hider on the front of their guns, assuming you’ll remove the factory supplied muzzle device and slap on one of your own (either a brake or a silencer).
I appreciate the ~$20 cost savings, but what I appreciate more is a manufacturer shipping a “complete” firearm. In fact, there’s nothing I’d change about the way the SIG SAUER 716 G2 DMR’s upper receiver is configured. Well, nothing that doesn’t require a $200 tax stamp.
The barrel floats freely within the rifle’s cavernous full-length handguard, festooned with keymod attachment points. I’m down with the slickness of keymod, but I’d also like a keymod rail section in the box. A minor gripe, but in a world where 90 percent of AR accessories still rely on Picatinny rails, it’s one more thing to buy before the rifle is actually usable.
The 716 series forgoes a traditional direct impingement gas system in favor of a gas piston system like the one found in the MCX or MPX series rifles. While it’s generally considered to be more reliable and keeps the rifle much cleaner, the gas piston set-up adds weight to the gun and requires a little more space under the handguard. In this case, it makes the handguard so tall it resembles the Air Force Academy Chapel more than a slim and sleek weapon system.
SIG didn’t just slap the handguard on the front of the 716 G2 DMR. It’s a full-length one-piece rail, extending from the charging handle all the way to the muzzle brake. The benefit: there’s no shifting of optics or laser systems. For those running a night vision adapter for their existing scope, where the intensifier tube is mounted in front of the normal scope, that’s a big bonus.
It’s also great for those who have longer scopes and need the extra real estate to have a proper wide stance for their scope rings. In the picture above, for example, on a normal rifle that forward scope ring would be off the front of the top rail. Here, it’s all good.
Speaking of scopes, the 716 G2 DMR’s full-length rail comes with a 20 MoA slant straight from the factory. You can use your scope at longer ranges without “bottoming out” the turret adjustments. You can shoot further with greater accuracy.
A custom barrel but holds the full-length handguard in place. It sports a couple keymod attachment points and QD cup for a sling. The chunky attachment point marries up the barrel, upper receiver, and handguard.
SIG SAUER went with a drop-in Geissele two-stage trigger instead of a mil-spec unit. Again, it obviates the need for a common upgrade. For aesthetes who shoot thousands of rounds through their rifle, the 716 G2 DMR’s shell deflector is [easily] replaceable.
When I first saw the rear end of this rifle, I swear it was almost like a record scratch in my brain. In no way does adding a Magpul CTR stock to this rifle make sense.
Aesthetically it’s a poor decision. The rifle has a lot going on in the front, so it needs something to balance out all that weight and busyness. A skeletonized fixed stock would have been a fine choice, as would a Magpul PRS. A CTR just doesn’t have the same presence. It’s like gym rat who refuses to do leg day — something is out of proportion and doesn’t fit.
From a usability standpoint it’s even worse. The full length rail, already taller thanks to the gas piston system, is even taller at the rear of the gun, thanks to the 20 MoA tilt.
When looking down a properly mounted and appropriate scope there’s miles of space between your cheek and the top of the stock, making the shooting experience uncomfortable at best and inaccurate at worst. Having to constantly move your head to get the proper sight picture is a sure fire way to ruin your accuracy.
It also feels cheap. The other options on this gun were great additions that made me feel like the rifle was set up to run straight out of the box, but the CTR doesn’t fit the mold. It’s like they got to the rear of the gun and said “screw it.” Even the HK MR308’s stock has an adjustable cheek piece. Here it’s just the same old CTR slapped on the rear.
Our on the range, the stock was annoying: it limited my ability to get a good cheek weld. I felt like my cheek was floating — the exact opposite sensation you want with a precision rifle. That said. the gun performed admirably.
Using Eagle Eye Precision ammunition (which the gun seemed to like best) at 100 yards I shot sub-MoA groups. As I hadn’t pulled a trigger in about three months before this test, practice would shrink that further. As would a better stock. Bottom line: the SIG SAUER 716 G2 DMR could easily be a 1/2 to 3/4 MoA rifle.
The shooting experience itself was downright pleasant. The rifle feels solid in your shoulder, and the muzzle brake soaks up enough recoil to keep that shoulder from complaining at the end of the day.
H&K’s MR308 is the SIG SAUER 716 G2 DMR’s primary competition. They’re identical on paper but different beasts in person. While they both feature collapsible stocks, gas piston operating systems and free floating handguards, the SIG 716 G2 DMR is better in almost every respect. And there’s one place SIG’s 716 G2 DMR really shines: the price.
The cheapest I could find the civilian version of H&K’s rifle (the MR762) is selling online for $3,492. The SIG 716 msrp’s at $3,108. That’s a nearly $400 difference before you get to the dealer discounts, which will probably drop this gun into the $2,800 range and well below the H&K price.
Moral of the story: if you’re looking for an accurate .308 piston powered AR-10 rifle, this 716 G2 DMR is the best and most economical choice.
SPECIFICATIONS: SIG SAUER 716 G2 DMR
Action Type: Semi-Auto Gas Piston
Caliber: .308 Winchester
Capacity: Standard SR25 Magazines
Barrel Length: 16″
Twist Rate: 1:10
Overall Length: 37″
Weight: 8.5 lbs.
Receiver Finish: Hard coat annodized
Handguard: Full length 20 MoA
Stock: Magpul CTR
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Style and Appearance * * * *
Everything is great until you get to the stock, then the aesthetics let the rifle down.
Reliability * * * * *
No issues whatsoever no matter what I fed it. Steel case or brass, cheap or expensive, didn’t matter.
Customization * * * *
I’m taking off one star because the handguard is proprietary, but there’s keymod all over the place and the stock is a standard part you can swap out at will. There’s tons of stuff you can do to it.
Accuracy * * * * 1/2
Meets and exceeds my 1 MoA for $1k benchmark.
Overall * * * * 1/2
For the price it beats the pants off the competition. I’m not enthusiastic about the stock, but it’s a minor upgrade and not a huge stumbling point. Another great rifle from SIG SAUER.