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.
I want a 7.62mm MSR but I can’t justify spending $3k+. This looks like the bees knees but it’s just too damn expensive.
What are the options for a 7.62mm that won’t break the bank?
Cabelas has these for $2,849, FYI.
Otherwise look at Palmetto State Armory, they have some good ones for around $700 to $900.
Regular 716 NIB for $1,400 – $1,700
The one thing that bothers me is that for ~$3k you’re solidly into custom build territory. At that price point, you can get exactly what you want built with the best parts in existence. I got myself a full ambi Mega Arms based AR 10 with a 20″ bull barrel and all the trimmings for roughly the same as this thing’s MSRP. (My shopping list even included a 5-25×50 FFP Vortex scope.)
Let’s part it out.
Mega upper and lower w. Hand guard ~$900
20″ Faxon Bull Barrel ~$300
Bolt and carrier ~$300
Timney trigger pack ~$250
PRS stock ~$250
Fidley bits ~$100
That’s a $2100 (list) parts list that will get you the same or better functionality than this gun. I’ve never been a fan of piston ARs as it makes part replacement a nightmare. So Sig better be offering something other than their roll mark to account for the difference in price.
IMHO – Piston is better. Not just Lots better, Lots and batches better.
Meh. In a semi-auto DMR, all a piston does is adds extra moving parts to break. If we’re talking select fire carbines, maybe you might have a point, but a DI gun is inherently more accurate as you have less junk messing up your barrel harmonics.
I’ve never had issues with a DI system inherent to the system itself and I own a half dozen such guns.
“you have less junk messing up your barrel harmonics.” Never heard that before. Suppose it could be true, but I have no loss of shooting accuracy with mine. I’ve shot both, in 5.56 and 7.62 X 51 and I wouldn’t trade. Stoner had a great idea, but it’s one of only a few in recent history (that’s not a blow-back / delayed blow-back) that doesn’t do short or long-stroke piston.
Stoner’s design has a lot of benefits. The big one is simplicity. Fewer moving parts means less stuff to go wrong. Very few countries have actually bothered to make an accurate rifle. Their main concerns are cost and durability. The US military has the infrastructure to be able to afford to add accuracy to the mix.
The entire “shits where it eats” this is largely an urban legend. Most of the gas used to cycle the bolt actually vents through the two holes in the side of your BCG. (That’s why they are there.)
From the point of view of a semi-auto rifle, there are no real up sides to a piston AR. The gun may be marginally cleaner, but you’re adding more stuff that could break and making the system more complicated than it needs to be. The barrel harmonics this is actually important for free floated precision rifles. However, I doubt Stoner even considered it as his design was the furthest thing from free floated. In fact, you can get an M16A1 to shift POI just by slinging it. The original pencil barrels weren’t rigid enough to act as a reliable brace.
I’m still trying to get my PA-10 .308 to work. There are lots of YouTube videos detailing Pslmetto State Armory PA-10 malfunctions. My configuration is an 18″ stainless upper on a carbine lower. I’ve upgraded to a 5.5 ounce heavy buffer and removed an O-ring next to the extractor spring.
Hopefully the dang thing will now feed and eject. I go to the range this Friday to find out.
Maybe the world is just telling that I need a 6.5 Creedmoor upper…
I bought a C308 from Century Arms. It’s an H&K G3 Clone that uses mil surp parts. I paid $460 after shipping, bought 10 magazines for $4 a piece, found an old mil surp wood stock and forearm for $25, and bought a custom single stage drop in trigger from H&K for $180. All told, I’m out $705 for a .308 battle rifle with a dozen mags, nice trigger, and beautiful wood furniture. Plus the charging handle is similar to MP5 and is a ton of fun to slap into place.
H&K also sells modern furniture like keymod and MLoK rails and other parts like match barrels for about the same price as what you can find for ARs. So far, 100% reliable. I can’t speak for all C308s, but mine doesn’t even eat up brass, it just spits them really far.
Negatives are the ergonomics are poor, the bolt doesn’t hold open on the last round, and with the stock barrel you’ll have to be really picky with ammo to get down at or below 2MOA, or invest in a match barrel.
Your c3 probably weighs 3 more lbs than an AR style, it likely shoots about 2″ groups if you’re lucky, scope mounting options are pretty limited and if your barrel craps out you’ll be in for a fun time getting that barrel replaced. Great reliable rifle but not in the new AR 10 league.
gotta say it: how long before this is recalled as well?
on another note i am noticing a trend towards gimmicky over priced stuff flooding the market. i do kinda like they are preying on the pretentious narcissists but i get so tired of getting asked questions about the stupidest products and having to be the bearer of bad news for folks. “what?! you don’t think this gold plated BCG is tactically functional? i paid $600 it must be awesome.”
So so true, the bearded, jacked up truck, snap back flat brim hat crowd with all the tac gear and have never heard a shot fired in anger.
Any idea how it compares to regular 716?
i.e., swap the trigger and boom you’re there, or different animal with respect to quality?
The original 716 DMR had full length Picatinny rails on all four sides of the traditional handguard, the top rail was segmented (flat top receiver), a UBR stock, and the handguard didn’t extend all the way to the muzzle. It was also about 2 pounds heavier.
There’s tons of upgrades on paper, but I might actually prefer the 716 G1 personally. That with a keymod handguard would have been pretty slick.
Lower marked “.308 Win” or 7.62 x 51 ?
No caliber markings on the lower.
“the 716 G2 DMR’s shell deflector is [easily] replaceable.” ? ? ? ? ?
This Sig just looks bad to me. Christensen Arms has some sweet looking AR-10s for an MSRP of $2,500 to $3,200, all with a sub-MOA guarantee, key-mod rails, and nice triggers. I think I’ll go for one of those.
Does anyone have experience with Christensen Arms’ AR-10s?
The beauty of using an AR buffer tube is you can swap the stocks to your liking. Prefer a heavy precision stock? Pull that CTR off, slap on a PRS Gen 3, and throw your extra stock on a carbine build. One thing the CTR does well is keep a rifle lightweight. The PRS weighs about two pounds.
I owned a 716 and the feed ramps weren’t machined properly. The tip of the round would impact a flat spot below the feed ramps and stop the bolt from moving forward. I sent it in to Sig, they sent me a new rifle with the exact same issue. I returned that one as well and Sig said they were addressing the problem on the G2, hopefully they got it right, I went to a bolt gun as a result and won’t be looking at the 716 again.
I got a used 2VA ar10 for $1600. Side charger, full length key mod, nice green paint job, 18″ fluted stainless barrel. Now I jus need to get out for some range time!
U can build a palmetto ar10 for under 600 bucks right now…. this cant be 5x better
The AR-15 and the 5.56 NATO are a marriage made in heaven, but I’ve never been a fan of the AR-10. It just doesn’t feel right to me, even though I really like the 7.62×51 round in the M14/M1A, and to a lesser extent the SCAR 17S.
GA Precision GAP-10 G2 sells for $3,060 and the specs and quality seem a lot better than this offering from Sig. If I were going to drop 3K on a 7.62 gas gun that’s where my money would be.
Affordable, not! S&W M&P 10 easily does as well at half the cost. As does my FNAR which I got new for $900, cool if you don’t want to be yet another AR at the range.
We have the newest base model M&P 10 in for review right now, so stay tuned…
I also put a DPMS G2 through the paces recently and will be writing up that review very soon.
HUMM I THINK I WILL GO WITH THE POF REVOLUTION, SEEMS BETTER IN EVERYWAY AS WAELL AS BEING CHEAPER. JUST MY OPINION.
The first Gen 716 was heavy. This is a better, lighter rifle and I can get one from my range for about $2800. I asked them about the POF Revolution and they didn’t have one in. It’s supposed to be very light. Not sure about it being cheaper than the 716. I have an MCX and It’s been reliable.
Any news on whether you can slap this upper onto a G1 lower or not? I’m assuming you can, but I have yet to get my hands on one to try it our with my G1 lower.
Cannot get a straight answer on safety of shooting a 308 winchester round in my 716DMRG2. In this review, what rounds were used and has anyone talked to SIG? Cannot find anything in the owners manaual about .308 either.
My barrel has NATO stamped on it, but the gun is listed as a .308/Nato on a lot of webpages.
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