SIG 516 torture test

Below is part of an email I received from Laura Burges whose marketing firm does SIG Saur’s PR. At the SIG Editor/Writer seminar they did a torture test of the upcoming SIG 516 rifle.

Have all ingredients ready and set the temperature to a raw New England day to about 46 degrees. Add occasional rain.

Step One: Take one well-abused (20,000 rounds in already) demonstration SIG 516 rifle and bury it in sand. Cover well.
SIG 516 Covered in Epping, NH sand

SIG 516 Covered in Epping, NH sand

Step Two: After mixing thoroughly some nice dirt and good old pond water, place rifle in mud. Cover and pat down mud.

SIG 516 Mud Bath

Step Three: Now to add more liquid. Immerse the SIG 516 in some very still, well aged pond water (preferably freezing cold too) and allow for bubbles to dissipate.

SIG 516 Water Bath

Step Four: Bake rapidly for that smokey flavor!

SIG’s Defense Program Manager, Robert Hirt (seen above), demonstrated for all of us the testing program the new 516 undergoes. He shot a full magazine between each torture test of different manufacturer’s ammo. Never a failure. I guess I could end this little piece by saying “with a SIG 516 you can have your cake and eat it too.”

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Nadnerbus

    I wonder how much juice the AR market has left to support sales of another AR-15, piston or no. They seem kind of late to the party, though I’m sure it is a beautiful rifle. This PR lady have any word on MSRP? I bet they are aiming for the HK 416 end of the AR market, I.E. out of my price range.

  • michael

    pretty cool but the need to give it the socom test. I think only hk and lwrc passed that one…..

  • subase

    Another unrealistic, unscientific rifle test, some people may be impressed, I just know all they want to do is make money. At least Sig Sauer is consistent.

  • Aurelien

    The Sig 516 was developped by some guy from H&K that defected to Sig after working on the HK416.
    In my opinion they have two choices : try and sell it to LE and military, but they are a bit late for that, or try to sell it on the civilian market. That second one is pretty easy, they just have to be under 2000$ MSRP.

  • WeaponBuilder

    I’ve had Frankestein-Gun AR-15’s built from a hodge-podge of parts pass this same style of “torture test”… Even did this to my own AR-15 several times.

    Nothing new here… More Sig marketing.

  • Jim

    How is it unrealistic? Prop dirt? Clean mud? Dry water?

  • Frank

    Nadnerbus, I actually heard these are supposed to retail for $1200 or so

  • me

    Im not impressed, step three, they gave it a bath and washed all the crap out of it. LOL Lets see them do it backward. Wet it down good then smother it in mud and sand. then fire it. That would be a test.

  • Lance

    I bet that it will be in the Army M-4 upgrade compation. Eh Steve?

  • Brian

    I believe the MSRP is $1300.00. Which is a helluva deal. Clearly taking aim at the Ruger SR556 if you ask me.

  • q

    Gee, I’m impressed.
    A tortured test done on a Sig, by the Sig folks.
    Let’s wait ’til it does have a track record, then we’ll decide.

  • Me, I was thinking the same thing. Start with the water and then go to the mud and or sand. Leave that stuff on there and then fire it up.

  • subase

    And yes it’s unrealistic.
    When’s the last time you had a mud slide fall over you or needed to crawl through some sand at the sand dunes finishing up with a dip in the clear lake, with your rifle.

    The point is people should simulate realistic things that might happen to your rifle. Having it dropped in black sediment filled, Katrina like water for example, or simulating a dust storm. But that takes money and some real effort.

  • zach

    Sig has a pretty good track record for reliability. Every brand has its “lemons”, but given the fact that their P220C is extremely rugged it wouldn’t surprise me if this keeps up the reputation. I agree, the testing isn’t realistic

  • Dave

    I would have been more impressed if they’d tested it after each bath. Not much drama when you rinse all the sand and mud off before you fire it. The little fella looks pretty clean down there on the bottom of the pond.

    Oh, and they might try the dust and/or mud bath with the dust cover open and the magazine well empty.

  • G

    Old AR-10 video with sand and mud tests:

  • Ever notice that most firms run the dirt/sand tests with the ejection port facing down?

  • subase

    After seeing that old school video. It seems that as long as the dustcover is closed the AR design will resist such mud and sand tests. But it would be almost guaranteed to fail if the dustcover was open.

    Fine dust encountered in windy conditions in dusty environments, would probably get into the working mechanism even if the dust cover was closed. (over a 5+ hour period)

    And sediment, black water of the type encountered in floods/rivers, would get the mechanism gunked up too, inspite of the dustcover. That’s probably why no company has ever tested their guns in these two fashions.

    I would be hard pressed to believe even an AK-47 or SCAR/ACR would work.(and the last two rifles have special lubricant free coatings)
    It would be nice to see.

  • Aurelien

    Well the old-school Russian weapons (PPSH41 ans AK47 most notably) were built with chrome-coated moving parts and very loose specs so the dust and other crap would just go through. They were less precise than their western counterparts but could work in crappy parts of the world operated by people that didn’t know how to clean a rifle. I remember reading German tests on the PPSh-41 SMG saying they armed them (open bolt), coated them with mud, fired them, buried them in the sand, fired them, and never had a problem. That is one of the reason the PPSh 43 is still used in some parts of the world right now.

    But i don’t believe the concept behind the AR-15 platform is to blame. One of the most famous direct gas impingement operated rifle was the French MAS49 (and 49/56) that was known to be almost as reliable as the AK-47 in harsh environments, and could be cleaned with nothing but rags and old motor oil. The problem behind the AR-15 platform is how it was built in the first place. If you want something more reliable, you will have to change the platform altogether.

  • Lance

    Not true saubase there ARs now with a dry lubricant and they work just as fine as a FN piece of crap. Thw AR design need a smart solder to clean a wepon. I cant help that if a couple of blockheads get deployed that they are too lasy to clean there weapon thats there fault not Colts. The fact his the next generation of ars will have both a piston and a dry lub.

  • Lance

    And Aurline the AR is durable ive shoot matches in dry and very dusty weather and they shoot more accurate than a crummy chi com AK.

  • subase

    The day you guys enact conscription (now largely avoided through heavy use of contractors), you will see the same problems seen in Vietnam. (and Wanat)

    Although I think polymer magazines and lube free coatings may alleviate a lot of the problems. But who knows? It seems the truth of maintaining the AR design in every condition is still an unsolved mystery to both the military and most civilians. (40 years after the weapons introduction)

    I think as the power of the U.S is reduced in the coming decades we may see them change to a more reliable weapon system, since the wars that will be fought will be much more evenly matched and the AR failures will not be able to be tolerated.

  • subase

    The early intensive (and still intensive) involvement of special forces in the war resulted in the SCAR program in 2003.

    Which has only born fruit recently with the FN SCAR. So the AR has in a way already been replaced by those who need new rifles the most (special forces). The SCAR may pan out for now, but for the future I doubt it. (the magazine remains the same for example)

  • Aurelien

    “and they shoot more accurate than a crummy chi com AK.”

    That is what i said. The AKs are way to loose to be accurate.

  • Lance

    The SCAR is not going too well for Spec Ops many reports are very unfavorable for it. Mostly due to its cheap plastic lower and buttstock. Most Spec ops units still use M-4 or use HK 416s. The military has over 90%+ convadence for the M-4 that higher that every rilfe in US service since the M-1 Grand. The Army is updateing the M-4, because going to another 5.56 rilfe makes not one bit of sence. It still compaire well to most euro junk and is more accurate than a AK. Most people who complained baout the AR design are either solders/police who dont take care of there firearms or people who never liked it and are in the tank for another design they personaly feel is better. Strange that ever since the 1960s theres been a very vocal group that always says the AR is junk and were outgunned. while most solders (drafted and or volinteers) Always had good remarks about it.

    The draft is NEVER comming back the liberal movement and the media will kill any attempt any time for it so yes contractors will be around for a very long time AND even most drafties are tought to clean and take care of there weapons SOME dont they are lazy and end up in trouble later in comabt too it. The reason the M-4 and M-249 failed in Wanat is because of bad tactics of spray and prey and tany rifle would have failed in that battle. The Marines prove that there training is better than the army and the Marines have far fewer reports of malfunction due to this.

  • Aurelien

    “Euro junk”. Love that term.

  • subase

    If the AR requires the training and support of the worlds by far most powerful military fighting against incredibly inferior opponents then I don’t see how that’s a ringing endorsement. Supply lines get broken, soldiers get isolated, tired, dehydrated and when that happens the AR will croak.

    Euro trash like the Sig 550 is basically a more accurate modern AK will kick the AR’s ass any day of the week. The AR is only successful due to the incredible power of the U.S military which supports it every step of the way like a stumbling child.

    For all it’s fans the army is realizing that their military might cannot completely makeup for the AR’s flaws. That’s why they are fixing it.

    The AR was nice weapons system in the hey day of american military and cultural dominance, but those days are ending now. China, Asia and India will become equal super powers soon enough.

  • Lance,

    Actually, most of the people who have suggested a new military draft have been liberal Democrats. The theory is that if more kids were at risk of going to war, there would be more public outcry to end the war.

  • Lance

    Yeah and they turn around and block the move and republicans wont touch it in fear of a backlash from soccer moms.

    As for subase China dose not have a surpieror fire arm the Type 56 and type 97 have some serious flaws and rumors over the fact china may replace it with other weapons have serfaced. The fact is the SIG 552 and the Styer AUG have there own problums alot to do with there awkward feel and grips. Over 90% of US troops like the weapn and favorit over other design which they are allowed to train ith over seas. Tha fact is your a European gun fan subase and you would moan if any AR is in service.

    Bad new for you the M-4 isnt going away for a long time.

  • Galerians

    I’m not biast to any rifle but comparing a Sig-55X to an AR is just plain stupid. The Sig will clearly outshoot it.

    The AR shits where it eats. You only praise it to mask your buyer’s remorse. The AR is the mickey mouse of the gun world. AK-10X, Galil, FNC varients and, Sigs, Aug, any piston gun are clearly superior to any AR.

    “Euro junk”. When an AR is thrown into the fray, I think “American enginuety” is frankly, a better term and it’s been going down after the John Mose B. era.

  • Goose

    It seems to me that most of you have failed to read this article or do any research outside of it. It clearly stated that a full 30 round magazine, of different loads and manufacturers, was fired through the gun after every stage. “He shot a full magazine between each torture test of different manufacturer’s ammo. Never a failure.” That was a direct quote from this article. Watch the the abreviated test yourselves.

    As to the dustcover being closed. There are but few guns that can have debris in the chamber and still fire more than one or two rounds without a malfunction. The AK is just about the most reliable automatic gun in the world but good luck hitting anything that is further than 250 yards away. I have a friend that used to compete with a basic AR at 1000 yards. The only modification he made was a longer heavier barrel. He has since gotten older and only competes at about 600 but you will never see an AK at these competitions. So even comparing the two is rediculous. Yes the AR had trouble at first but the was because of DoD changing the rules. Reasearch history yourselves. Stick powder vs. ball powder.
    It is now a great weapon that is used all over the world. There isn’t a single soldier, or cop, that I know that has ever said anything bad about his AR service rifle, other than caliber complaints. I think the Modifications that sig has made are a definate improvement. I also have heard that it will only cost about $1300. I have done enough research to know that this is a gun that will likely outclass just about everything but the HK both in reliability and accuracy, as far as an AR platform.
    Overall, it’s more reliable than the standard AR and just as accurate. So why is everybody complaining?

  • Goose

    I made a mistake on the price. I made contact with a Sig dealer and found out that the patrol w/ the 16 inch barrel will run $1799.00, as of the 18th of August. This is still better than any price I’ve heard for the HK416.

  • jim c

    I own this gun, and it’s awsome

  • Cris

    to DAVE,

    “He shot a full magazine between each torture test of different manufacturer’s ammo”

    They shot after each test.

    And towards there price our local gunshop 1st Class Firearms in Zion IL has them on the shelf for $1499.00

    This comes with more features then the HK and the RUGER and the price is way better then both for what your getting. You also have to remember that Sig has a lifetime warranty to the GUN. Unlike HK and Ruger and any other gun manufactures.

  • jim c

    i paid 1399.00 for my sig. also came with a sig red dot sight

  • Elmo

    “He shot a full magazine between each torture test of different manufacturer’s ammo.” While I do agree this is not the most realistic or brutal test. It states at the end of the blurb that the rifle was fired after each dunking and there is something to be said for that. I would like to see how is wears after doing this test say a 100 times.

  • Tim

    First, the people who said that the test would’ve been more convincing if it had been done after each “torture”, or that they did it backwards: You make it a habit to NOT read the entire article? “He shot a full magazine between each torture test of different manufacturer’s ammo. Never a failure.” That is from the last paragraph he wrote! And to the guy who said they should’ve gotten it wet and then put it in sand…they soaked the sand.
    Second, to the dumbass who said they are only trying to make money…of course they are, they are a BUSINESS, and just like any other business the idea is to make Money!
    Third, to the moron who kept going on about dumb “solders”…there was so much crap in your post that didn’t make sense I had a hard time following what you were saying. Before you go calling anybody else stupid you may want to make sure you are at least using proper grammar!
    Fourth, I think the same idiot who said they were only trying to make money said that china, asia, and india would become superpower equals to the U.S…Geography lesson dipshit: china and india are part of asia. Asia is a continent, not a country!
    Fifth, the AR platform will always have it’s supporters and detractors, that’s the nature of the business (or any business). If people like it they will say good things about it, if they don’t they won’t. It would be nice to see some non-biased opinions somewhere for a change.
    ***These comments do NOT apply to all people who commented on here! If they don’t apply to you, you’ll know. But there are so many dumbass comments on here I had to say something.

  • Tom

    +1 to Tim’s comment. You saved me a lot of time by saying it all for me!

  • Wild Bill

    Tim, right on! I can save my fingers from typing now.

  • Josh

    Tim, everything you said is correct. A complete rundown of the torture test is in the recent issue of Tactical Weapons Mag. Seems to be an extremely reliable gun. I want one.

  • Boyd

    I have 2 of these rifles and I am very impressed. The torture tests I saw reviewed had 150 rounds fired after each test. The rifle was covered in mud and sand then fired that way. After each test the barrel was dinked in a trash can filled with ice water to check for barrel warp. Upon arriving home and cleaning the weapon there was almost no residue at all anywhere in the mechanism. The bolt was clean as a whistle! As far as construction goes, the only part on these that is made “out of house” is the barrel.Everything else is made on CNC machines and then goes into a laser check system. I paid $1300.00 apiece with case and the red dot sight. This is a fine rifle!

  • bee

    I am a new 516 owner and so far I’m very impressed ran about 500rds through mine without a problem. i let the gun speak for itself and so far it is talking to me really well.
    I spoke to this guy at the range that had a 516 as well but he ran over 2500rds through his and he said he loved his gun. 2 of his friends were so impressed that they went out and picked themselves up one too. these weren’t ordinary guys they were ex-marines and ex-army guys that are in there late 40’s and 50’s. they had 2 M4’s and a LWRC and they were shooting more of the 516. that pretty much validated to me that the 516 is the real deal. these guys handled guns like this before i was born and for them to be impressed. it says a lot.
    By the way all the 516 are coming with standard flip up sights instead of the red dot due to many complaints.

    here is a picture of my two sigs:

  • gipb

    These Sig 516’s are incredibly reliable & functional and could very easily compete with the high dollar HK & LWRC AR’s. I think Sig did an excellent job making a high end “AR” for the average joe.. btw, check out Sig’s 1911’s – they’re damn accurate and reliable as well…

    @ Tim – so true & WELL SAID!

  • 600

    Typical. If a company didn’t do a torture test people will complain for one! And once a torture test is served, people will complain that the test wasn’t in the right order. And once the test is in the right order, people will try find something else to point their fingers on. So why not keep your current gear which probably haven’t gone through any of these? 😉

    In Thailand they did a torture test where they submerged the rifle in water and then burried it in sand and fire directly without washing it first.

    And then washed it and burried in mud and shot right away without a wash.

    The link is here..

    But wait! Now people will say why they didn’t drown it in water and then burried it in sand and burried it in mud and then shoot it. And if thehy did that maybe some dumbass will say why not the other way around, burried it in mud and then sand and then shoot it!

    And while they say all that crap, people are still saying “the test is not realistic”, what a joke, then why complain the test step arrangement to start with?

    I think the torture test shows a lot. If people don’t think this test is realistic, then for sure diving in water, going into sand and directly into mud and into water and back to mud and into sand again and shoot it is for sure not realistic at all.