The Rimfire Report: SIG Sauer 522 Classic Overview

Patrik O
by Patrik O
The Rimfire Report: SIG Sauer 522 Classic Overview

Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is all about the rimfire firearm world and its many types of guns, ammunition, shooting sports, and history! In this installment, we’ll take a look at a rimfire 550-series SIG rifle. The SIG Sauer 556 rifle was born from the iconic Swiss SG 550 series. The 556 quickly emerged as a testament to SIG Sauer’s commitment to precision engineering and firearm innovation. Introduced in the early 2000s, the 556 quickly gained recognition for its exceptional accuracy, reliability, and versatility. Its gas piston operating system set it apart from traditional direct-impingement designs, delivering smoother recoil and enhanced durability. In response to American market demand and evolving shooting preferences, SIG Sauer introduced the SIG Sauer 522 in 2009. This variant, chambered in .22LR, retained the 556’s renowned ergonomics and aesthetics while offering a more cost-effective and recreational shooting experience.


Design and Appearance – SIG Sauer 522

The SIG Sauer 522 stands out for its old-school design and aesthetics. It closely mirrors the SIG 552, which is part of the renowned SG 550 family of firearms originally developed by the Swiss company SIG. The rifle features a sleek and modern appearance yet has a few retro components like the green furniture. It also has a matte black finish on its metal upper receiver and polymer lower receiver. These materials ensure durability while keeping the overall package lite.

The SIG Sauer 522 has a collapsible and folding stock, making it highly adjustable for different shooting situations and user preferences. This feature allows for easy storage and transportation as well. Its forend is equipped with removable Picatinny rail sections for the attachment of accessories such as optics, lights, lasers, and grips.

Caliber and Operation – SIG Sauer 522

One of the most notable features of the SIG Sauer 522 is its chambering in .22 Long Rifle (LR). This choice of caliber is ideal for recreational shooting, as it is both affordable and readily available. The .22LR ammunition is known for its minimal recoil, making it suitable for shooters of all skill levels, including beginners.

The SIG Sauer 522 employs a blowback-operated system, a departure from the gas piston system found in its predecessor, the SIG 556. This operating mechanism simplifies the design and contributes to the rifle’s reliability and ease of maintenance. This simplicity is one of the reasons the 522 can run pretty much all types of .22 ammo.

Accuracy and Range Performance – SIG Sauer 522

Despite its rimfire chambering, the SIG Sauer 522 delivers impressive accuracy within its effective range. Its design allows for precise shooting, and when combined with quality optics, it can consistently create small groupings. While it is primarily designed for plinking and recreational shooting, it can also be used for small game hunting and training purposes. The rifle typically comes with no iron sights, so a red dot or scope is a must with this rifle.

Magazines and Capacity – SIG Sauer 522

The SIG Sauer 522 typically uses magazines that hold varying round counts, with capacities ranging from 10 to 25 rounds. The Black Dog Magazines are the best aftermarket alternatives and feed very reliably.

Ergonomics and Controls – SIG Sauer 522

One of the SIG Sauer 522’s strengths lies in its excellent ergonomics. The rifle’s controls, including the safety selector, magazine release, and charging handle, are user-friendly and ambidextrous. This ambidextrous design caters to both left- and right-handed shooters, making the rifle accessible to those who were born wrong-handed.

The rifle’s adjustable stock and overall balance contribute to its quick and easy handling. The collapsible stock allows the user to tailor the length of pull to their liking, ensuring a snug fit regardless of body size or shooting position. Additionally, the 522 features a charging handle located on the left side of the receiver, enabling quick and easy manipulation without compromising the shooter’s grip or aim. The stock can also fold for transportation in more confined spaces.

Reliability – SIG Sauer 522

The blowback operation of the 522 is known for its reliability and can cycle a wide range of .22LR ammunition types without issues, from standard velocity to high-velocity rounds. This is a key point as .22 ammo is notorious for being incredibly dirty and creating problems in most firearms.

Accessories and Customization – SIG Sauer 522

With this rifle being out of production for a number of years now, the accessory market has dried up specific parts and components for the 522. The magazines are still easy to find but good luck getting the plastic handguard rails for a reasonable price these days. Back in the day, there were a few companies that made modified Picatinny handguards for this rife but they have also gone the way of the dodo to the best of my knowledge.

This rifle really is a snapshot in time when the tactical .22 craze was at its height and personally I have many fond memories of plinking for hours with this rifle. While this rifle has certainly been forgotten by SIG, it’s still a fun gun to get new people into the sport of shooting. It’s always funny to see the look on someone’s face when they pull the trigger on a rifle that looks so tactical. They usually anticipate more recoil than a .22 caliber bullet and eminently ask “Was that it?”

Patrik O
Patrik O

-Former Army Photographer / Videographer -Current Aviation Student -Future in debt due to Firearm collection

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  • GomeznSA GomeznSA on Oct 23, 2023

    Anyone know the best place to find a replacement butt pad - the one I have deteriorated - unsure why. :-(

  • BeoBear BeoBear on Oct 23, 2023

    It's always nice when an article touts the "impressive accuracy" of a rifle by saying it shoots consistently small groupings....