The SIG SAUER 716i TREAD rifle may seem like a standard run of the mill AR-10 but its origins are much more military. It’s basically a civilian version of a battle rifle that was part of a 2019, 72,000 rifle contract to the country of India. The rifles sent to India were select-fire (full auto capable) and every one of them was tested in full-auto-mode before leaving SIG because they had to meet strict requirements for rate-of-fire.
Just in the last week, India has ordered another 72,000 SIG 716 rifles to boost its counter-terrorism operations and to be used by troops preparing for border boundary issues with China.
You do the math on how many rounds have been test-fired through this platform if every rifle was tested by SIG before leaving the factory and then tested by India before accepting fulfillment of the contract. This is a well-tested rifle! In fact, there are likely no rifles made in the last two years that have received this kind of testing from the factory.
I was visiting the SIG factory in December of 2019 and saw the crates of 716 SIG rifles and P-MAGS being prepared for shipment. It was fascinating, to say the least.
Because SIG was already tooled up, they changed a few minor things that actually improved accuracy, and created the 716i 308 TREAD. It’s a quality battle rifle at an almost budget price partly because they got really good at making them.
If you’re already familiar with the TREAD line, all other TREAD parts and accessories work with the 308 TREAD. If you’re not familiar with TREAD, in a nutshell, any accessory with the TREAD logo will fit and work on your rifle.
The 716i TREAD is chambered in 308/7.62 NATO. With a 16 inch barrel, the 716i TREAD is only slightly larger than an AR-15 with a 16-inch barrel. While 8.5 pounds isn’t a lightweight it’s a relatively manageable weight and the rifle balances well.
The rifle cycles via a lightweight direct impingement design much like most other AR-10 rifles. The gas block is tiny and is covered by a very comfortable slim full-length free-float handguard.
The handguard has Picatinny all the way down the top with M-Lok on the sides and bottom for attaching more rails or accessories. The handguard is held on with just two bolts making it extremely easy to service, inspect or clean.
The stock is a telescoping six-position Magpul stock that locks up tight.
The trigger broke at an average of 7lbs 15 oz with several of the pulls over 8lbs. The trigger is a mil-spec trigger.
Mil-Spec means it’s long, gritty, and heavy. It also means that it’s extremely reliable and isn’t going to go off if you get a little too excited and breathe on it heavily.
I’m genuinely a trigger snob and hated this trigger. I’m strongly considering purchasing this rifle, and if I do, the first thing I’ll do is upgrade the trigger. We’ll get more into accuracy in a minute but simple math and physics tell us that it’s difficult to shoot small groups with an 8.5 lb rifle sporting an 8lb trigger.
The 716i TREAD has an ambi safety selector and an ambi mag release. The only thing that isn’t ambidextrous is the bolt release which is only on the left side of the gun.
The SIG SAUER branded grip was comfortable and contains a compartment where tools or extra rounds could be stored.
The barrel is 16 inches long and is finished in black nitride. It’s made from carbon steel and chambered in 7.62 NATO. It features a 1/10 rifling twist which means it can stabilize pretty much any 308 load available.
The barrel is threaded 5/8-24 so it will accept muzzle brakes and suppressors. The barrel comes from the factory with a flash hider installed.
The bolt is attractive looking with cutouts. It also features dual ejectors.
Ejection of spent brass was very consistent even with different bullet weights and brands of ammunition. The rifle I tested put every case in the same spot at about 2:30 on a clock-face and 6 feet out.
Finding ammo right now for testing is pretty darn tough as all of you are aware. Hornady and SIG both stepped up and sent ammo and I was able to put over 200 rounds of four different types of ammo downrange during testing.
I’m happy to report that I had ZERO malfunctions.
Accuracy and Velocity
All groups were five-shot groups shot prone from a bipod at 100 yards using a six (6x) power SIG optic. Velocities were obtained using a Labradar chronograph.First up is the American Gunner ammo. Hornady 308 Win 155gr BTHP through the SIG TREAD with 16 inch barrel averaged 2470 fps and groups averaged 1.4 inches.The Hornady 308 Win 178 gr BTHP Match averaged 2411 fps, had extreme spreads of only 20 fps and had the best group at .8 MOA but averaged just over 1 MOA.The Hornady 308 Win 155 gr FTX Critical Defense averaged 2535 fps and averaged 1.5 MOA groups.The SIG 308 Win 168 gr OTM Match averaged 2527 fps and averaged 1.5 MOA groups.
The final word on accuracy is that the rifle is probably capable of much better accuracy than what I got. I really struggled with the 8 lb trigger and many of the groups would have been under an inch except for the consistent flier that was likely related to the trigger. Also, I’ve shot some excellent groups with a 6 power optic but definitely have never shot my best groups with one. Better, higher power optic, better trigger, and a muzzle brake or suppressor, and this rifle would likely shoot under 1 MOA all day long.
In my opinion, the most important attribute in a battle rifle is reliability. This rifle had no hiccups and during my testing was absolutely reliable. The features are nearly unmatched for the price, making this a great option if you’re looking for a rifle with real knockdown power. The accuracy is certainly acceptable for anything you’d ever want or need to do with a 16 inch 308 and there is potential for better accuracy with some upgrades.
MSRP is $1429.99 but can be found for 1299.99.
|BARREL LENGTH||16 in (406 mm)|
|MAGS INCLUDED||(1) 20rd Polymer Mag|
|BARREL MATERIAL||Carbon Steel|
|TRIGGER TYPE||Single Stage|
|RECEIVER FINISH||Hard Coat Anodized|
|OVERALL LENGTH||37 in (940 mm)|
|OVERALL WIDTH||2.5 in (64 mm)|
|HEIGHT||8 in (203 mm)|
|THREADS||5/8 in – 24 tpi|
|OPERATING SYSTEM||Direct Impingement|
|WEIGHT (OZ)||8.5 lb (3.85 kg)|