SIG 716i TREAD – Most Tested Battle Rifle of 2019-2020: Reviewed

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 SIG TREAD logo

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. 

Magpul stock

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.

Also note the ambi QD sling swivel jack on the back of the receiver

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.

Conclusion

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.

VISIT SIG SAUER for more information

SPECS

SKUR716I-16B-TRD
CALIBER308 Win
BARREL LENGTH16 in (406 mm)
MAGS INCLUDED(1) 20rd Polymer Mag
MAG TYPEAR-10
ACTION TYPESemi-Auto
STOCK TYPETelescopic
BARREL MATERIALCarbon Steel
TRIGGER TYPESingle Stage
TWIST RATE1:10
FOREND TYPEAlloy
GRIP TYPEPolymer
RECEIVER FINISHHard Coat Anodized
OVERALL LENGTH37 in (940 mm)
OVERALL WIDTH2.5 in (64 mm)
HEIGHT8 in (203 mm)
THREADS5/8 in – 24 tpi
ACCESSORY RAILM-LOK
OPERATING SYSTEMDirect Impingement
WEIGHT (OZ)8.5 lb (3.85 kg)

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About the author: True Pearce is the Managing Editor at GunsAmerica. He’s a competitive shooter, hunter, instructor & attorney. You can see and follow his adventures on Instagram. @true1911 https://www.instagram.com/true1911/

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Charles Bird July 31, 2020, 4:52 am

    I noticed that the gas block is only a couple of inches back from the muzzle. If it’s a 16 inch barrel, what length gas system does the 716 Tread have? I was thinking rifle length, or is it a propietary length gas tube?

  • Jefe Verde July 24, 2020, 4:20 pm

    Show me the test results from the Indian test. M16 platform is a 50 year old mistake. Over the years it has had so many patches to fix it. FN SCAR was fully tested by operators from all USSOCOM commands following JCED process. It was the most tested battle rifle.

  • KMacK July 24, 2020, 2:10 pm

    I carried a direct impingement weapon in Vietnam. That was the First and will be the Last time I give that system a space in my gun safe.

  • john July 23, 2020, 2:26 pm

    Seamus: 7.62 Nato and 308 are the same thing. One is a metric measurement and the other is English. Depending on the manufacture there are other slight differences. The same gun can shout them both!

    Thomas: You do know that 308 ballistics drop off severely after 300 yards. This is not a 1/2 mile to a mile round. I’m sure that there is the one or two people out there that can make it work. But for your average once a month shouter, I think not. If our consistent at 400 yards your doing great for that round!

    Jerry: Have you ever heard of MSRP? That is what the manufacture suggest that the dealers sell the gun
    for. The lower price quoted is what some dealers will sell it for. Look around and maybe you can get that deal!

  • Jerry Hill July 22, 2020, 7:03 pm

    SO HOW MUCH ARE YOU SELLING THIS FOR THE $1299, OR $1429 THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME

  • Thomas July 21, 2020, 2:47 pm

    Does this rifle have the same problem with flat base ammo the HK91 has good accuracy to about 400 yds then never knowing where the bullitt will hit at 500 + yds?
    I think it tumbles but never could tell .

  • Seamus July 20, 2020, 11:44 pm

    The article and specs contradicted each other several times.
    First mention in the article was 308/7.62 NATO.
    Next was 7.62 NATO.

    Specification listed caliber as .308 Win.

    Either the writer or editor missed it.

    I was curious as well.

    For me, the definitive answer is stamped 7.62 NATO on top of the barrel in the next to last picture.

  • unclejerr July 20, 2020, 1:22 pm

    What mag does Sig issue with this factory rifle? l don’t think it’s P-mags, but will DPMS metal mags work? I’m guessing the ArmLite’s will not. Some shooters prefer metal mags and I also prefer metal mags over plastic. Also, the Sig 500 series 223/5.56 mags had different lock-up systems that were not typical AR-15 and not interchangeable, and will not work in the AR-15’s. AND so you have my question concerning the AR-10 platform. Lots of discussion over barrel length for that caliber for different uses. A 20″ SS barrel would probably have better groupings at that distance is my experience, but your comments would be appreciated. Any suggestions on a better trigger with lighter pull would also be appreciated.

    • Joe July 20, 2020, 7:05 pm

      It says P-MAGS in the article.

      “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.”

  • Scott K Burkhart July 20, 2020, 12:44 pm

    Hopefully we will finally see some Mil-Spec AR10’s !!! I can hope anyways!

  • Louis July 20, 2020, 9:20 am

    Ok but why is this better than an FN FAL?

    • Jeff July 20, 2020, 12:53 pm

      Uhhh… It’s more accurate, more reliable, uses better magazines, ability to use modern optics, easier to maneuver in confined spaces… Is that enough reasons for you?

  • Joe July 20, 2020, 9:12 am

    I was so excited to hear that Sig made a 6x fixed power scope . . . Until I figured out that you really meant 1 – 6x variable.

  • Bad Penguin July 20, 2020, 8:22 am

    It would have ben nice if you had gotten some Military grade 7.62 to test in it.

    With a milspec trigger your groupings weren’t bad. I’d say you would get sub MOA with a 4.5lb pull aftermarket trigger.

  • Chris July 20, 2020, 7:59 am

    Battle tested. Are you kidding me. Factory tested no matter how many times is not battle tested. These border issues are at altitude. Counterterrorism might mean anti piracy. Unless this rifle has been in a major conflict or given to frontline units for in the field for a good while I would never call them battle tested. Remember the M16?

    • W Clardy July 20, 2020, 10:45 am

      I do remember the M16, which actually fit your definition of “battle-tested” long before any reliability issues arose.

      I also remember that the M16’s problems arose from decisions made by the Army — changing the cartridge specification, neglecting to procure and issue cleaning kits, and teaching the troops that the rifle didn’t need much in the way of maintenance. — which would have produced problems with almost any modern rifle.

    • Mike V July 20, 2020, 12:57 pm

      Think it says most tested battle rifle, not most battle tested battle rifle.

    • Jeff July 20, 2020, 1:11 pm

      Chris, nevermind the fact that the Indian Army has extensively tested this rifle and has been fielding it with its front-line forces but, the AR-10 platform in general has seen EXTENSIVE military trials and actual hard combat since 1958 under the Armalite name. It has been vastly improved since then through numerous manufacturers to the point of near perfection by companies like Armalite, Knights Armament, Noveske, and now Sig. In addition, the M16 as originally fielded under the Agile Project with advisors in Vietnam was fantastic and only had major issues after government bean counters tried to save money at the expense of quality. These Sig rifles likely do not suffer from such government incompetence. And in case you missed it, India has been at war with more than one adversary for a very very long time.

  • Raul Garza July 20, 2020, 7:20 am

    where can I get one

  • George July 20, 2020, 6:49 am

    So is it a 7.62 Nato or a .308 Winchester? All of the other “experts” claim that shooting the later caliber in a rifle chambered for the former is a verboten safety violation.

    • Mike July 20, 2020, 9:35 am

      If you read the article under specs it says caliber 308 Winchester

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