SIG SAUER’s M400 Predator 5.56
Is A Modern Hunting Rifle, Scope
And Ammo Solution
By Holt Bodinson
What seems to me like overnight, SIG SAUER has gone from being primarily a pistol producer to a source of company-branded ammunition, optics, rifles and even airguns including a highly rated custom shop and training academy. The firm’s current AR offerings are extensive and different.
There are direct impingement systems and piston driven systems. Rifles chambered for the .22 RF, 5.56 and 7.62. A compact 9mm submachinegun with AR-type controls and even an AR designed specifically for suppressor work and chambered for the .300 Blackout. But the M400 Predator caught my eye. With its striking Geissele-inspired, ALG Defense handguard, it’s competition ready and equally adapted to hard field use right out of the box.
The Predator sports some neat features. The 416 stainless steel barrel is 18 inches long with a 1:8-inch rate-of-twist and a muzzle threaded 1/2×28 TPI. The safety and magazine release are ambidextrous, although I’m still not sold on ambidextrous safety levers that rotate against your trigger finger when the safety is taken off. It would be better if the safety were reversible—not ambidextrous.
There are quick-detachable, ambi-sling mounts integral with the lower. The trigger is 2-stage and described as a “match trigger.” It is. It averaged 4 pounds, 11 ounces, on my Lyman electronic gauge but, most importantly, the second-stage release was crisp with an undetectable degree of over-travel and a lightening reset. In a production rifle, SIG’s trigger is a joy, plus it rides in a triggerguard generously oversized to accommodate combat gloves and winter mittens.
SIG’s Predator AR is a very well thought out modern
hunting rifle, light and fast handling.
With its distinctive V2 handguard and stock furniture, the Predator
is ready for both sport and competition. It comes with a 5-round
magazine, befitting its hunting role.
The stocking consists of a 6-position Magpul buttstock, capped off with a very functional rubber buttplate and an over-molded, SIG pistol grip—pretty common hardware those, but not the snaky ALG Defense hand guard.
Giving the Predator its long, sleek, distinctive lines and excellent handling qualities is the “Ergonomic Modular Rail V2 M-Lok handguard by ALG Defense, a sister organization to Geissele Automatics. Known to all AR enthusiasts, the state-of-the-art Geissele AR triggers have earned themselves a distinguished reputation. Their designer is Bill Geissele of Geissele Automatics, which produces not only triggers but a complete line of precision AR parts and armorer’s tools. Geissele is an engineer’s engineer. He’s a brilliant designer who has the ability to communicate the features of his designs in plain English and with such clarity the least mechanically gifted shooter can understand what’s being discussed.
Well, it just so happens “ALG” are the initials of Mrs. Geissele, and ALG Defense was created by Bill Geissele to produce and market a more affordable line of Geissele AR parts and accessories. The Ergonomic Modular Rail V2, designed by Geissele, is a whole different approach to typical AR handguards design and after shooting it, I more fully understand its inherent qualities.
Void of quad rails and round, the V2 is comfortable to hold. Yup, this is where it gets its “ergonomic” label. There are no sharp edges. M-Lok accessories can be mounted along the entire rail at the 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 o’clock positions. Geissele purposely left the 3 and 9 o’clock positions open since he found there was more room for accessories when using the 2, 4, 8, and 10 o’clock slots. There’s a short 1913 Picatinny rail at the muzzle end of the handguard for front sights, lasers, IR illuminators, lights—you name it.
The strong suit of the Geissele design is its strength and rigidity. Each free-floating, V2 handguard (they’re available in 10-, 12-, 13- and 15-inch lengths, is supplied with a matched, precision-machined 2-inch-long barrel nut to align and secure the V2 handguard rigidly in place with 6 retaining screws. The last thing you want after attaching and zeroing accessories on a handguard is any deflection or movement of the rail system. Geissele’s extra-long, precision, barrel nut, lock-up system prevents it.
Magpul’s high-quality 6-position stock with a rubber buttplate
is a virtual standard in the industry.
There’s a short Picatinny rail at the end of the handguard for
front sights, lasers, IR illuminators and lights.
The Predator arrived mounted with a SIG’s new 3-15x52mm Whiskey5 scope riding in SIG cantilever QD rings. This Whiskey5 is a second focal plane optic weighing 27 ounces and featuring a 30mm tube, 4-inch eye relief, 0.25 MOA turrets with elevation and windage adjustment ranges of 72 MOA, an illuminated Hellfire Quadplex reticle, side parallax adjustment and a custom-engraved elevation turret for SIG-brand 5.56 77-grain match ammunition with a velocity of 2,750 fps. It’s a big scope and heavy and would be ideally perched on a long-range hunting rifle. With its 52mm objective and 30mm tube, it would be an excellent choice for early morning and late afternoon low light conditions when game is most active.
I didn’t have access to any 77-grain SIG ammunition, but I did have Black Hills terrific 77-grain Open Tip Match load on hand which chronographed 2,738 fps from the Predator’s 18-inch barrel. The Predator favored the 77-grain load with four 5-shot groups at 100 yards ranging from 0.95 to 1.20 inches.
The second most accurate load turned out to be Black Hills 52-grain Match (0.977 at 2,844 fps). It did not like Federal’s 62-grain green tip load (2.12, 3,059 fps) but produced nicely formed groups with CorBon’s 55-grain FMJ load (1.20, 3,218 fps).
Having the Black Hills 77-grain OTM ammunition zeroed at 100 yards, I loosened and reset the 77-grain, calibrated elevation turret to 100 yards. The turret is calibrated from 50 to 700 yards in 50-yard increments. The calibrated turret tracked perfectly out to 300 yards, the length of my range. From a 100-yard zero, it was up 1.4 MOA at 200 and up 3.9 MOA at 300.
The only criticism I have about the Whiskey5 hardware is the Allen wrench supplied to loosen and tighten three screws holding the turret in place is just slightly over 1/32-inch in diameter. It arrived bent. The wrench and the turret retaining screws are pretty small and delicate.
Defined by its racy V2 handguard, excellent trigger and overall fine workmanship, the Predator is a great handling, accurate sporting and competition AR.
We’re going to work out together this fall to see if we can’t bag some wily, fawn-eating coyotes ever-plaguing this old homestead.
MAKER: SIG SAUER, Inc.
72 Pease Blvd.
Newington, NH 03801
ACTION: Gas, direct impingement. Semi-automatic
CALIBER: 5.56 NATO
BARREL LENGTH: 18 inches
OVERALL LENGTH: 33.25 inches (collapsed), 36.25 (extended)
WEIGHT: 7 pounds
FINISH: Matt black
SIGHTS: 1913 Picatinny rails plus M-Lok slots
STOCK: ALG Defense, Ergonomic Modular Rail V2 SIG over-molded grip
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