SHOT Show 2014 Special Edition Day 1: New Rifles

ArmaLite AR-31 rifle on bipod

Cheaper Than Dirt! staffers covering the 2014 SHOT Show in Las Vegas have filed their first reports on new rifle introductions made at the show, and this edition includes coverage of major makers SIG Sauer, ArmaLite, and Browning.

SIG Sauer

Two new modern sporting rifles using a gas-piston operating system enter the SIG Sauer line this year. The SIG516 Carbon Fiber (SRP: $2,504) is chambered for 5.56mm NATO. It features a 7075-T6 aircraft-grade upper and lower receiver with a hard-coat anodized finish, and a 16-inch 1:7-twist six-groove chrome-lined barrel. The gas-operating system is a four-position adjustable short-stroke, advanced push-rod system with a rotating bolt. The action is mated to an A1 carbon-fiber stock with an extended 12-inch free-float carbon-fiber handguard. The match-grade two-stage trigger has a final break of 4.5 pounds. This flattop rifle has a Picatinny rail upper receiver that is equipped with flip-up adjustable iron sights and plenty of room for optics mounting. Overall length is 35.1 inches, and empty weight is 7 pounds. The rifle accepts all MSR-type magazines.

The new SIG556xi Russian (SRP: $1,599) is chambered for the 7.62x39mm. It features a 16-inch chrome-lined barrel with 1:9.5 twist four-groove rifling. It uses a three-position advanced push-rod gas-operating system. A new SIG three-prong flash hider with 1/2-28 threads caps the barrel. The trigger is a standard MIL-SPEC with a 7-pound pull weight.

The forearm is a low-profile polymer handguard, and the buttstock is a Swiss folding side stock. A Picatinny upper rail is equipped with SIG flip-up adjustable sights, with room for optics mounting. The extended overall length is 35.85 inches. The empty weight is 7.5 pounds. The magazines are the AK-47 type, and it accepts U.S. Palm magazines.


For 2014, ArmaLite introduces the AR-31 rifle system. It shares the same design features as the company’s AR-30A1 (detachable magazine, precision accuracy), but there are some differences. The AR-31 is a short-action version chambered in 7.62 NATO/.308 Win., and as such it accepts ArmaLite double-stacked AR-10B magazines. That allows shooters to choose between magazines with a capacity of 5, 10, 15 and 20 rounds to suit current requirements.

Like its predecessor, the AR-31 is built upon a through-hardened receiver, which for this gun has been optimally sized for the 7.62 NATO cartridge. The 24-inch barrel is capped with ArmaLite’s one-piece muzzle brake with industry-standard 5/8-24 threads, which allows many suppressors to be screwed directly to the barrel without an adapter.

The wide and deep magazine well extends under the receiver, which makes magazine insertion fast and easy while in a shooting position. The magazine catch is conveniently located so the shooter can release the magazine and catch it with the same hand. This not only makes loading/reloading quick, it virtually assures magazines won’t be lost in rough terrain. The bolt-mounted safety locks the firing pin to the rear to prevent accidental discharges.

The stock system allows the buttstock to be interchanged between the same standard and target models used on the AR-30A1, with only the use of an Allen wrench. The cheekpieces are metal with a pad, and the cheekpiece supports contain an integral cleaning rod guide that prevents bore damage caused by improper cleaning-rod guidance. The included top Picatinny rail is canted 20 MOA to allow for shooting at extended ranges.

Multiple sling-swivel installation locations allow the simultaneous use of both sling and bipod, and the rear sling-swivel mount can be moved to the right or left side of the buttstock. Optional 1913 rails can be installed on the sides or bottom of the forearm to allow multiple accessory attachment points. Military-grade anodizing and phosphate finishes provide durability and corrosion resistance.


New in Browning’s 2014 catalog is the AB3 bolt-action, designed to give consumers a value-packed rifle that has Browning quality and accuracy, but at a more affordable price. The new AB3 will be offered with a composite stock and a matte blue finished receiver and barrel. Other features include a 60-degree bolt lift, detachable box magazine, top-tang safety, bolt-lock override button, free-floating barrel and Inflex Technology recoil pad. Average weight is 6 pounds 13 ounces in standard calibers, and 7 pounds 3 ounces in magnums. The new AB3 will be available in .270 Win. and .30-06 Sprg. with a 22-inch barrel; 7mm Rem. Mag. and .300 Win. Mag. with a 26-inch barrel. SRP: $599.

In addition, Browning will expand the X-Bolt bolt-action lineup to include the new X-Bolt Eclipse Hunter model for 2014. Features include a matte blued finish on a free-floating barrel and receiver. A laminated gray satin-finish stock has a thumbhole grip with Monte Carlo cheekpiece. Other standard features found on all X-bolt rifles include a detachable rotary magazine, adjustable Feather Trigger, 60-degree bolt lift and the Inflex Technology recoil pad. Available in most popular short-action, long-action and magnum calibers. SRP: $1,019 to $1,059.

Although it is only day one, does anything on this list catch your eye? Share you first impressions for 2014 in the comment section.

Our staff articles are supplemented with reporting by SHOT Business Daily, reprinted with permission. SHOT Daily, produced by The Bonnier Corporation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, covers all facets of the yearly firearms-industry show. To view a 2014 digital version of SHOT Daily, click here.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (5)

  1. Shawn- the Sig Sauer 556 model number does not refer to the caliber of the rifle. It is the US version of the 55* Series rifles (550,551,552 etc). I don’t see anything on either Sig that makes me regret my 556 SWAT Patrol.

  2. The ‘556xi Russian’ is just a new and fancy version of their ‘556R(the R stands for russian)’, both are 7.62x39mm and use AK mags. I dont understand the confusion.

  3. No, nothing really catches my eye, as you say. The AR-31 looks interesting, but I’m sure it’s out of my price range. It seems it would be nice to see more in the way of small bore target and plinking guns, to help encourage the next generation of sportsmen/women.

  4. Totally want that sig 556xi in 7.62×39. May sell off my pws in the same caliber because I don’t like the mags being so finicky (they work, just not like AK mags which would be nice to have polymer ones)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.

Discover more from The Shooter's Log

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading