View Full Version : Any downside to the S&W15 Sport

November 19, 2012, 10:59 AM
A younger (late 30s) shooter from the neighborhood has asked my advice on an AR. I've taken him to my gun club a couple times. He has big eyes for the high enders but wifey has him on a short chain.

I do not own an AR and have been looking at them myself in the last year. I've heard good things about Spikes, Windham, SW Sport to name a few at the lower cost level. I have not seen any of these at my club. They show up in small quantities and usually sell out quickly. Personally, I like what I know about the Spikes.

I recommended the SW Sport. Still can be had under $700.

I sometimes regret giving advice when folks come back about this or that not being as great as they expected. I have told him the rifle does not have the forward assist, dust cover, chromed barrel along with the good reports I've read.

I have told him to come here and do his own homework but doubt he will.

Other than the three things I've mentioned, please tell me any other problems, concerns, issues you've had with this rifle.

NO MORE good reports or rave reviews please, I've read them all. Just the downside on what I don't know about this rifle.

He will be a casual shooter, no war gamer.


November 19, 2012, 11:40 AM
Only downside is the lack of FA and Dust cover. That's only IF you consider those a downside. No heat shield in the hand guards but whatever... But you're right, owners rave about them and you'll be hard pressed to find a bad experience although I know they exist. That's what S&W CS is for. Recommend with confidence.

November 19, 2012, 12:03 PM
A good friend of mine is a pistol/carbine instructor and custom rifle builder. He recently did a four day torture test and the Sport passed with flying colors. I have put a few thousand rounds through his Sport and no issues. I own one of the standard M&P15's but would now recommend the Sport to anyone looking for a budget AR.

November 19, 2012, 12:07 PM
I've had mine for a few months and have put roughly 200 rounds through it without a single hitch. It shoots accurately, seems to be well put together (I'm not an AR afficianodo by any means) and all in all at $600 appears to have been a fantastic value. The only thing I replaced was the handguard (with a Magpul MOE handguard). I can afford to spend more, but couldn't justify doing so.

November 19, 2012, 12:40 PM
Only thing I think odd is the handguard. Why no heat shield?
Also if you read up on melonite barrels, you would be surprised at the positive reviews.

November 19, 2012, 01:32 PM
Why no heat shield?

Cost. They cut it where they could to get to the price point.

November 19, 2012, 01:44 PM
I have had my Sport for about 6 months now with over 2000 rounds through it without a single problem. They are extremely accurate and reliable.
There is a video on YouTube showing one blow up, but it was because the gun had a squib round which plugged the barrel and he shot another round. Totally operator fault not the fault of the rifle at all. I have never had a need for a forward assist or the dust cover.

November 19, 2012, 02:05 PM
Why no heat shield?

Cost. They cut it where they could to get to the price point.

That was a rhetorical question. :rolleyes:

November 19, 2012, 02:21 PM
A $30 Magpul MOE handguard has a heatshield and allows the mounting of whatever tacticool doo dads you might want with the use of a simple $10 (approx) rail section. Really zero need for a rail system that adds hundreds of dollars to the price of the gun. I have a magpul moe vertical grip (roughly $15 if I recall) and a viking tactical flashlight mount (somewhere in the $15-20 range) on mine. Also, the gun comes with a flip up magpul rear site which works perfectly and a flatop rail system. I mounted an Eotech on mine using the $$ I saved. The gun came in at roughly $1000 with all of the add ons and two extra pmags. Perfect AR for my limited civilian purposes, and probably would be 100% adequate for law enforcement use as well.

November 19, 2012, 02:33 PM
Ok, I forgot something. There is one downfall to me, but it is so minor I had completely forgotten it. The trigger guard is not removable. I shoot a lot with gloves but like I said it is not a big deal. I normally put Magpul trigger guards on my AR's, but my gloves fit fine without them.

November 19, 2012, 03:12 PM
It's 1:8 instead of 1:7. Very very minor, probably only keeps him from the very heaviest bullets he'd have to handload for anyway.

Edit: Hey Rebs, I think I saw that video, did the guy have a bunch of fail-to-fires in a row, and start saying his partner doesn't know how to load? If you ever need to see the reason you don't shoot someone else's reloads, that did it for me.

chris in va
November 19, 2012, 10:33 PM
Really the only issue I've had was the unshielded handguard. It got pretty hot after a mag full. A $10 Colt guard from a gun show fixed that issue.

I'd actually prefer a full length 20" rifle after owning the Sport for a year. Longer sight radius and less recoil.

I see S&W is now using a flip BUIS now. Mine came with the heavy Leapers fixed rear, kinda cheesy.

These are very VERY minor glitches. The plusses far outweigh the nitpicks.

November 19, 2012, 10:53 PM
Thank you all for the input. I will print this and give it to my young friend.

Hey Rebs. I'm glad you showed up. I saw the range report you did on your rifle. Excellent shooting with a semi automatic rifle!! I'd like to ask, how did you mount the scope so as to not get the factory front sight in your field of view. Remember, I'm not an AR guy. Those factory A2 front sights seem quite high. Are the iron sights now unusable??

Again, thanks everyone.

November 19, 2012, 11:24 PM
My videos on the Sport:
Value Priced Defender (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9RnvFVQzH8&feature=plcp)
First Shots (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xx_VEyFLXig&feature=plcp)
Gravel Dust and Abuse (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwXhm45x3WM&feature=plcp)

November 20, 2012, 06:34 AM
Hey Rebs. I'm glad you showed up. I saw the range report you did on your rifle. Excellent shooting with a semi automatic rifle!! I'd like to ask, how did you mount the scope so as to not get the factory front sight in your field of view. Remember, I'm not an AR guy. Those factory A2 front sights seem quite high. Are the iron sights now unusable??

Again, thanks everyone.
mudlark is offline Report Post

The front sight will not be seen through your scope, I just mounted the scope right on the rail and all is fine. I cannot explain the technical reason but you do not see the front sight at all, its like it is not even there. Maybe because the scope cannot focus on an object that close. I removed the rear sight as I never use it anyway and that enabled me to mount the scope lower and closer to the axis of the bore.
I would recommend the Sport to anyone looking for an AR rifle, also the only thing I have changed on mine is adding the Nikon scope.

November 20, 2012, 10:46 AM
It depends on the minimum magnification. I played with all sorts of glass and optics on my LE6920 that also has the tall front sight tower. A 1-4x optic will stare straight at that tower, and you won't see much else. A 6-24x doesn' see it at all, and I only get the slightest distortion even at 6 that I have to actually look for, and infer it's the tower, not actually "see" the tower. And my third option was a Vortex Strikefire and VMX3 3x Magnifier on swing out mount. That's the set-up I appear to be gravitating towards. For as far as I can shoot on the ranges out here, that's more than enough glass for me.

The 1-4x can't see.

THe 6-24x wouldn't mount effectively without jumping through some hoops, but it does work very well with some caveats. I had/wanted a carry handle anyway, so I picked one up from Gunbroker. I bought a rail insert that goes inside the carry handle, but is hollow to still allow use of the sights (the tower and carry handle rear sight line up through the holow) and then on the rail above that, is the 6-24. Cheek weld isn't PERFECT, but for as big as my head is, it isn't bad. With a carbine length upper, the tube had issues without the carry handle riser... far enough forward to use the charging handle easily meant it was trying to occupy the same space as the front tower... far enough back to clear the tower, and it was a contortionists dream to pull the charging handle.

The Red Dot + Magnifier seems to work the best. In a perfect world, and eventually, I probably will replace the MOE handguard with the Daniel Defense Omega VII free float rail system so I can get the red dot, and thus the magnifier a couple more inches forward, at which point I can remount the magpul BUIS and "co-witness" with the red dot. Co-witness means you look through your sights, and you can line up the rear sight, the red dot, and the front sight all in a line and all three will be in line with your target.

November 20, 2012, 11:06 AM
Nothing wrong with it or a Rock River Arms.

Most people do not run their AR very hard at all. I bet most people don't have 2000 rounds through them.

So things like MPI bolts, chrome barrels, 1:7 twist, etc etc. are arguably a bit of a waste for the average civilian AR shooter. They're nice to have if you've got the cash of course. :D

November 20, 2012, 11:29 AM
Buds has a great deal on a Core15 AR with all of the standard features for $750

November 20, 2012, 08:39 PM
A 1-4x optic will stare straight at that tower, and you won't see much else.

I have a Nikon M223 in 1-4x. At 1x - you can see the front post but I actually shoot the reticle right above the front sight post. At 2x - the post is blury and i can pretty much ignore it. At 3x - almost can't see any blur of the post. And at 4x - it's like the post is not there at all.

Same thing with having a 3-9x scope on my 6.8 SPC. Barely notice the FSB at 3x and not there at 4x and above.

November 21, 2012, 11:53 AM
Love mine...I don't need the extra weight with FA..The dust cover would be nice but no big deal..I think a Lightweight barrel woulda been better than heavy...Would make this rifle almost as light as the Carbon rifles!



November 21, 2012, 12:03 PM
I have a 15 Sport on the way myself, after at various times coming close to buying ARs from DPMS, Palmetto State and Del-Ton. I'd given up on the Sport because nobody local had them in stock and most claimed that their distributors didn't have any either, so I jumped at the chance to get one for a very fair price. I'll have it inside of a week.

As a newcomer to the AR world myself, I was practically overwhelmed with all the choices, but the consensus seems to be that the 15 Sport is at the very least a great starting point. While there are other ARs with more features for the same money, I think there's a lot to be said for S&W's reputation for customer service and consistent build quality.

November 21, 2012, 04:23 PM
I don't think the less expensive ones have chrome lined barrels. They are a nice rifle though.

November 21, 2012, 04:43 PM
I had a weaver 4x on mone and could not see the front sight, right now I have a Nikon 3-9 x 40 and do not see the front sight.
S&W warrante is second to none, its life time and includes the entire rifle.
Do you guys posting the negatives actually own one ?

November 21, 2012, 06:56 PM
I don't... but my negatives weren't really negatives unless the guy wants to shoot 75+ grain match bullets. However, the guy wanted negatives, and nitpicking not rave reviews.. he actually wants to know the downside. Yeah I know... who would want to know any problems you might have bying a gun! :)

December 6, 2012, 06:44 AM
I don't think the less expensive ones have chrome lined barrels.

That's correct. The Sport had Melonite treated barrels. People are just now finding out the great benefits of this treatment. Google it if you really want to know.

December 9, 2012, 02:21 PM
If you can do without the missing bells and whistles others have mentioned, imo, the Smith model Sport 15 is possibly the best buy out there in today's market. I do agree with those who might prefer a slightly faster rate of twist, making the rifle a little more flexible in terms of handling a slightly larger range of bullet weights (lengths) but a 1:8 rate of twist would not be a deal-breaker for my intended uses.

December 9, 2012, 09:27 PM
Unless I am mistaken, the Sport's barrel is a T/C manufactured progressive 1:8 twist 5R barrel, with melonite treatment (as was previously mentioned). S&W owns T/C. Last time I checked, the bolts were stamped MPI too. I don't have one (I have a M&P15 OR) but wouldn't hesitate to get one. They were not sold when I bought my M&P.

December 9, 2012, 10:58 PM
I've owned a S&W Sport AR for over a year now and have over 2300 rounds fired so far. It's never had a failure of any type in all those rounds fired. The only down side is that is will **** off some of the other AR shooters. Because they spent big $$$ on their rifle and it won't shoot as well as the Sport. With Federal M193 55gr ammo, mine will shoot .65" groups at 100yards. A couple of guys were watching me shoot 3 shot groups and ask me if I could repeat the shot group again. So I aimed at one of the other Shoot and See targets and did it again. They were not happy that their $2K plus rifles wouldn't do that well!!!:D