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Old June 27, 2011, 08:16 PM   #1
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S & W Sport 15 (AR) review

I bought my first AR style gun back in the early 1990's. The main purpose was for competition. For 17 years it has performed wonderfully and it all that time it only failed to feed one time. It was a simple operator error I let it get a little dry. A few drops of oil and it was back to normal. I shoot my guns dirty well lets say they get dirty and I still keep shooting. I never had one fail do to be too dirty.

So it came that I wanted a new AR to give the old work horse a break from every week use. I certainly considered and looked at a lot of AR's but there was one that caught my eye and was just a little different. That was the low priced S & W Sport 15.

I did the normal lets look at various web sites for some reports from my fellow gun owners. I quickly came to the conclusion that either not a lot of people have them or they were afraid to say they did. What I found was a ton of people who told everyone why they shouldn't buy the Sport 15. However the problem was they never owned one or even shot one. Thus I had a full library of useless information.

I have had mine for awhile now, well not really but enough time to get 1,400 rounds down the barrel. And yes the barrel is still accurate, dirt didn't invade the cover-less action and that missing assist button didn't come into play.

In fact it shot and operated as well as my old friend, yes at first that was even hard for me to take. How could something priced this cheap do so much and more?

Here is what I can tell you about this gun. It is light and of course shorter than a standard AR. Without nit picking every detail it would be hard to not be able to transition between this gun and any other AR. So let me cover the main talked about differences, That holey grail called the dust cover. I didn't miss it and to be honest in almost 20 years I never saw a need for one. I sat the gun down in a combination of grass, soft dirt and nothing invaded to stop the operation. I would probably have to travel out to a desert for that to happen, but then again after I fired my first shot I know I would forget to close the darn thing anyways. So unless you have a need for one it is a non factor for this gun.

That brings me to the forward assist. It looks kind of cool on my old Ar but has been just a added feature as I have never once used it. So what I did was lower the action very slow on the Sport 15 so that I would need for some stupid reason some type of forward assist. So now I had a bolt that was not locked, no big deal I slid my thumb into the scalloped area in the bot and pushed. Yep the action closed just as fast as if I used that stupid button on my older AR. In fact I thought it was faster this way.

Now lets come to the barrel, it is not chrome lined. Yep there is no way to get around it, there is no chrome lining. The funny thing is don't tell the Sport that is an issue. Because when the bullets exit forming a very tight pattern they don't mind it not be chromed. I dumped three 30 round mags and the barrel did just fine. I really never had the need in all of my life to dump 10 or more 30 round mags through an AR. My point is the barrel did just fine and I expect it will hold up to the normal shooting I will be doing with this gun.

I like it and on the value scale it is a large winner. In fact I would call it priceless. The gun feed all of my reloads, and several different types of factory ammunition. It is accurate and can handle firing full mags back to back to back. I call it a full fledged AR and fail to find the so called toy comments valid, after all this gun rocks and can kill, the last toy gun I had couldn't do the second.

I know this is just a little write up but I thought I would let people who are looking at this gun know that why people might say something bad it that they had to spend twice or more to have the same fun and reliability in their AR. Some day when I get the time I actually will do a full write up and review along with some photos but for now if you are looking for an Ar go get this one. It is an AR the way they were meant to be, good fit and finish, perfect operation and accurate. It is meant to shoot not to be trick up into some darn AR of the night that appears more at home in a Vegas night show with glitz and glitter. Though I expect if you want to dress her up you could do that too.

This one does just fine with its factory finish riding on the floor of the farm truck or bouncing a little in back of the bed. The good thing is it come up shooting and keeps on working.
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Old June 27, 2011, 08:48 PM   #2
Father Time
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How's the trigger? Because my M&P15A's factory trigger was 10+ pounds.

A quick swap of the springs fixed that. But did the "sport" models get a better trigger?
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Old June 27, 2011, 09:10 PM   #3
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I didn't measure it but it has a slight draw length and appears to be what I call normal for a production model. This would put it on the heavy trigger pull weight in my opinion. Trigger pull is a personal issue and while I certainly was able to adjust to the trigger pull very fast others may not. I just haven't found a rifle trigger that I can't adjust to.

This is actually my first S & W that I have shot so I can not compare it with others in the S & W line up.

I did find that the combination of trigger pull and recoil was good enough to be able to move to different targets very fast and get into the bull. I was shooting steel plates at 50 yards with open sites.

With that said triggers are always a candidate for improvement to match the owners needs. I will rate the trigger pull good.
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Old June 27, 2011, 09:55 PM   #4
Join Date: August 26, 2007
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Now lets come to the barrel, it is not chrome lined. Yep there is no way to get around it, there is no chrome lining. The funny thing is don't tell the Sport that is an issue.
I bought a Sport a couple of months ago and, like you, have been very pleased. The lack of chrome lining didn't bother me because the barrel is melonite treated. Melonite treatment greatly increases the hardness and gives wear and corrosion resistance comparable to chrome lining. Testing by the Army as far back as 1967 demonstrates that melonite treatment gives a barrel life 4 to 5 times greater than a non-lined barrel and close to the life of a chrome lined barrel. I don't think that either one of us will shoot out the barrel any time soon.

Eugene Stoner did not include a forward assist in the original AR design and strongly opposed the Army's decision to add one. Not sure what the dust cover adds, since it doesn't provide a particularly tight seal, and I would probably never remember to close the thing after shooting.

I've seen quite a few posts on different forums from Sport owners. The reports are almost universally favorable. I think that you made a good choice.
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Old June 27, 2011, 10:55 PM   #5
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Proud Owner!

I also went againts the expert opinions about not buying a Sport because it does not have the dust cover, forward assist and chrome lined barrel. Oh and they forgot about the handguard not having a heat shield or the trigger guard being solidly attached. You know what else they forgot? How much fun it is to shoot this rifle! I have fed it 5.56 ammo in 55 and 62 grain. I have fed it .223 55 gr fmj factory and reloads. Zero failures. I have dressed mine up a little by changing out the handguard and stock with Magpul MOE parts. I also changed the grip to Hogue. I'm very happy with my decision of buying my Sport. It is a solid rifle and I am a proud owner!
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Old June 28, 2011, 10:40 PM   #6
chris in va
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Now lets come to the barrel, it is not chrome lined. Yep there is no way to get around it, there is no chrome lining.
It's Melonite treated, just like the exterior. I called S&W customer service to confirm this.

I seriously doubt my Sport's trigger is anywhere near 10#, probably more like 6#. It's not heavy by any means and breaks very crisply.

I also had to fight the snobs telling me it is 'inferior', despite them not being able to produce a reason why. I actually prefer all the nonsense to be removed from this rifle, and actually surprised they went ahead and put on a bayonet mount...which is also unnecessary.

I did have three stoppages in 1000 reloads, but I suspect it was an out of spec case that is causing it.
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Old June 29, 2011, 05:52 AM   #7
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@ Chris - While the trigger might not be as good as a competition trigger, I agree, its not overly heavy and breaks clean. Nice rifle btw. what type scope do you have?

Here's a before and after picture of mine.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg M&P15 Sport.jpg (242.9 KB, 186 views)
File Type: jpg M&P15 Sport Magpul MOE (1).jpg (247.8 KB, 187 views)
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