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Smith&Wesson M&P Sport: Range reports and Q&A

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Breakmyfootoff, Jun 9, 2011.

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  1. Breakmyfootoff

    Breakmyfootoff Member

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    Whoever added info to my previous thread for help deciding which rifle to purchase, thank you. After researching the M&P I decided it had the most to offer as a basic rifle. I researched the rifle heavily before deciding to make sure I got the most for my money and thought it might be beneficial to others if I posted my findings here in the forum. I'll list the differences and similarities between the Sport and the regular M&P ARs.

    Similarities:
    * The Sport uses the same LM&T MPI bolt and carrier group that is in the M&P15, and the gas key is properly staked
    *Same forged lower, FCG, buffer, and stock as the M&P15
    * The castle nut on the buffer tube is properly staked

    Differences:
    *Upper receiver is the same material, but lacks provisions for a dust cover or forward assist
    * The barrel is a heavy profile 4140 CM steel with a 1 in 8 twist. It is melonite treated which is apparently a compromise between the durability of a chrome lined barrel and the accuracy of an unlined barrel. Supposedly it is much harder and resistant to corrosion than an unlined barrel, but since it doesnt require removal or addition of material like chrome lining, it maintains the accuracy of an unlined barrel
    *5R rifling is used in place of the standard 6 groove rifling and is supposed to increase velocity and accuracy without distorting the bullet or copper jacket. 5R rifling is supposedly used in many sniper rifles, more info on 5R rifling can be found here http://www.tcarms.com/technology/5r_rifling.php

    Add in that it has a lifetime warranty from one of the largest manufacturers and shares many features of much higher priced rifles, I felt that I could live without a dust cover or forward assist, and if they become necessary items I could always change the upper receiver later.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011
  2. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    Awesome. We need pics though!!!!

    I have been very interested in the Sport as a good budget AR. 5R rifling is what is used on the Army M24 and USMC M40 sniper rifles.
     
  3. Gtscotty

    Gtscotty Member

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    Nice, I already picked up a an M&P 15 OR a year or so ago, but the sport model strikes me as a really good deal. If it had been out when I was in the market, I would have been hard pressed to justify spending the extra bucks for the dust cover and FA.

    I also like the idea of a melonite treated bore. Unless I'm mistaken, melonite is basically S&W's name for Ferritic Nitrocarburizing, which is currently pretty highly regarded as a bore treatment by a lot of shooters.
     
  4. benzy2

    benzy2 Member

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    I think you made a great choice. Only thing I would be looking to do different on my rifle is get a cheap free float tube. Beyond that, and even then, it should be a great rifle for you.
     
  5. Breakmyfootoff

    Breakmyfootoff Member

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    I agree, I'll put up some pics in a few :D

    Bingo!! You probably understand what it is better than I lol, but what I read about it from several sources leads me to believe it is a good thing.

    My mind is buzzing with ideas for upgrades lol, and thats one of them. I felt this rifle had good quality parts in all the places that count so that it would be a good basic foundation for future upgrades. I'm not gonna get too crazy with it though, I'm just a recreational shooter, not a soldier :).
     
  6. benzy2

    benzy2 Member

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    Yep, I would certainly see how it shoots as is before I messed with anything. I've been thinking of selling my colt lower to buy one of these. For the money, I can't buy an upper, much less a rifle, of equal quality for the money they want for the sport. The FF tube and maybe a trigger and maybe a low profile gas block would be as far as I'd go and even then, they are more niceties than needs.
     
  7. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    RE: Free float tubes / handguards. Recently picked up a DDM4 with their Omega-X free floating quad rail (it's standard on their M4 line, but not their DDXV line). The Omega-X clamps to their low profile barrel nut, while the regular Omegas clamp to a standard barrel nut; but the concept is the same. Having seen how well it works I'm quite impressed.

    The really cool thing about the standard Omega line is that free floats the bbl with no modification to the weapon - it's just a handguard swap. It cost a bit more than some other options, but you'll probably make up most of the price difference vs. gunsmith fees or buying the tools to DIY most other options. Sorry to sound like a DD commercial, but that's my experience with their Omegas.

    If you decide to free float, please report on pre and post free float accuracy for us. I've already seen rather impressive accuracy from their 1:9 hard chromed bbls, so I'm very optimistic about the new 1:8 5R bbls.
     
  8. Fabius

    Fabius Member

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    This is one of the reasons I decided to buy the Sport. My research indicated the same. In fact, the Sig 556, Bushmaster ACR, Remington GPC and S&W M&P 15T also have nitrided (melonited) barrels.

    Found a study that the Army did in 1967 of different barrel treatments. They tested chromelined, nitride treated and standard chromemoly untreated barrels shooting 5.56 ammo from a machine gun at the rate of 200 rounds per minute. The chromelined barrels "failed" at 33,433 and 43,994 rounds respectively. The nitride treated barrels "failed" at 29,874 and and 26,774 rounds respectively. The untreated barrels lasted a maximum of 12,476 rounds with one "failing" as early as 2,509 rounds.

    Conclusion - chromelined was the most wear resistant, nitride was a close second and untreated barrels a distant third. Failure was defined as projectile yaw of 15 degrees in 20 per cent of the shots fired in any round (so 40 rounds out of 200 yawing 15 degrees or more).

    So chromelined lasted an average of 38,713 round and nitride treated lasted an average of 28,324 rounds. The untreated chromemoly lasted an average of 6,279 rounds (they tested 5 chromemoly, 2 chromelined and 2 nitride treated barrels). Nitride (melonite) treated barrels last 4 to 5 times as long as untreated barrels. Chrome lined last 6 to 7 times as long as untreated and 1/3 longer than nitride treated barrels.

    Based on this information, i'm thrilled with my decision to buy the Sport. Considering that the nitride treated barrels lasted 28,000+ rounds under much more extreme conditions than my rifle will ever see (200 rounds per minute firing rate), I have trouble justifying the extra cost to buy a chromelined barrel.

    Link to the study - http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=AD822736&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf
     
  9. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    OP: great, I think you will like that model.

    When you get a chance, I would really like to see close-up photos of:
    -the lower receiver, including trigger guard
    -upper receiver, right side (ejection side)
    -bolt carrier/carrier key
    -the bolt itself, removed from the carrier, side view

    Just want to see some construction details. Thanks in advance.

    The military rejection standard is looser than most sport shooters would accept, and the barrel steel was probably 4150 or CMV, not 4140.... still I would expect that the S&W Melonite-treated barrel will outlast the needs of 99% of the people who buy one, and is very comparable to chrome lining in durability for civilian purposes.
     
  10. Breakmyfootoff

    Breakmyfootoff Member

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    I too am interested in the results of that, and would be glad to provide a comparison to the forum when I get a free float handguard for it. I'll even go as far as taking all the tools required to the range for the switch so that there are as few variables as possible between standard and floated.

    Here's what I took last night with my cell phone. It has not yet been cleaned in these photos, so it still has all the shipping grease/lube in it. I'm going to clean it, then shoot it, then clean it again today, so I'll provide some better pictures from a real camera tonight :)
    2011-06-10_05-08-34_759.jpg

    2011-06-10_05-09-11_892.jpg

    2011-06-10_05-06-50_40.jpg

    2011-06-10_05-11-25_755.jpg
     
  11. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    It looks great in the photos. The carrier key staking looks good, and the castle nut is staked, which is omitted on a lot of $800-900 ARs. I really like the new S&W lower with the integrated trigger guard.
     
  12. Fabius

    Fabius Member

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    That's correct, barrel steel was 4150. On the other hand, they shot 200 rounds per minute, which means the barrels were getting very hot, which would increase wear per round.

    The study is useful, IMO for the comparison between the different types of barrel finishes. Melonite treatment significantly increases barrel life over an untreated barrel and the difference between melonite and chrome lining isn't enough to worry about for civilian use.

    When I bought my Sport and inspected it I was very pleased with the quality for the price. You can't see in the pictures, but it has fully cut M4 feed ramps, also.
     
  13. goon

    goon Member

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    Good thread! I'm wanting an AR and had planned to spend a little more than the M&P sports are supposedly going to be priced at, but that decision isn't set in stone yet, especially with the features the S&W's are bringing to the table.
    Like you, I think I could live without a dustcover, I don't think I'll ever use the forward assist, and I don't think I'll ever wear out even a non-chrome lined barrel.
     
  14. Breakmyfootoff

    Breakmyfootoff Member

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    Initial range report:
    Went to the range today and put 180 rounds of super cheap wal-mart tulammo 55 grain fmj through it today. It shot really really well even with the cheap ammo. I'm not a master marksman by any means, but at 50 yards, stacking bullet holes on top of each other with open sights off the bench was pretty damn easy. I'm not competent enough at 100 yards with open sights to get small groups, but I had no trouble keeping all shots within a 5 inch circle. Time to get a decent scope I suppose since the rifle is capable of great accuracy at even further distances. I had one stoppage around the 50 round mark where it failed to cycle the bolt far enough to catch the next round out of the magazine. I'm not sure what caused the one failure, but it never happened again.

    I hope to have a scope mounted for the next range trip, and I'll purchase some better ammo to see what its really capable of at ranges of 100, 200, and 300 yards.
     
  15. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    I wouldn't expect or hope for anything better than a 5" 10+ shot group at 100 yards using Tula ammo, so this is a great result. In fact, I would not expect that gun or most other ARs to do better than 3-4" at 100 yards (again, 10 shot groups) with medium quality US-made brass cased ammo.

    If it otherwise ran fine, I would bet that one round was underpowered/undercharged, purely an ammunition problem.
     
  16. Breakmyfootoff

    Breakmyfootoff Member

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    Because of the 100 yard walk, I never put up more than the one target at that range, so now it looks like someone shot it a few times with 00 buck :eek:. Going off what you were saying, I guess I'd have to be pretty proud of how I shot lol. I was shooting at 8x10 printer paper with a 1 inch dot in the middle, but at 100 yards, all I could see was the paper, so I just aimed at the middle of the paper. Here's my 100 yard target
    2011-06-11_00-30-05_960.jpg
     
  17. goon

    goon Member

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    Breakmyfootoff - I think you or probably anyone can shoot well at 100 yards with the open sights. You might be surprised how well you can shoot with careful attention. I've shot some really good groups with a FAL and surplus ammo by paying close attention to the front sight. Even if you can't really "see" the bullseye, focus on the front sight and aim for the same place that you "can't see" every time. The way I look at it, I'm no marksman. I wasn't a Navy SEAL, I wasn't even a Marine, I'm just a redneck who loves shooting stuff. If I can shoot groups under or just over an inch with open sights at 100 yards, I don't see why anyone else can't.

    Either way though, thanks for the report. I'll be paying attention to this. I've been looking at BCM's midlengths but every time I hit the LGS I look this little LMT carbine they have on the rack over. I like the handling of an M4 type carbine, I'll give it that. It keeps growing on me. But S&W might have made this too good of a rifle to pass up in its price range.
     
  18. Breakmyfootoff

    Breakmyfootoff Member

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    You're probably right, I was really just having more fun shooting a new gun than trying for tight groups. Once I get more used to the gun I'll get some better ammo and try for accuracy.
     
  19. saddlerocker

    saddlerocker Member

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    Im totally green when it comes to ARs, but what could be done to add a dust cover and FA inexpensivly? Or just the dust cover, probably dont need the FA
     
  20. Fabius

    Fabius Member

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    That would be tough, since the upper receiver is forged without the FA hole or the part to attach the dust cover to. Others with more knowledge might be able to answer whether you could buy a stripped upper receiver without the barrel and then replace the Sport upper receiver with the new one. You can get a Spikes Tactical upper receiver with the FA and dust cover already installed for $115. However, that would require removing the barrel from the Sport receiver and installing it on the ST receiver.

    I don't know what's involved in doing that, but I believe that it would require special tools, such as a torque wrench, etc.
     
  21. Breakmyfootoff

    Breakmyfootoff Member

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    Eventually, I might replace the upper receiver on my newly acquired M&P Sport, but I'm not in a hurry to do so because it's purely a cosmetic upgrade for me. I dont feel like I NEED a forward assist whatsoever, and considering the way I use the rifle, its at higher risk of contaminants from the gas system than it is from the open bolt area :p.

    That being said, it is relatively easy to do. The only specialized tools that are required is the barrel nut wrench and torque wrench, but I would also recommend some kind of vice block to hold the receiver firmly while torquing the barrel nut. Bravo Company currently has fully assembled upper receivers for less than 100.00.

    So far, I've only added an A2 style carry handle and a vertical grip to the military style hand guards. My planned upgrades in order are :
    1 - Magpul CTR buttstock
    2 - Free float quad rail
    3 - Some kind of optic (not sure what yet)
    4 - Upper receiver with FA and dust cover (maybe)
    5 - Complete upper in 6.8 :D
     
  22. basicblur

    basicblur Member

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    You might want to rethink the free floating quad rail (law of diminishing returns etc)?
    I dug one o' my spare ARs outta storage and turned it into a HD gun (all accessories were on sale around Christmas). It's the first one I've had a quad rail on, and figuring a free floater was too expensive/too much hassle/overkill ('specially for my use), I opted for a Midwest Industries 2-piece rail carbine.

    Just slightly over $100, easy to install, and appears to be rock solid.

    May not be your cup o' tea, but I think way too many folks go overboard with AR accessories.

    Might save yourself some time/money/hassle?
     
  23. Breakmyfootoff

    Breakmyfootoff Member

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    I'm not planning on hanging a lot of stuff off the quad rail either, I'm actually really happy with the standard guards that come on the rifle. They feel plenty solid, they're light, and they still allow for mounting accessories on the top and bottom. The only accessory I really want to mount on the hand guards is one of those Magpul slanted fore grips, which can be done on the standard guards, so my only real motivation to get any different hand guards would be to float it for accuracy, and even though I dont need a quad rail, I just dont like the way the smooth tubes look. Here's a few new pics, the vertical grip on there now is temporary, it was laying around not being used since I decided I didnt like all the ATI strikeforce stuff on my AK.
    IMG_0312.jpg

    IMG_0301.jpg

    P.S. I have a complete ATI strikeforce furniture set for AKM that I would sell pretty cheap if anyone wants it :p
     
  24. Apocalypse-Now

    Apocalypse-Now Member

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    congrats, nice steaking in those pics :)


    does s&w indeed have a lifetime warranty on their rifles? last i checked, they listed both a 1 year and lifetime warranty for their AR's, so it was kinda confusing.

    i know they advertised just a 1 year warranty when they first came out with AR's, but is that still that case?
     
  25. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    The only real option is to replace the upper receiver with a standard one for $100 or so, plus labor if you don't do it yourself.

    You really aren't missing anything. If you ever find yourself doing the roving-zombie scenario in a dusty desert, just put some tape across the ejection port and remove it before firing. As for the forward assist, it's main function is to turn minor jams into major jams. Theoretically it can be used to close the bolt very quietly in a tactical situation, but are you ever going to need that?
     
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