SMITH & WESSON M&P15 SPORT II
New AR-15 .223 – choose your preferred sights
SMITH & WESSON’S AR-15 variant, the M&P15 Sport II O s Ready rifle, is chambered for the 5.56 and .223 Rem ca It has no factory-fitted sights, a 150mm long Picatinny the receiver and a 28mm integrated Picatinny rail and ga ck.
S&W intr e their first AR-15 style rifle in 2006 and have since pro ed several variants for recreational and professio al sport shooting. The M&P15’S roots lie in the late 1950s when the Armalite Corporation developed a military rifle called the AR-15. Colt bought the rights from Armalite and continued to produce a civilian version under the name AR-15. The military version, the M-16, became one of the US military’s best-known rifles, although not for reliability.
THE M&P15 USES the direct impingement system which, during powder combustion, bleeds off just enough high-pressure gas from the barrel to cycle the action. This gas travels along a tube above the barrel to thrust the bolt carrier assembly rearwards, ejecting the spent case and engaging the trigger-sear for the next shot. A return spring forces the bolt assembly forward to push the next round from the magazine into the chamber. This reliable system is used by many manufacturers of AR-15 style semi-autos which are highly popular with sport and recreational shooters the world over, likewise in South Africa.
The M&P15’S two-part receiver is aluminium alloy, coated inside and out with a durable, corrosion-resistant Armornite black finish. The upper section fits tightly onto the lower with no discernible free play. The integral trigger guard is spacious enough to accommodate a gloved finger.
All the controls are grooved for secure grip in all weather conditions. The safety-lever is on the left side of the receiver above the pistol grip; push up for ‘Fire’ and down for ‘Safe’. The shooting hand’s thumb finds it naturally for fast disengagement when shooting against the clock. The bolt-release lever is above and ahead of the trigger guard.
The magazine release button is on the right side, well within reach of my trigger finger for quick release. A hinged, spring-loaded cover keeps dirt out of the ejection port. There is also a forward-assist between grip and charge-handle to slam the bolt closed if a round fails to fully chamber; this feature was also on earlier AR-15 style rifles used by military and police.
The 16-inch threaded barrel is of 4140 steel with six grooves and a 1:9 twist suitable for 55gr to 75gr bullets, and has an A2-style flash suppressor. The M4-type polymer handguard has ventilation holes top and bottom. The polymer OEM stock has six positions and is collapsible with an aluminium buffer tube. To adjust stock length, depress a lever on the underside and slide the stock to the desired position where it locks into place. With the stock fully forward, the rifle’s overall length is 88.9cm. The sling attachment lies just ahead of the butt-plate. The polymer pistol-grip is standard AR-15 style. The rifle weighs 3.2kg and comes with a 30-round Magpul PMAG.
To fieldstrip, make the rifle safe and, with the bolt closed, push the takedown pin (above and behind the trigger) inward from the left and pull it from the right until it stops. Pivot the lower receiver section down and away from the upper. Pull the charging handle to the rear and remove the bolt carrier
assembly. Remove the charging handle by pulling it back to the takedown notch then down out of the upper receiver. Take out the bolt assembly. Reassemble in reverse order.
HEAVY RAINS NECESSITATED an indoor range session. Our test rifle was supplied with a Bushnell red-dot sight and Frontier 55gr .223 Remington Spire Point ammo. The first two freehand shots from 25m landed in the A-zone, 9mm apart. Various similar exercises resulted in groups of up to 40mm. Two shots fired over an x-bag landed 25mm apart. Several doubletap exercises, fired from the ready position and against the clock, consistently placed four shots within 90mm. Magazines fell freely during mag-changes; inserting fresh mags was made easy by the slightly flared magazine-well, and the bolt release lever worked smoothly to re-impose battery for the next shot.
The M&P15 Sport II performed flawlessly during our tests. It provides high fire-power while being very comfortable to shoot, and is ideal for sport shooting. As it comes with no sights or optics, you are free to choose your own. It accepts all AR-15 type accessories and replacement parts by Magpul, including their folding MBUS rear and front sights, MOE stocks, grips and handguards, MVG vertical grip and PMAG 30- and 50-round magazines. I recently saw an M&P15 Optic Ready rifle at Safari Outdoor retailing for R18 995. For other stockists, contact the importer, Inyathi Sporting Supplies on