I took my new S&W M&P15-22 to the range today and did an initial checkout. What a great rifle!!! I was very pleased how it felt, handled, and operated just like my AR-15. I fed it six different types of .22 ammo and all was ingested without issue, including the 60-grain Aguila.
I shot about 200 rounds using a VX-II 3-9x and some with the mil-spec irons sights that came on the rifle. Accuracy was a mixed bag. I fired 5-shot groups at 50 yard. There was a 10+ mph wind at my back. This rifle did not like Federal Match ammo at all! It functioned fine but groups were spread out. It liked CCI Blazer the best. Accuracy results are below with some examples of the groups. Points of impact were pretty much repeatable between the different types.
Ammunition Type ______ Group Size
Federal _______________ 1.5”, 1.75”
Federal Target Grade ____ 2.25”, 2.75”
Federal Gold Match _____ 4.25”, 3.0”
CCI Blazer ____________ 1.0”, 1.0”, 1.25”
CCI Green Tag _________ 0.875”, 1.5”
Aguila ________________ 1.25”
The front fore arm end cap’s bore is the same diameter as the barrel so it is in contact with the barrel when installed. I removed it to see if that made any difference in group sizes if the barrel was free-floated (see picture below). I need to do some more shooting to verify but initial groups showed little change when it was removed (similar to my AR-15 see this topic). AR-15 accuracy comparison: mil-spec handguard vs freefloat
The fore arm rail was a stiff with it installed as without so I’m leaving the end cap out for now.
Both the CCI Blazer and Federal come in inexpensive bricks and are sufficient in accuracy for the type of shooting I plan to do. I will also have to try some Remington and Winchester ammo in the future to see if any of these shoot as well.
The magazine was easy to load. Twice I had a bullet flip over backwards and needed to use the tip of a ball-point pen inserted into the side slots to flip it back forward. I think if I didn’t hold down magazine spring as far, there wouldn’t be sufficient room for this to occur and the bullets would always stay pointed forward. The magazine inserted and dropped like a typical AR magazine except it seemed to want to be more in-line to insert cleanly. It was really nice to have the bolt lock back on when the magazine was empty.
Tonight I gave it cleaning before putting it up. The standard AR Bore cleaning rod guide can not be used. It is smaller in diameter than the bore of the top receiver. My .22 cleaning rod just clears the extractor that is fixed to the barrel so you can still clean it from the breech. The rifle cleaned up easily
Since this is definitely a keeper, I did a 15-min trigger job on it tonight, the same as I did on my AR-15 (the trigger group is all mil-spec components down to the pins). Now its trigger feels identical to my AR-15. I will initially shoot it using the iron sights for now but it warrants having a good red-dot site installed in the near future. I can’t wait to get it back out to the range!!