AR-15 Review: Smith & Wesson M&P-15

I found the optics passable, but the rifle superb. Here I’m taking a break from the bench and trying my hand offhand on 100 yard ‘dogs.

I found the optics passable, but the rifle superb. Here I’m taking a break from the bench and trying my hand offhand on 100 yard ‘dogs.

The rifles had off-brand scopes on them that limited my shooting time. They were clear enough to get my hits. I was shooting a hundred percent out to about two hundred yards, and only dropping to fifty percent out to three hundred. #221 really loves Winchester 40-grain varmint and 50-grain ballistic silvertip ammo.

My misses usually came from mis-doping the wind. I’m not usually shooting on targets that small out that far and rarely bother much with wind doping. But after a couple of hours I’d have to take a break, and then I used the Tactical model with iron sights on targets a hundred yards and in closer.

The rifles all had the 5.56 chamber and one turn in nine inches barrels, so reliability wasn’t a problem. The problem was the scope. It was just enough not-sharp that after shooting for a couple of hours I was starting to get a headache.

The flat top upper is numbered, so you can get your accessories back in the correct spots.

The flat top upper is numbered, so you can get your accessories back in the correct spots.

The irons of the Tactical model gave me a rest. I could also use the bolt gun with a Leupold scope on it, but I wasn’t the only one taking a break. I know I went through over five hundred rounds of Winchester ammo in both the morning and afternoon session.

The only maintenance I gave #221 was to lube the bolt and carrier after lunch. Once lunch was over we were back out again, slaying critters.

One of our shooting locations in the two days we were at it, gave us a slightly rising field out to almost four hundred yards. Out to three hundred the drop of the .223/5.56 was not that much, and easy to deal with. A bit of hold over and we could walk our shots in. As part of the experience, I had brought my 7X42 Conquest Zeiss binoculars along. Superb! Spectacular!

Taking turns using the binoculars as spotter, we could call the hits and misses for each other, and get on-target out in the field. The holdover at 400 yards was quite a bit. Depending on what ballistic coefficient you believe, and where you zero (a 200-yard zero would be good for this kind of work) the bullet will be dropping twenty inches or so out at 400 yards and drifting quite a bit, even in a light breeze.

We finished the first day and went back for dinner, talk and sleep. The next morning at breakfast there was the rumor that someone has stayed up late into the night cleaning rifles but if so Wyoming should hire better night-time gun-cleaning gnomes.

I oiled up #221 and went out to do more shooting. In the course of the two days of shooting I estimate that I shot something on the order of 2,500 rounds through #221. I oiled it now and then, and otherwise left it alone. It never failed me once.

One thought on “AR-15 Review: Smith & Wesson M&P-15

  1. Skeebo

    I bought one that was on sale, had a 6x scope mounted & set for me! Also bought 1000 rounds of .223 ammo (my barrel is stamped 5.56 NATO) and was under $900! This is a really great addition to what I have! Plan on getting some 5.56 ammo and another mag! Would eagerly recommend this to anyone!

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