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In this early Smith & Wesson M&P-15 review, Patrick Sweeney’s verdict on the AR-style carbine is in: Get one.
The major components of the S&E M&P-15 come from Continental Machine & Tool. Known in the industry as “CMT,” they are a big behind-the-scenes maker of parts for many manufacturers. In fact, a lot of the rifles tested in this book (and Volume 1 as well) were assembled using CMT components. So in that regard S&W is not alone.
The three rifles offered are a standard M4, a tactical carbine with a railed forearm, and a precision rifle built up by the Performance Center. I had quite some time testing both the M4 and the Tactical. My first hands-on of the two was on a Wyoming prairie dog shoot.
I found myself along with several other gun writers at a ranch in the middle of Wyoming, to shoot prairie rats. We had a literal truckload of Winchester varmint ammo, and a selection of S&W M&P-15s to shoot. Being the sneaky, underhanded gunsmith that I am, I took a quick look at the rifles and found the one with the best trigger. That was serial number 221.
I then mounted the scope so far forward to accommodate my skinny frame and odd shooting stance that no one else could shoot it, thus guaranteeing I would have that one the whole trip.
For those who have not done so, prairie dog shooting is not hunting. Despite what some call it, it is plinking at animate targets. (Sssh, don’t let hunting haters know that.) You drive to a suitable spot, set up, and start shooting (“suitable” as in “lots of prairie dogs and other assorted vermin”). Vermin is what they are.
They’re members of the despised family rodentia, and we were warned repeatedly not to get too close to them, as they are all infected with various diseases and prone to carry ticks, fleas and God-knows-what. You shoot until you run out of targets, ammo or time. How big are the targets? Basically, one or two playing cards in size. How far can you shoot? As far as you can hit.