Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review
Part 3 - External Features
August 19, 2011

Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

In this part of the review, I will cover the external features of the Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Rifle.  In the next part, I will cover some of these features even more when I disassemble the rifle.  Throughout the review, you can click on a photo which will bring up a high resolution image showing even more detail.  These next four photos give you overall isometric views of the rifle.  In these photos I show the rifle being supported with a UTG OP-1 Bipod which does not come with the M&P15-22 rifle.

 

Figure 1
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

From these photos I think you will get the impression of a very attractive rimfire platform, I did.  The combination of the Realtree® APG HD® camo finish and the black accents of the barrel, magazine and sights give the rifle some real eye appeal.  After a close inspection of the camo finish, it appears that Smith & Wesson did a great job with the application of the finish.

Figure 2
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

In reality, the 10-round magazine is probably more appropriate for this hunter (camo) style rifle and was the right choice for S&W, but I wish it had come with a 25-round magazine.  I feel that an additional high capacity magazine will be one of the first few accessories purchased for this rifle and it would have been nice for S&W to have added one with the package even if it cost a little more.

Figure 3
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 4
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Just to be complete, I added these three photos of the rifle showing direct views of the right, bottom and left sides of the rifle.  The length of the rifle varies from 31.75" to 35" based on the position of the buttstock.  These were longer than those listed on the S&W website.  I believe the S&W website has listed the length of the non-compensator (flash hider) model.

Figure 5
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 6
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 7
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

The front sight is attached to the quad rail with a large thumb nut and the sight can be easily removed.  The barrel is supported by the polymer quad rail through a polymer disk at the front of the quad rail as shown below.  I was not able to get a dollar bill pressed between the barrel and disk on all sides so it is clearly not full floated.  The length of barrel plus A-1 style compensator forward of the quad rail is 6.55".

Figure 8
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

The rear sight is also attached to the upper receiver rail with a large thumb nut and the sight can also be easily removed.

Figure 9
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

The rear sight is adjustable in both windage and elevation while the front sight is adjustable in elevation only.  The rear sight also includes a dual aperture.  All of these features of the sights will be covered in greater detail further down in this part of the review.

Figure 10
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

The sights for the M&P15-22 weighed in at 0.46 pounds (7.35 ounces) which seems a little high for the weight of sights compared to the weight of the rifle.  The 10 round magazine weighed in at 0.19 pounds (3.05 ounces).

Figure 11                                                            Figure 12
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

The rifle, with no sights or magazine, weighed in at 4.55 pounds which is an extremely light rimfire platform rifle.

Figure 13
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

The rifle, sights and magazine included, weighed in at 5.20 pounds which was less than the advertised weight of 5.5 pounds.  I speculate that the website is listing the weight of a rifle with a 25-round magazine, not 10-round magazine.

Figure 14
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

The barrel diameter forward of the quad rail measured 0.67" and appears to be approximately the same constant diameter inside the front of the quad rail and then gently tapers to a larger diameter at the barrel nut area.  The end of the barrel is threaded with a 1/2 x 28" thread and includes an A1-Style Compensator.  The barrel is manufactured from 4140 carbon steel alloy and has a 1 in 15" barrel twist rate.  The barrel measured 16" in length from the chamber face to the rear side of the compensator.

Figure 15
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

The polymer quad rail hand guard measures 10" in length.  The top of the quad rail has 25 slots while the sides have 24 slots each.  For the sides, the rear slot was not possible due to the taper on the rear sides of the quad rail.  The bottom has 20 slots with an extra wide slot at the rear.  The quad rail measured 2.43" tall and 2.17" wide and includes 9 lightning holes in each quadrant.  By using a flashlight, I was able to look down the inside of the quad rail and it looks like the quad rail is held in place by the barrel nut.

Figure 16 - Right Side
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

The polymer molded material not having quite the sharp edges as a machined aluminum quad rail makes handling the hand guard without rail covers practical and fairly comfortable.

Figure 17 - Bottom Side
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 18 - Left Side
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 19 - Top Side
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

The polymer upper receiver includes a 13 slot rail measuring just under 6.25" in length.  Both the functioning charging handle and latch are made from a polymer material.

Figure 20
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

On the right side of the upper receiver is a cartridge case deflector just rear of the shortened ejection port needed for the .22LR cartridge.  On the right side of the lower receiver, you can see the heads of the takedown pins, "Fire / Safe" indicator, magazine release and "M&P15-22" stenciled on the outside of the magazine well.  The lower receiver also has a slightly enlarged integrally molded trigger guard.  I measured the trigger pull to be an average of 5.4 pounds based on 10 pulls and the trigger has about 0.07" of motion before it releases the hammer.

Figure 21
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

When looking at the bottom of the lower receiver in the magazine well area, you will notice that a large protrusion sticks out on the rear side to match the profile of the magazine.  I see this as another way to ensure that the lower receiver never gets mated up with a .223 upper.

Figure 22
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

On the left side of the lower receiver you can see the ends of the takedown pins, "Fire / Safe" selector switch, bolt catch and the opposite side of the magazine catch.  Also stenciled on this side of the lower receiver is the S&W logo, "Model M&P 15-22", "Caliber .22LR", "Smith & Wesson Springfield, MA" and "Made in U.S.A." which never hurts.  Last you will see the serial number of the rifle on a metallic strip that appears to be bonded into a recess in the lower receiver.

Figure 23
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

I have added the next two photos to give you a slightly different perspective to see more depth of view on the upper and lower receivers details that are explained above.

        Figure 24                                                             Figure 25
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

If you have been studying the photos above, you have probably already picked up on the fact that the buffer tube is integrally molded into the lower receiver.  The diameter of the buffer tube most closely matches that of a Mil-Spec buffer tube with this one measuring 1.153" in diameter.  The buffer tube contained locations to allow 6 different positions of the buttstock.

Figure 26
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

The end of the buffer tube is hollow as shown below.  This hollow area starts out at about .88" in diameter at the end and tapers to some smaller diameter as you get closer to the lower receiver.  At the narrowest point, it is still capable of holding a 123A battery with a little extra room.  This hollow area is about 6.88" deep.

Figure 27
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

The M&P15-22 also comes with a black cap for the hollow area in the buffer tube.  With the cap in place, there is about 6.5" of potential storage in this area.  If I were to store anything in this area, I would also plan to include some tissues around the items to reduce the rattle.

Figure 28
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 29
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

The buttstock is a very simple collapsible M-4 style buttstock that includes a toe-mounted sling swivel and integral slot to allow attachment of a variety of sling types.  As with nearly all buttstocks of this simple type, there is rattle of the buttstock on the buffer tube.

Figure 30
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 31
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 32
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review


Rear Sight

The rear sight is a dual aperture sight that is adjustable in both windage and elevation.  It attaches to a Picatinny rail by a thumb nut on the left side of the sight.  The sight is all metallic with the basic housing being made from aluminum.  Both the windage and elevation adjustment knobs have very positive clicks as you adjust them and the sight is well marked for the direction of adjustment to move the bullet impact.

Figure 33
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 34                                                       Figure 35
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 36                                                      Figure 37
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

In the photos below, I took the pictures prior to sighting in the rifle.  The aperture position for windage has no relation to zero in these photos.

Figure 38                                                                 Figure 39
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review


Front Sight

Just like the rear sight, the front sight is an all metallic assembly with the main housing being made from aluminum.  The front sight is adjustable in elevation by using a standard A2 style adjustment tool.  The sight attaches to a Picatinny rail by a thumb nut on the left side of the sight.

Figure 40
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 41                                                           Figure 42
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 43                                              Figure 44
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review


10-Round Magazine

The 10-round magazine is an all polymer assembly except for the magazine spring.  The magazine contains an "Ambidextrous Load-Assist Button" to help move the follower down during loading.

Figure 45
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

              Figure 46                       Figure 47                        Figure 48                        Figure 49
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

 Figure 50                                                             Figure 51
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review  Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

 

Thoughts

Although there is an extensive use of polymer materials in the the Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Rifle, I'm surprised at how sturdy/stiff the rifle feels.  I believe this camo version also removes the "black polymer look" and gives an even more positive impression of the rifle.  The rifle weighed in at 5.2 pounds which is about a pound lighter than its major competitor in the rimfire market.  I can see that the combination of light weight and 6 position adjustable stock makes this rifle a great choice as a youth rifle for young shooters.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments on my Reader's Comments page.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 


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