Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review
Part 5 - Internal Features
August 21, 2011

Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

 

In this part of the review, I show many detailed photos of the internal features for the Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Rifle.  From these photos you should get a good idea on the internal features and workmanship of the rifle.  I have added comments to point out some features I feel are significant but in general I will let the photos speak for themselves.


Upper Receiver

The upper receiver is an all polymer molded part that replicates the basic features of an AR style upper receiver.

Figure 1
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

One of the most visible differences for the upper receiver from it's AR big brother is the shorted ejection port to accommodate the .22LR cartridge.

Figure 2
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 3
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Although it is not possible to see in these photos, I believe there is a stainless steel bushing/liner in the hole where the barrel mates to the upper receiver.

Figure 4
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 5
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 6
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

In the photos below, I want to point out the slots on the inside of the upper receiver bolt area at the 4 & 9 o'clock positions.  The bolt assembly guide rails nest in these slots in the upper receiver and the ends of the bolt assembly guide rails engage into the end of the barrel chamber in matching slots in the chamber face.  The best I can tell, this ensures that the bolt rides on the guide rails and does not actually touch the inside of the polymer receiver.  Also, the ejector is pinned against to the chamber end of the barrel.

          Figure 7                                                             Figure 8
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review    Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review


Lower Receiver

Just for kicks, I decided to see if a Mil-Spec upper receiver would mate up with the lower receiver.  It would not because the distance between the takedown pins is slightly different.  You would never be able to see this difference by looking at the rifle and it is probably a good thing that S&W chose to make these differences.

Figure 9
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 10
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 11 - Hammer Cocked
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 12 - Hammer Un-cocked
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

In this next photo I show the inside of the magazine well while looking from the bottom of the receiver.  You can see the rear (on the right) area that protrudes out to match the shape of the M&P15-22 magazine.  I also checked to see if a standard AR style magazine would fit inside the basic well area.  It would not fit.  The magazine well length is slightly shorter, but you would never notice the difference when looking at the rifle.

Figure 13
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review


Charging Handle

The charging handle and latch are all polymer parts and measure about 4.92" in length.

Figure 14                                                                 Figure 15 
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review


Bolt Assembly

The bolt assembly is a fairly simple assembly shown below.  The back of the guide rod is attached to the rear polymer support block and the front of the guide rod slides through a pin on the top of the bolt.  Blow-back forces from firing the cartridge compresses the recoil spring supported by the guide rod.  The bolt rides on the bolt guide rails to maintain alignment.  The bolt is some type of stainless steel alloy which has an impressively smooth finish.

Figure 16                                                               Figure 17
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 18
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 19
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 20
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Figure 21
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

I will have to admit that I should have done a better job cleaning the face of the bolt prior to taking the photo below on the right.

Figure 22                                                             Figure 23
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review    Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

After a quick examination of the bolt assembly, I decided to do a little more disassembly.  By pressing the bolt assembly slightly, you can see there is a slot on the rear end of the spring guide rod that will allow the end of the guide rod to rotate up out of the slot in the rear polymer part on the bolt.

Figure 24
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

After sliding the rod out of the slot, you can unload the spring.  The spring will slide off the end of the rod and then you can push the rod out of the pin on the bolt.

Figure 25
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

The photo below shows disassembly to this level.  At this point, I decided to stop  with the disassembly and I feel you would not need to disassemble any further for detailed cleaning.

Figure 26
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Review

Thoughts

I was pleased with the quality of the components.  One thing that I was surprised at was that S&W did not include an exploded view and parts list for the rifle.  Personally I feel that this should be standard in all firearm instruction manuals.

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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