I have been wanting to explore the AR platform beyond 5.56/.223 and took my first dive into that area with yesterday’s purchase of a Smith & Wesson M&P10. I am located an hour and a half from the nearest range that would allow me to shoot beyond 200 meters, so my first impressions of the rifle out of the box are below. But first, a little history lesson on the M&P10.
S&W got into the AR market with their M&P15 line. So far, the M&P rifles have been generally well received from those knowledgeable on the AR platform. Everyone I know that owns one has nothing but glowing reviews of it. The M&P line is marketed towards military and police (hence M&P) and the M&P line of pistols have made gains in the law enforcement market, an area S&W dominated until Glock moved onto that scene. One negative thing about the M&P pistols has been the poor trigger feel (keep that in mind moving forward).
Before I purchased this rifle, I knew I was going to be making upgrades to it in order to make it more of a precision rifle than my AR-15s. Enhancements already planned were a Magpul PRS stock, a free float rail, a bipod, a more ergonomic pistol grip, and an optic of some kind. Specific items I have in mind for these are listed at the bottom of the post.
A very light weight considering it is a 7.62mm rifle. The M&P10 weighs in at less than 8 lbs.
The rifling in the barrel is a 1:10″ 5R twist, which has had very positive things reviewed about it. I cannot speak for the 5R part, but the 1:10″ twist is the same as many high-end .308 caliber rifles.
The rifle has an ambidextrous safety and bolt release. Since I am a righty, I don’t see the need for them, but I do realize there are many southpaws that shoot. I operated the ambi controls from my left side and they worked okay I guess. The uncomfortableness I felt was probably just from me operating an AR’s controls with my non-dominant hand.
The flash suppressor looks like it will be very effective
The staking on the castle nut is very light. I am not sure if this is by design, but I have only seen one AR previously that had lighter staking.
The bolt carrier had no markings for MPI/HPT, neither did the barrel. I know in AR-15′s, when those tests are conducted, they are marked on the metal. Is this usually the same in .308 ARs?
The gas key staking looked like it was done at an angle and not directly down. Again, this is just an observation and maybe this is just a difference between the .308 ARs and the AR-15s.
The buffer already looked really beat up
I have not felt a trigger this bad since i was in basic training. It feels like a cross between a 2 stage and single stage trigger. It almost has a squishy feel and even after dry firing it 30 times I still never had a good idea where the break point on the trigger was. I already knew I wanted to make some upgrades to the rifle, and now adding a new trigger (a relatively easy thing to do) is on the list.
Trigger group – Timney or Geissele
Stock – The mil-spec style stock has to go. I am leaning towards a Magpul PRS
Free float rail – would accommodate any accessories, specifically a bipod. Leaning towards a Troy Free Float BattleRail.
Pistol Grip - ERGO Tactical Deluxe Sure Grip. Currently the M&P10 has a mil-spec style pistol grip that doesn’t do it for me.
Bipod - GG&G XDS Bipod. GG&G is a southern Arizona company. I don’t live there anymore, but I will still give them some scratch for a quality product. If not GG&G, then Harris would be my choice.
Sling - VTAC Wide Padded Sling. The rifle is light now, but after adding an optic and the items listed above it may be needed.
Optic – need to do a lot of research on this but I am looking for a 3-5 power scope. Maybe a Trijicon or Leopold. I favor the Trijicon because I am familiar and comfortable with their ACOG and they make a ACOG with a .308 bullet drop compensator (BDC).
Additional pics can be found here.