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Skillet

User review: S&W M&P 10

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With the price of AR10’s coming down I had been wanting one for a while. I usually worship at the alter of the great FAL, but decent milsurp magazines are becoming scarce and you’re pretty much limited to one or two sources for any new parts, and some of those are hit and miss in quality nowadays.

 

So I came across the 2nd Gen Smith and Wesson M&P 10. One thing up front – there is no US “mil-spec” when it comes to dimensions or materials. There has been a lot of proprietary stuff out there over the years starting with DPMS, Armalite, and Bushmaster. That is beginning to change, with most of the high volume manufacturers moving to using as many regular AR15 parts as possible and using the DPMS pattern for pretty much everything else. Also magazines have pretty much standardized around the SR-25, and Pmags are kind of becoming the default with 7.62/.308 rifles.

 

So why the M&P10 instead of the Springfield Saint? My primary reason was because the M&P has an 18” barrel. Decades ago both FN and the US Army conducted studies and the general consensus was you need at least 17 ¼” of barrel for 147g or larger 7.62 loads. Anything shorter and you’d lose appreciable velocity along with decreased at range accuracy.

 

Flashback and I got a stimulus check on the same day I got an email form GrabAGun that the M&P10 was back in stock. Well, I had a moment of weakness and jumped on it. I look at it this way – Unca Sam bought me a rifle ;) For the record: this is the first AR pattern rifle I’ve bought “pre-built” since before the AWB back in 94.

 

The rifle arrived with the usual manual and literature, 1 20 round black Pmag, in a typical S&W rifle case. You could tell the rifle had been test fired by the smell of powder residue, but it wasn’t cruddy. Stock the rifle weighed in at a hair over 8 lbs.

 

Going back to proprietary parts for a second, this rifle has a few. The gas port is actually drilled at Mid-Length +1”, which means the gas tube is a bit longer. The bolt carrier has some relief cuts in it, likely to tune the weight for recoil. The firing pin also is spring loaded. Other than that it appears everything else is AR15 (furniture, trigger group, buffer tube, spring, etc.) and the rest of the parts are DPMS pattern, which is what PSA and a few other companies use. A DPMS AR10 and a 3rd Gen PSA PA10 bolt carrier group will lockup and headspace correctly.

 

The barrel on this rifle is something else. It’s a thin profile barrel (likely to save weight) using a 5R rifling and finished off in S&W’s version of nitriding. The flash hider is a combination brake/flash hider and honestly it’s pretty effective at taming both the recoil and the muzzle signature.

 

All controls are fully ambidextrous. The bolt release has a lever that crosses the front of the lowers trigger well which may limit what aftermarket triggers you use if they are the cartridge type. Having ambi controls or not wasn’t a big thing for me, but it is convenient when shooting weak side, it just takes a bit of dry fire retraining to get used to reversing the manual of arms. I didn’t care for the short lever on one side of the safety, and when I did some upgrading went to a long lever ambi safety as well. Once again a standard AR15 part.

 

So I cleaned the factory lube and powder residue up and let everything sit overnight with a good coat of CLP on it, then wiped it down and started putting parts on it. It is an AR after all. I went with a Magpul mid length SL handguard (which I had to trim the retaining rings just a bit to fit) with their M-LOK sling ring, Magpul MIAD 2 grip, fixed carbine stock that I threaded one of the QD holes and installed a Grovetec QD sling mount (it sits flush unlike the Magpul snagger) and the Magpul extended pad to adjust for a longer LOP, and Magpul pro front and rear BUIS. Trigger wise I installed a Geissele SSA and used a spare CMMG ambi safety I had laying around.

 

On the range I was shooting PMC X-Tac M80 and had zero problems. The rifle actually has a pretty tame recoil for 7.62. I used two different optics setup. I zeroed the irons and my Eotech and magnifier at 21 yards, stacking rounds easily. To confirm I checked the setup against a 250 yard target and it was dead on. I then switched to a Primary Arms 1-6x24 second focal plane scope with the ACSS reticle in an American Defense QD base, and zeroed it at +1’ at 100 yards and it was dead on out to range. Given our terrain I’ll probably go back to the eotech/mag setup as we don’t really have a lot of open areas greater than 200 yards.

 

I’m not noticing any unusual wear after a couple of hundred rounds. I will likely switch over to a lowpro gas block and railed handguard, but I’m still undecided on which one to go with. Overall this rifle is a delight to shoot, capable of being more accurate than most shooters need, and runs like a clock. I have heard some complaints about the gas blocks wandering due to loose screws, so I am keeping an eyes on those.
 

If you don’t want to go the PSA route and build the M&P 10 is an excellent choice. There are a lot of good thorough reviews (NutnFancy has a decent one on Youtube) which cover some issues poeple have had, but by and far most have had the same experience I've had. It’s performed well enough to become my new go to rifle and I’ve started stocking what few proprietary parts there are. The rest I can snag at PSA.

MP10.png

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It must have been meant to be!  I've purchased a few guns under "must have been meant to be" circumstances.  :D


"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.” ― Mark Twain

 

"I prefer dangerous FREEDOM over peaceful SLAVERY" -Thomas Jefferson

 

"Si vis pacem para bellum" - Every wise warrior there ever was.

 

lfr.jpg.91d35fb0dbad2fa6e5cc5b2544ce55d5.jpg

 

lfr.jpg

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nice i want one to jealous

//So why the M&P10 instead of the Springfield Saint? My primary reason was because the M&P has an 18” barrel. Decades ago both FN and the US Army conducted studies and the general consensus was you need at least 17 ¼” of barrel for 147g or larger 7.62 loads. Anything shorter and you’d lose appreciable velocity along with decreased at range accuracy.//

thats why i went with a 21 inch saiga 308 also

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Yup, the longer the gas tube, carbine, mid length, rifle length the softer the recoil and the less wear and tear on the inner parts.  You want to maximize that powder burn as well with the longer barrels.  M&P is good quality, just got a new M&P 2.0 9mm Subcompact for my new EDC.  Waiting on an Apex trigger kit and Truglo Pro day / night sights to get put on soon.


"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.” ― Mark Twain

 

"I prefer dangerous FREEDOM over peaceful SLAVERY" -Thomas Jefferson

 

"Si vis pacem para bellum" - Every wise warrior there ever was.

 

lfr.jpg.91d35fb0dbad2fa6e5cc5b2544ce55d5.jpg

 

lfr.jpg

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Author of the topic Posted

Quite frankly I was surprised at how well the gas system is tuned out of the box. I haven't weighed the buffer but I'm betting it's an H3. This one is the mildest .308 I've ever shot.  In a rifle just over 8 lbs it's very easy to quickly get follow ups.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, Skillet said:

Saiga308snipe, that's the Gen1 (you can tell by the birdcage). Here's the vid I referred to in the review:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JPnPFp2G44

yeah i seen that video at sometime in the past .hey like to see some reloads say 168 gr match using say varget/imr 4064 powder to see if it tightens up some more

Edited by Saiga308snipe

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Author of the topic Posted

I have no doubt with some good tight hand loads it would be a tackdriver. I wasn't expecting much from that skinny barrel but I guess that 5R rifling makes a difference.  When I zeroed the PA scope I was getting around 1 MOA at the 100 +1", and I think some of that was me. I've got a few rifles that can shoot better than I shoot, and this is one of them.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Skillet said:

I have no doubt with some good tight hand loads it would be a tackdriver. I wasn't expecting much from that skinny barrel but I guess that 5R rifling makes a difference.  When I zeroed the PA scope I was getting around 1 MOA at the 100 +1", and I think some of that was me. I've got a few rifles that can shoot better than I shoot, and this is one of them.

you be suprized how powder makes a diffrence with my 308 spanish mauser like speer 165 gr sp with 4064 over varget go to video time 3:55

 

Edited by Saiga308snipe

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Author of the topic Posted

Ohh I know, MOF I have one of those Spanish Mausers. I download a bit to the 7.62 Cetme.  I have a guy that does a lot of my bulk loading for me, he has the motorized setup and it's insane. I had 500 7.62 M61 projos rolled up using Hogdon BL-C(2) and new primed 7.62 overrun brass.  He and I have talked about sitting down and coming up with an optimal round for this rifle but honestly given the ranges I need to use it at I think it's kind of a wasted exercise. I do have a couple of boxes of 175g MK316 Mod0's I'll probably put the scope back on at some point and see how accurate it really is. I know in my 700 those things are insanely good for a factory round.

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