Rifle Review: Springfield Armory Saint with Free Float Handguard

Last year, Springfield Armory rolled out the Saint Rifle. The Saint was well received, but shooters were chomping at the bit for a version with a free-float handguard. Springfield listened, and has now brought to market a Saint rifle with a free-float, 12.5 inch M-LOK handguard. I was recently provided a Springfield Armory Saint for review. 

Reviewing an Ar-15 is easy. There are three questions that need to be answered for a proper review. Did Springfield Armory use good parts in the construction of this rifle? Was it accurate, and was it assembled correctly?

Did Springfield Armory use good parts?

From the infographic below you can see that Springfield used military grade steel and aluminum, as well as quality accessories. In my opinion the most important parts on this rifle are the barrel and the bolt carrier group. Springfield used an excellent barrel with a 1/8 twist. 1/8 twists will generally stabilize everything from 52 to 77 grains. The bolt carrier group appears to be military grade and the bolt is made out of 158 Carpenter steel. Springfield also used a suite of high quality, modern accessories.  

SAINT

Is the Saint rifle accurate?

Accuracy testing was done at a private ranch in Central New Mexico. Testing was done in the prone position off a loaded Harris style bipod. For testing I used 55 grain PMC Bronze ammunition, as well as 69 and 77 Grain Federal Premium, GOLD MEDAL MATCH ammunition. The 55 Grain PMC Bronze grouped 1.75 to 2 MOA at 100 yards. The 77 Grain Federal Premium, GOLD MEDAL MATCH ammunition grouped 1 to 1.25 MOA, while the 69 Grain Federal Premium averaged .75 MOA to 1 MOA at 100 yards. Groups could have been tightened up with handloads and a match grade trigger.

For accuracy testing, I used my Bushnell HDMR rifle scope as well a bipod. Accuracy testing was done in the prone position at 100 yards. I removed the BCM Gunfighter stock and attached a B5 SOPMOD stock. The B5 SOPMOD allows for a better cheek weld and mates nicely with a rear bag.

Accuracy testing was done at a private ranch in Central New Mexico.

55 grain PMC Bronze. This is a 1.75 inch group.

69 Grain Federal Premium, GOLD MEDAL MATCH. This group measured .80 inches at 100 yards. The Saint seemed to prefer the 69 grain Federal Premium ammunition to the 77 grain Federal.

Was the Saint assembled correctly?

Military grade parts are essential for an Ar-15 to work properly, but just as important is the actual assembly of the rifle. After test firing the Saint, I took it to my armorers bench to tear it apart, and make sure that it was properly assembled.

The first thing I look at when I pick up an Ar-15 rifle is the castle nut. If the castle nut is not staked, I will not review the rifle. Castle nuts must be staked. As you can see here, Springfield staked their castle nut.

In this picture you can see that the hammer, trigger and disconnector have been coated with Nickel Boron. The trigger is a standard “milspec” trigger. It broke around 5-6 lbs. It was…your typical milspec trigger. It was smooth, and it did lack the “gritty” feel of milspec triggers. For general work it’s fine. For precision work you are going to want to drop in a Gold, Rise or Geissele trigger.

Checking the torque on the A2 Compensator. This part should be torqued between 25-30 ft-lbs. It was torqued at 28 ft-lbs.

The M-LOK handguard is held onto the barrel nut by two T-20 Torx screws. These screws were torqued on at 45 in-lbs and thread lock was not used. (*grumpy face*)

After removing the handguard, I was delighted to see the low profile gas block pinned to the barrel. That is a big deal! I have worked on A LOT of guns that had problems with loose gas blocks. In my opinion gas blocks should always be pinned to a barrel, and I would never go into harms way without my gas block pinned on.  After a moment of admiration for the armorers at Springfield I removed the gas tube.

Barrel nuts should be torqued between 30 and 80 ft-lbs. I set my torque wrench to 30 ft-lbs and checked the barrel nut. I am not exactly sure what the barrel nut was torqued at, but it was above 30 ft-lbs. Good job Springfield armorers!

After re-attaching the gas tube and the handguard, I used Rocksett on the screws that secure the handguard to the barrel nut. Rocksett is the only thread lock I will use for parts that get hot. I would not use Loctite on these screws, only Rocksett.

The screws on the gas key were properly staked, and did not move when I tried to rotate them.

The 158 Carpenter bolt was stamped MP, which means it was Magnetic Particle Inspected. The extractor had the proper black insert as well as a Crane O-Ring.

Closing

Springfield Armory did a very good job with this product. The Saint that I was provided for testing was made with excellent parts, assembled correctly, and was accurate. I would consider the Saint a military grade rifle. I spend a lot of time shooting, training, hunting, and testing gear, and I consider my rifles as consumables. The Saint I was provided for testing meets the quality standards that I require for my personal guns, and the rifle I was sent, will be purchased from Springfield and used indefinitely. If you are in the market for an Ar-15, I highly recommend this rifle. 

The Springfield Armory Saint with free float handguard has an MSRP of $1049.

Be sure to check out our YouTube Channel, TFBTV. As always tips, questions, comments and jokes are welcome in the comments below.

 

 



Thomas Gomez

Thomas Gomez currently resides in the mountains of central New Mexico. He has an M.B.A, an Ar-15/M16/M4 armorer certification from Specialized Armament Warehouse as well as a Glock armorer certification. Aside from writing for The Firearm Blog he works as a Clinical Analyst for a large Hospital. He spends his free time farming, ranching, hiking, fly-fishing and hunting in the beautiful forests and prairies of New Mexico. He can be reached at LOADTHATBIPOD@gmail.com


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  • Don Ward

    In Before The Springfield Lynch Mob.

    • Jared Vynn

      You were late by 2 minutes.

  • Joshua

    I just want the handguard to be buyable.

  • Malthrak

    While not wanting to comment on the quality of the review or the product in and of itself, it’s rather awkward seeing this review with Saint banner ads all over the place on this page and the rather awkward incident a few days ago with another article conflating the current Springfield with Springfield of old.

    • Thomas Gomez

      I just work here and review what I am told to review. Hope this finds you well.

      • Malthrak

        I get that, I wasnt trying to disparage you personally at all, and is why I didn’t harp on the content of the review itself, just pointing out the “optics”. I dont have any criticisms to level at your actual review.

        • Thomas Gomez

          Us writers have zero contact with our marketing department. As previously mentioned I just review what my editor sends me. I have given a lot of bad reviews over the years. I think the Saint is a good rifle, and I totally understand your point of view. Thank you for reading my article. Let me know if I missed anything!

          • Bill

            MSRP? Granted, it is easy enough to look up but some discussion of price might be relevant.

          • Thomas Gomez

            $1047. My apologies, I will add that to the article.

    • I don’t have anything to do with the ads. Heck I don’t even know what ads are coming. I just ask for products to review I know are getting ready to come out and are new or have new features.
      Once I request a product for a writer to review I don’t see the article until the writer puts it up for posting.

    • Edeco

      Makes sense to me, it’s an OK article and the reviews and ads are just more fuel for the metaphorical torches, keep it fresh in our minds.

  • Raptor Fred
  • Tom’s good people and knows the AR platform inside and out. SAI hoopla aside, I love a good technical article that cuts through fluff/marketing hype and tells you what you really want to know about a rifle before you buy (or boycott?) it. Nicely done, bro.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Thank you James.

      • Jared Vynn

        The flip up sights appear to be rebranded utg pro low profile flip up sights. Any thoughts on the quality of said iron sights?

        • Thomas Gomez

          That was a concern of mine as well. They were well made, and when they were flipped up, there was no play in the sight. I think they are good to go.

          • Jared Vynn

            My experiences with the UTG pro products has been good so I had hoped for good news on the sights. Thanks for the review.

          • Thomas Gomez

            I buy capabilites not brands. I have used UTG sights and they work just fine. If you are on a budget, or even if you just need an iron sight…UTG’s are fine.

          • Twilight sparkle

            They’re not utg pro, the “pro” stuff was made in the USA those are made in China with regular utg stuff; however, the quality on those sights isn’t what the regular utg stuff has the reputation of being

  • Bud Harton

    What TFB and every other gun blog is risking is guilt by association.

    Go ahead and review SA and RRA or accept their advertising and then wait and see if your readership starts to fall off.

    Of course if it does start to fall off, it will be too late to go back and try to save it because there really isn’t any “do overs” when it comes to deceit and backstabbing. That’s what SA and RRA did and TFB seems to want to be complicit.

    • Jared Vynn

      They can’t control what the advertisers show. I believe it’s Google ad service presenting the Springfield ads.

      • tazman66gt

        Kinda like SA and RRA not knowing what their lobby was doing, right? Wow.

        • QuadGMoto

          Kinda like not knowing exactly what’s going on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurant.

        • Jared Vynn

          They just got code to display the Google ad frames, Google is the ones that determine what is in those frames.

          You don’t get made at the picture frame manufacturer because their frames are used to hold objectionable art.

        • I won’t explain it again but once and for all we don’t have a thing to do with ads. We’re about the guns period.

    • Mrninjatoes

      I don’t read The Firearm Blog for politics. If they ever stark talking politics I am gone. Bearing arms and TBAG, excuse me, TTAG cover politics. I am here for the reviews and James Reeves rocking them short shorts!

    • dtschirh

      1) Thank you for the technical review.
      2) Thank you for remaining true to the philosophy of the blog, “firearms, not politics.”

    • Nope we do product reviews for readers. We will not ever get involved in politics no matter what some may think.
      On this end, that is writers and editors, don’t have a darn thing to do with ads etc. That is handled way above our pay grade. We see ads when you do and not before.

    • Fin

      Time for TFB to step up and stop with the no politics bullshit

      • There’s a hundred other political-commentary internet jizzrags you can check out, in the meantime, we are the only apolitical, objective site.

      • Madcap_Magician

        Wait a second here. If the objection to SA is about a political position SA took, and your proposed answer to it is that TFB not cover SA, is that not political?

        Is not the only non-political thing to do to continue to cover guns, regardless of who makes them?

    • Bierstadt54

      No, we need places like TFB to be free of the politics. Springfield has been a good company before and I hope it will one day somehow redeem itself. I am on the Springfield boycott train. But it would be a serious mistake to extend that to TFB.

  • Mrninjatoes

    Why didn’t you post groups with the federal 77 grain ammo? Nice rifle. Springfield puts their roll mark on everything. Nice UTG bipod bro!

    • Thomas Gomez

      Ninja! I didn’t post the 77 grain groups because…I didn’t. Actually they were nothing to write home about, and the 69 grain performed better/

      That UTG bipod kicks ass! I had a friend give me a box of random gear when he went overseas. That bipod was in there, and it interfaces with a MIL-STD 1913 rail. Cheers homie! Good to see you.

      • Jared Vynn

        Some UTG bipods come with an adapter to allow use with a bipod/sling stud.

  • QuadGMoto

    I hadn’t heard of Rocksett before, nor of someone unhappy with Loctite.

    Thinking about it, I could see how Loctite could be an issue on connections that get hot since applying heat is what’s necessary to disassemble parts that it’s been used on.

    Could you go into a little more detail on this? For example, if Rocksett isn’t bothered by heat, how do you get those screws out later?

    • Thomas Gomez

      Hello Quad.

      Loctite is fine for parts that are not subject to heat. Red Loctite burns off at 300 F and the high temp red Loctite burns off around 400 F. Barrel nuts get hot, so I used Rocksett. Rocksett is rated to 2,015 degrees F, and I think it twists off around 20 to 25 in-lbs. I have been using Rocksett for about 5 years, and I have never had a problem removing something with it on.

      Hope this finds you well.

      • QuadGMoto

        In other words, it holds more firmly than nothing at all, less firmly than Loctite red, and stays put under high temp conditions that causes Loctite to evaporate?

        • Thomas Gomez

          Things being held firm is a matter of torque and the chemical composition of the material you are trying to torque. Rocksett holds better then Loctite and doesn’t burn off. That is why we use it for muzzle brakes, and parts subjected to high temps. Rocksett is better than Loctite. I use it for everything, regardless of how much heat the part will be exposed to.

  • USMC03Vet

    They should have launched the Saint with this version instead. It has all the stuff you want like free float, good furniture, mlok, and no iron front sight post. If the street price is around $700 I’d pick this up.

    Is the barrel CHF?

    • Jared Vynn

      It would have to be under $600 for me personally, PSA kinda set the bar low without compromising on quality.

      • USMC03Vet

        PSA doesn’t offer a full rifle for lower than that with low profile gas block/no IFS and free float. Their basic keymod with standard mil furniture is $700.

        • Jared Vynn

          They don’t offer it yet, and I usually only buy on sale so my thoughts on price tend to be skewed.

          • USMC03Vet

            I feel you. I’m always creeping their sales too.

    • Havok

      This is where I come in and dash your hopes….Pricing from the distributors is currently over $800….so street price will likely be in the low $900 range.

  • What are these “ads” you speak of?
    Sincerely,
    Privacy Badger, Ghostery and uBlock.

    • Fin

      The brave browser

  • Trotro

    Thank you. I was wondering if I would be able to get a review of this gun without all the politics of SA involved.

  • Jim_Macklin

    When checking accuracy, the scope should be as high a magnification as possible without getting aberrations from heat waves. The parallax should be adjusted to the actual range.
    What were the details on the scope used.

    • Thomas Gomez

      What was lacking in my article? You seem to think that I don’t know how to use my gear.

      The scope was a Bushnell HDMR. The reticle was a Horus H59. After the scope was zeroed I dialed up 2/10 of a mil and 2/10 of a mil to the right so my aiming point did not get shot. Parallax was set at 100 yards. Magnification was 18x. Temperature was over 100 degrees and I was seeing to much mirage on 21 power. Any other questions?

    • Bierstadt54

      lol, rekt

  • Ranger Rick

    I didn’t read the article, because at this time im not interested in what Springfield has to sell.

    • Thomas Gomez

      You should have read it. There is technical data that applies to all Ar-15’s.

      • Ranger Rick

        I read the article and yes there is technical data which you provided. SA also knows how to build firearms especially their Custom Shop, but they also know how to stab dealers, customers and residents of Illinois in the back. I believe that fact was documented on this site as well as others. So I must ask at what point I should ignore this and eagerly embrace TFB reviews of their products? What would TFB’s position be regarding S&W and it’s embracing of the Clinton Administration proposals? Just asking.

        • Thomas Gomez

          Thank you for reading my article. We don’t talk politics. We never have, we never will.

          Hope this finds you well.

          • Ranger Rick

            Tom, regarding your comment about “politics” that’s not quite true. TFB has talked “politics” on multiple occasions, most notably on the “Hearing Protection” Act. Legislation by it’s nature is political.

            Steve Johnson basically admitted that TFB occasionally breaks it’s own rule back in November 2016. Then there’s the “Open Letter to ‘Non-Gun’ America” from August 1, 2016, this is “POLITICAL”.

            So when a daily reader makes a “political” comment don’t take umbrage.

  • Raginzerker

    I wonts buys Springfield no mores!!! Rabble rabble, theys sold out to the gun grabbing commies!! Rabble rabble!!!

  • Fin

    Did the rifle come with 30 pieces of silver?

  • Madcap_Magician

    I’m guessing the handguard change also cures the issues they had with the melty handguards from the original furniture? Or did SA make a design change to address that for the original handguard as well?

    Also curious about the Melonited barrel vs. chrome lining.

    • Thomas Gomez

      I have no information in regards to the old handguard. Melonite vs chrome. Chrome lining is just a coating. Melonite is an actual impregnation of the metal. I think Melonite is superior to chrome lining. What is neat about melonite/nitriding is that you can drill the gas port, then nitride the whole barrel in a salt bath. This will mitigate gas port erosion and make the whole barrel stronger. The Russians have been nitriding their barrels since the 40’s.

      Hope this finds you well.

  • Joe Elledge

    Kinda of hard to mess up the Flash Suppressor torque when using a crush washer.

    • Thomas Gomez

      You would be surprised.