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 [email protected]


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