A few things that we learned on this All Saints Day are that I’m no prognosticator and Springfield Armory has finally caught up with the pack and released an entry-level AR platform with the Saint. Chambered for 5.56 NATO it boasts many of the features that we’ve seen before in few budget AR’s such as 1:8 right-hand twist in a 16” barrel, direct impingement gas system, and adjustable stock. Some of the things unique to this platform are the Bravo Company accessories that come standard, the nickel-boron coated trigger group, and the Melonite treated barrel.
First, let’s start with the foregrip; it’s Bravo Company’s new polymer keymod foregrip. It comes with heat shielding on the inside and has keymod attachment points on the bottom as well as high and angled to the left and right sides of the barrel. They spoke of it at SHOT Show 2016 and have not yet posted it to their website for public purchase. For now it’s been made exclusive to Springfield Armory as a component of the Saint rifles. Next, the pistol grip; the pistol grip is a Bravo Company, mod 3, Gunfighter pistol grip. It provides a grip angle similar to that of a 1911 and should be a familiar feel. Finally, the oversized trigger guard is also a Bravo Company product as well as the 6 position buttstock which includes a rubber rear plate for better traction when shouldering.
Saint rifles come with an improved trigger group. Polished and nickel-boron coated, the single stage trigger is a step up from most budget AR-15’s. Users report a crisp break without any gritty feeling. The Saint comes standard with a rear flip sight that is adjustable for windage and is equipped with dual apertures. Saint rifles also have a feature that may help with stability and accuracy. They have included something called the Accu-Tite tension system. From what I can gather it’s a pair of nylon tipped screws located in the lower. This is designed to reduce loose fit and rattling in the rifle and may improve accuracy. The front sight doubles as the gas block and does include a bayonet lug. Now, let’s talk about the barrel. Saint rifles come standard with a chrome moly vanadium barrel treated with the Melonite process. Melonite treatment isn’t a coating but instead a hardening of the steel that is said to have superior resistance to corrosion, heat, and wear. It won’t be scuffed off or allow corrosion to get a foothold as easily since it’s a change to the physical properties of the steel. That is a feature that could be a significant enough to warrant a closer look. The bolt carrier group is machined from C158 steel, shot peened and then given a magnetic particle inspection to ensure long-term durability. The gas key is staked to keep everything in place as you run magazine after magazine of rounds through the rifle.
I hope to get the chance to shoot it this weekend as a local gun shop is having a hands on demo at their indoor range. They will have a limited supply of frangible ammo to allow users to shoot on their 45’ range. I’ll let you know how it goes.