After much hype, and many weeks of advertisements, Springfield Armory finally released their “new” SAINT line. Ready for it? It's an AR-15. Now, I love Springfield, and am a devoted customer of theirs with more than one of their products in my safe. But, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed when I opened up their page just to see that their new line was something that's been done before. A lot. However …
This rifle does seem to have a lot of great features with some interesting furniture and is a sub $1,000 rifle with a 1:8 twist rate. As a bit of a side note, that twist rate is great if you shoot a wide variety of 5.56 NATO (and .223) ammunition and is good for those shorter (and therefore lighter) bullets, as well as those longer (and therefore heavier) bullets.
The rifle is built on a mil-spec 7075 assembly, and boasts a 16” melonite-treated barrel along with some Bravo Company furniture. While the rifle looks great, those polymer handguards melted when one tester from The Firearm Blog tested the rifle. Here's what he said:
“My only gripe about the SAINT? While not really a problem since 99.9% of shooters aren’t going to shoot like this, the handguards seem to have a bit of an issue with heat when throwing lead downrange at a high volume. After 8 magazines the handguard cap melted the plastic tabs that keep the front of the handguard in place. After several more magazines, I ran out of ammo and pulled the handguards the rest of the way off to inspect them. They were pretty well screwed and would need replacement.”
Handguards are cheap enough, and he gave the rest of the rifle very high remarks. So, if I were to purchase this rifle, I'd just swap out these crappy ones for something better. If you'd like to read the rest of what he has to say about it, including several 1,000 yard shots with it, click here.
Keep in mind, that Springfield makes a big deal about this being a defensive rifle that is reliable. In all honesty, if they're going to tout “defensive” and “reliable” as a selling point, they'll have to replace those handguards with ones that don't melt. Because, even if they sling lead down range in a reliable and accurate fashion, barrels get hot and nobody wants to get burned in a defensive situation.
From what I can see so far, while it is “just another AR-15,” it does stand out a bit from the other entry-level rifles out there with its nickel boron treated trigger, mid-length gas system, and sexy butt-stock. The MSRP is just under $850, and prices will likely be somewhere in the $740-$780 range once they hit the stores.
What do you think? Were you expecting something else to come from Springfield Armory like I was? Are you happy that there is yet another addition to the AR-15 family? Let us know in the comments below. Be sure you like Gun Carrier's Facebook page, too, so you never miss a shot.