The M&P style .22 rifles are ideal for practice drills that don’t break the bank. At first, the Colt .22 seemed like the logical choice by virtue of being a Colt. However, after spending several hours pouring through blogs and websites, I learned that, to the contrary, the Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 would be a better choice. The couple of differences that put the S&W on top are that the bolt is easily removable just like the AR15 and that the bolt catch/release on the lower receiver functions just like the AR15. Having not shot either rifle prior to purchasing my S&W MP 15-22, I can’t comment on the Colt’s performance but you can do your own research on the web. This review is written with the experience of 500 rounds through my S&W MP 15-22.
Rifle Specifications: Model M&P15-22 Magpul® Original Equipment (MOE) Rifle – Sights, Stock and Grip
*Suggested Retail, $687 – Dealer Sets Actual Pricing (Base model starts in low $400s.)
Capacity: 25 Round Detachable Magazine
Barrel Length: 16″ / 40.6 cm
Action: Blow Back Semi-Auto
Barrel Twist: 1 in 15″
Front Sight: Folding MBUS
Rear Sight: Folding MBUS
Overall Length: 33.75″ / 85.7 cm Extended – 30.5″ / 77.5 cm Collapsed
Stock: Magpul® MOE Stock
Weight: 5.5 lbs / 2,494.8 g
Barrel Material: Carbon Steel
Finish: Matte Black
Purpose: Recreational Hunting
Fit and Finish:
The rifle is very well built with excellent fit and finish. Folks at the range thought it was a real AR15 and were wondering why .22 ammo could be put into the mag. The construction is a high quality polymer and looks almost like a machined metal receiver until you give it a closer look. The MP 15-22 has two takedown pins that work just like the AR15. The quad rail system will accept anything you would typically install on a rail.
After putting 500 rounds through the S&W MP 15-22, I must say this is a really fun gun to shoot. If you don’t believe me, ask my wife. She did not want to shoot it at first, but when she did, she could not be taken from it. The functions are just like the AR15, the bolt stays open after the last round is shot, and the bolt release on the receiver sends the bolt forward. The fire/safe selector operates as you would expect. This rifle operates just like an AR15, but it shoots .22LR ammo, which means the operating cost is a fraction of an AR15. The magazine has a thumb assist to pull the spring down to make for very easy loading. Be careful not to pull the spring down too far when loading, as a sloppy load might cause feeding problems. Just take your time and you’ll figure it out.
First session: the S&W MP 15-22 shot 200 rounds perfectly, with no FTF’s or FTE’s. The rifle could take 10 rounds at a time no problem. On a very short 15-foot range, sighting the rifle was unnecessary. Its functionality was what was important, and in that respect it was excellent. The cleaning and lubing of the rifle will be discussed after the range report.
Second session: 300 rounds at the NRA range in Fairfax with five stovepipes. The stovepipes occurred sometime after the 150th round when I loaded the magazines to maximum capacity of 25. The stovepipes occurred either because of the fully loaded magazines, carbon build up, or possibly over-lubrication. An additional 150 rounds brought the total count to 500 rounds with five stovepipes in two days.
Hitting the paper: here are three of the targets shot with the sights right out of the box and without adjustments. This rifle will be a nail driver when it’s dialed in.
Ammo Used for this Evaluation:
Ammo Winchester 22 Long Rifle, 36 Grain Rimfire Plated Hollow Point rated at 1280 feet per second.
Break Down and Cleaning:
Cleaning the S&W MP 15-22 is very simple and takes very little time. The bolt pulls right out just like the AR15 bolt does. If you use a bore snake, pull it from the muzzle to the breach to avoid catching the snake on the ejector inside the ejection port area. There is also a recoil spring on the bolt that is easy enough to remove, but be careful, it will take off on you. If it does, it’s easy enough to find because it’s fairly long. The carbon buildup stays mostly around the firing pin on the bolt and in the breach area. Unlike the AR15, the carbon is easy enough to clean out.
Instead of costing $250 to shoot 500 rounds through my AR15. it cost maybe $20 to shoot 500 rounds through my .22. Total savings with the .22: $230. Plus, the .223 got to stay on the shelf. This rifle will pay for itself in no time at all.
This rifle is without question a fun gun to shoot. I’m glad to own one and would recommend the Smith and Wesson MP 15-22 to anyone who likes to shoot. It operates just like the AR15 and would be an excellent addition to any collection for training and plinking.