Springfield Armory has just released an updated version of the SAINT http://www.springfield-armory.com/saint-series/, which is going to make a lot of people happy. All of the change is in the upper receiver, which gives the new version a much more modern feel. The original SAINT was built like a classic battle rifle, including an A-frame front sight post and a heat shielded hand guard. The hand guard had modern touches, like Key Mod, but it felt like the evolution of an original AR-15.
- Chambering: 5.56
- Barrel: 16 inches
- OA Length: 35.5 inches
- Weight: 6 pounds 9 oz
- Frame: Aluminum
- Grips: BCM polymer
- Sights: folding
- Finish: Melonite
- Capacity: 30+1
- MSRP: $1,029
The new version has gone with a low-profile gas block, which allows the use of a 12-inch free floating hand guard. The extra length is a lot more conducive to modern AR shooting technique, and features enough M-LOK slots for a swiss army knife of add-ons. The new hand guard lacks a heat shield, but that is the price of progress. In my testing, it was able to go about 90 rounds of rapid fire before it was no longer fun to hold, like pretty much every other AR on the market. This is a far cry from the 7 magazine combat load mag dump I did on the original, but for most purposes that won’t matter.
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The free-floating hand guard is secured with patent pending locking tabs, which makes me think other hand guard options will be released in the future. The top of the rail has integrated picatinny rail, so you have plenty of space for lasers etc. So that was the good.
Now, for the bad. No idea why Springfield Armory went with a 12-inch rail instead of a 14- or 15-inch rail. It does make a difference for shooting, at least if you are taller than 5’10”. Maybe this was a weight savings for smaller people, but I wish it was longer. Those 2 inches do matter here, as they do a lot of places in life. The hand guard is also extremely small in diameter. With a wrist over grip, my fingers touch my thumb with ease. This might be a benefit to small handed shooters, but it also means your hand is very close to the barrel. Without heat shielding, that matters too. It might not make a huge difference in how long the gun is comfortable to shoot, but it makes some difference.
The last thing on this list was the accuracy. I thought with a free float hand guard, the SAINT’s groups might shrink a bit. I was only able to choke out one 1.5 inch group in my tests, with most groups around 2 inches at 100 meters. ( Freedom Munitions Pro Match with a 77 grain Nosler projectile, in case you were wondering.) This was with the factory trigger and factory stock, which are not exactly ideal for precision work, so there is that. This is really close to the 1 3/8ths group I posted with the original SAINT, so it seems like the free float hasn’t improved anything in this department. 1.5/ 2 inches isn’t bad for a rifle at this price point (which, by the way is $1,029), and certainly better than some. But it also isn’t fantastic.
For normal shooting conditions, I paired the new SAINT with a Bushnell Elite Tactical SMRS 1×6.5 with an illuminated reticle. This is to me a pretty ideal set up, and the Bushnell is by far my favorite of the economy 1×6 market. 6.5 magnification is great for the realistic ranges of a rifle like this, and the 1x power on the Bushnell model is fantastic. The illumination is easily daylight bright, and in a cantilever mount the eye box is extremely forgiving. If you are looking for the one gun solution, and on a budget, the SAINT with the Elite Tactical is an excellent set up.
How about the rest? This is a pretty solid gun, and the market says people have been largely happy with the original SAINT. This is a lot of rifle for an MSRP of $1,029, which pretty much assures a street price of under $1,000. It has all the things we liked about the original SAINT, including the Nickel Boron coated trigger and BCM furniture. And now it has a modern upper receiver assembly.
For more information, visit http://www.springfield-armory.com/saint-series/.
To purchase a SAINT rifle on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?Keyword=SAINT.
By the way, while we are talking about the new SAINT rifle, let’s also talk about a great new guns and gear giveaway featuring the original SAINT rifle. The “Springfield Giveaway” gives you the chance to win over $10,000 worth of products for you and a friend of your choice.
So, get on over to Giveaway Link and register for free to get your chance to win!