The call it the Saint. For the moment I’ll hitch a ride on The Firearm Blog, and then criticize some of their commenters.
Patrick R reviews the gun for readers, and generally has nice things to say about it. It seems to fit into the low to medium cost AR-15, and it’s always good to have competition. It makes everybody better.
Patrick discusses what he perceives to be the accuracy of the gun, but as you read this, remember my claim. A few shots cannot reveal the true accuracy. I reject claims of 1 MOA, or 0.75 MOA from any gun manufacturer or shooter unless the sample size is large. Any gun manufacturer or shooter, not just SA. The placement of shots for any gun should be able to be represented by a standard distribution – excluding variations caused by the shooter – with a standard deviation that is small enough to be less than the mean (because a standard deviation larger than the mean only makes physical sense and is only allowed when the mean can go negative, which cannot happen in this case). Three shots, or five shots, means that the sample size is too small to accomplish this and meet the central limit theorem.
It has a keymod rail, and the commenters savage this rail system, and Patrick even says there are better options. Well, I don’t know about that. It depends. It’s weak and tends to break, say the commenters. Well, I have some exposure to a RRA competition rifle, 18″ SS fluted barrel, with a slotted rail that is much lighter than others (right, I understand that we aren’t reviewing the RRA competition rifle). Most readers have a black gun with a quad picatinny rail. Me too, excepting that awful boating accident where all of my guns, including this 3-gun competition gun with the light slotted rail, went to the bottom of the lake. I cried a river of tears over that accident.
It’s forend heavy because of that quad rail, isn’t it? Just say yes. You know it is. Don’t lie to yourself. My former Marine son Daniel’s experience in Fallujah put him at odds with heavy equipment, including heavy forend guns. He dislikes the quad rail for that reason. He told me “The first thing I would do with that gun is remove the rails and replace it with something light weight.” I wonder how many of TFB commenters who think the lighter rail system sucks had to raise it and conduct room clearing operations for 24 straight hours in Fallujah while they were dehydrated in 120 degree heat, with nothing to eat, people shooting at you, and stomach cramps from drinking the local water? That’s what I thought.
Look, I’m not saying that you have to have a quad rail. I’m not saying you have to have a lighter rail competition gun or a keymod rail. I’m not saying you have to have or do anything at all. I’m saying that you find the tool that works best for you for the purpose you intend, learn it, take care of it, and appreciate it. Rarely should you listen to the counsel of folks who make categorical statements. A heavy quad rail is okay if you don’t intend to conduct long term operations of any sort with it, and it can handle all sorts of attachments that you might want. A lighter rail has the advantage of not over-rotating the gun when attempting target acquisition moving laterally (not over-rotating is the main reason behind the thumb-over-bore grip that has become so popular). Each tool has its own purposes. I’ve actually seen complaints by people when they used their butt stock to beat up something and it broke. Folks, your gun isn’t a hammer.
The gun doesn’t have a floated barrel, and I wonder how much that affects accuracy (it does some by adding a fundamental node [or an eigenvalue] in the vibration, we just don’t know how much). But there is one feature that will be problematic for Springfield Armory. The top of the rail is polymer, and melts with heat generated from long term operation of the gun. This absolutely must be fixed or that’s a fatal flaw.