It happens! Sometimes, it just happens! I don’t know how or why and neither does my contact at Springfield Armory, but I was somehow left out of the loop on their new Saint AR-style rifle. Grrr! I didn’t get a sample on the day they were released; it took more than a month before I got a gun in my hand. Many “gun writers” that I’ve never ever heard of were invited to shoot the new Saint a month earlier at a top secret event. Again, I don’t know how I wasn’t invited, but it happened. Honestly, I don’t know of any writer who has written more articles about Springfield Armory products than I have, but I was somehow left out in the cold. However, it’s okay. It gave me more trigger time when my Saint finally did arrive.
Quite honestly, there were some “gun writers” who, once again, I’ve never ever heard of who were busy burning up their word processing program writing about the new Saint, when I don’t know if some of them even had a sample to test. They didn’t say they actually shot the gun but just rehashed what the press release stated. Hmm.
I asked my contact at Springfield Armory well over a year ago if Springfield was ever going to come out with an AR-style rifle. I remember asking on three different occasions and not getting an answer. My interest was piqued by this lack of response. To be sure, I couldn’t even get a hint as to what the new firearm was that Springfield Armory was coming out with. It was announced on their website that there was a new gun coming out in November, but I couldn’t get any information on it.
A Saint finally did arrive, and I had some trigger time, some serious trigger time. Yeah, I wasn’t the first to report on this new gun, and it was very frustrating having to read all the reviews of the gun on the day it came out. But it isn’t always about being the first to report on a new gun. In the past, some big name printed gun rags reported on new firearms that they didn’t have or test, based on just a press release and a picture, which was all they had.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the specs on the new Saint. I won’t cover them all; just check out the Springfield Armory website for complete information. One thing I like is that the Saint comes in 5.56 NATO caliber, and of course it can safely fire .223 Remington ammo. The gun only weighs in at 6 lbs 11 oz, and I was surprised because many similar ARs weigh a lot more than this. The upper and lower receivers are type III hard coat anodized aircraft grad 7075 aluminum. I like that the upper has M4 feed ramps, too, make feeding more reliable. The barrel is 16 inches long and is Chrome Moly Vanadium with a 1:8 twist that is Melonite coated. The gas system is direct impingement.
The Saint comes with a flat top upper receiver, and it has an outstanding flip-up rear sight that is fully adjustable, too. It’s one of the better rear sights of this type I’ve run across. The front sight is the standard, fixed, A2-style. The gas system is a mid-length, not the shorter carbine length, which is an outstanding feature, if you ask me. The trigger is micro-polished and Nickel Boron treated and offers a very smooth trigger pull, too.
The furniture deserves mention. The hand guard is from Bravo Company, PKMT KeyMod, which is all the rage these days. It’s easy to attach whatever you want to the hand guard. I also like the Bravo Company 6-position butt stock; it is rattle-free, which is nice, very nice, and it locks-up tight. Of course, the pistol grip is also from Bravo Company and very comfortable, too. Springfield says the Saint has a Accu-Tite system that keeps the upper and lower receiver from rattling, and it is a very tight fit. The Saint comes with one 30-rd MagPul PMAG Gen M3 magazine. That’s the best of the best, if you ask me.
All-in-all, there wasn’t much I could complain about on the new Saint. It is a first-class AR in all respects. It isn’t a bottom of the line, entry level AR, nor is it an upper level AR. It falls in the “just right” price range, too, with full retail at $899. Be advised; they are in very short supply. They are made in the good ol’ USA, too!
I spent quite a bit of time behind the trigger, first just doing some function testing to make sure the gun would run 100% of the time. I had no problems there, and I used Black Hills Ammunition 55-gr FMJ remanufactured ammo for this portion of my testing. Also, from Black Hills, I tested their 40-gr Hornady V-Max, 52-gr Match Hollow Point, 55-gr FMJ (new ammo), 55-gr Barnes TSX, 62-gr Barnes TSX, 68-gr Heavy Match Hollow Point, and 75-gr Heavy Match Hollow Point. I only had one load on hand from Buffalo Bore Ammunition, and that was their Sniper 77-gr JHP load.
In all my testing, I managed to put 600 rounds down range. Again, there were zero problems of any kind. I do like the mid-length gas system; it seems to make the gun run a little bit smoother. Accuracy testing was done with the supplied sights, and I only fired out to 50 yards. Accuracy testing was done over a rolled up jacket, over the rear of my pickup truck. I think the 1:8 inch barrel twist is ideal for most AR applications. It can handle the light-weight bullets as well as the heavier ones.
At 50-yards, I was getting groups well under an inch, if I did my part, and that wasn’t all the time for some reason. It was not the gun nor the ammo; it was just me. Some days I was on my game and some days not so much. Hands down the accuracy winner was the Black Hills 68-gr Heavy Match Hollow Point load. It would give me groups just slightly under ¾ of an inch; however, the Buffalo Bore 77-gr JHP Sniper load was hot on the heels of the Black Hills load. Least load of the testing was the Black Hills 55-gr FMJ remanufactured load, and it was around one inch. It’s just that it gave the least accuracy out of every load tested. I can easily live with groups of an inch with a remanufactured load at 50 yards with open sights. I’ve shot this Black Hills load for many years, and it has never let me down.
So, if you’re in the market for a new AR, take a close look, a very close look, at the new Springfield Armory Saint. I think you’ll be impressed with everything it has to offer, and it comes with some outstanding furniture that would set you back a couple hundred bucks, if you were to add it to any AR.
– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio