Rifle Vetting/Testing

#1
Recently got a new Springfield Saint with the free float handguard courtesy of their rewards program because I want to see if it's any good. I've played with a couple that some of my coworkers got and I think it shows promise. The driver for this project was to see if I could recommend the Saint as a sub 1K rifle for people that can't reach that FN/BCM range. Review to follow eventually, it has its own gun book so I don't get malfunction amnesia.
With that in mind, what are some methods that can be used to test this or any rifle? The first thing I'm doing, besides the obvious grouping tests, is just running it as long as I can on just the little packet of Lucas oil that came with the gun. I'll wipe it out once it slows down, and from there on I'm just going to continue to use Lucas oil on the gun. Based on experience I expect the buyer to just assume that's the best or the recommended so they'll keep buying that. I don't have Aaron Cowan's ammo budget so I'm not going to run out and do a 500 round burn down, maybe 100 sometime. Should I just run steel cased ammo to be harder on the gun? Should I only run quality ammo so that it can succeed or fail on its own? Should I drag it around on the family farm for a few days while I'm working out there to get it dusty/dirty/grimy? I'm merely a wanna be operator, it will be a while before I could take it to a rifle course and run it through there. I don't want to go bury it in the mud or drag it behind a truck because I'm not trying to break it. I don't feel those types of tests have application in this case. If you disagree let me know, I have no monetary investment in this rifle so I'm willing to try to hurt it if I am shown a good case for it. Tell me what you think, what things you have seen choke guns in the past, or if there are metrics you use for your own rifles, etc.
 

Corey Barnes

Newbie
Network Support I
#3
Slightly along Matt's line of thought, I see the Saint going for about $800. While they 6920 prices aren't what they were you can find a Magpul model 6920 for $1000. What does going with the Saint bring to the table as a recommendation that the 6920 wont do better for only $200 more? While their are many options in the AR market these days, the under $1K rifles don't seem to be there in quality. While the vast majority of shooters won't shoot enough for the difference to matter I can't bring myself, in good faith, to recommend something I know will be lesser quality when you are talking of spending that much money and possibly having someone defend their life or others with it knowing the possibility something is out of spec was higher to begin with.

A true test for most gun owners though would be fire 100 rounds through it once a year, maybe or maybe not clean it, and throw it in a closet somewhere (unzero'd of course) until the next outing a year later. As long as it isn't rusted shut you have done what most shooters ever will haha.
 
#4
If someone can't afford a bcm/solgw/sionics for home defense or duty, they need to save more.

quality costs money - anything less is a toy/hobby. I have zero faith in the saint.
I agree 100% but I am blown away by the number of people that don’t get that. It’s like as soon as it has 4 figures it’s too expensive. Even just to a 6920, which in my shop just barely breaks 1k, they jump ship because there’s a comma.
 

RallyMech

Newbie
Network Support IV
#5
At minimum, I would take an armorers class that includes full disassembly, inspection, and reassembly from someone like Greg Sullivan.

https://primaryandsecondary.com/for...15-m-16-m-4-armorer-course-westfield-ma.4117/

Based on what I see around the internet, at matches, and conversations with gun counter guys, the Saints have frequent problems and do not instill confidence I require in a home defense gun. There is a high probability that the rifle was not correctly manufactured/assembled. This includes things like loose barrel nuts, improperly staked castle nuts/carrier keys, or out of spec components.

Personally, I would try to get as much money out of that rifle as possible in order to finance something that actually meets your needs.
 
#6
I haven't found any legitimate testing of the Saint that I could actually point to to educate a prospective buyer. I'm not looking at the gun for myself, I'm looking to provide some data that I can point to. If you just do a quick google search for saint reviews there is little long term testing and the reviews all seem to come out positive (naturally :rolleyes:).

I'm not trying to show that this is a better rifle than the baseline 6920, I don't think it is, I'm trying to see if one could recommend this in good conscience, or if I can definitively show not to buy it. Take Anderson lowers. In two minutes on google I can show people why not to buy one and spend a couple more bucks to get something that actually comes out of a manufacturer with QC.

As far as taking it through an armorer course that's another thing that I do not have time for in my life at this point. I did the USMC armorer thing for four years, which I know every dumb ass "gun SME" on the internet is a 2111, but I have my impressions of the gun, but that's for another thread later on. I'm just asking for ways to see what this gun will choke on. I've done everything but tear off the receiver extension and the barrel, if someone thinks that will show something important I'm happy to do it.
 
#7
Honestly if someone is at the price point of a springfield saint, a better option would be to get a completed BCM or Sons of Liberty upper and something like an Aero or KE arms completed lower.

I feel like with the saint its a $600 rifle that you are paying another $200 for the name and marketing to dupe fudds into buying them
 
#8
With that in mind, what are some methods that can be used to test this or any rifle? The first thing I'm doing, besides the obvious grouping tests, is just running it as long as I can on just the little packet of Lucas oil that came with the gun. I'll wipe it out once it slows down, and from there on I'm just going to continue to use Lucas oil on the gun. Based on experience I expect the buyer to just assume that's the best or the recommended so they'll keep buying that. I don't have Aaron Cowan's ammo budget so I'm not going to run out and do a 500 round burn down, maybe 100 sometime. Should I just run steel cased ammo to be harder on the gun? Should I only run quality ammo so that it can succeed or fail on its own? Should I drag it around on the family farm for a few days while I'm working out there to get it dusty/dirty/grimy? I'm merely a wanna be operator, it will be a while before I could take it to a rifle course and run it through there. I don't want to go bury it in the mud or drag it behind a truck because I'm not trying to break it. I don't feel those types of tests have application in this case. If you disagree let me know, I have no monetary investment in this rifle so I'm willing to try to hurt it if I am shown a good case for it. Tell me what you think, what things you have seen choke guns in the past, or if there are metrics you use for your own rifles, etc.
If you are shooting 100 ish rounds I can't see calling it any sort of a test or a review. Any remotely functional rifle should be able to do that. I have seen numerous DMPM/ Olympic Arms type rifles do just fine in that kind of situation.

Personally I have a hard time understanding rifles that are in the $800 range such as the Saint. Like I get the niche of $550-650 rifles. Its not really the niche of most people here but it exists. However the slightly fancied up $800 rifles I don't get. Save $200 more and get a Colt 6920 which is a serviceable legitimate rifle.
 
#9
If you are shooting 100 ish rounds I can't see calling it any sort of a test or a review. Any remotely functional rifle should be able to do that. I have seen numerous DMPM/ Olympic Arms type rifles do just fine in that kind of situation.

Personally I have a hard time understanding rifles that are in the $800 range such as the Saint. Like I get the niche of $550-650 rifles. Its not really the niche of most people here but it exists. However the slightly fancied up $800 rifles I don't get. Save $200 more and get a Colt 6920 which is a serviceable legitimate rifle.
I just meant dumping at once, this gun is going to get much more than 100 rounds through it. And for some people $1000 on a gun becomes some weird emotional event, optics it's even worse. I know that this gun isn't generally in the purview of this forum but I'm not looking to recommend this to this forum.
 
#10
I just meant dumping at once, this gun is going to get much more than 100 rounds through it. And for some people $1000 on a gun becomes some weird emotional event, optics it's even worse. I know that this gun isn't generally in the purview of this forum but I'm not looking to recommend this to this forum.
I would hardly call the ability for a rifle to shoot 3.3 standard magazines somewhat quickly a test.

The guy who called this a $600 rifle they are selling for $800 said it better than I could.
 

nate89

NateMac
Staff member
Moderator
#11
We had a saint as a range gun (probably still there). The gas key sheared off the bolt carrier about 500-750 rounds in. This was not an isolated parts breakage with the Saint rifles we got in. I would say if you wanted to 'test' it, just simply shoot it and keep records of round count, malfunctions, and parts breakage. Like many have already suggested, if you are looking for the 'more budget but still duty ready' I would steer clear of Springfield. I what I have seen with many of the budget guns, the real difference between them and an FN/BCM/SOLGW/Sionics, etc. is going to be in assembly and quality of small parts.

I don't think many of the companies like Springfield, Anderson, etc. really consider or care about the reality that a broken screw, gas ring, retaining pin, disconnector (DD), spring, etc. can totally shut down a gun until it is taken apart and replaced. If you are looking to recommend a gun that would be used as a duty gun, that is not acceptable.

I'm all for testing and gathering data, but based on what I have already seen, unless Springfield has made or will make significant changes to the product, it's a non-starter for me. At some point a recommendation comes in part on the reputation and integrity of the manufacture. I'm not MP inspecting my bolts, for example, but I know SOLGW does. How many places can YFS be expected to hold a rifle together before you realize whomever made it is more about that bottom line than making sure their stuff will work in the long run?
 
#12
We had a saint as a range gun (probably still there). The gas key sheared off the bolt carrier about 500-750 rounds in. This was not an isolated parts breakage with the Saint rifles we got in. I would say if you wanted to 'test' it, just simply shoot it and keep records of round count, malfunctions, and parts breakage. Like many have already suggested, if you are looking for the 'more budget but still duty ready' I would steer clear of Springfield. I what I have seen with many of the budget guns, the real difference between them and an FN/BCM/SOLGW/Sionics, etc. is going to be in assembly and quality of small parts.

I don't think many of the companies like Springfield, Anderson, etc. really consider or care about the reality that a broken screw, gas ring, retaining pin, disconnector (DD), spring, etc. can totally shut down a gun until it is taken apart and replaced. If you are looking to recommend a gun that would be used as a duty gun, that is not acceptable.

I'm all for testing and gathering data, but based on what I have already seen, unless Springfield has made or will make significant changes to the product, it's a non-starter for me. At some point a recommendation comes in part on the reputation and integrity of the manufacture. I'm not MP inspecting my bolts, for example, but I know SOLGW does. How many places can YFS be expected to hold a rifle together before you realize whomever made it is more about that bottom line than making sure their stuff will work in the long run?
Props to everything you just said.

It seems to me that every major gun manufacturer that isnt putting out military contracts is basically just throwing commodity parts together and using the name and marketing to up charge the cost to make a quick buck to get into the AR game.

Heck, these days I would be very leery of trusting any long gun from the big american publicly traded *cough* Freedom group *cough* companies
 
#13
Props to everything you just said.

It seems to me that every major gun manufacturer that isnt putting out military contracts is basically just throwing commodity parts together and using the name and marketing to up charge the cost to make a quick buck to get into the AR game.

Heck, these days I would be very leery of trusting any long gun from the big american publicly traded *cough* Freedom group *cough* companies

I strongly suspect that can be said of a lot of smaller semi custom shops as well. Folks are assembling bulk parts I to complete rifles, not casting or forging parts.
 
#14
Yup. I would've gone all the way to BCM there. I have no faith in Springfield or the Saint platform. And, a story of why.

Very early into the release of the Saint, one popped up on the range that I worked at, as an RSO, back in the day. This guy is having a problem with his rifle. It's not cycling the ammunition he has and he's got TulAmmo. So, I'm thinking it's just the steel-casings swell in the chamber or a bad gas system. I go to inspect and notice that he can't, every single time, charge the rifle fully. Something's wrong with the rifle. I offer my assistance and ask to open it up. He obliges, we can't open and the BCG is in full battery. That's not good.

Long story short. We get it open after shaking it around and I remove the BCG, bolt down. I flip it over to set it down and something falls out, but I'm staring at the firing pin retaining pin, in the side of the BCG. "Did the effin' firing pin just fall out?"

No. I look down and an allen wrench is laying on the concrete. I ask the guy if he's ever opened up the rifle or if the FFL ever opened it. He said no and that the box was unsealed by him, in the store, prior to the 4473 fill-out. The firing pin was moving around in the well of the BCG while the weapon was firing. Sometimes it wouldn't hinder the rifle, but more often than not, it would FTE the casings. It was a bitch to get apart and I am willing to still bet that there's an armorer's bench that had, for a time, a missing wrench.

The whole spectacle was witnessed by the rifle's owner, his four friends and my other RSO while I did the trouble-shooting.

The other early Saint rifles that I had seen, post-release, were all as bad off as most of the Aero Precision and Anderson Manufacturing rifles on the market, as well.
 

Sunshine_Shooter

Regular Member
Network Support I
#15
I think this thread has gone off the rails.

OP said (paraphrasing): "I got a new Saint, because I wanted to see if it's crap. What are some ways I can test it out so people will have valuable data to point to?"

90% of the responses: "Saints are crap, spend more money on a nicer gun."

No one, even the OP, thinks that this rifle is great. OP asked for ways to prove its worth or lack there of, and you all keep saying the same thing over and over again. Either give him ways to shake the rifle out, or don't comment.

@Longinvs I'd personally just shoot 2,000+ rounds while keeping careful records of stoppages, and look for accelerated signs of wear at the end. Considering most guns from less than duty grade companies are overgassed (to shoot Tula reliably), I'd run a lot of hot ammo through it and see if the hot stuff makes it choke. I'm not a rifle reviewer of any measure, so my opinion is worth what you paid for it.
 
#16
I think this thread has gone off the rails.

OP said (paraphrasing): "I got a new Saint, because I wanted to see if it's crap. What are some ways I can test it out so people will have valuable data to point to?"

90% of the responses: "Saints are crap, spend more money on a nicer gun."

No one, even the OP, thinks that this rifle is great. OP asked for ways to prove its worth or lack there of, and you all keep saying the same thing over and over again. Either give him ways to shake the rifle out, or don't comment.

@Longinvs I'd personally just shoot 2,000+ rounds while keeping careful records of stoppages, and look for accelerated signs of wear at the end. Considering most guns from less than duty grade companies are overgassed (to shoot Tula reliably), I'd run a lot of hot ammo through it and see if the hot stuff makes it choke. I'm not a rifle reviewer of any measure, so my opinion is worth what you paid for it.
Thanks you! I've got a clipboard and notebook for this project specifically so I can keep notes and targets together. Is there a manufacturer that loads hotter ammo than others? M855 perhaps?
 

Matt Landfair

Matt Six Actual
Staff member
Administrator
#17
I think this thread has gone off the rails.

OP said (paraphrasing): "I got a new Saint, because I wanted to see if it's crap. What are some ways I can test it out so people will have valuable data to point to?"

90% of the responses: "Saints are crap, spend more money on a nicer gun."

No one, even the OP, thinks that this rifle is great. OP asked for ways to prove its worth or lack there of, and you all keep saying the same thing over and over again. Either give him ways to shake the rifle out, or don't comment.

@Longinvs I'd personally just shoot 2,000+ rounds while keeping careful records of stoppages, and look for accelerated signs of wear at the end. Considering most guns from less than duty grade companies are overgassed (to shoot Tula reliably), I'd run a lot of hot ammo through it and see if the hot stuff makes it choke. I'm not a rifle reviewer of any measure, so my opinion is worth what you paid for it.
We already know the verdict.

This doesnt fit the scope of P&S.
 
#18
Tamra of view from the porch does the 2,000rd pistol tests. She (I am paraphrasing so maybe I’m slightly off) cleans and lubricates them then shoots them a lot with a variety of different ammunition keeping legitimate count in a log of rounds fired. Keeps track of reliability as well as (maybe more anecdotally) accuracy.
 
#19
You can run it without cleaning for as long as it continues to function and document your findings. Just add lubrication every 800-1000 rounds. Shoot whatever generic practice ammo you normally use.

ETA: I never put much stock in those environmental torture tests people make videos of where they cover the rifle in mud and throw it out of a moving car. That kind of stuff is more novelty than information. We already know what a properly built rifle will do. Just run this gun as you normally would and see if it does what it’s supposed to do.

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