Getting a solid .308 platform for the right price is easier said than done. Enter Smith & Wesson’s new M&P10 Sport.

Increasingly popular amongst hunters the .308 based ARs are becoming a must. They’re better suited to longer range self-defense or predator control for ranchers and farmers. With a wide variety of .308 or 7.62x51mm ammunition available, they are growing in popularity.

RELATED STORY — M&P Performance: 6 Do-It-All Smith & Wesson M&P ARs

Rifles built to survive the harsh conditions of combat along with full custom designs are arriving on the market. Most are costly, but you can still get started for little or no more than an equivalent AR-15 in 5.56mm. A few companies offer simple rifles with solid features perfectly suited to a ranch rifle or self-defense task. The aforementioned Smith & Wesson M&P10 Sport Optics Ready is a perfect example.

The M&P10 Sport Make

Starting with the M&P10 forged receivers, the Sport Optics Ready includes ambidextrous controls to include the bolt release, safety, and magazine release.

The A2 style handguard covers a 16-inch 4140 Steel barrel using a 1-in-10 twist and 5R rifling, capped with an A2 flash hider.

The mid length gas system is controlled by a rail equipped gas block.

Optics ready, there are no sights provided but it can accept any rail mounted optic or red dot sight. Attach a front sight to the gas block rail and folding or fixed rear and you are ready to go. Keeping it simple makes it light at just under 8 pounds.

Grip and stock are both A2, while buffer tube has 6 positions. The trigger is mil-spec. Smith & Wesson uses a chromed firing pin. An Armornite coating lines the barrel, inside and out.

Range Performance

Introduced to this rifle at the Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous in Gateway, Colo., it proved pretty accurate able to successfully engaging targets out to 400 yards.

Back at home, I attached a Bushnell RT-6 1-6 power scope. A true one power makes it useful at close range, while at full power it provides plenty of magnification out to 600 yards. The AR Reticle uses a broken circle center with a center dot.

As a complete kit, the RT-6 package includes a Burris Fast Fire III RDS with a 3 MOA dot for fast transitions up close. Designed to fit an AR, the P.E.P.R mount provides perfect alignment. Everything you need is provided in a single box — just mount to your rifle and head to the range.

At 100 yards the M&P10 Sport proved accurate with groups well under an inch with most ammunition. Using the Burris it was easy to hit steel at 100 through 500 yards.

Final Thoughts

The M&P10 Sport was reliable, controllable, and never missed a beat, even with some military surplus ammunition. The ambidextrous controls were excellent. They’ve become mandatory to me and I’ve seen them missing on a couple of rifles costing four times as much.

RELATED STORY — Thunder Downrange: Taking the Smith & Wesson M&P10 LE Out to 1,000 Yards

Retailing at $1,049, Smith & Wesson brings the big bore to entry-level AR buyers. It is simple, lightweight, reliable and accurate — perfect for basic use and a great start for any possible upgrades.

If you are looking for a solid and proven entry-level AR chambered in .308, the M&P10 Sport needs to be high on your list.

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