No surprise—the AR platform is the most popular rifle in the United States today. Its chamberings cover the gamut from .22 to .50 caliber. Eugene Stoner’s brainchild of 1957 supports an entire cottage industry of aftermarket accessories that range from cheap to opulent. No doubt about it, the AR is one of the most versatile and accurate rifle platforms. There are also some rimfire versions out, and they, too, offer rifles from OK to stellar. One of the stellar examples is the Smith & Wesson M&P15-22. Introduced in January 2009, the M&P 15-22 was an immediate hit. I remember shooting it at the Media Day event at the 2009 SHOT Show and being amazed at its accuracy and reliability, as well as its “fun factor.” It’s just plain fun to shoot.
Recently I had a chance to spend a day shooting the Performance Center version of this rifle at some Wyoming prairie dogs and chiselers. It features an upgraded six-position Vitor stock, a two-stage match trigger, a Hogue overmolded grip and a threaded barrel. The upgrades are worth the $269 difference in MSRP. Topped with a Weaver 1.5-5 scope and fed from 25-round magazines, the raptors and scavengers that scoured the fields I shot that day dined well.
At this point in my life I really don’t need another .22 rifle. But amassing a gun collection isn’t about need. We do it because we can. We are students of the gun. So I’ve put my order in for a Performance Center M&P15-22.