Welcome to this week’s edition of The Gun Doctor!
This week Guns Magazine takes a look at the Springfield Armory’s newest rifle, the Saint Edge ATC, which features a patented “Accurized Tactical Chassis” (ATC) that not only has curb appeal, but practical value. The 6061 T6 aluminum ATC monolithic lower is designed to optimize accuracy and precision with a 100% free-floated barrel — the barrel, barrel nut and gas system have no contact with the lower chassis.
The design is eye-catching, sleek lines and a smooth sided handguard makes for a more comfortable hold while Picatinny and M-Lok rails allow for accessory mounting. The Saint Edge is chambered in .223 Wylde and comes in two versions: Standard and Elite. Rather than standard black, the Elite model is clad in coyote brown Cerakote and upgraded from the standard model with a LaRue 2-stage trigger and B5 Systems Precision Stock.
This is not to say the Standard should be dismissed. Though there exist many stock options, the standard ATC’s collapsible buttstock is quality. It’s sturdy with an angled cheekpiece for a comfortable and consistent cheek weld. Length adjustments are fast and smooth. Most impressive is the recoil pad which doesn’t easily slip from the shoulder and seems a proper combination of comfort and strength. To further help shooters manage recoil, the Saint Edge series rifles also come equipped with a muzzle brake. Also included is a single 20-round PMAG and carry case with Velcro straps inside. Unlike other gun cases with fixed straps, this fabric case has patches of Velcro with removable matching strips. This allows you to fine tune the location of your gun inside the case.
Springfield advertises a sub-MOA guarantee (3-shot group at 100 yards with match-grade factory ammunition and a skilled shooter) on both rifles in this series. The standard and Elite both use a Melonite coated 18″ 1:7 Ballistic Advantage barrel and a traditional but robust M16 bolt carrier group. Though the BCG may be the same, the Saint Edge is much different than a traditional M16.
Rather than separate at the magazine well, this gun essentially splits in half long-ways. The barrel lifts out of the lower, which looks more like a stock than a lower at disassembly but does require removal of the handguard first.
Despite its appearance, it does not disassemble in quite the same way as an AR. It requires a 1/8″ hex key and removal of the handguard before removal of the barrel. The Saint Edge features tension screws, part of the Accu-Tite Plus tension system, that require attention during the process as well. This system eliminates play between the upper and lower receiver for more accurate shots.
Fair warning — the upper and lower are very tightly fit. There really is no play. The pistol grip is also slightly different, at a steeper angle than a traditional AR-15 grip.
The B5 Systems composite grip has texturing on its front and sides for better grip. The Saint Edge’s unique style and build is an attention getter and the MSRP is $1549 for the Standard and $1,899 for the Elite.
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For the Gun Doctor I’m Tim Bivins.