The upper receiver is an A4 flat-top with a numbered Picatinny top rail, forward assist, oversize shell deflector, ejection port cover and Mil-Spec charging handle. The lower receiver, however, is all jazzed up with a full suite of ambidextrous controls—a major plus for me in any AR—and a very nice 2-stage Match trigger that broke consistently at a pull weight of 2.8-pounds. The first stage trigger travel is 1/8-inch at about a pound of pull weight until you reach a very well defined hard wall. From the wall to release there is to creep, stacking or any sensation of trigger movement at all.

The rifle’s 20-inch carbon-steel barrel—with its 5R rifling at a 1:8 twist rate—had zero issue deliving the goods precisely and consistently downrange. Not shown is the knurled end cap that serves to protect the factory-threaded muzzle when not in use.

The M&P10 6.5 Creedmoor is equipped with a 20-inch, carbon steel barrel, with a muzzle threaded at 5/8”-24—the same as most 7.62 NATO/.308 Win. AR-10 style rifles. A screw-on thread protector cap comes installed on the rifle. Most of our testing was completed with the new-for-2018 titanium Silent Legion 6.5 Creedmoor-specific direct-thread suppressor (see sidebar article). The barrel is 5R rifled at a RH twist rate of 1:8”. Covering the barrel is a 15-inch free-floated Troy M-LOK machined aluminum handguard, with a full-length, numbered Picatinny top rail and seven full-length M-LOK flats with a total of 52 M-LOK slots. The low-profile gas block for the full-length gas system is mounted under the front end of the handguard. No back-up iron sights are included. Overall length is 39.5 inches, and empty weight without optics is 9.05 lbs.

With a sloped cheek-weld surface, multiple-style ambi sling attachement points, built-in storage accessed through the removeable rubber buttplate, the fixed Magpul MOE Rifle Stock represents a significant improvement over a standard A2 rifle stock. The handgrip is also Magpul, and of the super-tacky, rubber-overmolded-polymer MOE Plus variety.

Furniture consists of a Magpul MOE Rifle Stock with a wide cheek weld that falls just below the level of the upper receiver’s top rail, a thin rubber butt pad, a swing open storage compartment and a 1.25-inch, molded-in sling loop. The pistol grip is a rubber Magpul MOE with trap door access to an internal storage compartment. The M&P10 6.5 Creedmoor come with one 10-round Magpul GEN M3 PMAG 10 marked “7.62 x 51”, meaning it’s the same magazine used for a 7.62 NATO AR-10.

For testing we mounted a Nightforce SHV 4-14x56mm riflescope with illuminated reticle in a Nightforce 30mm UltraLite Unimount with extra-high rings ($252). Even then, the SHV’s 56mm objective lens cleared the handguard top rail by less than 1/8 inch. Our scope was equipped with the illuminated IHR reticle with an illuminated crosshair in the center and larger, stepped un-illuminated crosshairs coming in from the bottom and either side. The ommitted top crosshair created a noticeable field-of-view improvement while the fine center crosshair proved very quick, acting almost like a magnet for your eyes—especially when illuminated.

When they were first introduced it didn’t take us long to fully appreciate what the Nightforce SHV optic line brings to the table, as it has now come be to known by us as one of the best bangs for the buck in high-quality riflescope’s. The model we used for testing is the SHV 4-14x56mm with the IHR illuminated reticle option, mounted in a one-piece Nightforce 30mm UltraLite Unimount.

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