AR-15s

Range Report: Springfield Edge AR Rifle

Square muzzle brake on the Springfield Saint Edge AR-15 .223/5.56 semi-automatic rifle

There are several manufacturers of AR-15 rifles and quite a few assemblers. Springfield Armory’s Saint has been one of my favorite rifles since its introduction. There are cheaper AR rifles, and they usually work OK for recreation. There are also much more expensive rifles, and even a few war fighting rifles.

I understand a first time buyer’s confusion at the types of AR rifles in approximately the same price range. I began with a firmly grounded understanding of just how good a rifle the Saint is and the good reliability and accuracy the rifle has delivered. When I had the opportunity to obtain the Springfield Saint Edge, I wondered how much advantage this admittedly racy looking rifle would have over a product that was already a very good performer.

Springfield Saint Edge AR-15 .223/5.56 semi-automatic rifle, left profile
The Springfield Saint Edge is an attractive, effective rifle.

The Springfield Edge appears to be competition ready for 3-Gun Shooting. My role for the rifle is emergency use and as an all-around recreational AR-15, and for training. Tactical training is great exercise when done right, after coffee and when my head hits the pillow, I sleep well after a hard day of sprints and tactical movement.

The rifle may be more expensive than some, but you don’t buy cheap climbing ropes and ascenders, do you? Sooner or later, the cheap rifle will disappoint. Mostly through handling and poor accuracy. If a part fails, it is usually a poorly made trigger group. That won’t happen with the Saint or the Saint Edge. They are both worth the money.

Springfield Saint Edge

The Saint Edge is similar to the original rifle with its Bravo Company adjustable stock and well-designed pistol grip. The Springfield built handguard is free floating. You may mount combat lights with M-Lok attachments.

This forend is among the easiest production forends to remove. The rifle is supplied with iron sights. More on these later. They are good choices — as iron sights go.

The receiver is a billet type. Billet allows greater customizing and is way strong for rifle use. The effect is tasteful, but at the same time, it provides a unique profile. Springfield designed the magazine well with a triangular cutout. This makes speed loads under stress easier and cuts some weight.

Springfield Saint Edge AR-15 .223/5.56 semi-automatic rifle, right profile
The Springfield Saint Edge builds on proven principles but gives shooters a real ‘edge’ in accuracy and handling.

The integral trigger guard has been skeletonized. An important feature for those whose practice tactical shooting — not to mention left-handed shooters — is the ambidextrous safety. The Springfield Saint Edge features ambidextrous integrated QD mounts. Now, let’s look at the bang! switch.

The Saint features a decent trigger — neither the best nor the average, but a good trigger at the price. This is a flat trigger. The design makes for better control and more feedback in my opinion. The trigger is a cassette type — a rarity in factory guns.

Creep is practically eliminated. Reset is fast. A good trigger should have a fast reset. Reset is as important as compression in a tactical trigger. Trigger compression is a solid smooth 4.15 pounds, measured at the base of the trigger.

Tip: Don’t forget to clean factory triggers of grease.

Springfield Saint Edge AR-15 .223/5.56 semi-automatic rifle's billet lower receiver
The billet lower receiver is among the rifle’s best features.

This makes for a more consistent trigger action. I have no complaints with the Springfield Edge’s trigger action.

The upper receiver also has points of interest. The barrel is a thin profile. This profile allows the Springfield Saint Edge to maintain an unloaded weight of six pounds. An extended charging handle is a nice touch. This handle is positive in operation and makes for much easier manipulation when you mount an optic.

Adjustable rear sight on an AR-15 rifle
For iron sight fans, the issue Springfield Saint Edge sights are excellent.

The muzzle brake is an interesting new design. The compensator looks square, it isn’t the birdcage we are used to. The compensator isn’t ported on the bottom. You may be able to fire off the bonnet of the jeep and not damage the paint. Then again, you may occlude the windshield with powder burns — that don’t come out. I won’t poke fun at the individual who did this. He knows his shame.

When firing prone, the lack of lower vents would seem less likely to kick up dust. The AR-15 and 5.56mm/.223 Remington cartridges don’t kick much anyway. Just the same, a compensator makes for faster shooting when you are looking for the greatest degree of control.

The barrel twist is 1 in 8 inches. This seems ideal for a good mix of bullet weights from 50 to 77 grains. Barrel length profile and maintenance are important as well as regards accuracy. The 1 in 8 rotation is a viable choice for a wide range of loads. The gas block is adjustable with a supplied tool and a few bleed screws. I did not touch this feature during testing. For those who handload and wish to optimize function with lighter loads, this rifle will accommodate.

During the firing test, I used the supplied magazine, added other PMAG types, and a couple of Colt aluminum magazines. There were no function issues. Most of the loads were 55-grain FMJ with some 62-grain loads thrown in.

Range Testing

I began firing and sighting with iron sights at 10 to 25 yards. Ten yards is close, and I have learned to begin the zero at this range. Surprisingly the supplied metal sights were dead on point of aim at 10 yards. This is unusual, it is often difficult to sight an AR in for home defense range. The flat-topped AR Edge did not have that fixed sight riding high over the barrel.

Springfield Saint Edge AR-15 .223/5.56 semi-automatic rifle topped with a Vortex P.E.P.R. scope
A combination of features make a great rifle. The optics certainly led to stellar results.

The Edge doesn’t kick more than any other AR — despite its lightweight. Then again, this is a light-kicking caliber. I fired four magazines from timed fire to rapid fire without a single failure to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. The Edge is fast handling and fast on target. It is all we may ask of a home defense rifle.

The iron sights are viable to 100 yards with good results in a variety of drills. After a decent rest, review of my notes, and research into optics, the following week saw the Saint Edge wearing optics. I mounted one of the finest mid-range optics available, the Vortex Strike Eagle. This is a mid-priced optic designed around a specific set of parameters.

The Strike Eagle features an adjustable, illuminated, BDC reticle, and easy to use adjustment turrets. The reticle subtensions are especially welcome. The lower magnification setting of the 1×6 power scope allows both-eyes-open shooting, for those that practice. For speed shooting in 3-Gun, well there you go.

Vortex Strike Eagle reticle including subtensions
The Vortex Strike Eagle offers a reticle that is well suited to accurate fire at both short range and extended range.

The reticle lines are well defined, with one set used for short range and the other for longer range shooting. This optic really deserves its own report. The bright, red dot is a neat trick when you need rapid target acquisition. I moved to 50- and 100-yard testing and enjoyed excellent results. I cranked the Vortex up to 6x at 150 yards, and took a few shots at 200 yards. I need more work, while the combination of rifle and optic is viable.

I carefully searched for a rock-solid scope mount. Here is what Burris says about its P.E.P.R.

Providing the necessary clearance and adding as much as 2 inches of forward scope positioning. It also ensures proper eye placement — in fact, P.E.P.R. stands for “Proper Eye Position Ready” (although it’s easier to just say ‘pepper mount’).

Burris P.E.P.R.

  • The PEPR Mount is a perfect AR or flattop mounting solution.
  • Allows up to two inches of forward scope positioning
  • Provides optimum eye relief and full field of view
  • Includes both smooth and Picatinny ring tops
  • Available in 1 inch, 30mm, and 34mm sizes
  • Quick-detach models are available in 1 inch and 30mm sizes
  • 34mm size is designed with 20 MOA of built-in cant

Affixing the mount and scope was easy enough. I burned up a lot of ammunition firing the Edge. I cannot recall when I have enjoyed firing a rifle more or enjoyed better results. I eventually settled down for accuracy testing. I had been chewing targets to pieces but only slowed down in sighting the gun in.

Burris P.E.P.R. mount
Both the optics and optics mount from different makers are first class.

It was time for the tale of the three-shot group. I settled into a solid, braced position and gave the Springfield Saint Edge a workout with several quality loads. The range was 100 yards. Among the most accurate was the Fiocchi 50-grain loading. This is a new load to me, clean burning and accurate. More on that in a few lines.

The rifle is well fitted. The barrel is a thin contour, and the Edge is lightweight at 6 pounds. Just the same, the rifle proved accurate, very accurate for any AR-15. I fired 50-, 62-, 69-, and 77-grain loads. The Fiocchi 50-grain loading put three shots in .9 inch. The Fiocchi 69-grain SMK, a longtime favorite, went 1.25 inches.

Fiocchi Hyperformance 50-grain ammunition box
Fiocchi Hyperformance ammunition exhibited good accuracy and reliability as well as a clean burn.

The Federal American Eagle went into 1.5 inches, the Federal Fusion 62-grain JSP cut a nice three-shot group of .9 inch. Black Hills’ legendary 77-grain MK 262 sailed three shots into .88-, .95-, and 1.2 inches for three groups. I wasn’t surprised, but very pleased.

Features

  • Type: Direct-impingement semi-automatic carbine
  • Cartridge: 5.56x45mm NATO
  • Capacity: 10, 20, or 30 rounds
  • Weight: 6 pounds, 3 ounces
  • Overall length: 35.75 inches
  • Barrel length: 16 inches; 1:8-inch twist
  • Trigger: 4.15 pounds
  • Handguard: Springfield Armory

The good optics, trigger, and excellent fitting came together. The Edge is fast handling for personal defense and makes for a great target gun. For those who hunt deer-sized game with appropriate loads, this is a great rifle as well. I like the Saint Edge a great deal. It suits my needs and will likely suit yours as well.

Fast handling, accurate, ambidextrous controls, and so much more! What’s not to like about the Springfield Edge? How does it compare to your favorite AR? Share your answers in the Comment section.

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.


Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Handloader
Rifle Magazine
Handguns
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns



Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (3)

  1. Enjoyed the read very much on the Springfield AR15 Edge, seems it has some great qualities. Things Like I would love to have on my AR. 15. I looked for the price of the weapon but didn’t see any when I looked for it. If it is possible, would you send me the price info of this weapon? I would appreciate it very much.

  2. You covered all questions that came to mind. Great job. I have a Saint and a Saint pistol, both keepers. Thanks for good info.

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