Smith & Wesson Issues M&P15-22 Consumer Safety Alert

TTAG/GSL image by John Boch.

Smith & Wesson has announced a M&P Consumer Safety Alert for their M&P15-22 rifle. It covers all guns and all models manufactured prior to February 2019. It involves the head-spacing on the bolt face, and if not correct, the gun could slam-fire.

Now, I know a lot of folks have these wonderful little rifles. I love my Smith & Wesson M&P15-22. Of all the guns I’ve shot over the years, this one has become one of my favorites for play. I’ve shot competitively with it and I’ve shot Rifleman plenty of times using cheap, bulk Federal .22 ammo.

It has brought smiles to plenty of others, young and old, over many thousands of rounds fired.

I’ve loaned it to friends and to Appleseed shooters at events where I instructed (at least prior to Appleseed declaring the rifle non grata.) Other times, I’ve let young people shoot it to get a taste of what it’s like to shoot America’s favorite rifle.

Yes, including the young woman in the top photo. She had never shot anything except a single-shot rifle. Her dad brought her out to the DeWitt County Sportsman’s Club annual Zombie Shoot. She went through the rifle stage with her little Cricket. Afterwards, I asked her dad if he thought she would like to borrow my M&P15-22 and give it a try. He smiled and she jumped up and down shouting “Yes, Daddy!”

With a range officer right behind her, she loved shooting it. While her trigger discipline needed a little improvement after she shot through the magazine and the bolt locked back, her muzzle control remained excellent despite her very excited state. And then we gently corrected the trigger faux pax.

S&W will pay to have you ship them the bolt for them to inspect or you can order a free bolt inspection gauge and check it yourself. First up, here’s the inspection video, three minutes long:

And the written alert with more links. Courtesy Smith & Wesson…

IMPORTANT! M&P15-22 CONSUMER SAFETY ALERT AND INSPECTION PROCEDURE

DESCRIPTION – Please Read This If You Have A M&P15-22 Rimfire Firearm.

PRODUCT AFFECTED:
ALL models of M&P15-22 rifles and pistols manufactured before February 1, 2019.

STOP USING YOUR M&P15-22 UNTIL IT HAS BEEN INSPECTED AND YOUR BOLT REPLACED (IF NECESSARY).
Smith & Wesson has identified two M&P15-22 firearms from recent production on which the breech face counter bore depth was not within manufacturing specification. In those firearms, the lack of depth may allow the bolt, upon closing, to crush the rim of the case, causing the round to fire, cycling the bolt, and potentially resulting in multiple discharges without depressing the trigger. This issue can occur in the following two scenarios:

1) With a loaded magazine in the firearm and the bolt locked to the rear, depressing the bolt release to allow the bolt to drop freely may ignite the round as the bolt closes without engaging the trigger and with the safety selector in either the safe or the fire position, and may also result in multiple discharges.

2) With a loaded magazine in the firearm, bolt in the closed position and a round in the chamber and the safety selector in the fire position, depressing the trigger will cause the round to fire normally, however as the bolt cycles, the next round may be ignited by the bolt crushing the rim of the case as it closes, causing multiple discharges.

We believe that these are isolated incidents, however, any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential to cause injury. Therefore, we have developed this inspection procedure to ensure that all products in the field are safe to use. We are asking customers to perform the following procedure and to refrain from using their M&P15-22 until the bolt has been inspected and replaced as necessary.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRODUCT INVOLVED:
The out of specification condition has been found only in bolts that were recently manufactured. While our investigation suggests that the incidents are isolated, we have established this inspection procedure as a precautionary matter to ensure that all M&P15-22 firearms in service meet our design specifications. We are asking consumers of all M&P15-22 firearms manufactured before February 1, 2019 to inspect their bolt for this condition.

REMEDY/ACTION TO BE TAKEN:
The bolt from your M&P15-22 must be inspected to determine whether it exhibits the condition identified in this notice. To determine whether your firearm is affected by this condition, please inspect your firearm by following the inspection instructions provided here.
DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTION MANUAL | VIEW INSPECTION VIDEO

CLICK HERE FOR FAQ FACT SHEET – Questions and Answers Re: M&P15-22 Safety Alert!
If you are uncomfortable in conducting the bolt inspection outlined here, or are unsure whether the condition described in this notice applies to your bolt, please send your bolt to Smith & Wesson for inspection and replacement if necessary.

comments

  1. avatar Robb says:

    So. It was banned by Appleseed 2.5 years ago and _now_ Smith decides there’s a problem that demands a recall?

    1. avatar Badger says:

      I guess someone has to be the first bitch. I mean..first one to bitch.

    2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      i suspect that was due more to form and not function. appleseed is traditional somehow, no?

      1. avatar Bobbert says:

        Nope.

        People shoot ARs in every Appleseed I’ve ever instructed. This particular rifle was banned because of incidents on Appleseed firing lines, one of which injured the person next to the shooter.

      2. avatar neiowa says:

        Appleseed had (as I recall) 2 instances when fire with bolt out of battery. I contacted SW a couple times and they had no interest. Not what I expect from SW. I bought a 15-22 specifically for a kid trainer (including Appleseed).

        I’m not sure this recall addresses the Appleseed problem

        1. avatar BR says:

          My first rifle I bought when I was 14 with my money I earned throughout the year was a SW MP15-22 gen 1, before they started threading the barrel. I had around 500 rounds through it and the ejector malfunction and it then attempted to load the next shell with the previous stuck in the receiver sideways and slamfired out of battery half destroying the bolt in the process. I wasn’t able to find all the parts to the bolt and contacted SW and they shipped the gun to them through my FFL all fees on them and shipped it back on them. It took them 2 months but it was not long after Christmas so the time was reasonable. I put several thousand rounds through it since and haven’t had an issue at all. It actually only jammed on my 3 times ever. 2 prior to the critical malfunction and the critical malf itself. I sold it a few years back. I wanted to get a Mak 90 .223 that was at a nearby shop but my dad made me get a .22lr. It was a great rifle and I dont regret selling it but I do hate I didn’t get the Mak 90.

      3. avatar rosignol says:

        I’ve gone to an Appleseed shoot, I’d estimate about half of the participants had ARs.

        I didn’t notice any “fuddiness” whatsoever on the part of the instructors, all rifles were welcome.

        I recommend it. It’s good beginner training, for a very reasonable price.

  2. avatar Rad Man says:

    I’ve put thousands of rounds through mine without incident.

    1. avatar Darkman says:

      Same Here. Went to S&W site and ordered the gauge to check mine just to be on the safe side. If it doesn’t fit correctly I get a new bolt. After several thousand rounds downrange I see that as a WIN WIN for me.

    2. avatar BR says:

      Mine blew up. My story is written a few comments above.

  3. avatar Political gristle says:

    Tell that kid in the pic
    Sweetie, if you ain’t looking down the sights…..KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER!

    1. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

      Tell yourself to read the piece before commenting.

  4. avatar Aaron says:

    The only .22 that I care about is 5.56.

  5. avatar Conrad says:

    The ultimate bump fire.

  6. avatar strych9 says:

    “With a range officer right behind her, she loved shooting it. While her trigger discipline needed a little improvement after she shot through the magazine and the bolt locked back, her muzzle control remained excellent despite her very excited state. And then we gently corrected the trigger faux pax.”

    Nailed it. Problem in picture noted, corrective action described, solution found and executed. Perfect.

  7. avatar SoCalJack says:

    I have one from 5 years ago and bring it to the range for new shooters before they try an AR15. IMHO, it’s the best 22lr rifle with AR15 features.

  8. avatar Wild Bill says:

    Well. I guess I better get mine sorted before small game season gets here.

  9. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Could we not simply use a .22 LR cartridge as a gauge to ensure that the recess in the bolt face is adequate? Seems to me like you could remove the bolt from the receiver and then rest a .22 LR cartridge in that recess. If the top edge of the cartridge rim is even with or below the bolt face, your bolt would be within specification, correct?

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Could we not simply use a .22 LR cartridge as a gauge to ensure that the recess in the bolt face is adequate?”

      You bring up a good point. On the dual-cylinder NNA mini that I had, there was some ammo that stuck out ‘proud’ from the .22 WMR cylinder that kept it from closing. Was that a failure in the ammo, or was the cylinder chamber not cut right?

  10. avatar Hannibal says:

    Oh no… I suddenly have a neat little automatic rifle… I better get that fixed… getting right on that…

    (kidding.)
    (probably.)

    1. avatar Red in CO says:

      Haha right? Yeah, a full auto .22 sounds ridiculously fun

  11. avatar Geoff PR says:

    Soooo…

    If one’s bolt was in spec, and someone created a 2 one-thousandth (or whatever thickness does the ‘trick’) thick ‘shim’ cut from brass and inserted into that area, the weapon just might slam-fire a whole magazine machine-gun style bringing a smile to one’s face and a possible 10-year prison sentence for possessing an unregistered machine gun? 😉

    1. avatar Craig in IA says:

      Can’t speak for the 15-22 but 40 or more years back I bought a NIB Charter Arms AR7 for grins and giggles. Took it to a public range, loaded it up and all 7 shots went down range in about half a second. WHOOPS! Plenty of other folks around, too. So, reloaded, same thing. Had a couple guys wanting to buy it on the spot. Shipped it back to CA with a description of the “problem”. In about 6 weeks I got it back, took it out in the back yard and WTH? Same thing. Decided to do my own investigative work, finally removed the firing pin completely, held the bolt back on a full mag, released it and once again, all 7 rounds at once. Seems the extractor was slam firing it. AR7 firing from an open bolt. Cool, for a bit.

  12. avatar jimmy james says:

    “PRODUCT AFFECTED:
    ALL models of M&P15-22 rifles and pistols manufactured before February 1, 2019.” Thats a lot of 15-22’s. They were obviously not QC’ing/gauging the bolt face like forever or if they were, they were using the wrong dimension. Per Smith, the SN on my gun comes back as “affected”. I just got the gun and shot 36gr mini mags with no problem. I ordered the gage. We’ll see.

  13. avatar Bohucka says:

    Damn, this is one of the most fun guns in my limited collection. I was planning to go shoot it tomorrow, but have instead ordered the gauge from S&W. I’ve fired over 1400 rounds so far with no issues, but better safe…

  14. avatar JoeVK says:

    My daughter just told me a week ago that she wants one of these. And not just any AR15 in .22lr, either. This exact one. Most likely, it’s because I have an M&P15 Sport II, and she wants a .22lr version of dad’s. Guess it’s a good thing that we have to wait until I can afford to get it.

    On a side note, I’m glad she’s starting to warm up to guns. She’s usually nervous around them, unless it’s a bb gun.

    1. avatar Bohucka says:

      Don’t let this “recall” scare you. Looks like S&W are doing everything to make it right, and I (and everyone else that fires it) love this rifle.

      1. avatar That Jason says:

        “Doing everything right” does not include ignoring and stonewalling on the problem for years.

        I’ve wanted a S&W Victory for some time, but I just don’t trust them for how they’ve handled this.

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