The AR 15 market is quite crowded, and admittedly it can be a dull market to browse. At this time, there aren’t many surprises left out there. What you can look for is innovative systems like BCM’s new upper, or you can try and find the best bang for your buck.
This article is about the latter. The Springfield Armory SAINT Victor is not a budget AR or a high-end model. It’s a moderately priced AR platform rifle that offers a lot of features at a modest price.
It slides in at under a grand street price and seems to be well worth it. The SAINT Victor is just one AR in a very big market, but I can appreciate a few of the rifle’s distinct features.
The SAINT series is comprised of the basic SAINT, the SAINT Victor, and the SAINT Edge. The Victor sits firmly in the middle of the SAINT series in both price and features. Before we get too far into this review, the Victor has two things I appreciate from any rifle company.
The first is mother-flippin sights. I have rifles from SIG that cost well over a grand, and they don’t even come with sights. Springfield includes front and rear low profile flip up sights. They are perfectly suitable for shooting of all types. Gun companies need to include sights with their rifles.
Next, the gun comes in a cardboard box. But in that box is a simple soft case. It comes with two magazine compartments and a large central area that’s perfectly fitted to the carbine. Again, most guns just come in a plain box, even at higher price points, it’s just usually just cardboard and foam.
The SAINT Victor – Ergonomics
The Springfield Armory SAINT Victor is a standard, modern AR-15 in all ways. It has a 16-inch chrome moly vanadium barrel with a 1:8 inch twist rate. The rifle has an adjustable stock, M-LOK handguard attachments, etc. What sets the rifle apart is the quality of those parts and pieces attached to it.
The stock trigger guard and pistol grip, in particular, are excellent. These are Bravo Company parts from their BCMGUNFIGHTER series. The stock is BCM’s Mod 0 model which has QD mounts (there’s also one on the lower’s end plate). It’s robust, allows for a lovely cheek weld, and it doesn’t pull at the beard hairs either.
The pistol grip has less rearward cant and is more accommodating to the shorter LOP of a carbine compared to the old A2 grips. BCM furniture was a great choice.
The M-LOK rail is ultra-thin and ultra-lightweight. It lacks a 12 o’clock rail (or M-LOK attachment points) save for a small portion at the muzzle end where the front sight is mounted. You can get a solid grip on the rail and go full Hailey/Costa C-clamp grip should you so choose.
It also makes the barrel end very well balanced with the rest of the rifle. The downside of a light rail system is that they tend to heat up quickly, and this gun does just that.
After a hundred rounds fired rapidly, the rail is pretty toasty. Getting to 150 rounds forces, you slow it down or put gloves on.
The rifle is a light weight 6 pounds, 9 ounces. Like most AR platform rifles, it’s a comfortable weapon and very ergonomic. After a long day of shooting and training, I can be appreciative of that relatively low weight.
The trigger is an excellent flat-faced design that is consistent and very smooth. It’s a single-stage trigger, and it’s nickel boron coated. It’s not as good as a decent aftermarket drop-in trigger, but it’s far better than a standard mil-spec trigger.
It’s about six pounds and nice and smooth with a positive reset. There is some creep to it, and you’ll feel during a slow and deliberate trigger pull.
Some stuff is standard, like the safety and charging handle as well as forward assist, bolt lock, and magazine release. The only change I would make is the charging handle. I like a bigger, beefier handle, especially if I’m wearing gloves.
The Little Things
The differences between a budget AR and a nice AR are often small, and looking over the Victor, and you see some of those differences. The castle nut is staked, so is the gas key on the bolt carrier group. The gas block is pinned rather than using set screws. The Melonite coated BCG is HPT/MPI tested and made from 9310 instead of old 158.
The lower also has something Springfield calls the Accu-Tite tension system. This is an internal, adjustable device that is there to reduce the play between upper and lower receivers. I’m familiar with this play and remember a friend’s M4 having quite a bit of slop, but I haven’t run into outside of the military.
I’m also not sure if a little play affects accuracy or function in any meaningful way. Nick Leghorn asserted it does not, and I’m prone to trust him on that. The Accu-Tite adjustment screw is located in the lower and is adjusted by removing the pistol grip and using an Allen wrench to tighten it. If you don’t like the play, this can eliminate it.
The downside to this is it makes taking the rifle apart more difficult. I didn’t mess with it as I found the SAINT Victor receivers were already pretty damn solid.
On the Range with the SAINT Victor
An AR-15 is an AR-15, right? When reviewing one, you have to look for the little differences for it to matter. One of the most noticeable with the SAINT Victor is the included SA Muzzle brake. It’s a two-ported brake that does an excellent job at reducing recoil and making the rifle controllable for follow-up shots.
It’s kinda neat shooting something like a Mozambique drill and feeling such a high degree of control on such a light weapon. It works and it’s an enjoyable experience. My typical experience with AR-15s is heavy ARs hardly recoil, and lightweight rifles tend to handle roughly.
The SAINT Victor is also plenty accurate. At 100 yards in a simple prone position, I was printing sub-1-inch groups with my Nikon ProStaff 5 2.5-10X. I used Federal 62 grain ammunition, and it reached out and made a nice little patterns. The combination of a decent trigger and a very supportive stock help a lot. You can get an excellent cheek weld on the gun with the BCMGUNFIGHTER stock.
The SAINT Victor is plenty accurate with just the supplied iron sights, which I used for the vast majority of my shooting. I found them to be perfectly adequate. The flip-up spring-loaded nature makes the sights quick to access, and they fold down very low for a clear sight picture when using an optic.
The Springfield Armory SAINT Victor is plenty reliable. I haven’t experienced a stoppage while shooting it yet. It’s been hit with Tula, Monarch, Federal, and Wolf Gold, and it ate it all without complaint. The single included Magpul P-MAG magazine is reliable, as we all know.
An AR is only as good as the sum of its parts contrasted with the sum of its cost. The ratio between a reasonable price and decent components here is pretty damn good. As far as ARs go, the SAINT Victor is a well-built design that costs less than a grand and comes packed with some very nice features.
Specifications: Springfield Armory SAINT Victor
Caliber: 5.56 NATO
Barrel Length: 16 inches
Overall Length: 35.5 inches fully extended
Weight: 6.9 pounds
MSRP: $1,073 (street price about $850)
Ratings (out of 5 Stars):
Ergonomics * * * *
The AR-15 is an already a wonderfully ergonomic design. Springfield’s choice of high-quality BCM parts for the SAINT Victor is a nice touch, as is the rifle’s light weight, low profile rail system. The flat trigger is also a nice touch. The only downside is how hot this little fella gets.
Accuracy * * * *
It’s not a precision rifle, but it’s capable of shooting better than 1 MOA. For an AR-15 carbine that costs under a grand, that’s a good thing.
Reliability * * * * *
It goes bang and keeps going bang without issue.
Looks * * *
It’s pretty much a standard-looking AR-15. It’s plenty attractive with its slim M-LOK rail, and BCMGUNFIGHTER furniture. That vast engraved billboard logo on the lower bothers me, but it’s not a big deal.
Bang For Your Buck * * * * *
Other gun companies should take notes. Include sights and something more than a cardboard box if I’m spending close a grand on your gun. Factor in the rest of the features and the high quality of the parts and the SAINT Victor calculates out to a great value.
Overall * * * *
The SAINT Victor is a great rifle. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s very competently built, feature-filled and affordable. Its niche in this overly crowded AR-15 market is offering a very good gun at a reasonable price.