Threading the Barrel for the Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22

Smith & Wesson has been a leader in the firearms industry for a long time. They generally produce well designed firearms that often serve as the standard in their class.  In the “old days” Colt held the spotlight for semi-autos (pretty much 1911’s back then), and Smith and Wesson were generally the standard for revolvers. Were there exceptions? Yes, the Colt Python, to name one.  Generally, however S&W was a top dog in the revolver class and anything they built was usually worth having. Deep blue 29 Classic .44 Magnum anyone??

Recently, in 2006 Smith and Wesson entered the booming AR market with the introduction of the M&P 15 series rifles (AR15).  While S&W has produced a number of different firearms over the years, the AR entry was exciting to see from such a legendary company.  The M&P stands for “Military and Police” by the way, a designation they have given to a variety of firearms over the years to indicate their intended tough service design for, well…military and police.

While a lot of companies produce an AR platform rifle, S&W has gone a step further and produced a reliable 22LR companion rifle as well – the M&P 15-22.  This addition to the lineup is just excellent.  I use these rifles as a tactical instructor and have had top rate performance from them with a variety of students and a variety of ammo.

One interesting note on the M&P 15-22 22LR is some early models were shipped without the barrel candy on the end.  Yup, no threads and consequently no attachments.  Obviously, most of us prefer a threaded barrel, and S&W eventually cranked out many that had threaded barrels, but there are some floating around without a threaded barrel.

The first one I saw without a threaded barrel had me needing to build a custom barrel nut removal tool to get the barrel off.  The nut is buried down inside the hand guard and a long tube with a fitting on the end is needed to get at it. At the time, no tool existed that I knew of, so I made one from gas pipe parts, which has served me well over the years.  I see now companies sell barrel nut removal tools for the 15-22, but mine is just too sexy to replace. 

By the way, if you are inclined to remove your barrel, be extra careful of the ejector.  It is attached to the barrel via a pinned collar and it sticks out just waiting to get bumped, bent, or broken.  Replacements are not easy to obtain.  Don’t ask me how I know.

Once removed, Threading a S&W 15-22 barrel is a straight forward job. Get it in the lathe and machine it up. They thread up nicely, typically 1/2x28 tpi. 

Once threaded, the barrel is reinstalled on the upper receiver and a flash hider, muzzle break, or suppressor can be attached.  Thus outfitted, the M&P 15-22 makes a great little package!

*you are responsible to seek professional advice before making any modifications to your firearm, or before making any decisions regarding your firearm. Be smart. Get expert advice. This article is therefore for informational purposes only. Always consult a qualified gunsmith in your area regarding any firearm modifications.

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