HomeUSAFull Review! Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro

Full Review! Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro

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New from Smith & Wesson is the Volunteer™ Series MSR platform called the Volunteer XV Pro. I have been a fan of their previous M&P15 Sport lineup after seeing how well they perform for the price, so I was excited about this new upgraded option. Straight from the factory, the Volunteer XV Pro provides the advantage of high-end accessories coming from Radian™, Magpul, B5 Systems, and Bravo Company. Featuring 5R rifling, an upgraded flat trigger, and Primary Weapons Systems muzzle brake, this factory rifle is a great option. For those who want to save money and avoid the process of sourcing individual parts to upgrade a more standard rifle, the Volunteer XV Pro is a well-thought-out system that is built to meet your every need. 

Features: 

  • Mid-length gas system
  • 15.0″ aluminum S&W® M-LOK® forend
  • B5 Systems SOPMOD stock
  • PWS 556 muzzle brake
  • Williams Gun Sight Company Folding Sights
  • B5 Systems P-Grip 23 pistol grip
  • Ambidextrous Radian Raptor-LT™ charging handle
  • Flat-faced trigger
  • Target-crowned, threaded barrel
  • 2″ M-LOK® rail section included
  • Magpul® Type-2 M-LOK rail covers included
  • Forward assist
  • Dust cover
  • Chromed firing pin
  • Forged, integral trigger guard
  • Armornite® finish on barrel (internal and external)

Specifications: 

  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Size: Rifle
  • Action: Gas operated 
  • Barrel Length: 16″
  • Barrel Material: 4140 CM
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Number of Magazines: 1

Factory Upgrades

As previously stated, Smith & Wesson included a lot of great upgrades for this rifle straight from the factory. Opening the box, it comes with a muzzle break, iron sights, an upgraded trigger, a Radian charging handle, a B5 stock, and a B5 grip installed. Sitting next to them is a safety lock, Picatinny rail section, single 30-round Magpul M2 PMAG as well as a box of Magpul Type 2 rail covers. 

B5 Furniture

While mil-spec rifles leave a lot to desire, the Volunteer XV Pro is one of the few factory rifles where I don’t want to change things up. They include a B5 Systems P-Grip 23 pistol grip and an Enhanced SOPMOD stock. The Type 23 P-Grip has good texturing and a steeper grip angle to ensure a proper trigger index. The Enhanced SOPMOD Stock has a great ergonomic design that is comfortable when shooting. Featuring water-resistant storage compartments, dual steel anti-rotational QD sling mounts, and a “sure grip stock latch,” the B5 stock has a lot going for it. 

Trigger

Smith & Wesson includes one of their own flat-faced triggers in this rifle. While curved and flat-faced don’t really make much of a difference, I have slightly been preferring flat as of late. I measured the pull weight of this trigger and got results of between 4.5-5lbs. I found it to have a fairly gritty takeup with no defined wall, then a very positive and audible reset after the shot. While not great, I could still get consistent hits out to 500 yards. 

Radian Charging Handle

While a solid trigger is normally my first upgrade for a rifle, a Radian charging handle comes in second. This rifle features an ambidextrous Radian Raptor-LT™ charging handle which combines 7075 aluminum and over-molded fiberglass reinforced polymer to provide the best combination of weight, strength, and durability. These really improve handling and weapon manipulations so I was excited to see one included. 

Handguard

Utilizing a 15.0˝ aluminum S&W® M-LOK® forend, the Volunteer XV Pro leaves plenty of room for mounting accessories. I am a big fan of M-LOK handguards as they provide a great combination of durability to weight savings. This handguard provides a full-length Picatinny rail at the top, and 5 sides of M-LOK slots. Another appreciated feature of this rifle is the included Magpul® Type-2 M-LOK rail covers. They are low-profile, lightweight, easy to install and provide the perfect amount of added texture to the front of the handguard. There are six panels included which each cover a single M-LOK slot. 

Iron sights

Including a set of Williams Gun Sight Company folding sights, this rifle is ready to go out of the box. These metal folding sights seem to be well-made, and I like their locking mechanism. They are adjustable, and the rear sight has both a large and small aperture for different types of shooting. 

Muzzle Brake

The included PWS 556 muzzle brake worked like a charm throughout testing. While 556 doesn’t have much recoil to begin with, it has essentially no recoil with this muzzle brake attached. It kept a fairly small ground signature and allowed for quick follow-up shots. 

Testing

So enough about the features, how does the Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro actually shoot?! For the few hundred rounds I was able to put downrange, this rifle ran great. The only issue I had was a couple of failures to feed when I was trying to use “Cheapest Ammo, LLC” steel-cased 56gr FMJBT cartridges. Otherwise, it powered through all the brass ammo I threw at it without a single hiccup. Ergonomically the rifle and all its included accessories ran well. Using a red dot paired with the muzzle break I was able to quickly burn it down up close, and by throwing on the new Vortex 3-18×44 scope, I could stretch the rifle out to get consistent hits out to 500 yards. I enjoyed testing out this rifle, especially after setting it up in a more designated mid-range platform. For utilizing a 16″ barrel, it handled nicely and felt well-balanced. 

Accuracy

Wanting to see how accurate the 4140 CM barrel with 5R rifling was, I set up paper targets at 100 yards, grabbed an assortment of ammunition, and started shooting groups. While some people just shoot 3-round groups and call it a day, I feel like 5-round groups give a better representation of how a rifle actually performs. While 5-round groups normally have a larger deviation, take from them what you will. My best groups by far were with Norma Golden Target Match 69gr. I was able to get a .90 MOA measured on paper. However, after that, the group size went up. I ended up getting 2.8 MOA with 62gr LAP PMC X-TAC, 3.5 MOA with 55gr FMJ Norma Tactical, 3.5 MOA with 55gr FMJ PMC Bronze, and 3.9 MOA with 56gr FMJBT Cheapest Ammo LLC. While these are not great groups with more affordable ammunition options, it is good to know that 1-MOA groups are within reason with premium ammunition such as Norma Golden Target. 

Summary

Out of the box, I think the Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro is a fantastic option. Currently, the MSRP for this rifle is $1569 while the street price is around $1400. It comes with a lot of high-end accessories that work great and keep the end user from worrying about upgrades down the road. When paired with brass ammunition it proved to be reliable, and I had no issues hitting C-Zone-sized silhouettes out to 500 yards even with 20 mph winds. 

is passionate about hunting and competition shooting. During college he was the shooting instructor for Oklahoma State’s Practical Shooting Team, and these days he spends as much time as he can chasing after pigs and coyotes with night vision and thermals. You can follow Mitchell’s adventures over at his Instagram @That_Gun_Guy_

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