Smith and Wesson M&P15R: 5.45×39 Rifle and Upper

The new Smith and Wesson M&P15R is a rifle chambered in 5.45×39.  S&W developed this new AR variant due to the rising costs of .223/5.56 NATO ammunition.  The 5.45×39 cartridge was developed for the AK-74 rifle in the early 1970s.  Few guns in made the United States are chambered for it, and consequently, surplus ammo is comparatively cheap.  The 5.45×39 is not interchangeable with the 5.56×45 NATO (or .223 Remington) cartridge which is the standard cartridge AR-15 platform rifles.

Smith and Wesson M&P15R

The M&P15R features a chrome-lined 16″ barrel with a 1:8″ twist, M4 style post front sight, and a six-position collapsible stock. The rifle comes with one 30-round magazine.

A “mil-spec” upper is also available for people who already own an AR, but would like to shoot 5.45×39. The upper comes with a 30-round magazine and a bolt carrier assembly and should drop right onto any mil-spec AR lower.

The M&P15R has a suggested retail price of $1146.00 and the upper alone has an MSRP of $751.00.  Street prices should be significantly less.

From the Smith and Wesson website:

With the ever increasing cost of 5.56mm and .223 ammo, Smith & Wesson is pleased to announce the M&P15R Rifle (along with the new Upper Receiver Assembly). This new rifle is chambered for the less expensive and abundant 5.45 x 39mm cartridge. The rifles come with a flat-top receiver and the M4-style post front sight ready to accept the optics of your choice or a back-up iron sight. Also included is one 30 round magazine built specifically to accommodate the 5.45 x 39mm round.

Smith and Wesson M&P15R info

May 2013 Update – It looks like this rifle and upper are no longer offered by Smith and Wesson.  Although the gun would not have been a major part of the company’s business, I thought the gun was selling well.  Perhaps the recent run on guns forced S&W to focus on the 5.56 NATO guns.  Regardless, the Smith and Wesson M&P15R is a thing of the past.  If you have one, you might want to hold onto it.

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.

4 replies on “Smith and Wesson M&P15R: 5.45×39 Rifle and Upper”

i had one and corrosive ammo was not nice to ar style action but problem can be corrected by installing an adams arms pistion kit, this prevents all the corrosive stuff from going into the action and stays out in gas chamber, but attention to cleaning detail is important.

Hi Jim,

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with this rifle. You’re right – corrosive ammo is nasty stuff. Anyone using it should make very sure you are cleaning every part of that rifle.


Bought it for the savings in ammo costs. Stocked up on Wolf ammo. Like the reaction when I say AK74…

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