Wednesday, November 2, 2011

CMMG's .22LR Dedicated Upper Receiver: A Helluva Lot Cheaper Than Blasting 5.56NATO All Saturday Afternoon

I have been waiting with much anticipation the last several weeks for my new CMMG .22 upper receiver to arrive. Yesterday I got the call that it had come in.
I did not have time to test it out yesterday so I figured this morning would be as good a time as any to do so. after about 3 mags of just plinking to test function, I broke it down into it's components to see what make this little number tick. The first thing you notice when you handle this upper, is that it has almost the same weight as a standard upper. I honestly could not tell the difference in weight between it, and my standard 5.56 NATO upper. Milled just like a standard upper, not made of polymer like some of the imported uppers are. (i.e. Chiappa Arms)
It comes with no rear sight, so I added a Matech 200-600M flip up sight that I had laying around. Something else will take it's place in the near future. It has a non functioning foward assist, which is there for aesthetics only. A brass deflector adorns the back of the ejection port along with a modified dust cover that is a tad shorter than a standard cover, as so to accommodate the deflector. I like the addition of the deflector; I have used the .22 conversion kits in the standard uppers in the past, and with them having no deflection, the brass and debris has a way of getting in your face.
a basic look at the upper:

The handguards are a standard M4- style , even complete with heat shields.
Not that you will need heatshields on a .22, but it adds to the realism of the weapon.

The barrel is a 16 1/4 " , 1:16" twist W.A.S.P. carbon steel barrel, cut in the M4 profile. It has a standard birscage style flash hider topping off a mil-spec 1/2x28 threaded muzzle.
What I LOVE about this is that the ratio is optimal for .22LR accuracy, and that it's a solid barrel, not a polymer body with a steel sleeve, like I have seen in lesser quality products.

The bolt assembly is almost identical to the CMMG .22 conversion kit bolt, minus the chamber adapter that is used on the conversions.

Looking at the inside of the upper, you will notice the absence of the standard AR chamber, and an adapted .22 chamber in its place.

On the downside, I do NOT like the fact that the charging handle is a polymer material.
I may never have a problem with it, but I don't like it. I will be investing in a standard metal charging handle which should interchange without a hitch.
I used my standard lower, which happens to be a CMMG itself, to test the upper. ( Almost any standard AR 15 lower will work, so that won't be an issue.)

The magazine is made to simulate the feel of a standard 5.56 NATO magazine, and honestly once you have it fully loaded this big chunk of polymer is almost as heavy as a standard mag....I said ALMOST. Not quite totally simulating the weight....but definitely getting there.

After picking through this upper, I decided to tack up some targets and really see what it could do. I broke out a box of Wal-Mart purchased Winchester 333 36 grain HP, 1280FPS. and loaded up the magazine.
At 25 yards, I was very surprised at the performance, I used one of the M16 adjusted 25 meter targets which have simulated distances on the multiple targets. The 150M target, I made decent holes in it. Not what I would call a consistent group, but I had not adjusted the sights, and I was honestly, half-assing it a bit.

But, then I squared myself away, good breathing control, and with slow smooth shots, I did this to the 200M target:

I was thoroughly happy with this; at 25 yards, I was able to keep a 5 shot group all with the ring.
I cannot wait to try this upper out with some high quality .22 ammo.
After this I broke out the silhouette target and did some fast acquisition shots for about a half an hour.....just for fun.

I will add that during the entire shoot, I shot approximately 400 rounds, and had no failures to feed, or any malfunctions. I doubt everyone would have that experience, but I certainly am impressed by this.
The CMMG .22 upper has sold itself. I am officially a fan.
I love the inexpensiveness, the quality of the material, the accuracy. the reliablity and the hours of fun and training this will give me.
Does it have some downsides? Yes.
I don't like the fact that that magazine is an extra charge. I would've liked to had it come with at least one free magazine.
And the only other glaring issue with it, is that without purchasing an extra item called the bolt hold open adapter, the carrier will not lock back on the last shot.
But that is easily remedied with the purchase of the adapter. It's the nature of the beast.
I would not hesitate to suggest this upper to anyone who wants to shoot their AR, but doesn't want to take out a small loan to purchase .223/5.56 ammo to just blow away.

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