I like to be wise with my resources and I want the best quality for the time and money I invest...
If you've tried buying 5.56mm ammunition to feed your AR15 lately, you're probably still suffering from sticker shock. Fortunately, .22LR ammunition is becoming available again. Its not as inexpensive as it used to be, but it's still a fraction of what 5.56mm is going for nowadays. At somewhere near seven cents a shot, you can fire at least six rounds for the price of one 5.56 round. There's also the side benefit of less noise and recoil.
There are several approaches which allow you to fire .22LR in your AR. Colt, Ceiner, CMMG, and others manufacture conversion kits which allow you to remove your center-fire bolt and replace it with the conversion unit and .22LR magazine. There are advantages (they are less expensive than an entire upper assembly) but there are some disadvantages I've discovered as well (they require careful cleaning of your standard upper assembly - .22LR ammo tends to be fairly dirty) and the rate of twist of the rifling is not optimized for the .22LR round.
I have had both Colt and CMMG conversion units. Both conversion units work well and will be the subject of a future article. Because we were thinking of becoming a dealer for CMMG products, I wanted to try one of their Upper Assemblies as well. The unit I ordered sports a 16" M4 profile barrel, WASP treated 4140 chrome-moly steel with a 1:16 twist and complete with flash suppressor. It has an M4 hand guard, phosphated .22LR bolt group, and the familiar AR front sight. The upper receiver has a Picatinny rail system on which you can mount the standard carry handle/sight or other optics/sights of your choice. It does not come with rear sights or a magazine.
First impressions on opening the box, was of a well-made high quality item. Fit and finish were very impressive.
Since looks aren't everything, I decided to do a somewhat informal head to head comparison with a Ruger 10-22.
The 10-22 was factory stock except for the substitution of Tech Sights for the standard Ruger sights. The Tech Sights increase the sighting radius by 7 ½ inches and mimic the standard sights on an AR. For the CMMG upper, I used a factory Colt LE6920 lower and its detachable carry handle sight. Targets were placed 25 yards from my improvised bench rest. (See Photo) Ammunition was Remington Viper .22LR (36 grain 1410 fps).
Once sighted-in, the CMMG upper performed well considering its military trigger pull and my older eyes. Function for both rifles was flawless, with the exception of one round that would not fire no matter how many times the firing pin hit it. Group sizes were in the neighborhood of two inches with a slight nod to the Ruger 10-22. Because I was having some difficulty seeing the military sights on the CMMG equipped rifle, I decided to try it using an EOTECH 552 holographic weapons sight.
That, boys and girls, made quite a difference! Even though there was no magnification involved using the EOTECH, it allowed me to have a vastly improved sight picture. The results indicated that the CMMG was capable of excellent accuracy. Of the eleven rounds fired last with the EOTECH on board, the results tell the tale.
I can hardly wait to try it on a Colt LE6940 sporting a CMC (Chip McCormick) trigger unit with a 3 ½ pound smooth as silk trigger pull. I will let you know how that turns out.
Based on our experience with the CMMG Conversion units and now the CMMG .22LR Upper Assembly, Gorge Preparedness is now a dealer for CMMG products. We are offering the .22LR upper, which I tested, for $424.95 and include one free 25 round magazine and free shipping. That ends up being roughly a $50.00 savings over MSRP.