Skip to comments.Do the Math [.22 LR conversion kits for the AR-15]
Posted on 08/16/2010 5:17:02 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Ammo prices being what they are these days, I find myself looking into .22 LR conversion kits for guns I like to shoot regularly. Currently, my preferred load for AR-15s is running just over $0.40 per round, while .22 LR is running about $0.03 per round. So I was obviously interested in Brownells AR-15 .22 LR Conversion Kit. I reasoned that, after one 550-round milk carton of .22 LR, the $199 kit would pay for itself. The other option would be a dedicated .22 LR upper, which costs more and Id have to purchase additional optics and other accessories to make it comparable to my other AR-15s. The kit seemed like a no-brainer, presuming it worked.
The kit now ships from Brownells with three, 26-round magazines. Its a drop-in unit that replaces the entire bolt-carrier assembly. Installation is easy and no gunsmithing or fitting is required. Pop out your bolt-carrier assembly and drop the kit in. It operates via direct blowback and has an insert that looks like a 5.56 NATO shell. It also came with a rubber sleeve that holds the unit. You should hang onto this for safe storage.
The ammo recommended is high-velocity, round-nosed ammo. Brownells recommends you lubricate the kit prior to shooting and says the kit requires a break-in period. So, I lubed it up with some Rem-Oil and loaded up a few magazines with Federal ammo and dropped the unit into my daughters pretty AR-15 to see how it would do. Her AR is a J&T Distributing Lightweight Upper with a chrome-lined, 1:9-inch-twist barrel.
Magazines fit snuglythere were no issues with wobble. And the fact the mags allow you to see your ammunition is a plus. When installed, the charging handle doesnt move as far rearward as an AR shooter is accustomed. That took some getting used to. At 25 to 50 yards, I was hitting steel plates and clay pigeons with ease. On paper, I found it was slightly less accurate than firing 5.56 NATO through the same gun. An AR-15 barrel isnt designed with a twist rate for .22 LR, so that was expected. I was getting about 1.5-inch groups at 25 yards standing. I consider that sufficient accuracy for the kits intended purpose. There was virtually no felt recoil, which was also unsurprising.
The magazine holds the bolt open on the last shot. Ejecting the magazine releases the bolt. While its a nice visual check to verify youve expended a magazine, it doesnt lend itself to practicing speed reloads.
In nine magazines, I had zero failures to fire and zero failures to feed with the 550-round milk carton of Federal .22 LR. Though round-nosed ammo is recommended, I had no issues with the hollow-point Federal rounds. It doesnt seem to me that the kit required a break-in period. Firing a .22 through the AR-15 sounded very quiet, and I could have easily shot this configuration all day. I see myself doing that, regularly.
If you want to inexpensively practice sight alignment, trigger squeeze and some drills with your AR-15 rifle, this is a fine product. But, bear in mind, there are a few things with which it doesnt help, practicing magazine reloads being the most important. The light recoil doesnt lend itself to perfect practice for follow-up shots either, but shooting ammo less than 1/10 the cost, I see getting a lot of use out of this kit.
At one time, Colt AR-15’s regularly came with a .22LR conversion kit. Around 1988 I had a friendly dealer trade me several Colt H-Bars for various other guns. They all came with the conversion kits.
I only tried the .22 unit once and was pleasantly surprised how well it worked. Since the H-Bar at the time had a 1-7 twist which is way faster than the 1-16 the .22LR normally uses, the accuracy really did surprise me.
All in all tho just more trouble than I wanted to go to since I had a bunch of other .22 rifles and could really see no reason to shoot them in the AR.
It would be better to test the rifle and the shooter separately. Otherwise what should we conclude - that the kit has accuracy of 6 MOA? That would be pretty bad, unless the sound is the only desirable effect of the exercise :-)
Thanks for posting this. I was wondering about this conversion kit. It would let me shoot at my local pistol range rather than taking a much longer trip to a rifle range that doesn’t much like EBRs.
Local gun dealer here is getting about 40 Rock River AR-15s in on a one time buy. I have to see which model it is, but I think that at $695 I’m gonna go for it.
I want an over-under .308/.22 barrel setup. Do any exist?
What I have never understood about these conversion kits is that (as you point out) they do not provide you with the full shooting experience. For example, putting one in a Model 1911 just gives you a heavy pistol shooting an anemic round. No recoil, no muzzle creep, yuck. You’re not really shooting a Model 1911.
Why do it? Yes, I know, the savings in ammo. Why not shoot less but when you do, shoot the real thing.
If the SHTF of an apoplectic nature, like maybe an EMP attack, one of the most practical guns for survival will be a 22LR. Not so much for protection of the homestead, but for hunting the small game that you will soon have to rely on for food. The large game would soon be depleted in such a global disaster, so dont plan on refer full of venison. Thats if you even have power for the refer. Rabbit, squirrel, opossum, birds of all kinds, even roaming domestic animals if it came down to it.
You could stock up on years worth of 22LR now for not that much money, and a good 22 is also very accurate and the sound doesnt travel far incase you had to do your survival hunting on someone elses land.
Bullets of all kinds will also be a top bartering item if cash was no longer of value.
How bout a Ruger 10-22?
I have one of these kits. Well worth the money.
Make you own.
That’s the basic gun everybody should have at least one of.
I agree with you and the same reasons hold true for several high powered air rifles and a lot of pellets. Even cheaper than .22 LR. Also even quieter.
The kits look fun, but they usually cost more than a dedicated .22 rifle would cost. I have always come down on the side of having two fully functional firearms rather than a rifle that can only work as a .22 part of the time.
Of course, if you live where it is really difficult to legally own more than one rifle, it would have its advantages.
That is a great one, and if you want it to look scary, conversions kits flood the market.
When I bought my AR-15 it was a choice between it and the Ruger, but I ended up going for the AR-15. It was $440. Sold it 13 years later for $650 to pay for my Wife’s engagement ring. And I've been kicking my self in the but ever since, because they have nothing but gone up up up in value. Now I just have handguns.
Looking now for a 22LR for my son who will be turning 9 soon. Maybe get a pair of them so we can do some father son plinking.
Ruger SR-22. No conversion kit necessary. Costs $499.00. Can be outfitted with any AR-15 accessory. This gun is so much fun to shoot at the range, and ammo is so cheap.
The first reloaded round is VERY expensive!
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