Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is all bout the rimfire firearm world and its many firearms, ammunitions, shooting sports, and history! Last time on The Rimfire Report we took a look at the very budget-friendly Heritage Arms Rough Rider 22 caliber rimfire revolver. That little revolver is apparently one of the best-kept secrets of the rimfire world as many of you have had similar enjoyable results as I did while shooting the revolver. However, when it comes to modern arms and training, nothing is quite as ubiquitous or common as America’s rifle, the AR15. Pete’s September 3rd SILENCER SATURDAY featured a full-auto CMMG 22LR AR-15 conversion kit. Humorously enough, I had already planned to do a review and overview of the CMMG Bravo 22LR AR-15 Conversion Kit for Rimfire Report and if it hadn’t been Labor Day weekend, you all would have gotten a double dose of CCMG rimfire goodness. Unfortunately, our overview today will be a much milder, semi-auto look at the conversion kit but the same warning that Pete aired last week will be aired here – be careful, this conversion kit is sure to bring a smile to your face.
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The Rimfire Report: CMMG Bravo 22LR AR-15 Conversion Kit
CMMG .22LR Conversion Kit
Now the CMMG 22LR conversion kit isn’t anything new, however, according to various online sources, the kit has gone through a number of generational updates to improve its reliability. This particular CCMG Bravo 22LR conversion kit I’m using is one of the newer versions. Previous versions of the Bravo were plagued with reliability issues that made them frustrating to use for many people but if you paid attention to last week’s SILENCER SATURDAY, Pete demonstrated that not only is the CMMG Bravo capable of being used with a full-auto lower, it can handle high volumes of fire without choking when using the correct ammunition.
The Bravo conversion kit to me is equal parts toy and training tool. With the average cost of .223 ammunition still hovering around the $0.45 mark, .22LR is still a more cost-effective option when you’re not needing to make use of the power that an intermediate rifle cartridge offers you. 22LR can still give you a good time at the range for training purposes and it’s an absolute riot to shoot either suppressed or unsuppressed. I normally like to save my “buy or pass” recommendation till the end of these types of reviews but I think it’s safe to say that you should just go ahead and buy one right now – you won’t regret it especially if you don’t already have a dedicated 22LR AR-15 like the M&P 15-22 Sport.
Installation a Monkey Could Do
When the word “conversion kit” comes up, it usually comes along with the understanding that a lot of parts are going to have to be swapped out in order to make the firearm work. Not so in the case of the CMMG Bravo. Since both .223/5.56 and 22LR have the exact same bullet diameter, no barrel change is required. Instead, the CMMG conversion kit features a captured blowback recoil assembly, its own chamber, bolt, and firing pin that is a 1:1 direct replacement for your existing AR-15 bolt carrier group. Simply remove your old bolt carrier, swap in the Bravo and you’re good to go.
As you can see, the CMMG kit’s front area closely mimics the profile of a 5.56 cartridge and this section will essentially serve as your chamber reliably connecting the conversion kit to your existing AR-15 barrel. It is possible to insert a live round into just the bolt and smash the spring-loaded firing pin and set the whole thing off, but I wouldn’t recommend this. For one, it’s dangerous and second, the chamber/extension doesn’t feature any rifling so it’d be pretty useless anyway.
The CMMG Bravo conversion kit comes with its own 25-round plastic magazines and these cannot be inserted fully when a standard AR-15 BCG is still in the gun and in the closed position. The reverse is also true of standard 5.56 magazines when the CMMG bolt is inside of the gun. Beyond that, the “conversion” is quite simple and can be performed at the range using no tools and without swapping out any difficult-to-install parts.
Ammunition Compatibility and Function
Like Pete stated in his full-auto demonstration of the CMMG kit, the Bravo operates perfectly using 36-grain round-nose ammunition. Much like Pete discovered, this isn’t the only type of ammunition that works well in the firearm. CCI 40-grain Standard Velocity, Federal 45-grain Subsonic, and even the ultra-heavy 60-grain Aguila Sniper Subsonic ammunition worked very well in the gun and ran flawlessly through several boxes of each. This means you can likely find some budget-friendly ammunition for a great afternoon at the range with friends and family blowing away soda cans, spent shotgun hulls, and all sorts of other fun plinking targets.
On the converse side of things, the CMMG kit doesn’t really behave well with truncated cone, hollow point, or CCI Quiet 40-grain ammunition. In my experience, truncated cone, and .22LR hollow points don’t behave very well out of any firearm, and in general, I find that they’re far more inconsistent in their reliability across a broad range of firearms when compared to something like CCI Standard or Bulk Federal 22LR round nose. The CCI Quiet is only pushing out a bullet at 710 fps from a 20″ barrel and therefore it doesn’t have enough gas to cycle the bolt fully. Occasionally, you’ll get lucky and have a spent casing eject itself but I’ve never had one full cycle even when using a suppressor. Aguila 60-grain sniper subsonic, while it works very well in the gun and cycles perfectly, is so gassy that it’ll make you cry if you dump an entire magazine.
The CMMG kit with its proprietary magazines does still feature a last round bolt hold open but it does not lock the bolt back like with a regular AR-15 bolt, instead, once the magazine is removed the 22LR bolt will be sent home which will then require you to use the charging handle to make the gun hot – this is perhaps the only downside but one that is quite unavoidable.
The CMMG Bravo 22LR conversion kit just might be the single best option for people who want to use a rimfire firearm for training, pest control, or plinking but don’t want to spend the money on a dedicated 22LR AR-15. In addition to its great reliability and ammunition compatibility, the CMMG kit also allows users to remain familiar with their AR-15’s setup as it doesn’t require you to swap out any parts aside from the magazine and the bolt. If you’re into fancy charging handles, then this conversion kit gives you not only a good excuse to use it, but you’ll quickly find out just how much you like it since you will be interacting with it so much.
I have zero apprehensions about recommending the CMMG Bravo 22LR conversion kit to anyone. It’s reliable, costs about the same as the least expensive rimfire rifles, and lets you get in more trigger time with your favorite AR without you having to take out a second reverse mortgage on your house. As always, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the CMMG Bravo 22LR conversion kit. Have you ever used one? If so, what have your experiences been with it in the past? Let us know down in the comments and thanks as always for stopping by to read The Rimfire Report! See you all next week!
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