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August 22nd, 2021

Sunday GunDay: .22 LR Conversion Kit for AR-15 Platform

.22 LR 22LR rimfire AR AR15 AR-15 conversion kit bolt magazine savings ammo ammunition

Over the past 18 months, popular ammo types, such as .223 Rem and 9mm, have been hard to find at reasonable prices. The high cost of .223 Rem centerfire ammo has driven more folks to shooting .22 LR rimfire ammo, both for fun and practice. This Sunday we look at a smart solution that allows you to shoot .22 LR ammo from your existing .223/5.56 AR-15 platform rifle. This is great because it allows low-cost training with no change in rifle balance, ergonomics, and/or optics.

The CMMG Bravo .22 LR Conversion Kit provides a replacement bolt/bolt carrier along with three 25-round magazines with special .22 LR-fitted followers and ammo slots. This allows you to shoot rimfire ammo from any AR-15 chambered for the .223 Rem (5.56×45). The CMMG Bravo has an integrated extension that fits into your current chamber. The rimfire bullet passes through this extension and then enters the barrel.

.22 LR 22LR rimfire AR AR15 AR-15 conversion kit bolt magazine savings ammo ammunition
The CMMG Bravo conversion Kit comes with blowback-operated .22 LR bolt carrier, rubber protector for bolt carrier tip, and three 25-round polymer magazines. To use, simply replace the rifle’s .223 Rem bolt and carrier with the Bravo .22 LR conversion unit and load up the included magazine(s) with rimfire ammo.

To use the CMMG Kit, simply remove the centerfire bolt/bolt carrier, and replace it with the CMMG silver colored bolt shown above. CMMG states: “For best performance use a round-style hammer as notched hammers can cause function issues.” Testers have stated that high-velocity .22 LR ammo works best, and CMMG notes that “36gr plated-nose bullets have proven to be the best choice for function.” The copper-plated bullets help reduce fouling.

Ultimate Reloader Tests CMMG .22 LR Conversion Kit

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com recently tested the CMMG .22 LR AR Conversion Kit. He observed that installation was very straight-forward and the CMMG magazines worked well. He and fellow tester Travis Fox shot the unit both slow-fire and rapid-fire successfully.

Gavin and Travis found the CMMG Kit easy to install and fun to use. With an AR that can shoot both .223 Rem and .22 LR, it’s like having “two guns in one”. Travis was impressed with the ease of use: “It is so simple to change over to the CMMG .22 LR AR kit! It took me about 68 seconds the very first time I tried. Each time after that it took me about 40 seconds — it’s that simple. It takes longer to fully load one of the mags than it does to switch over from .223/5.56 to .22 LR and back.”

The AR shot very well with the higher-velocity ammo types. 100% functioning was achieved with both 40gr Federal Game Shok ammo and American Eagle High Velocity 38gr Copper-plated HP ammo. NOTE: CMMG does recommend high-velocity Copper-plated rimfire ammunition.

Maintenance Tip — After converting back to your centerfire .223 Rem (5.56), Travis says “make sure to clean the gas tube and components as .22 LR tends to run dirty”. READ Full Test on UltimateReloader.com.

CMMG Bravo Conversion Kit Gets Thumbs Up from Gavin and Travis
“Does this conversion kit get the Ultimate Reloader stamp of approval? Absolutely! In these times of ammunition/component scarcity this gives options to shooters. Finding bulk .22 LR can sometimes be easier than 223/5.56. This kit gives that option at a great price. Any chance to keep skills up and familiarize new shooters to a platform is a good thing. Basically two rifles for a lot less than another rifle.”

.22 LR 22LR rimfire AR AR15 AR-15 conversion kit bolt magazine savings ammo ammunition

How to Install CMMG Bravo .22 LR Conversion Kit

The Brownells video below shows the installation process step-by-step:

In this instructional video, a Brownells gunsmith demonstrates (step by step) how to install, disassemble, clean, lubricate, and reassemble the CMMG AR-15 .22 LR Conversion Kits. Clear the rifle and make safe before you start the conversion. Separate the upper and lower, remove the standard bolt carrier group. You then install the conversion bolt and connect the upper and lower as normal.

Details of CMMG .22 LR Conversion Kit

.22 LR 22LR rimfire AR AR15 AR-15 conversion kit bolt magazine savings ammo ammunition

“For years I’ve had a CMMG conversion kit. It’s a drop-in system that’s … very reliable and it’s accurate. The [CMMG conversion] has lower recoil [and is] great for training. Even though ammo prices have gone through the roof, .22 LR is still cheaper to shoot than anything else.” — SootchGear

.22 LR 22LR rimfire AR AR15 AR-15 conversion kit bolt magazine savings ammo ammunition

This SootchGear video shows how to install the CMMG Bravo unit. The video also compares the original CMMG .22 LR bolt assembly with the latest integrated CMMG Bravo at 2:00-3:50. The older unit had a brass adapter and separate chamber insert. The host also tests a CMMG-equipped AR with various types of ammo. Watch a rapid-fire sequence starting at 1:48 time-mark.

Field Test with Two ARs — Rapid Fire .22 LR Testing

.22 LR 22LR rimfire AR AR15 AR-15 conversion kit bolt magazine savings ammo ammunition

The video below demonstrates rapid-fire .22 LR performance with two different ARs using CCI Mini-Mag ammo. The CMMG conversion is fast and easy: “In a matter of seconds you go from 5.56 to .22 LR”. Watch rapid-fire at 5:40 with CCI Mini-Mags in red/black rifle. Then the tester shoots a variety of ammo in a .223 Wylde-chambered all-black AR, starting at 9:40. The Mini-Mags worked flawlessly, but there were a couple fail-to-cycle sequences in extreme rapid-fire with cheaper “bulk” ammo. The lesson here is use good quality, high-velocity ammo.


NOTE: This 2018 video shows an earlier CMMG .22 LR conversion bolt that features a brass adapter and separate chamber insert. The current CMMG Kit has unitized bolt without a separate adapter or insert.

Interestingly, the Mini-Mag .22 LR ammo shot fine in the .223 Wylde-chambered AR. However, CMMG cautions: “Since .223 WYLDE is NOT a mil-spec chamber, we cannot guarantee fit or function with our 22LR conversion kits.”

Reviews from CMMG Bravo .22 LR Rimfire Conversion Kit Purchasers:

“Get it. Bought this for my Rock River AR. Bolt system goes in [easily] and fits perfectly. Took it to the range and put over 150 rounds through, only failing to feed/fire two rounds. I most definitely recommend this product to anyone looking to shoot their standard AR-15 .223 rifle on a budget.” — Pew P.

“I got this just yesterday and in two days time I have put a couple thousand rounds through it and no hick-ups. I have no complaints.” — Seth

“Best buy for anyone during this ammo crisis. Ammo is extremely expensive and hard to find. It was a ‘no-brainer’ once I found this kit. Ran 200 rounds to break it in for about $20 and had maybe 3 failures. Accurate up to 50 yards (I haven’t tried further) without optic adjustments.” — Joshua M.

“Purchased one of these in January. Took it to the range shortly after for my daughters to try out. We have three ARs and this thing functioned flawlessly. We practiced swapping out the 5.56 carrier with this back and forth, flawless. Enjoyed it so much now I’m purchasing another one.” — J.B.

“Great product. I bought this due to the high cost of ammo. I wanted to still shoot my AR and this was an alternative. This thing works great… works flawless with different types of .22 LR, from premium CCI to the cheap stuff. I recommend this to anyone thinking about getting one.” — Thom

* You can get also CMMG Conversion Kits from Brownells with one (1) 25rd mag for $219.99, or with three (3) 25rd mags for $249.99. There is also a CMMG kit with three (3) 10-rd mags for $249.99 for areas with capacity restriction.

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August 22nd, 2021

Giant 14.5x114mm Cartridge Dwarfs .338 Lapua Magnum

14.5x114 mm cartridge Russia South Africa
Photo courtesy Elardus de Lang, Truvelo Manufacturers Armoury, South Africa.

Believe it or not, here is a cartridge that makes a .338 Lapua Magnum look like a toy. The 14.5x114mm cartridge was designed as a MG and rifle-fired anti-materiel round. To translate from the metric system to caliber and inches, the round is a mammoth .57 caliber which measures 4.49 inches to the case mouth, and 6.13 inches overall. That jumbo-sized case holds a whopping 655 grains of powder. Commonly-loaded projectiles weigh 920-1030 grains. The 993gr armor-piercing projectile has a muzzle velocity of approximately 1006 meters per second (3300 fps) and can penetrate 30-32 millimeters of RHA steel at a range of 500 meters.

The top photo comes from Elardus De Lang, a Forum member who works at the Truvelo Manufacturers Armoury in South Africa. Elardus also provided an impressive video showing the massive 14.5x114mm being shot from prone with a Truvelo-built bolt-action rifle. Elardus tells us: “Here is a video, with a slow-motion ending, of our 14.5x114mm anti-materiel rifle being fired in our indoor testing facility. This caliber is a true beast! It propels a 993gr Armor-Piercing Incendiary bullet to 3300 fps, burning 480 grains of powder in the process. [This shows] that rifles of that power level can actually be shootable. The concussion indoors is something to experience……every shot feels like you are being punched in the face, and the heat from the muzzle flash actually hits you like a wave!”

14.5x114mm Cartridge Design and Dimensions
The 14.5×114mm has 42.53 ml (655 grains H2O) cartridge case capacity. The exterior shape of the case was designed to promote reliable case feeding and extraction in bolt action rifles and machine guns alike, under extreme conditions. Cartridges typically use lacquered steel cases, but some countries also use brass cases for the 14.5x115mm.

14.5x114 mm cartridge Russia South Africa

All dimensions are in millimeters (mm). Americans would define the shoulder angle at alpha/2, or 22.5 degrees. The common rifling twist rate for this cartridge is 455 mm (1:17.91″) with eight lands/grooves. According to official guidelines, the 14.5×114mm can handle up to 360 MPa (52,213 psi) piezo pressure.

14.5x114 mm cartridge Russia truvelo manufacturers armoury South Africa

14.5x114mm Cartridge History
The 14.5×114mm (.57 Cal) is a heavy machine gun and anti-materiel rifle cartridge used by the Soviet Union, the former Warsaw Pact, modern Russia, and other countries. It was originally developed for the PTRS and PTRD anti-tank rifles, but was later used as the basis for the KPV heavy machine gun that formed the basis of the ZPU series anti-aircraft guns that is also the main armament of the BTR series of armoured personnel carriers from the BTR-60 to the BTR-80 and for heavy anti-material sniper rifles. The cartridge was designed in 1939 and first issued in 1941.

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August 22nd, 2021

Tiered “Bleacher Blocks” Work Well for Many Reloading Tasks

Lyman Bleacher Block stepped cartridge holder

Here’s an inexpensive product that can make your case prep and loading tasks easier. We use and recommend the cleverly-designed Lyman Bleacher Blocks. These multi-level (stepped) cartridge holders save space on your bench AND make it easier to select a particular case/cartridge from a full block. Each row is a different height for convenience. With Bleacher Blocks it’s also easier to check for powder levels, or place bullets before the seating process.

Lyman’s Bleacher Block cartridge holders have many advantages over conventional, single-level blocks. Use the different levels for sorting brass. Or, migrate the brass from top to bottom as you proceed through case prep stages. If you are assembling loads with different bullets for load testing, you could arrange the loaded rounds on different levels for easy recognition. For example put V-Max loaded rounds on the top tier, and Berger Hybrid loaded rounds on the bottom tier. Or, if you are experimenting with neck tension, you can use different rows for cases processed with different bushings.

Made of durable orange polymer, Lyman Bleacher Blocks are molded in three sizes. The smallest size (with 0.388″-diam holes) fits .223 Rem-size case heads. The middle size (with 0.485″-diam holes) fits .308 Win-size case heads. That works for 6mmBR/Dasher sized cases perfectly. The biggest Bleacher Block has 0.565″-diameter recesses for magnum-size cases. All three cartridge block sizes hold fifty (50) rounds. Purchase any size for just $6.37 per Block at Midsouth.

Lyman Bleacher Block stepped cartridge holder

Here’s what Lyman says about its innovative cartridge block design: “Our [stepped] loading blocks allow for easier handling of cases in and out of the loading block. Our stepped design allows you to easily grip a single case without jamming your fingers down into a group of cases like in traditional loading blocks, and allows for a smaller ‘footprint’ on your bench.”

Lyman Bleacher Blocks are among the Reloading Tools reviewed in this helpful video:

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