With my recent revelation of ammo prices I began looking for some alternative methods for rifle shooting. My Ruger SR22 is really cheap to shoot compared to my other two firearms so I decided the path to cheaper shooting would be through the .22lr cartridge. Deciding to invest in a rifle that shoots .22lr ammunition left me with a few different options to choose from.
1) Buy a new rifle that shoots .22lr. This was an interesting thought at first because I do have an addiction to buying weapons (as my recent series of quick purchases lead me to believe). I looked around a little bit and it seemed that there were many different 22 rifles out there that were made by very good companies who were asking very reasonable prices. But then I thought back to my Ruger Mini-14. The first gun I ever purchased was sitting at home propped up in a corner of my room with no accessories and no case. Everything had been transferred to the AR15 when I started shooting it more. Buying another rifle would demand even more accessories and storage space. I decided this was not the option for me (for the moment at least).
2) Buy a dedicated .22lr upper for my AR15. One of the best features of the AR platform is its versatility. As long as you buy parts that are of decent quality, there usually isn’t a problem mixing and matching them. I demonstrated that very heavily when I built my franken-rifle. Buying (or building) a dedicated upper was slightly more appealing than buying an entire new rifle. A dedicated upper would’ve cost as much as, if not more than, buying an entire rifle but it wouldn’t take up as much space as a whole rifle. In addition, I would keep (pretty close to) the same weight of my AR as well as the same trigger. Keeping those the same would allow me to practice most of the important shooting techniques on one rifle but cheaper than shooting .223. It would still require some storage space though, as well as its own set of sights since they stay with the rifle’s upper. I kept looking . . .
3) Buy a conversion kit for my AR15. There are products online that are readily available that can turn your .223/5.56 AR15 into a .22lr AR15 with virtually no alteration to the rifle as a whole. Essentially these kits are a new BCG (bolt carrier group) that accepts the smaller 22 cartridges as well as a magazine that does the same. All you do is separate the upper and lower halves of your AR, remove the .223 BCG and insert the new BCG in its place. Then you re-attach the halves, load and insert your .22lr mag, and fire away. This keeps everything on the rifle the same aside from the magazine and BCG, allowing for the exact same shooting experience you would normally get – with cheaper ammunition.
The cost of the conversion kit was right there with buying a new 22 rifle, but since it takes up virtually zero space and requires no serious modification to my rifle, I decided to get one. The savings on ammunition alone would pay for it in no time at all.
The kit that I bought was made by CMMG and it came with one 25 round magazine. Many people who left a review said it would be wise to buy more than one mag also, so I bought one spare and a box of Remington. All the parts came in today and I assembled my rifle as soon as I got off work.
I then thought, when will I get to shoot again?? I wasn’t going to my dad’s today so I wouldn’t be able to shoot at home. The closest outside range is in West Virginia, and by the time I got there it would’ve been dark. I started to become disappointed.
But then I remembered Top Gun shooting range in Harrisonburg. They only have 25 yard lanes and only accept pistol calipers. No rifles accepted, excluding those that shoot .22lr. My rifle is technically a .223/5.56 rifle, but with the conversion kit it would shoot the required ammo.
I called and asked if I could shoot it there and they gave me the go ahead. I raced to the range as soon as I got off work, paid my fee, and began testing it out. Ill try to post a review of it tomorrow.