The .22LR cartridge has been around for a very long time and is undoubtedly the most widespread round you can find nowadays. Hence, it is not a surprise to find that plenty of firearms that carry this cartridge are built or modified extensively. The prevalence and low price of the .22LR ammo are the main reasons why so many prefer to convert their rifles to a .22LR rimfire.
The Advantages of a .22LR AR-15
For many, shooting is a costly hobby and an even more expensive sport. However, using inexpensive .22 rimfires is a good substitute for posh centerfire rounds as it helps shooters save plenty of money without sacrificing their love for shooting.
Another advantage the .223 caliber conversion offers is that you get to experience the feel of a gun without all that loud noise and heavy recoil. While there are plenty of centerfire caliber conversions available on the market, the easiest is still the ever-popular rimfire .22 Long Rifle cartridge.
However, one thing to note is that the .22LR is not as cheap as it used to be. But in terms of price and availability, there is certainly no other that is a better bang for your buck in the shooting field. To further prove our point, you get to buy 10 rounds of .22LR ammo with the price of a single .223 cartridge.
Another factor to get the .22LR ammo is that many indoor and outdoor ranges do not allow the use of 5.56 NATO rounds due to its powerful penetration and muzzle blast. This damages backstops and can be dangerous to wildlife and people living nearby. But an AR-15 converted to the tiny rimfire is more than welcomes at almost all shooting ranges.
The Conversion Kit Types and Their Installation
Almost all the .22-rimfire conversion units come with the same design with a reciprocating blowback bolt that runs on a guide rail assembly. However, these kits can be divided into two categories: the AR-15 dedicated upper receivers and the Atchisson-style conversion kit.
AR-15 Dedicated Upper Receivers
The complete dedicated .22LR upper is a self-sufficient structure that can be installed without professional gunsmithing skills. It consists of a barrel that is specially created to work with an all-lead, slower, and a lighter projectile; the barrel collar, and the bolt assembly. All these combine to offer higher accuracy and superior reliability compared to a simple drop-in .223 to .22LR adapter.
The general build specs of a dedicated AR-15 to .22LR upper are very similar to other caliber conversions. For only $450, you get to transform your AR-15 rifle into an excellent precision shooting machine with an accuracy that is on par with other high-priced rifles in the .22 Long Rifle class.
However, one thing to note is that most .22 conversions and even a high-end dedicated .22LR AR-15 upper may require a lengthy break-in process and possibly some lubricant. But no worries as the conversion setup should start running smoothly after a few hundred rounds.
Atchisson-Style Conversion Kit
If you’re looking for accuracy, you can opt to utilize a drop-in .223 to .22LR adapter Atchisson/Ciener-style conversion kit that was developed by designed Maxwell Atchisson during the early 1970s, which Jonathan Arthur Ciener later then improved. As this is the easiest and cheapest way to convert your rifle, many companies have adopted this design in the manufacture of their .22LR conversions.
Generally, this type of rimfire conversion comes with only the bolt group assembly and a unique magazine. It does not permanently alter your weapon and you’ll only need to swap out the bolt and carrier group to use it with .22LR rounds.
This type of drop-in unit fits almost all AR-15s and clone firearms without needing any tools. The entire conversion process will take about 30 seconds to complete for the average AR-15 owner.
The AR-style .22LR magazines come with casings of centerfire size, but they also feature a spring and following inside to fit smaller rimfire cartridges. However, they do not engage the bolt hold-open catch on mil-spec lower receivers.
While the drop-in conversions are simple and allow many shooters to use their existing AR-15 5.56mm barreled action without altering the rifle, they do deliver poorer accuracy and reliability. The conversion kit usually requires a higher-power hammer spring, which in turn requires very high-velocity rounds to provide reliable cycling and charging.
Important Factors for a Great Conversion Kit
While there are plenty of conversion kits out there, not all are created equal. Some several features and characteristics will make a good conversion kit stand out from the rest. Knowing how to distinguish a great quality one from those that are unreliable is important and here are a few factors that you’ll need to take into consideration before you make the final decision.
If you need a conversion kit, you’ll definitely need all the parts required to make the conversion a successful one. Once you have your magazine, bolt, and carrier in one kit, you’ll be able to make the conversion a complete success.
With the right kind of kit, you won’t have to worry about not having any gunsmithing skills. You’ll still be able to easily convert your AR-15 into a .22 without too much trouble. This means you get to save extra cash and time as you won’t need to send your firearm to a professional just to get the job done.
Pricing may be a very important factor for budget shoppers. However, you should always remember that you shouldn’t only be looking at the price tag. You should find one with the best quality that you can afford. It is always better to pay a little bit extra for better quality than to sacrifice reliability for the sake of saving a few dollars.
Top AR-15 to .22 Conversion Kits
In today’s article, we will be reviewing the top few conversion kits you can get that will allow your AR-15 rifles to take on the .22LR rounds. As we go through each item on our list, remember to take note of their respective unique features and characteristics to ensure they’re the right one for you.
1. CMMG .22 LR AR-15 Conversion Bravo Kit
The CMMG .22 LR AR-15 Conversion Bravo Kit is one of the only ones we have tested that will allow for very easy conversion. Aside from the two most needed parts, you need to convert a rifle – the bolt and carrier, this conversion kit even comes with a 25-round magazine that fits most .22 rounds. All in all, this is a conversion kit that includes all the fixings and parts you need to make for a successful conversion.
This Atchisson-derived .22 conversion kit holds a pride of place in its field. Featuring one-piece drop-in design, the CMMG .22 LR AR-15 Conversion Bravo Kit has dramatically improved on the Ciener’s design by adding a last-shot hold-open feature to an AR-15.
The Bravo Conversion Kit is able to successfully replace the standard 5.56 bolt and carrier with a bolt that features built-in recoil springs. It even comes with a forward part that resembles a .223 cartridge to help bridge the gap from .22 chambers to the .223-rifled barrel.
In fact, the CMMG .22 LR AR-15 Conversion Bravo Kit is actually created for 5.56 caliber rifles instead of the .223 chambered pieces. This kit also works for direct gas impingement guns only, so no pistol guns.
A downside is that this conversion kit is not remarkable in terms of accuracy. Since the .224/5.56 is designed for a bore of .224 inches, it doesn’t offer the .22LR projectile doesn’t a perfect fit. Another issue that affects the accuracy is the much faster rifling twist of an AR barrel optimized for the 5.56 NATO has a tendency to destabilize the slower and shorter .22LR round.
Aside from that, the CMMG .22 LR AR-15 Conversion Bravo Kit does come with a 26-round capacity polymer magazine and bolt catch follower. So, you may just need to check your state laws to see if there’s any rule against possession of such large-capacity magazines.
In any case, the CMMG .22 LR AR-15 Conversion Bravo Kit is one of the most accessible and least expensive methods of converting your AR-15 to a .22 caliber rifle. This reasonably priced kit will only take about 30 seconds to install and you’re good to go.
Recent customers have commented on how solid the CMMG .22 LR AR-15 Conversion Bravo Kit is. All the parts are of high quality and only took a few minutes to install. Many have also sung praises for the 25-round capacity magazine that could fire off every shot without experiencing any malfunction.
If you are looking for a conversion kit that is super easy to install without sacrificing on quality. The CMMG .22 LR AR-15 Conversion Bravo Kit may just be the one you need to convert your AR-15 into a top-level functioning .22 firearm.
- Super durable parts
- Affordable pricing
- 25-round magazine has no firing failures even after 100 rounds
- A great choice for bullets ranging from 69 to 75 grain
- Impact-proof and really reliable magazine
- May not work well for self-defense purposes
- Magazine may be tough to load at first
- May lost accuracy if you pair it with cheap ammo
2. CMMG. 22LR AR-15 Conversion Kit, 10rd
If you are on the lookout for a conversion kit that is easy to use, then the CMMG. 22LR AR-15 Conversion Kit may just be what you’re looking for. This no-frills design makes the converting process of your AR-15 rifle into a .22LR a cinch.
Like the kit we reviewed above, the CMMG. 22LR AR-15 Conversion Kit also comes with an extra magazine to help you “christen” the newly converted rifle and fire off as many rounds as you need when you’re out at the range. So, you don’t need to worry about getting a suitable magazine that can load .22LR rounds if you were to get this kit.
The CMMG. 22LR AR-15 Conversion Kit is a perfect choice for all sorts of users. This conversion kit offers a simple design that is easy to install to let you complete your conversion project in a very short amount of time without the need for a professional service.
The additional magazine that comes included also works to sweeten the entire deal as it offers much more value than what you paid for. So, if you are the type that prefers to have everything you need in one place, especially for something as important as the magazine, then this is just what you need.
Many have commented on how reliable and good quality they’ve found the CMMG. 22LR AR-15 Conversion Kit to be. In fact, one user even mentioned that he was able to go through more than 1,000 rounds with the new conversion kit without having to deal with any malfunction.
As for the conversion process, the CMMG. 22LR AR-15 Conversion Kit allowed for a very simple and easy installation that most customers were able to handle with ease. Customers have also mentioned that the included magazine tends to fall freely without any hints of sticking.
The CMMG. 22LR AR-15 Conversion Kit certainly stands out as a reliable conversion kit that can be installed easily without burning a hole through your wallet. This is one of the best choices you can opt for if you’re looking for a kit that offers a little something extra. Once you have this installed and have your rifle completely converter, there is no limit to what you’re able to do with the .22LR rounds you have lying around.
- Offers a smooth, reliable feeding
- Really sturdy and impact-proof design
- Accepts all kinds of .22LR rounds
- Easy to load, only takes a few minutes
- Perfect choice for hunting and target shooting purposes
- The last couple of rounds may be difficult to load
- May be hard to release depending on the magazine well set-up
- Those suffering from mobility issues may require a magazine loader
3. CMMG Echo SS Arc Kit W/ 25 Round Magazine 22BA64E
Best for Value
One thing that really stood out to us is that the CMMG Echo SS Arc Kit W/ 25 Round Magazine 22BA64E comes in a color other than black. This is an unusual choice, but it does give your rifle a unique touch of style.
Aside from that, this nice conversion kit from CMMG is a good choice to help you turn your rifle into a target shooting machine. Plus, it even proves its effectiveness for hunting purposes as well as it remains accurate and reliable for when you’re shooting at paper targets or at a varmint that is 100 yards away.
The CMMG Echo SS Arc Kit W/ 25 Round Magazine 22BA64E is worth a closer look if you’re looking to convert your AR-15 rifle into a dedicated plinking or hunting .22LR rifle. It is even a better fit for you if you hold accuracy to high standards as well.
Not surprisingly, many customers were intrigued by the CMMG Echo SS Arc Kit W/ 25 Round Magazine 22BA64E’s gray matte finish. Nonetheless, they were satisfied with the overall installation process and how smooth and functional their rifles were upon successfully converting them. Some users even decided to give his newly converted rifle a whirl during his regular hunting trip and were able to bring back a couple of fresh kills.
The CMMG Echo SS Arc Kit W/ 25 Round Magazine 22BA64E will most likely win over a good number of hunters and target shooters as it works amazingly at converting your rifle into a shooting machine that is accurate, reliable, and all-round awesome.
Don’t be shocked when your friends at the range start asking you how you got your rifle to step up its game. You need nothing more than an easy-to-install conversion kit like the CMMG Echo SS Arc Kit W/ 25 Round Magazine 22BA64E to get it done.
- Easy to load
- Perfect for various applications
- Easy to convert from an AR-15 to a .22LR
- Compatible with .22LR and 5.56 NATO rounds
- Magazine provides malfunction-free shooting
- Some may not like the color
Whatever conversion kit you choose for your AR-15 rifle, using your favorite rifle with smaller rounds and little recoil will certainly provide a new level of shooting enjoyment. The conversion kit even makes plenty of sense in terms of economic perspective.
The best takeaway with getting a conversion kit is that you get to enjoy and practice your shootings with cheaper ammo at almost all indoor ranges.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How does an AR-15 .22 conversion work?
The AR-15 .22 conversion work by fitting a conversion bolt that features a chamber that is a replica of a .223/5.56x45mm cartridge into your existing chamber and barrel. The .22LR cartridge then feeds into the pseudo-chamber on the bolt replacement kit and fires the .22LR projectile out of the conversion kit chamber into your normal barrel.