Precision AR .22LR Upper?

BenY 2013

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In the near future I am wanting to build a dedicated .22lr upper for my AR. Most likely going to have the barrel cut down to around 12" and SBR the lower just because I don't like long barrels. I don't know a whole lot about rimfire AR uppers so I'm open to ideas. I do have some criteria:

1. Accurate would like at least 1MOA and better with correct ammo. (I know alot of this has to do with barrel, ammo, trigger etc.) I am mostly asking about the barrel here.
2. Reliable, from some of the research I've done some of the bolts can be quite tricky to get to feed reliably.
3. Use Black Dog magazines if possible.

Right now I'm seriously considering the JP barrel and bolt. But wanted to see if there were any better options to look at. Found Beyer barrels today which looks kind of promising.

So what do I need to know? Thanks

Ben
 

Rolltide

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I hear good things about Compass Lake, but have no first hand experience. FWIW, my 15-22PC will do 1MOA - 1.5 MOA with Center-X on a somewhat consistent basis.
 

kl3309

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Too damn close to D.C.
Keystone Accuracy will do an upper for you: https://www.keystoneaccuracy.com/match-grade-uppers.html
They machine the ramp and ejector cuts in the barrel shank so you use a CMMG .22 bolt without the collar.

Orrrrrrrrrr, you SBR an M&P15-22:
KL180547.JPG

Feeds and ejects perfectly but you will have to tune the firing pin spring if you want to use an aftermarket trigger. Key to consistent accuracy for these is to re-enforce the upper/handguard joint. I use a PRI .308-sized riser to tie the upper together.
 
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adamjma

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I picked up a CMMG 9" barrel + BCG kit as well as a 16" TacSol kit and the latter is more accurate. With yellow box Remington Eley Target the TacSol printed a pair of 1/2 MOA clusters that were within 1 MOA total for a 10 shot group at 50 m. Light barrel too. This was with a bipod, Geissele G2S trigger and at best a 1/2 MOA shooter behind the wheel. Next best was CCI std velocity with just over 1 MOA 10 shot group.

Surprisingly the CMMG was running just over 1-1/4 MOA with CCI Std velocity.

Edited to add that both functioned great with Black Dog Magazines.
 
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BenY 2013

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Keystone Accuracy will do an upper for you: https://www.keystoneaccuracy.com/match-grade-uppers.html
They machine the ramp and ejector cuts in the barrel shank so you use a CMMG .22 bolt without the collar.

Orrrrrrrrrr, you SBR an M&P15-22:
View attachment 6951470

Feeds and ejects perfectly but you will have to tune the firing pin spring if you want to use an aftermarket trigger. Key to consistent accuracy for these is to re-enforce the upper/handguard joint. I use a PRI .308-sized riser to tie the upper together.
Nice looking rifle! I'm waiting to hear back from keystone as it looks like he may do custom barrel lengths from the get go. That way I wouldn't have to send my barrel off to have it shortened and rethreaded. Plus everything I have seen on them says they just flat out shoot!

Ben
 

FromMyColdDeadHand

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I was going to go high end with a JP upper, but I short-bussed it by going with a email deal on a PSA 22lr upper for $269.... Conversion kits run about $200. I've wanted to do a dueling tree against my son and I have some left over lowers from the father's day sale. 1MOA accurate? We'll see....
 

Hoser

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I have 2 CLE uppers. One in service rifle config and the other just set up to be a quiet plinker. Both will shoot well under 1/2 inch at 50 yards and 1 inch at 100 if I feed them good ammo.
 
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nakoa01

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I have 2 CLE uppers. One in service rifle config and the other just set up to be a quiet plinker. Both will shoot well under 1/2 inch at 50 yards and 1 inch at 100 if I feed them good ammo.
I have built 5 ar 22s. All light weight models. For light weight, lights out accuracy only one barrel. Beyer. I test 13 brands of ammunition at 50 yds on a bench using a weaver v16, cmmg 22 arc bolt, and cmc 2 stage trigger. Ammo was sk rigle match, pistol match, std plus, cci std velocity, mini mags, eley subsonic, target, club, match, wolf me, as and a few others. Average for as ll groups combined was .48. Bought a 6in barrel to sbr kn a 10/22 from him and it shots .6 suppressed ar 37yds. A 16in barrel that shoots cci suppressor into a nickel at 50.
 

BenY 2013

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I have built 5 ar 22s. All light weight models. For light weight, lights out accuracy only one barrel. Beyer. I test 13 brands of ammunition at 50 yds on a bench using a weaver v16, cmmg 22 arc bolt, and cmc 2 stage trigger. Ammo was sk rigle match, pistol match, std plus, cci std velocity, mini mags, eley subsonic, target, club, match, wolf me, as and a few others. Average for as ll groups combined was .48. Bought a 6in barrel to sbr kn a 10/22 from him and it shots .6 suppressed ar 37yds. A 16in barrel that shoots cci suppressor into a nickel at 50.
Aren't the Beyer barrels aluminum shrouded with a .22 lining in them? Not entirely sure if I like that idea since I plan on using a suppressor. Do you shoot with a suppressor? Any issues?

Ben
 

nakoa01

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Yes sir. His barrel is a stisnless liner with 7075 aluminum on outside not 6061. Suppressed is no problem. I shoot all them suppressed inless benching for groups so I dont dirty up baffles.
 

BenY 2013

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I'm looking into Beyer but from what I understand JP, Keystone and Compass Lake rule the roost in terms on accurate rimfire uppers.

Ben
 

BenY 2013

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Yes I don't mind the weight since this is going to be a dedicated precision rig, but I am wanting to keep the barrel length short at 13.7", not sure if he does custom lengths or not yet.

Ben
 

adamjma

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Out of curiosity, does anyone make barrels for the TACSOL BCG? Comparing it to the CMMG one, it's like a Ferrari versus a Lada. I'd love to get a 10.5" equivalent steel barrel so I can clone my SBR upper.
 

BenY 2013

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Keystone Accuracy 22lr uppers are extremely accurate and use Black dog mags
I've talked to the guy at Keystone and will likely go that way especially since he does custom configurations. I'm wanting a 10.3" barrel now as I'm planning on SBRing the lower. This thing just go a lot more expensive.

But I figure a 10.3" barrel from Keystone, suppressor and a Vortex 2.5-10 PST on top would make a nice little package capable of good accuracy.

Ben
 

flatland1

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Hoser - I bought a converted M261 unit & match SS bbl from CLE a couple of years ago and put an upper together on Aero Precision parts. Accuracy is at least as good as the complete CLE SR 22RF upper I'd purchased back in the late-90s while I was still in the hunt for leg points, but sold to a friend after I legged-out in 2001. Got to missing that upper & how well it shot, which is why I bought the M261 & bbl. I've got a RRA 2-stage NM trigger in the lower, and had issues with it not cycling. Remembered having to bend the hammer spring legs to reduce spring tension on my old 22RF rig, and have tried that on this one, but it's still giving me problems. What trigger do you like in your CLE? IIRC, I wound up going with one of Frank's old CLE trigger conversions for that first 22RF upper, but that's not an option today, as I got rid of all those triggers when I gave up shooting AR SRs.
 

Hoser

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I am using Geissele NM triggers and they run perfect. But I do have to keep them clean because my cans gunk them up in a hurry. Hurry as in I have to wipe things down every couple hundred rounds or so.

I had an early CLE NM trigger in one of my service rifles. Its was ok, but I ditched it and went back to my KM and eventually Geissele.
 

ShooterwithNoName

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I would concentrate on 16" barrels for best 22LR performance.

Greg
I was just curious about this recommendation? After 16" is the powder pretty much burned up in a 22lr? Just wondering because I'm planning on building a 22 trainer upper for use here at the house. Something I can practice off hand and sitting without pissing off the neighbors.

So I'm trying to figure out exactly how to build this thing before I go dropping the coin on a premium rimfire upper. My plan was to go with a 20" since that's similar in profile to my service rifle upper. But if 16" is a better option I can go with that and just buy a rimfire can down the road to help with the balance.
 

TerryH

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Can we get specs on that? Or maybe some group pics if you have them? Very nice!

Ben
Ben

The basic components are the Maga Arms ambi upper/lower and float tube.
Barrel is a Benchmark 2 groove 1:16.26 finished at straight .8" diameter with 5/8 UNEF thread for suppressor or flash hider (as a thread cover).
Chose Benchmark 2 groove as they seem to be the top dogs in 22BR competitions so no harm there as a staring point :)
18" as I wanted a rifle as opposed to a carbine and 18" and .8 diameter balanced the heavy Magpul stock i planned to use.
As other have said no real gain in going much past 16", but no harm either, your call.
Trigger is a very nice, but new to me a Millazo-Krieger A2 NM (I'd used Gieselle up to that point on AR's)
Stock and trimmings Magpul, + Ergo grip
Has a Booney Hills hold opend device and uses S&W magazines
2 scopes employed dependant on use, Both March, 1-8 x 24 FFP illuminated and a 2.5-25 x 42 SFP. MDI quick release mounts, 20moa on the 2.5-25
FED / black trim as per images, Ceracoate on uppe/lower
Do not have images of groups to hand but from memory best ammo found so far has been CCI target solid and RWS R50 at 50 yards nice cluster type groups - not one hole.

John at Keystone very helpful thought selection an build process.

Brgds Terry
 

BenY 2013

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Ben

The basic components are the Maga Arms ambi upper/lower and float tube.
Barrel is a Benchmark 2 groove 1:16.26 finished at straight .8" diameter with 5/8 UNEF thread for suppressor or flash hider (as a thread cover).
Chose Benchmark 2 groove as they seem to be the top dogs in 22BR competitions so no harm there as a staring point :)
18" as I wanted a rifle as opposed to a carbine and 18" and .8 diameter balanced the heavy Magpul stock i planned to use.
As other have said no real gain in going much past 16", but no harm either, your call.
Trigger is a very nice, but new to me a Millazo-Krieger A2 NM (I'd used Gieselle up to that point on AR's)
Stock and trimmings Magpul, + Ergo grip
Has a Booney Hills hold opend device and uses S&W magazines
2 scopes employed dependant on use, Both March, 1-8 x 24 FFP illuminated and a 2.5-25 x 42 SFP. MDI quick release mounts, 20moa on the 2.5-25
FED / black trim as per images, Ceracoate on uppe/lower
Do not have images of groups to hand but from memory best ammo found so far has been CCI target solid and RWS R50 at 50 yards nice cluster type groups - not one hole.

John at Keystone very helpful thought selection an build process.

Brgds Terry
Thanks for the info! It's a great looking build!

Any idea what brand barrel was used on that build?

I would concentrate on 16" barrels for best 22LR performance.

Greg
Care to elaborate? I'm certainly not going any longer than 16" but plan on shorter.

Ben
 

BenY 2013

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Yep same as mine. Green Mountain blank
Nice, thanks for the reply! That's very impressive accuracy. Definitely going with keystone accuracy for this upper. Now I just need to settle on a barrel length, to SBR or to not SBR...

Ben
 

Greg Langelius *

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I was just curious about this recommendation? After 16" is the powder pretty much burned up in a 22lr? Just wondering because I'm planning on building a 22 trainer upper for use here at the house. Something I can practice off hand and sitting without pissing off the neighbors.

So I'm trying to figure out exactly how to build this thing before I go dropping the coin on a premium rimfire upper. My plan was to go with a 20" since that's similar in profile to my service rifle upper. But if 16" is a better option I can go with that and just buy a rimfire can down the road to help with the balance.
Yes, at roughly 16" the 22lr's powder is fully consumed. Longer barrels tend to be for the purpose of providing a longer sight radius, or for balance and/or aesthetic purposes.

FWIW, I would also prefer a dedicated Upper for the .22LR, as there are small differences in things like bore diameter (.223"), etc. In practice the performance differences are negligible, so don't get carried away about such things.

Greg
 

Rolltide

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It sounds like there are several great options for a dedicated AR upper or barrel. Has anyone tried the Volquartsen barrels in an upper? I've been looking at one to have a dedicated AR that will shoot with my other rimfires, instead of the average at best groups I'm getting with my 15-22 PC.
 

Conaso

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One size does not fit all. Having a 22lr 16" barrel does not guarantee improved accuracy or internal ballistics efficacy. I have a JP Rifles AR15 JPNC ded. upper with 18" barrel. I also have a Win. M1885 low-wall with a 26" barrel. Both scoped and both rifles' ammunition was chosen to chronograph slightly above or below speed of sound to avoid transsonic destabilization. Both shoot 3/4 MOA. If you want a short barrel and accuracy, pick a quality firearm and ammunition best suited for your shooting environment.
 

Gundoc

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the most reliable Mags for .22LR AR's are the S&W M&P mags. coupled with a Boonie packer better mag adapter, giving you hold open etc.
Personally Ive found that chambering in .22bentz gives a nice accurate chamber, and a little work on the CMMG collar ensures reliable feeding/ extraction (although they are a lot better than they were 3-4 years ago)
 

BenY 2013

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the most reliable Mags for .22LR AR's are the S&W M&P mags. coupled with a Boonie packer better mag adapter, giving you hold open etc.
Personally Ive found that chambering in .22bentz gives a nice accurate chamber, and a little work on the CMMG collar ensures reliable feeding/ extraction (although they are a lot better than they were 3-4 years ago)

Are you clambering your own barrel? If not who is doing it for the dedicated upper?

Ben
 

flatland1

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I am using Geissele NM triggers and they run perfect. But I do have to keep them clean because my cans gunk them up in a hurry. Hurry as in I have to wipe things down every couple hundred rounds or so.

I had an early CLE NM trigger in one of my service rifles. Its was ok, but I ditched it and went back to my KM and eventually Geissele.
Hoser,
I just got a Geissele B-G2S-E trigger from Brownells ($135) for the CLE dedicated 22RF rifle. Swapped out the RRA 2-stage NM unit for this one, and wound up with an excellent 3lb break & solid function with std vel SK Std+ ammo. Only downside is, now I'm wanting to get more of these triggers for my other ARs....always thought the RRA with a lighter disconnect spring was plenty good enough, but running just 10rds through the CLE with the Geissele has me wondering... I put a Fenix TK16 light on it for use while playing bodyguard against coyotes when I have my little Aussie shepard/border collie cross out after dark. Find myself wishing I'd have had Frank turn the SR contour bbl down lighter - the little sucker weighs 11.25lbs.
 

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erik72

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Not sure if you decided which direction to go but Lothar-Walther is producing AR barrels in various lengths in steel and SST material. They are made to accept the CMMG collar. I just put one together in an 18" SST configuration. I'm really excited to see what it'll do. I just about went the Keystone Accuracy direction but I'm so happy with my other LW barrels that I decided to try it. I have three other AR22s that shoot very well so I'm expecting exceptional accuracy from this setup.
 

Hellbender

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Don't let the m261 mags on the CLE discourage you, Black Dog also makes 10 and 25 round mags for them.

I've got or had several TacSols, CLE's, Nordic/new DPMS (still have 2) and many CMMG's (still have 4 or 5). CLE w/ m261 bolt is the accuracy king. They damage the bullet the least when loading and Frank spins a good barrel for them...if they won't shoot 1/2" @ 50 yds w/ good ammo, he will fix it.

The Nordic style (JP, etc.) is next best on low bullet damage and reliability.

Ciener style (CMMG, TacSol, etc, etc) is the worst, but I've messed with them so long I can tune them to run well and a I have several dozen mags, so I use them for fun guns for the kids and 4.5" bbl SBR's.
 

BenY 2013

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Not sure if you decided which direction to go but Lothar-Walther is producing AR barrels in various lengths in steel and SST material. They are made to accept the CMMG collar. I just put one together in an 18" SST configuration. I'm really excited to see what it'll do. I just about went the Keystone Accuracy direction but I'm so happy with my other LW barrels that I decided to try it. I have three other AR22s that shoot very well so I'm expecting exceptional accuracy from this setup.
When you get a chance to shoot this barrel would you let me know what kind of accuracy it's giving you? They have a 10.5" stainless barrel that looks great if I don't end up going Keystone or CLE. Unfortunately a hold has been put on this project until I graduate this May, but I'm thinking this would make a nice graduation present to myself!

Ben
 

BenY 2013

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Don't let the m261 mags on the CLE discourage you, Black Dog also makes 10 and 25 round mags for them.

I've got or had several TacSols, CLE's, Nordic/new DPMS (still have 2) and many CMMG's (still have 4 or 5). CLE w/ m261 bolt is the accuracy king. They damage the bullet the least when loading and Frank spins a good barrel for them...if they won't shoot 1/2" @ 50 yds w/ good ammo, he will fix it.

The Nordic style (JP, etc.) is next best on low bullet damage and reliability.

Ciener style (CMMG, TacSol, etc, etc) is the worst, but I've messed with them so long I can tune them to run well and a I have several dozen mags, so I use them for fun guns for the kids and 4.5" bbl SBR's.

I'll shoot him another email and see if he can do custom lengths on the barrels. Thanks for the info!

Ben
 

TimK

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I purchased a CLE a few months ago. I had all sorts of trouble getting it to run. After MUCH experimentation, I discovered that the magazine feed lips were contacting the bottom of the bolt and causing it to slow down enough it wouldn't chamber reliably. I just took a file to the top of the lips and the problem went away.

I'm in the midst of ammo testing right now. It won't reliably feed Eley ammo with the EPS bullet, so no Tenex, Match, or Edge. It seems to be fine with round nosed ammo. Eley Target looked promising in early testing, so I just ordered a few different lots of that and Club to try. Killough's was super helpful. I think the barrel has good potential. During testing, I laid down a number of 1/2" groups at 100y. Overall, the average of ammo that looks promising is on the order of 1" at 100.

At the recommendation of a number of people (including whoever answers the phone at Eley USA), I tried Lapua Center-X. Accuracy was not good at all.

I'm really looking forward to getting this thing dialed in. We have local PRS style matches for .22's, and it's my intent to shoot this in those.
 

flatland1

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Don't let the m261 mags on the CLE discourage you, Black Dog also makes 10 and 25 round mags for them.
Are you saying that the Black Dog mags will work with the M261 unit that CLE modifies for their dedicated 22RF uppers? If so, are the ones that work with the CLE uppers any different than any of the other Black Dog mags? I'd love to have something easier to load for the dedicated upper I put together with CLE parts...
 

Hellbender

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I purchased a CLE a few months ago. I had all sorts of trouble getting it to run. After MUCH experimentation, I discovered that the magazine feed lips were contacting the bottom of the bolt and causing it to slow down enough it wouldn't chamber reliably. I just took a file to the top of the lips and the problem went away.

I'm in the midst of ammo testing right now. It won't reliably feed Eley ammo with the EPS bullet, so no Tenex, Match, or Edge. It seems to be fine with round nosed ammo. Eley Target looked promising in early testing, so I just ordered a few different lots of that and Club to try. Killough's was super helpful. I think the barrel has good potential. During testing, I laid down a number of 1/2" groups at 100y. Overall, the average of ammo that looks promising is on the order of 1" at 100.

At the recommendation of a number of people (including whoever answers the phone at Eley USA), I tried Lapua Center-X. Accuracy was not good at all.

I'm really looking forward to getting this thing dialed in. We have local PRS style matches for .22's, and it's my intent to shoot this in those.
You probably had a lower that the mag catch location was a little high, or a mag with a low catch hole, or some combo of tolerance stacking hereof.

Round nose bullets are a must with the kits, I never had any luck with anything other.
 

anon

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These are the mags that I have for my CLE upper.

I have had the upper, set up like my service rifle, for a long time. I bought some of these mags more as a curiosity because I almost always use the Bob Sled from CLE and single load. The magazines all worked fine.

My upper has a tight chamber, match I suppose, and there are some 22lr loads that require attention even when single loading. Those same ones are a challenge in either the M261 magazine inserts or the Black Dog magazines. I suppose I could clean it more often, but why?