The CMMG .22lr Conversion Kit for the AR-15: First Impressions

Sometimes we, as gun owners, can be our own worst enemies. While we band together and accomplish a great many things, there are times when our fickleness gets the better of us and we end up screwing each other. If you are on of those people who camp out at Walmart as the shipment comes in to snag every box of .22lr, I’m specifically talking to YOU. Pre-Sandy Hook, there was no dearth of ammo. I could walk

Pre-Sandy Hook, there was no dearth of ammo. I could walk in and pick up a bulk 555 round box of .22lr for $20 and that would last me for 2-3 range trips. Since the day after, I have YET to see a bulk box on that same shelf, even AFTER the election. Give it a rest, guys, you can ease off now. Fortunately, there are still some other LGS’s in town where I can source bulk packs at a decent price (thank you White Elephant!).

I had given up on being able to find .22lr ammo, so I sold the Walther P22 that I had and committed myself to center-fire ammunition (and reloading) as my primary source of plinking enjoyment. However, after a certain politician did not manage to secure the presidency, the elusive rimfire has made a cautious comeback and can be acquired if you know where to look for those sneaky little rascals. Here I was, with newfound joy and access to .22lr but nothing to shoot it with. My little gun locker is fairly well stuffed to the gills, so I don’t have much more room to store a new firearm, so I had to go looking for other options.

Enter the CMMG .22lr conversion kit for the AR-15. For the purposes of this review, it should be noted that this unit was supplied by our generous sponsor, Brownells. This compact package contains a replacement bolt and magazine. That’s it. Simplicity at its finest. Instead of trying to squeeze one more evil, black gun into my crowded safe, CMMG has made it so that in 30 seconds, you can replace the bolt and magazine of your 5.56/.223 chambered AR-15 and have a cheap plinker that you can spend all day at the range with and not be broke at the end of it.

Check out the video below of my experiences, both the good and the bad.

These kits sometimes go on sale for around $180 at Brownells, but often hang around the $210 mark. You’ll be hard pressed to find a new .22lr rifle, like a 10/22, in that price range but there is always the used market, if you’re inclined to go deal hunting. The biggest pluses for me are the space savings and the ability to use a rifle pattern that is ergonomic and familiar. There can be issues with reliability, jams, and filling the magazine to capacity (many of these are inherent to the .22lr platform because of ammo), but as long as you can train yourself to accommodate the quirks, this kit makes shooting cheap and fun!


Prior to publishing this article, I had the chance to take out my sister-in-law and brother-in-law to go shooting for the first time. Keeping my original experiences in mind, I was expecting there to be some issues. Much to my surprise, by holding the rifle in the manner described above, we blew through over 100 rounds of .22 with only 1 double feed. The CMMG kit seems to have worked out its kinks (along with some of my own). Both family members had an amazing time learning the ropes on an easy-to-shoot platform and now my brother-in-law is asking me how he can get a gun in Texas. I told him not to worry, it’s easy.