Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Busily Trying to Relax!

My plan for yesterday was catch up, then knock off for the Thanksgiving week. Ha! Today my plan is to catch up, then knock off for the Thanksgiving week. Tomorrow my plan is...you kinda get the drift. I've got to cook Wednesday, or at least cook a little Wednesday. Hopefully, I'll be doing a little 3-Gun shooting this weekend, then begin the sprint to the end of the year...well, at least until the world ends just before Christmas.

I realize I've talked about the Spike's/JP .22 LR AR but haven't gone into it too deeply. That's because it's a SHOOTING GALLERY project gun, and you'll see us put it together on the show next season, then use it at the Project Appleseed event. The genesis for the project was that I love .22 LR AR-platform guns, because they make wonderful and adaptive trainers for newbies, provide a platform for tactical training in a time of dreadfully expensive ammunition, serve as a great tool to bring young video gamers into the shooting sports, etc. I have shot most of the .22 conversions and dedicated .22 ARs. I have a Tactical Solutions upper on a Stag lower that has been a very good gun and crazy fun to shoot. But it was my observation that the vast majority of the .22 ARs couldn't shoot alongside a high-end 10/22 when it came to pure accuracy.

Secondly, some of my friend who are putting thousands of .22 rounds through their guns are telling me the guns aren't holding up as well as they'd hoped. I'd like to say quickly that has not been the case with the Tac Sol conversion unit. I do have friends who shoot Ruger Rimfire a lot have gone from dedicated .22 ARs back to 10/22s for reliability after thousands of rounds.

Finally, there's the largely undefinable "feel" of a gun. Ideally,  a rifle should del solid, like well, a rifle, not an adaptation of a paintball gun.

So the goal for the build was a .22 AR that would should alongside a good 10/22 (and I have several). It needed to be very accurate, very reliable and rock solid. I did about month of research, talking to shooters (especially Ruger Rimfire veterans) and reading on the Internet (AR15.com was invaluable), then posting questions.

My decision was to go with a Spike's Tactical upper with a Lothar Walther barrel. I have a lot of experience with Spike's products, and they have been uniformly excellent. I'm familiar with the Lothar Walther barrel, and it is hard to find better. I chose a JP lower after talks with John Paul at JP. He put in his own trigger system with an eye toward .22 LR. We finished the lower with CMMG parts and I used Magpul furniture. Magazine choice was also a major consideration, and the hands down winner was the Black Dog magazine with steel lips. I chose the first generation Fowler/Pride Rapid Reticle 3-9X .22 scope because i had it and because Mickey Fowler, who has forgotten more about shooting .22s in the last 30 minutes than I will ever know, told me it was the single best .22 scope he'd ever used. I went with the Midway USA mounts because they were the only ones I had for a 1-inch scope.

I was prepared to go through my .22 ammo bin and see what the gun liked. The first ammo I tried was the CCI "Tactical" .22s, 40-grain plated. My "reference group" with that ammo was, as I mentioned, a 5-shot one hole group at 25 yards. I didn't try any of the other ammo.

Will have pictures of the rifle, accessories and groups when I finish chasing my tail this AM!


George said...

I am very interested in you .22 AR project, but when I checked the price on the upper you have on your JP lower, I said "Holy Cow!" The cost of that upper is more than alot of dedicated .22 ARs out there. I really hope the increase in accuracy and reliability you are getting with this setup is worth the nearly 2K ( just a guesstimate but I'm sure it's north of 1K ) for the rifle.

BTW, what's your take on the Wounded Warrior Project flap that is currently going on?


Michael Bane said...

George...you're absolutely right...the proto did cost a pretty penny. My hope is that the companies will see there is a market for a A-level .22 AR and start offering a gun or an upper for a more reasonable price. I fully expect this to happen as the Ruger Rimfire Challenge continues to grow an expand. Companies like S&W, Sig and Colt will want to play, and that means a step up on their dedicated guns.

The super AR .22 still cost less than my first Hamilton Bowen Ruger Blackhawk or a run-of-the-mill 3-gun AR. A Volquartsen "Inferno" .22 rifle — one heck of a rifle, BTW — clocks in at just under 2 grand.

RE: The Wounded Warrior imbroglio, my money will be going to HONORED AMERICAN VETERANS AFIELD (HAVA) or SOLDIERS' ANGELS.


If you won't kiss me on the lips, you can't expect me to pay the $20.