Monday, February 2, 2009

CMMG+Black Dog Machine= Awesome

M&P 15 with CMMG .22 LR kit installed; Black Dog Machine 26rd magazine holds the bolt open on empty.

I purchased a CMMG .22LR conversion kit from Black Dog Machine about two weeks ago, and got it four days later. The day it came in, I took it out to the range and I proceeded to run about 500 rounds of various kinds of hi-velocity ammunition through it. My friend and I went to remove the kit so we could put it in his DPMS Sportical for a bit. But it wouldn't budge. I've used these kits before, and never had a hard time removing them. Well, a broken Bic pen and some sore fingers later, James noticed that the chamber sleeve was cracked all the way from the "case mouth" to the actual .22lr chamber. After a thorough cleaning, it was evident that no harm was done to my M&P, and the rest of the .22lr kit was in perfect working order. In fact, we really couldn't tell anything had gone wrong at the range. After some Google-fu, I found out that early CMMG kits had this problem. I also found out that CMMG was exceedingly good about replacing broken parts.

The CMMG kit. The front bit that looks like an empty .223 case was the bit that cracked. The new one has worked fine so far.

That night I emailed CMMG about the problem, and promptly got a reply saying replacement parts were on the way. Another couple of days and my replacement part was in, and installed in a matter of seconds. The next day James and I ventured back to the range.

Over the course of the day, I fed my CMMG kit about 1100 rounds of Federal .22lr. The first 500 were Federal Champion hi-velocity 40 grain lead round nose. There were about 120 rounds of American Eagle (Federal) 36 grain hi-velocity plated hollow point. Then another 550 rounds of Federal bulk pack (the cheap stuff). I had two failures to extract, and both occurred after several hundred rounds were fired.

I shot ten rounds for a group at just under 50 yards, standing unsupported. I put all ten into a two inch square. They lined up pretty well horizontally, but I strung them out vertically--mostly thanks to my fading eyesight and lack of breath control. I'll try to post a target later. And I'll try to shoot a decent group. I was able to pick off empty shotgun shells at 35 yards or so once I got warmed up.

My CMMG kit is fed by two Black Dog Machine full-size magazines which hold 26 rounds. Black Dog also sells a skinny body magazine. The full size one fits AR15 mag pouches, so I opted for those. The full body magazine costs $35 and the skinny body one is $30. sells the full size ones for $29.99. Both of my magazines were hard to load the first time. However, I loaded them and let them sit overnight. After that, they load nice and smooth, and function quite reliably. I haven't had any trouble out of either of them, and don't anticipate any. Kudos to Black Dog Machine.

Long story short, if you want a great way to train without breaking the bank, this is a great way to go. The kit itself comes with a 26rd BDM magazine if you live in a free state. Otherwise you get a 10rd version. I bought my kit for about $200 after shipping costs. I got the second magazine from Consider that right now, 1000rds of Wolf steel case ammo is more than $240. The same amount of Federal Bulk .22LR costs about $27. If you shoot an AR at all, this kit will save you money in the long run.

Because this kit occupies the body of your AR15, training with .22LR is 99% the same as training with the much more expensive 5.56x45 or .223 ammunition. The ONLY control that doesn't function with this kit is the bolt release. Though the bolt does lock open on empty, it holds open on the magazine follower itself. Also, my zero with .223 was different than that of the .22LR. That's fine because I use my Millett DMS-1 for .223 and my irons for .22LR. Keep that in mind if you plan to train with your current optics. Another option is to just write down the difference in zero so you can quickly adjust from one round to the other.

As ammunition prices continue to rise, the CMMG conversion kit is a great way to keep shooting.


James said...

Somebody needs to teach you about lighting in your photos. When you've got a shitty camera (like me, like you) you need to get all the light you can. Not using the flash is a good thing but if the room's being lit by a single 65W incandescent, you're going to look elsewhere for light. Might I suggest the sun, during the day, through a window?

I really need to get on the ball and order one of these things...but it's a little depressing not having anything to put it into. DPMS has my upper for however long it takes them to fix it. I mentioned to them that it might have headspacing issues, as it was difficult to insert a Ceiner style .22lr conversion even after cleaning the chamber well.

Also, if you care to post it on here, I uploaded my video of the TPS to YouTube for the world to see:


-Tired of looking at Mr. Houghton's blurry dark photographs.

Space Cadet 'R' said...

I just purchased the CMMG .22 conversion kit this evening, and had no problem installing it. Removing it is the problem!

I am finding that I cannot pull the charging handle all the way back, so it never catches.

Do you have any advice?

Hope CMMG's support is as good as you say.