The topic of a dedicated .22 upper receiver vs. a conversion kit for you AR platform might be a little retro, but I have a hard time imagining a gun guy or gal holding their rifle and saying, “This topic is so passé!” By now most everyone has had a chance to make up their own mind on which way they’ll go when spending their money, and if they haven’t they’ve probably thought about it plenty.
I personally went the conversion route several years back and have only found limited success with it. Frustration set in early between the failure to extract and failure to load issues. In a good session I was able to fire five rounds before having an issue, and often times it was fewer rounds than that. I’ve tried several different brands of ammo, but so far that perfect round that my conversion kit likes best eludes me. The upside is that I now know what I’ll be doing on my next range day.
Despite the experience with the conversion kit I have, I still think this is a great way to go. I have fired other people’s converted rifles and they worked great. There are also plenty of stories of people firing several hundred rounds consistently without any hiccups. It’s just a matter of finding the best kit for your rifle and then the right ammo to go with it. With most kits being under $250 it’s hard not to go this route.
Dedicated .22 uppers are something I haven’t been fortunate enough to try out for myself yet. There is some appeal to having an upper that is designed to shoot a .22 round. The premise being that an upper designed to fire a specific round will be more accurate and have fewer failures. While this sounds valid in theory, the internet has plenty of first hand stories you can find where this isn’t always the case. That being said, it is almost always the case that dissatisfied people are louder than satisfied people, so a grain of gun powder should be applied. While a dedicated upper will cost you more than the conversion kit, a lack of frustration is priceless.
I’ll continue to experiment with the basic CMMG kit I have to see if I can get it working correctly, but in the meantime I would love to hear about your experiences with dedicated uppers and/or conversion kits. What has worked for you and what hasn’t?