Here's my DPMS .22 build and range report. This is a modified version of my calguns post.
Note: This is a California gun, and .22 uppers are a bit of a grey area, so I'm going with caution and using a pinned mag. No, I don't want to move to a free state yet...
It's a bit of an odd beast - lots of discount stuff here, which is how I swing, and since I'm a bit broke right now, I did a little creative assembly to get it set up so I could use it with a scope.
Lower: Fulton FAR-15
Upper: DPMS CMP22LR A2 upper, 20" SS bull barrel
Handguards: First Samco M44L
Grip: ZM pistol grip (1911 angle)
Buttstock: 6 pos clone stock with First Samco stock saddle
Optic: Fake Aimpoint RDS from Jack on the EE
Most of it came from the EE except the lower and pistol grip, which are from calguns.
I got the upper used with 4 mags. It's not on DPMS' web site, and appears to be a special they made for cheaper than dirt. It's similar to their DCM upper (www.dpmsinc.com/10Browse.asp?catID=1351), except it comes with standard rifle handguards that aren't free-floated and doesn't appear to have a NM rear sight.
The LPK is supposed to be RRA, but the trigger's not nearly as nice as my other RRA LPK or my JT Distributing kit. I haven't looked closely yet, but it cams up a bit on the trigger pull, so I'll have to fiddle with that when I get a chance.
This is my first A2 upper, and I don't have any red dot mounts for one, only an ARMS #02 for the top of the carry handle, and it's too high to co-witness. I didn't want to pony up for a decent gooseneck right now or buy a cheap clone, so I pulled the standard handguards and put on the M44L handguards I've had kicking around for a bit. Lots of folks don't consider them sturdy enough for optics mounts, but I'm thinking they'll hold up well on a .22 range gun. This'll be a decent test for them in any case. So far, no issues with it.
The fake Aimpoint has been a pretty good one so far, and the cantilever mount gives a nice center co-witness with the iron sights. I'll know better after I get it sighted in, but I've got high hopes for it.
I put the 6 pos stock on it because my son likes a shorter LOP than an A2 stock gives, and the stock saddle gives a much nicer cheekweld compared to the regular adjustable stock. I got a stock like it last year that was solid and tight, but this one is a bit loose and rattly.
It's pretty muzzle heavy, like any 20" bull barrel, and the whole getup weighs 9 lb 4 oz with an unloaded mag.
So far, I'm pretty pleased with how it's turned out, even it it looks a little "tactical" for a .22. I'd rather have the flattop M4 version, but this was pretty cheap, and I'm looking forward to checking it out.
Here are some pics of the bolt, which is blow-back operated. The ejector is part of the mag. I've fun a few snap caps through it, and it doesn't like them a bit, so I'll have to get to the range to see if it's going to fly.
Range report and mag info coming up...
First range report on the DPMS .22 upper:
Well, I took it out a few times this weekend. First time was just a function check and put a hundred or so rounds through it for fun with my son, and it worked fine - no problems. It was set up just as in the picture in the post above.
Next time was to check accuracy with different ammo. I wanted to try it in 3 different setups:
- Iron sights - A2 style rear with the large and small apertures. I only used the small one.
- Aimpoint RDS 1x30 clone on a cantilever mount attached to the M44L handguard rails.
- Leupold VX1 4-12x40 in Leupold QRW low rings, mounted on an ARMS #02 carry handle mount. The scope was left on 12x.
Most of the shooting was 25 yards - the longest distance at the indoor range. First, I sighted in the iron sights, then the RDS clone, and the Leupold. I'm not the best rifle shooter around, and I need a good magnified scope to get decent groups, so that's the Leupold's job.
Once the clone was sighted in, the dot was right on top of the iron sight post, as it should be for an absolute co-witness. It did make the field of view cluttered, but that would have been better with the big aperture. I could also sight in above the rear site just fine, which helped a lot.
The highest brightness setting on the clone is incredibly bright indoors - even glaring - so I used the lowest one, which was still pretty bright. It's not the roundest dot I've seen, either, and the dot obscures the red and black center of the targets below at 25 yards, but it was quick and easy to use.
Now, the trigger on this lower sucks. It's stiff and uneven, and I need to fix it. I had to concentrate to keep the groups small, or I got a lot of side-to-side play in the groups from the trigger pull.
All groups are 10 rounds, shot from a rest on my range bag. For plinking, I used CCI Stingers, Federal Champions, and Zappers. For the accuracy tests, I used my favorite - SK Plus target ammo from outdoormarksman - www.outdoormarksman.com/product_info.php?cPath=65_2_54&products_id=1313. It's great stuff, and shoots as well as ammo costing a lot more. I figure I shot around 250 rounds total.
I had a few problems, but nothing major. The biggest one was that the hammer would sometimes follow the bolt, putting a little mark on the primer but not firing. It may have something to do with the crappy trigger, but I need to dig in a bit. I also had one failure to extract, which I pulled out with my fingernail. Normally, the primer hit is extremely solid - a big, round dent.
The mags are pretty tight, and the metal inserts appear to be parkerized. They're a bit rough on the inside, and sometimes rounds would stick going down in the mag, preventing me from loading more. Pushing the top round up and down a few times would usually loosen it up. On these mags, the ejector's part of the mag, and I was worried about a bit of looseness in the lower, but they worked fine.
Overall, it's been very good. If I bought a new one, I'd get the M4 style, with a flattop and a lighter barrel. The M44L handguards are very comfortable, if fat, with the rubber covers on the rails, and the collapsible stock with the cheekrest on it works great for this kind of shooting.
Here's a pic with the Leupold mounted.
Here are some groups:
My first accuracy group - this was when I noticed how much the trigger was messing with me. 25 yards, SK Plus, Leupold scope:
I shot the same group again with a bit more care and got this (damn that flyer!):
Same group with Stingers:
And with Zappers:
I pulled the target in to 10 yards - the group dropped about 2.25":
I took off the Leupold and mounted up the Aimpoint clone:
And took off the clone and used the iron sights:
After this, I remounted both the clone and the Leupold a couple of times and reshot the groups. There was very little zero shift from this, but that's harder to check well at 25 yards.
I'm pretty pleased, overall. I'll need to take it out to 50 yards at the outdoor range and see how it does, but so far, I'm pretty happy.
And, finally, some mag info, for those of you interested in them.
The mag case is a molded block of really hard plastic - it feels like a cross between Delrin and Bakelite. The mag itself is parkerized metal that fits into the block. There's a pin in the block that positions the mag insert, but it's a pretty tight fit in there even without it. There's a lot more wiggle of the mag in the mag well than there is the mag in the mag block.
The halves of the block are screwed together, but one of the lips is pinned so you can't get the halves apart. I tried driving the pin through, but there's not enough room, and it cracked one of the mag halves, so I cut it off with a Dremel. I'll drill out the rest if I need to open them.
On the last pic, there's a round pin that acts as the mag baseplate. When assembled, it's held in place by the mag block, but when you take it apart, nothing's holding it in. Mine's tight and needs to be pushed out, but some people say they'll fly out in theirs.
I looked at the possibility of making just the insert a removable mag, to help the California .22-only legality, but it doesn't look like it would be too easy to do.
This is what the DPMS FAQ says about the mag:
"Our .22LR rifle uses the original Colt® .22LR magazines and our own magazines, which are based on the Colt® magazines." It's also used in a Horner conversion according to Midway, which may be the same upper with a different brand name...
The assembled mag - you can see the ejector sticking up at the top.
The mag split in half:
The mag insert and one block half:
And the mag in parts:
Max: regarding rounds sticking in the mag: I noticed on mine that if the screw holding the two halves of the mag shell together is too tight I have that same issue. Backing the screw off just a touch fixes that. If you continue to have problems you may want to give that a try.
I have a CMP .22 upper as well. Mine does have the NM site and free floated handguards. It's a blast to shoot.
Being as DPMS is based in MN, and I live in MN, I am planning on buying one of their M4 .22's at the gunshow in two weeks. I want a flattop .22 so I can put a scope on it. I can't wait!