AR rifle converted to .22 Nosler, in the field

AR rifle converted to .22 Nosler, in the field

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.22 Nosler Cartridge

31 May 2017 Initiate conversation with personnel at Nosler Inc. regarding the .22 Nolser rifle cartridge and the availability of completed AR upper receivers chambering said round.

14 June 2017 1145 UPS driver delivers complete upper receiver from Midway USA and separate box containing .22 Nolser rifle ammunition.

1730 .22 Nosler upper receiver installed on existing AR lower, 10x riflescope attached to upper.

Timney Triggers drop-in AR trigger from Brownell’s installed in lower.   

1815 Arrive rifle range, Saratoga, Wyoming, zero riflescope at 100 yards using 62 grain .22 Nosler load, “Varmageddon” line.

15 June 2017 0945 Arrive in the field, near coordinates 41 23 N 106 59 W, Carbon County, Wyoming in search of Cynomys Rodentia.

1235 Complete Search and Destroy mission, Cynomys Rodentia; 41 confirmed kills, 9 unconfirmed with noticeable drag marks where enemy apparently continued habit of dragging off the dead.

22 Nosler ammunition with 6.8 SPC magazines

22 Nosler ammunition with 6.8 SPC magazines


I know what a lot of you are saying, why a new rifle cartridge? First let’s get some background on the round.

Nosler, Inc. announced the release of the .22 Nosler at SHOT 2017. The cartridge case is based upon the 6.8 SPC, therefore it mimics the overall length of the .223 Remington but has a fatter case, allowing more powder. The case head is rebated so standard .223/5.56 bolts can be used. The fat case means that 6.8 SPC magazines will feed more reliably than standard AR (5.56) models.

Factory ammunition from Nosler boasts speeds of 300 feet per second faster than factory .223 Remington using comparable bullet weights. The projectiles of .22 Nolser are .224” just like your standard AR.

As you can imagine, Nosler has a good deal of load information for the reloaders in the audience. This cartridge seems ripe for reloader tinkering to come up with the fastest or most accurate load.

The attraction of the .22 Nosler is a super-fast .224 projectile fired from a cartridge that is built for the AR semi-automatic rifle. There are many .224 varmint cartridges that are super fast, but most (if not all) are launched from bolt-action rifles.

When it comes to shooting varmints and predators in the windy western states, most shooters prefer high speed, violently impacting rounds.   

Initial Conclusion:

For this review I used a couple of 6.8 SPC magazines that I ordered from Brownell’s as well a drop-in Timney Trigger for my AR lower, set at 3.5 pounds, from their catalog. Also, the lightweight aluminum rail on the Midway upper did not have a place to secure a bipd so I picked up an Ergo Grips pic rail from Brownells as well. The pic rail took all of five minutes to install.

On paper, as long as I did my part, 3 round shot groups in the 1 M.O.A. to a bit smaller were common at 100 yards. Feeding and function was 100 percent reliable. Yes, I did FrogLube the bolt and carrier group, of course.

In the field I engaged the enemy from 50 to about 300 yards or so. Let me tell you, Chinese acrobats have nothing on the Cynomys Rodentia as they flipped and flew through the air.

My summer-long testing of the .22 Nolser has just begun in earnest, but I am favorably impressed, not just from range time, but from my time in the field.

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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