CMMG Bravo 22LR AR Conversion Kit – The First Kit That Doesn’t Suck ~VIDEO

Regular readers of AmmoLand News have seen us highlighting good prices on this kit over the years, so it is about time we produced a proper range review of the CMMG Bravo 22LR AR Conversion Kit.

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- As you may have guessed from the title, I haven’t had a great deal of success with 22 LR conversion kits other than the CMMG Bravo. I’m sure that someone in the comments will tell me I’m a fool, or that their off-brand 22 conversion ran flawlessly for 10,000 rounds. But realistically, they’re either lying, or they managed to get the world’s finest example combined with immaculately clean rimfire ammunition.

CMMG Bravo Action 01
The CMMG Bravo .22lr conversion kit installed in an AR-15 SBR with an Innovative Arms suppressor Provided by SilencerShop.com. IMG Jim Grant

Whatever the case, most 22 conversions are just fancy, over-priced paperweights. So what makes the CMMG Bravo 22lr AR15 Conversion Kit unique? Let’s take a closer look, and find out.

CMMG Bravo 22LR AR Conversion Kit

It would be easy enough to simply summarize this article in four words: “The CMMG Bravo works.”

And while that would be a fully accurate statement, there’s more to the story than that – especially for shooters who’ve been on the fence about investing in a .22 conversion kit for their favorite black rifle. So first I’ll explain how the conversion works, then go into its strengths and limitations.

CMMG Bravo 22lr Conversion Kit
The CMMG Bravo .22lr conversion kit for the AR-15 is simple, accurate, and reliable. IMG Jim Grant

Under The Hood

Like nearly every self-loading rimfire conversion, the CMMG Bravo is a direct blowback-operated system. Meaning, the bolt never locks into battery, but simply rests there under the pressure of the recoil spring. This is because while affordable and accurate, .22lr is relatively low pressure and thus the action of the firearm doesn’t need to be locked during detonation to ensure the shooter’s safety.

But wait, you might be thinking, how can the Bravo just drop in and change the caliber of the host gun without changing the barrel?

Well, the diameter of most 40gr .22lr rounds is .224in – the same as .223 rounds (confusing, I know). So as long as the conversion properly aligns the round in the chamber, it’s good to go. So how does it accomplish this? By replicating the dimensions of an AR-15’s bolt carrier group in a self-contained unit.

CMMG Bravo 22 LR AR Conversion Kit closeup
The front portion of the CMMG Bravo 22 LR AR Conversion Kit is shaped like a .223 cartridge to fit securely in the chamber. IMG Jim Grant

Basically, the CMMG Bravo is a bolt, recoil-spring, and chamber all in one. The chamber itself is shaped like a .223 cartridge to allow it to sit perfectly in the host gun’s chamber.

Why does that matter? For our purposes, the importance of this fact lies in its simplicity, ease of installation, and reliability. Because only the spring’s tension and the bolt’s weight need to be properly tuned for reliable operation, there are fewer things to foul up and break. Plus, the whole unit can be installed in seconds by removing the BCG and replacing it with the Bravo – simplicity itself.

CMMG Bravo Magazine
The CMMG Bravo uses magazines shaped just like standard STANAG AR magazines. IMG Jim Grant

Yet, the majority of these guns aren’t very reliable – why is that? Well, I’ve heard a number of reasons ranging from ammunition quality to magazine design, but none of them seem to be either as reliable or as accurate as a dedicated .22lr firearm.

But here’s a question I haven’t seen asked – Does it need to be?

Bravo 22LR AR conversion Kit Accuracy

Here’s the thing, 22LR AR conversion kits for centerfire rifles aren’t meant to perfectly replicate the entire shooting experience. Rather, they’re designed to allow shooters to build fundamental shooting skills like sight picture, trigger control, and proper breathing without sending pricey rounds downrange. Plus, given the relatively limited range of .22lr, shooters shouldn’t expect their conversion to group sub-MOA

Does this mean the Bravo isn’t very accurate?

Actually, no.

In fact, during testing the Bravo achieved groups hovering around 1.6 inches at 50 yards, making it more than accurate enough for practical training, plinking targets, and even hunting small game. So while it might not be the best configuration to have at the Alamo, an AR with the CMMG Bravo installed could definitely serve as a survival gun in a pinch.

CMMG Bravo Reliability

The main event! This category is what separates the rockstars from the groupies. Multiple companies have built similar calibers conversions in the past, but none of them can hold a candle to the Bravo’s reliability. And while the importance of a firearm’s reliability is pretty obvious, it’s also crucial for training as well. One of the biggest hurdles for new shooters is motivation. Especially for those working 60+ hour work-weeks, finding the time to drive to the gun range and train can be very difficult.

CMMG Bravo 22LR AR conversion kit 500 rounds
The CMMG 22LR AR Conversion kit after 500 rounds and a quick wipe-down. Dirty, but still running. IMG Jim Grant

The best way to encourage return trips and dedication to training is to see both successes and not having to constantly struggle with malfunctions. Because we’ve all been there before – starting something new without someone there to guide you, it’s easy to make mountains out of molehills. A great example: the first time a kid swings a bat and they either keep missing entirely or swinging under the ball. Anyone who has played little league knows that the solution is simple. Either the batter needs to keep his eye on the ball,  and/or keep his shoulder up, but that’s not immediately apparent to someone brand new to the sport. This is a long-winded tangential explanation, but the point is reliable is crucial for training.

So how did the CMMG Bravo perform?

In a word: Flawlessly.

The Bravo was installed in three different firearms: a PSA 10.5in barrel pistol, a LaRue Tactical 14.5in (with muzzle device pinned and welded) Ultimate Upper Kit build carbine, and a Bravo Company Machine 20in rifle. Each gun was fed 200 rounds from the 25-round magazine, filled to capacity. A .22lr sound suppressed was installed on the PSA pistol and a SilencerCo Saker 762 on the LaRue, and across these 600 rounds, the gun encountered zero malfunctions.

This was with Winchester WildCat, CCI Standard Velocity, and old Federal military contract CMP ammo. The only cleaning procedure observed was so wipe down the Bravo at the end of each shooting session, and after replacing the Bravo with the original BCG, fire a single .223 round from the gun.

Pros and Cons of the 22LR AR Conversion Kit

Which brings us to the first thing shooters should note before using the conversion. After each shooting session, it’s recommended that shooters replace the Bravo with the original BCG and fire a full-powered round through the gun. This has the effect of clearing the gas tube of excess carbon and lead fouling that results from firing .22lr ammo. It’s not a big deal at all, but something to keep in mind to make sure you don’t totally clog up the gas tube after a thousand or so rounds.

CMMG Bravo in the LaRue
The rifle conversion fits all .223/5.56 AR-15s including Gucci-tier stuff like LaRue Tactical’s Ultimate Upper Kits. IMG Jim Grant

Another issue with the Bravo and all .22 conversions is recoil or lack thereof. Because your AR-15 was designed to fire the more potent, higher velocity .223/5.56mm cartridge, it has laughably little felt recoil with the Bravo installed. This is great for younger or brand new shooters as it helps acclimate them to the noise and kick of firearms before going all in. But it also has the strange effect of making full-powered rounds seem momentarily overly loud and powerful when switching back. For some shooters this might cause them to flinch – especially at indoor ranges where the 5.56 cartridge may as well be a flashbang, it’s so damn loud.

Unfortunately, this is unavoidable, since there’s no easy way to replicate the recoil of a full-powered cartridge in a .22lr carbine. Colt managed to do a decent job replicating some recoil with their Colt 1911 Ace and it’s floating chamber, but nothing similar to my knowledge exists.

But what about the Bravo’s benefits?

CMMG Bravo BCM 20
The Bravo even runs in full-length rifles like this BCM 20in rifle. IMG Jim Grant

The cost of ammo is the biggest one, but the cons listed above are also boons. Without a loud report or intense recoil impulse, the smallest and most recoil-shy shooters can easily handle an AR with the Bravo installed. Sure, it won’t teach them how to properly manage recoil, but they’ll get a solid understanding of sight alignment, trigger control, and how to properly use the gun without dropping $100 plus each range trip.

The Takeaway

CMMG’s Bravo .22 LR conversion kit isn’t revolutionary because it reinvents the wheel or is available in some super cool finish or is endorsed by door-kicking pipe-hitters. It’s revolutionary because it just plain works and fulfills the original intent of the design – allowing shooters to hone their shooting skills without breaking the bank.

The CMMG Bravo 22 LR AR Conversion Kit is available at several well known online gun retailers. Also, check our daily deal link at the top of this page for tips on how you can save $$.


About Jim Grant

Jim is one of the elite editors for AmmoLand.com, who in addition to his mastery of prose, can wield a camera with expert finesse. He loves anything and everything guns but holds firearms from the Cold War in a special place in his heart.

When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, Ammoland will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
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Chuck
Chuck
3 days ago

I bought my CMMG Bravo almost 3 years ago. I purchased it with a lot of trepidation. Fearing that I’d just blown $200 for nothing. Was I mistaken and wrong? Hell yeah, and I’ve no problem admitting it. The Bravo’s performed flawlessly. I now have no issue being an unpaid brand advocate, as I will sing its virtue to anyone that will listen. At our Municipal indoor range, we’ve only a 25 yard line. Across a rest, no problem with 1″ groups with my scoped AR 3 X 9. In my other AR with the 2 MOA Red Dot, it… Read more »

Oldman
Oldman
3 days ago

We have owned one for about four years. It is a great little add-on for target practice. The best running ammo for it has been Aguila high velocity copper coated. The only time it failed to fire was the first shot through it, and when I have used lead tipped ammo like Blazer. Even then it happens less then once for every three mags put through it. We have never had a problem with getting all 25 rounds in the mags, not even when they were brand new. I have never cleaned it, just oiled it up before shooting it.… Read more »

Last edited 3 days ago by Oldman
Xaun Loc
Xaun Loc
3 days ago

QUESTION: How much clickbait can AmmoLand cram into one article?

ANSWER: Read the above article to find out!

Starting with the brilliant headline describing the CMMG kit as “The First Kit That Doesn’t Suck” — when we are talking about virtually the same kit that the US Army has been using for half a century!
CMMG has been cranking out these kits for decades. Yes, they have evolved, yes they have gotten slightly better, but the bottom line is simply that the CMMG kits have always worked and have never sucked.

Vince
Vince
4 days ago

Excellent conversion kit! If you have any problem, it is probably due to extremely cheap ammo. Shoots any and all name brand ammo without fail in my M&P.

Ryben Flynn
Ryben Flynn
4 months ago

I bought one several years ago on a Black Friday Sale online from I forget where, maybe Midway USA? Under $200 with one 25 round magazine.
I only had one fail to extract in all the time I’ve shot it. Case got hung up ejecting.
The nice thing about it is I can remove it and put the regular 5.56 BCG back in and shoot.

SEMPAI
SEMPAI
4 months ago

Just buy an M&P 15-22 “549.00” still !! and it’s a good lil shooter, I’ve heard quite undependable stories about this item in
LGS

Xaun Loc
Xaun Loc
3 days ago
Reply to  SEMPAI

The M&P 15-22 is a nice enough dedicated .22LR rifle but first and foremost is isn’t really an AR in any sense of the name beyond general appearance and control locations. And, of course, it costs at least double what the CMMG conversion costs. That extra $250 dollars will buy a lot of .22LR ammo. And, if you like to believe random fourth-hand stories about “I know a guy who said he met a guy who had one” then you might want to remember that the M&P 15-22 was banned from multiple rimfire training and competition programs a few years… Read more »

DDS
DDS
4 months ago

Several years ago we bought one of these for my wife’s RRA AR-15. We found it to be sensitive to both ammo and magazines.

If we used standard exposed lead .22LR ammo we would get the occasional jam. Ditto for the magazine that came with it.

However, with plated bullets and Black Dog magazines it became very dependable.

YMMV

Orion
Orion
6 months ago

Elite Editor? riiiiiite!! simply firing a full power 223/556 round to clear any buildup inside the gas tube shows your ignorance with Stoner’s system. after firing 200-300 rounds of 22 rimfire, what about the buildup of raw lead thats now inside the barrel’s lands and grooves? even better copper clad 22LR bullets shed lead due to the overfast twist rates on modern ARs and no, you cant shoot that out, it must be removed the old fashion way by scrubbing. hint #1) a quick shot or two of birchwood-casey Gun Scrubber down the gas tube does that and much more… Read more »

Chuck
Chuck
6 months ago

I just purchased the CMMG Bravo kit, the weekend before this last. Last night, I finally had opportunity to take it to our indoor range. The unit installed in under a minute. It took me longer to load the magazine, than to install the kit. My AR’s zeroed at 200 yards to be dead on POA/POI. Since our indoor range is a 50′ lane, I expected my shots to be high, and they were, but not as high as my original estimate. Only between 2.5 to 3 inches at 50′. Windage was still spot on. I ran 300 rounds of… Read more »

Xaun Loc
Xaun Loc
6 months ago

Strange question but I’ll ask anyway: Does anyone know if the magazines for an S&W M&P 15-22 are interchangeable with the CMMG magazines in one or both directions.

Orion
Orion
6 months ago
Reply to  Xaun Loc

nope. MP15-22 mags are different and will not work.

Bobocat
Bobocat
6 months ago

Don’t forget that you need the right charging handle with this. If you use the standard charging handle the shell can jam when it is ejected. The difference is the standard charging handle is hollow and the needed handle is filled in. Turn a standard charging handle over and you see that a 22 shell can and will fit in the underside sometimes.

Ghostdirewolf
Ghostdirewolf
6 months ago
Reply to  Bobocat

This is 100% false. In this kit the top of the conversion kit sits inside the charging handle.

With a solid charging handle you would be unable to even insert the kit into the upper.

Last edited 6 months ago by Ghostdirewolf
Xaun Loc
Xaun Loc
6 months ago
Reply to  Ghostdirewolf

I would have to guess that Mr. Bobocat has experience with one of the cheap imported copies of the CMMG conversion — probably bought on Wish or somewhere equally reputable

TexasGunCents
TexasGunCents
4 days ago
Reply to  Ghostdirewolf

CMMG sells a filled polymer handle to avoid the brass jam described. I have had it happen a couple times. It was a PITA, but not TEOTWAWKI. The link says 22ARC, but the item description says also for 22LR. I would say it is not a NEED, but might be worth modifying a spare charging handle with RTV. https://cmmg.com/charging-handle-assembly-22arc

RichV
RichV
1 year ago

I had one of these. Yes reliable. Not accurate enough for meaningful practice. Good for soda cans at 50ft.

jon
jon
1 year ago

According to SAMMI, the bullet diameter of a 22LR and a 223 are minutely different, they are not the same. This does have an effect on accuracy. A very small affect but it is there, nothing to worry about if you are shooting at short range steel. But if you are shooting at a NRA A-17 target in a match, you better have a proper sized bore.

Buckshot
Buckshot
6 months ago
Reply to  jon

I’ll hazard a guess and say if a person were shooting in a match they would be using a dedicated .22LR barrel rather than a conversion kit. If not they’d deserve to lose said match.

Orion
Orion
6 months ago
Reply to  jon

correct. 22LR projectiles are actually .22″ where 223/556 projectiles are .224″ in diameter. the result is the smaller rimfire rounds kinda bounce down those barrels before exiting. that extra gap and the common 1/7 to 1/9 twist rates only hinder any accuracy potential.

Just1Saddletramp
Just1Saddletramp
4 months ago
Reply to  Orion

Being nitpicking but .22 S, L & LR are all .219 while the .22 WMR and .223 Remington are.,224

Orion
Orion
4 months ago

maybe i need better calipers but the author needs a better education on Stoner’s design, the history of 22 rimfire kits and proper maintenance. thanks!

gsteele
gsteele
3 days ago
Reply to  Orion

Standard specification for .22 rimfire bullet diameter is .2255 – .223 inch diameter (the bullet body – the fluted “lands” of the bullet behind the nose that form the grease grooves add another .001″ to the diameter, to .224). Allowable production tolerance is up to -.004, but rarely found. Barrel groove diameter is nominally .223 to improve obturation, with a land diameter of .212. The .223 Remington is, in fact, specified with a .224 diameter bullet, free bore, and groove diameter – so why not name it the .224? Go figure. Note that .223 and 5.56x45mm NATO chamber specs differ… Read more »

Blastron
Blastron
1 year ago

CMMG is running 10-15 weeks out. Defense caliber Ammo is too golden to shoot in these times. .22s are a great way to train until that dries up too. So, I strongly suggest what Iv done was source CMMG ARC dedicated barrels , & ARC bolts , bits & pieces from those Listed outstanding suppliers. Secure & run with black dog XForm mags. Pray ammo manufactures get with the program -now & stop the price rapers.

Finnky
Finnky
6 months ago
Reply to  Blastron

Let’s hope & pray.

Given biden’s executive order on imported guns, I wonder whether he has ability to also ban imported ammo. If that occurs we are in for even more dramatic price rises. Even more dramatic sticker shock for those who currently choose to use “cheap” bimetallic Russian ammo such as Tula, Monarch, and the three bears (brown, silver and gold).

Orion
Orion
6 months ago
Reply to  Finnky

if Clinton could ban all the Chinese ammo in 1993, there’s not much to hault Biden from banning ammo from other sources outside the US.

Ryben Flynn
Ryben Flynn
1 year ago

I have had one for a couple years. Yesterday was the first time it jammed on me on chambering a round. Gee, maybe I should oil it more often. Yup, it needed cleaning.
The only complaint I have is that it is almost impossible to load 25 rounds into the magazine without getting the follower stuck down inside. 20 rounds is it. Even after taking the magazine apart and cleaning it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ryben Flynn