Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Nadnerbus

    What do people feel about a replacement upper like this versus a drop in kit like the CMMG? One of these days I’m going to get something like this for my AR, and wouldn’t mind some input on what kind of system is more reliable, economical, etc.

  • Cymond

    Replacement uppers are generally supperior. They have a proper rifling twist rate to stabilize the low velocity 22lr bullets. They don’t have a gas system to clean out. There’s no long freebore jump between the firing chamber and the rifling.

    Using a drop-in conversion kit is inaccurate and requires you to readjust your sights, so there are limited advantages to a drop-in conversion. The primary advantage is low cost. Also, it lets you swap calibers with less hassle, weight, & parts. There was recently a review of the CMMG kit here on TFB if you want to read about it’s flaws.

  • Bill

    I understand the quandary that Nadnerbus is debating. I have a Ciener drop-in purchased years before CMMG and Spikes had their drop-ins (patent expiration perhaps).

    The less than $160 price is more attractive than a $350 upper. The only argument is that the upper has the correct twist (1:12?) for a 22 LR vs a 1:9 or 1:7 barrel in a regular AR.

    I stick my Ciener in my 1:9 so that it can approximate the correct twist rate. But if you’re going to the range, you’ll likely to be shooting under 100 yards with any 22LR anyway.

    On the pro dedicated upper side, there is no issue with taking the drop-in out. I found the drop-in ‘spit’ back at me from the charging handle area. You can also figure a dedicated upper will have a dedicated optic and zero’ed for the .22 LR ballistics. Goping back and forth in a drop-in won’t be as accurate I imagine.

    Regardless, one needs to invest in many BDM mags as corking off .22 is way faster and also a pain to reload relative to AR’s .223/5.56 calibers.

  • Redfoot

    Nadnerbus, I hear ya.

    Look at the review of the CMMG kit for some very enlightening info-not sure about the accuracy of all the info though

    One of the comments is that the diameter of the .22LR projectile does not interface with the .223 barrel well, resulting in what many would consider sub par accuracy at 50 yds, ammo type and operator error notwithstanding.

    I would like a range report as well.

    More info below

    http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f20/chiappa-m4-22-upper-review-24769/

    http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=286585

    Cheers!

  • Oz

    Nadnerbus, the main reasons would be a proper caliber barrel and twist rate to get good accuracy and performance from .22

    If you want to have an accurate plinker and maybe even pest gun, get an upper. If you just want to sling lead downrange every once in a while for fun, a drop in would probably be enough.

  • C J

    I would think that a dedicated upper would be a better choice than a conversion unit, but if you are going to not have the rear sight, then leave off the front sight too.

  • DaveR

    This is on my short list of “need to buy” items.

    @Nadnerbus: a dedicated upper should be much more reliable and much more accurate than a conversion unit. The dedicated upper will not have a gap between the chamber and the barrel and the bullet will chamber right in front of the rifling. Also the twist rate will be better suited for 22LR bullets (conversions units have a record of key-holing bullets)

  • Nadnerbus

    This is why I love this blog. Thanks for the feedback guys, much appreciated.

  • Mel

    I just purchased a Chiappa AR-15 22lr upper. So far I’ve put about 500 rounds of Federal ammo through it with no malfunctions no misfires and no jams. It will cycle as fast as you can pull the trigger. It seems as accurate as any 22 semi auto I’ve shot. I didn’t go for one hole shots but could hit my spinner target out as far as I could make out the target with open sights. I will try a scope next. I don’t know if I just got a good one or if they will all shoot this well but I am extremely happy with it so far. I am a lefty but the right hand eject was no problem for me. I was a bit dubious when I received it because the receiver is made of carbon fiber material. So far no issues but time will tell. Also the price was right. At this point I would recommend one for cheap fun shooting.

    • Me

      Mel, I too just purchased a Chiappa upper and have had the exact opposite experience. Two bolts have catastrophically failed (that is, broke) with less than 500 round thru it. The second failed with exactly 170 rounds. In addition, the rifle rear sight must be all the way to the left to even begin to start to get close to center, and that’s after the first warranty repair.

      I hope your good luck continues. Those considering a purchase, be mindful of the varying experiences. At this point, I regret my purchase.

      • Me

        Good news on the bolt design. After the third warranty repair, a completely redesigned bolt was returned to me. Gone is the “C” clip that held the recoil spring rod. It is now a more solid unit at the rear of the bolt assembly.

        I have been to the range a few times with it. About 300 rounds through the upper No issues at all. Let’s hope that continues!

        The folks at Chiappa were good to work with through all the issues. They took care to try to repair things as quickly as they could. No complaints about their customer service, that’s for sure.

        Bottom line, I’d recommend ensuring you get the new bolt design if you are considering this upper.

  • Mel

    Me, I too finally experienced a bolt failure. My failure was the main spring or more specifically the c clip that holds the main spring onto the main spring rod. This occurred after several hundred rounds fired. I called Chiappa Arms and spoke with the service department. The man said that they were aware of the problem on earlier production models and had made corrections to the design or stronger parts. I will be sending my bolt assembly back to the factory for replacement and repair with the supposed better parts. I guess time will tell. If the repair holds together I may consider another upper. However at this time I am weighing the cost of the lower and then the upper and feel I would have been better off purchasing a complete S&W M&P 15-22 for slightly more money. I like the M&P 15-22 because all the controls match the 5.56X45 AR-15. I will keep a posting of my experience with the Chiappa after the repairs. Thanks.

    • aaron

      hey i have the same problems as u desribed in your post. the main bolt spring and the bolt spring rob are all bent out of wack. did u ever get it fixed? iv tried looking for the part but it seems to not exist online. can u please help me?

  • FleshWund

    Just picked up a used one last night for 2 bills, so far we will see how it does down range, put it on an old plum crazy lower , very light with this lower, had to remove the hammer and trim it down some to fit between the rails of the 22 bolt.. nothing some sand paper couldn’t fix.. Think the guy I got it off of , pick it up in Dayton where they are located, got frustrated with jams :) since it is new and sold it to me.. Will report back after a box or two of walmart 550 value packs.

  • Mel

    I’m getting ready to send my first repaired bolt back. C-clip didn’t last 15 shots this time. I had heard they were redesigning the bolt to eliminate the c-clip going to a totaly new bolt. Mine will be going back this week. I hope this new bolt takes care of the problem. If not I’ll be using the barrel as a jack handle.

    • Me

      Mel,

      I think you will be pleased with the new bolt design. The “C” clip concept at the rear of the bolt has been abandoned. It’s now a solid piece holding the recoil spring guide rod. I’ve put about 300 rounds through it with no issues at all.

      Good luck!

  • Mel

    Nice! That’s what I’m hoping for. I really enjoyed shooting it (when it worked). Maybe they’ve got it right this time. When I get new bolt back and put some rounds through it I’ll report back.

  • Jim Krebs

    I can hardly caution the readers enough about this product and about Chiappa’s way of doing business. I purchased one of the uppers in November. When I took it to the range, I had several cases completely blow out at the rim. When I checked the rest of the cases I saw most were bulged out just above the rim. I contacted their service and submitted a request for RMA. It was issued and I shipped the upper back. In the case I also included a complete description of what had happened, what I had done to diagnose the problem, and one bulged and one blown out brass in a plastic bag stapled to the paperwork. Then I waited. They specified 60 to 90 day turn around, which I felt was a bit much, but nothing I can do about it.

    At the end of 3 months I emailed as I had not seen my upper. This was on the 5th of July. On the 12th I was told that they were out of replacement parts and a shipment was due later in the month. On the 6th of August I again contacted them and expressed my displeasure with with being 4 months into their 60 – 90 day turn around period. I got a reply the message had been forwarded to management but haven’t heard anything.

    This is NOT what I would consider quality product or quality service and will avoid the brand completely in the future.

  • aaron

    does anyone know where i can get a replacement main bolt spring and bolt spring rod? iv looked everywhere but havent had any luck. can someone please help me

    • Me

      Aaron,

      Like Mel, I had a problem with the original bolt design. The older “C” clip design that held the bolt spring rod failed a couple of times for me. The new bolt block design, a solid construction to hold the bolt spring rod, has worked fine for me. I’ve put about 600 rounds of Federal “blue box” high velocity cartridges down range with no issues. The previous design failed well before this point.

      The part number you want is 740308, which is labeled #32 on their exploded diagnrams in the manual. Call Chiappa and ask for help. They made good on the issues I had. No complaints from me.

      Good luck!

  • Mel

    I called Chiappa directly, (twice) The first time they sent a replacement it had the same problem. I sent the bolt assembly back to them the second time at their direction. The new bolt has been redesigned. They sent me a new one at no charge and so far I have had no problems with it.

  • Frank

    I purchased on these about 3 months ago. I have 600 CCI mini mags thru it, sitting atop my old Oly upper and not one hiccup. It is fun and accurate as can be.

  • discreet

    just got this bore sighted and zeroed … got a decent group, considering my lousy marksmanship and the fact that I was prone on my front lawn … I had numerous FTF … no or very light strike marks on the rim … when I push the firing pin so that it’s flush with the boltface, the firing pin doesn’t quite come to the surface, and the spring feels very heavy… so, by way of dumb questions: is this normal?, and if not, can anything be done about it?
    Thanks!