A Nurse with a Gun

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Colt .22 Tactical M4 Rifle

One of the loudly heralded rifles from the 2009 SHOT Show was the Umarex/Walther/Colt M-forgery. I had heard that the big box store had a couple of Colt rimfire M4s in stock, so I drove over to take a gander for the first time today. Overall I was impressed at Walther's ability to make a rimfire replica of America's favorite black rifle. The fact that the carry handle was detachable on the M4 version was a big plus for me. The barrel contour seemed pretty close to correct. I'm not certain if the hand grip or the adjustable buttstock will swap out with conventional AR aftermarket equipment though. If it does not, then shame on Walther. A major component of the AR's allure is the modularity that makes the rifle user friendly towards customization.

The magazine was not in the rifle that I examined, so I asked to take a look at it. The salesman assured me it was "exactly like a M-sixteen clip." All I had to do was fill out this yellow sheet....... I asked again to see the magazine. When the salesman's assistant brought the 30 round magazine from the rear of the big box store, I was not surprised. It was heavy plastic with a cut out on either side to show the remaining ammunition inside. A follower button was present on each side to aid in loading. That was a shame, to make a replica so close and then let the magazine destroy the illusion. There are many who would purchase the Colt/Walther M-forgery as a 22 rifle simply because it mimics the real deal so well. With the magazine in place, only Paul Helmke would have a problem seeing the difference.

The blue hang tag on the forward sling swivel attested to the rimfire rifle's all metal construction. Indeed, it felt to be about the same weight as it's more powerful cousin. I began to wonder if the receiver was good aluminum, or if it was pot metal. I remembered the problems Walther had a couple of years ago with the P22 slides. I envisioned this rifle after a year of use, with silver showing through the black paint on the receiver. It would certainly take on a patina common to a well used and well loved rifle through legitimate high volume use.

The asking price at the big box store was $589 before tax. I had ascertained that this was about a hundred bucks above dealer cost. That was fair enough, and for a man who shoots a lot of .223, it could mean the rifle would pay for itself quickly. My appetite for black rifle goodness is not that voracious, however. Perhaps it should be. If I owned one of these carbines, I would likely shoot it a lot. It would not be a substitute for a rifle i presently shoot a lot however.

I decided I would wait. I would wait until I saw some real world durability reports and real world reliability complaints. I would wait until the aftermarket caught up and accessories became available to fit the rifle. I would wait until I could purchase it used at the next gun show. Before I saw the magazine I almost had my checkbook out. I had always said if Colt made a 22 rimfire M4 replica, I would buy it. I probably still will, in time. I just want to know a little more at the price they are asking.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a Ciener conversion with 25 round mad dog magazines and it is some of the most fun with a .22 I have ever had. all under $200 too! I carry it with the Trunk gun (AR) and can swap out at the range.

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

Does it take the standard Black Dog mag or a proprietary mag you can't get for 6 months or longer?

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wondering, do you like this better than the S&W M&P15-22?

1:37 AM  
Anonymous Homer said...

IIRC, there was a presser from S&W recently on their 22LR version of the M4. I'd like to have something along those lines, but, like you, I'll await performance and reliability reviews.

Assuming 22LR ARs aren't a flash in the pan, it would be interesting if they drove some changes in competition; other than no suitable cheap shotgun ammo, aside from maybe 20 gauge, I could see a scaled down version of IPSC and 3-gun built around 22LR ARs and Buckmarks/Ruger Mark I/II/IIIs.

3:29 AM  
Anonymous cm smith said...


6:46 AM  
OpenID trebor1415 said...

You should also check out the new S&W dedicated .22 LR AR. I haven't seen either the Colt or the S&W in person, but based on reports, it sounds like the S&W might be the better choice.

I'm also waiting for more user reports on both before I buy either one.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Joker23 said...

If you already have an AR type rifle I would recommend buying a CMMG .22 adapter for it. Best of both worlds...

8:28 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

why not just buy a ceiner kit and a cheap 1 in 12 twist barreled upper to shoot.

There are kits available without the need for .5 MOA precision for <200 and then a dedicated upper from spikes or even a used one is cheaper and if you dont like it, your not out much. the kits can be used without the dedicated upper BTW.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Caleb said...

I was pretty excited about the gun as well until I saw one in my local Sportsmans Warehouse. The bolt wouldn't go all the way forward when released, the magazine was sticky and several things looked very badly finished. I'm not sure if it just needed a good lubing, or they got a lemon but what I saw did not inspire confidence.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

I suppose a rifle like this might appeal to someone who does not already own a centerfire AR15. For those that do, a .22 rimfire upper is probably a better choice; less expensive, and you'll practice with your current stock and trigger.

10:01 AM  
Blogger MCSA said...

Tam is pissed because the safety isn't the same as on a AR... It rotates 180 degrees.

They look alright, and I could even get past the mags, but due to the Walther thing - "Zamac" is the sound you make when you slap your forehead when the slide cracks - I'm more curious about the S&W MP22.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bushmaster just came out with their own version, which is supposed to be better (has a dust cover, the safety works the same way a real AR15 safety works, etc.) though I don't know about the magazines.

Of course, you still should probably wait until someone else works the bugs out.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With .22 conversion bolt and magazine readily available(I have one for my Bushmaster), why spend $500 plus when the conversion is much less?

10:45 AM  
Anonymous USCitizen said...

Got lots of them in stock now. In fact, I just ordered three for glee.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

A little clarification please. Is this a Umerex product? a Colt product? or a Walther product? or are all three owned by the same company now? How does this differ from a standard M4 with a 22lr conversion upper? Can it accept magazines from either of the two standard conversion types? or is this an entirely different beast that just looks like an M4? Could you replace the upper with a standard M4 upper reciever and convert it to fire 223?

11:18 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I'm still waiting to see the S&W version with my own eyes Hoop, another reason why I waited.....

12:57 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Yep Caleb, the bolt was a tad sticky on this rifle as well. A touch of the finger sent it forward though. I figured a few hundred rounds down range would polish things up.

The inner (silver) portion of the receiver I looked at through the mag well did look like zinc pot metal.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Plastic mags? ugh

7:16 PM  
OpenID westofthewest said...

I guess this is a good thing. Still it makes me a bit sad, everybody getting so exited over a .22 rimfire replica.

Just another signal that centerfire ammo is fast becoming a luxury item for many people.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Tam said...

"Is this a Umerex product?"


"How does this differ from a standard M4 with a 22lr conversion upper?"

It is a completely different gun mechanically. The similarity is entirely cosmetic.

"Can it accept magazines from either of the two standard conversion types?"

Not to my knowledge, no.

"Could you replace the upper with a standard M4 upper reciever and convert it to fire 223?"

No. The upper and lower halves do not even come apart like a regular AR, and there are no parts in common.

Additionally, I believe the zamak bolt group resembles that on the G22..

6:40 AM  
Anonymous -gary said...

I'm waiting on the S&W to show up here. From everything I've seen and heard, it may set the new standard for .22 AR's. I was going to buy a conversion kit, but the S&W really has my interest piqued at only about $250 more.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Tam said...


"Just another signal that centerfire ammo is fast becoming a luxury item for many people."

For me it's a sign that the nearest pistol range is a twenty-minute drive away and the nearest rifle range is over an hour.

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just at the supermarket looking through the gun rag section, an article said the S&W M&P .22lr is available. All standard AR accessories fit. Price is 499.00

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just purchased one yesterday. shot a few clips out of it, and everything seems to be fine. Although i tried shooting a cheap remington bullet at first, pitty on me. It didnt perform properly, as the cheap bulk made bullet didnt allow the rifle to function to the best of its ability. I proceeded to puchase a box of CCI STINGERS. silver cartridge. Made a world of difference. Not another issue yet. Well worth the price as it is afterall, a COLT. good ridance.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I own one of these and it's a blast. Accessories for the bigger cousin avtually fit this as well, which means there are lots of ways to spice this up. I found a front grip with rails this weekend at a gun show and it fit perfectly.

It's a fun shooter, and very accurate. I did have some reliability issues at first, but with a good scrubbing, putting some more rounds through it, and adjusting the screw inside, it has worked itself out. Fun and cheap to shoot (if you can find .22 ammo).

11:24 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

Just got mine yesterday, definately super fun and cheap to shoot. Quality is ok could be better and none of my accesories fit on this :( . Ammo is super cheap, I have never owned a .22 before and usually shoot 223 and 308 by the thousands.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Ruminator said...

I drove to the big-box store a week or so ago and handled one of these little rifles. The workmanship seemed generally OK, but no better than OK. I thought the lower felt a little loose.

After talking to the counter-clerk, who runs a smithing business on the side, I came away with the feeling that this is probably a decent little rifle, but it's no AR.

So, I drove out to my favorite mom-and-pop Friday and picked up a CMMG .22LR dedicated upper. Older Son and I then drove up to the Big Reno Show and I picked up a detachable handle for the upper. I got to shoot the system this morning.

I'm still shooting in the upper and trying to figure out what ammunition it likes best. The Federal Champions I had laying about were not it's favorite and I had a lot of FTEs. The CCI Blazers fared better, with only a few rounds failing to eject.

The jury's still out, however. I only put about 300 rounds through the fresh upper and think it will not be shot in until 500-1,000 rounds go down the pipe. I also think I try a batch of Mini-Mags just to see how they do. The cost more, but they generally seem to function better in my Glock conversion.

I think I like the dedicated upper better than either a conversion or one of the Colt/Umarex carbines. YMMV, of course...

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dale -
I just bought the Colt .22 Tactical M4 rifle two weeks ago. All I can say is WOW! It functions flawlessly. It likes CCI Green Tag the most, but shoots well with Wichester HPX, CCI Minimags, Federal Eagle (Bulk Pack 500 rounds) - I have NOT tried Remington ammo..yet. At 50 yards I get smaller than "Dime Sized" groups. My only complaint is that it should come apart more for cleaning......22 rimfire is a dirty shooting cartidge! You could flush out the action with brake cleaner, or carb cleaner - BUT THAT IS NOT advised as it could DISCOLOR THE ANODIZED finish on the rifle. It is A LOT OF FUN to shoot!!!

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i bought one a few weeks ago,GREAT superior quality,you can tap the lower pin out like the manual says if you are shooting cheap or low velocity bullets to speed up the bolt speed.you can even loosen it to fire twice with one pull or slow the bolt speed down.it says in the manual it is aginst the law to remome the screw.but have fun.umarex has p;enty os acessories and they do have a supressor but i have put a lazer scope and a red dot and a tactical flashlight on mine...have fun

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys need to have a look at the Newly released Ruger SR-22..
They have a 10/22 reciever & trigger group all contained in an aluminum upper/lower housing that can use just about any after market accesory for a 10/22 includeing magazines & being it's 100% 10/22 it's trouble free accurate & reliable..
BTW My Buddy bought a Umarex/Walther/Colt M4 Last weekend for $550 OTD & haven't had a chance to test it YET..
These AR-22s are gonna be the rifles of the future as they'll be the only ones you can shoot 1000 rounds at one sitting without breaking the bank with ammo costs.
I love taking my 10/22 & just shooting brick after brick of the cheap federal 550 value packs from Wally-World..
I don't have anything good or bad yet to say about the Umarex/Walther/Colt..
That'll come after it's tortured at the range with 3-4 bricks..

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a little insght for all of you looking to buy this Walther/Colt Tactical .22 rimfire... I was not happy with the one I bought. It is very picky on the ammunition and fouls often. Rapid fire shots cause several double feeds and stovepies. I would wait for the bugs to be worked out before buying, or go with the S&W or Bushmaster.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We bought our new Colt M4 at the Houston Gun Show in Nov 09 and love it. No feeding problems at all !

Got 2 mags, and it was $ 500 plus tax. The extra mag was $ 35.

It is very accurate, and does come apart for cleaning, upper & lower halves.

We mounted a 4x30 NC star scope (SKS / AK type) shorty and dialed it right in.

We just finished an 'Appleseed Shoot' (using AQT Marksmanship targets), and my son won top score of 222 amongst 50 + shooters, using this Colt M4 rifle.

(BTW, Appleseed shoots are excellent low cost training events where real American history & excellent marksmanship are taught in equal proportion; excellent family event. Volunteer instructors, kids shoot free: www.AppleSeedInfo.org)

All in all, great rifle.

Walther of Germany makes it, quality level is high.

I didn't already have an AR-15, but even if I did, at the gun show, the 22 LR conversion uppers seemed to run about $ 500, so even if we did have an AR 15 already, this way you get a 2nd gun, not just an upper conversion.

I must admit, the other .22 tactical guns may also be great choices.

At the Appleseed shoot, I saw 2 other Colts & one S & W .22. The shooters were happy with them, too.

Take Care, thanks for the blog review.

David Alan
East Texas

3:09 PM  

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