A few years ago, Kel-Tec introduced the PMR 30 .22 Magnum pistol. The company is known for affordable innovation and performance, and this pistol was no exception. With good accuracy, light weight, and a 30-round magazine capacity, this handgun became the ultimate rimfire plinker. As an outdoorsman’s pistol for hunting and pest control, the PMR 30 is a great piece. Kel-Tec has now followed up with the carbine version, the CMR 30.
One of my friends is well over 70 years old and a long time fan of the .22 Magnum. He keeps a PMR 30 by his bedside as a home defense pistol. As soon as the rifle version was announced, I was excited to test this new firearm. A reliable .22 Magnum self loader was certain to be an interesting rifle.
The CMR 30 gives the impression of being well made of good material. The action is a straight blowback with a fixed barrel. The rifle also gives the impression of being lightweight, which means that it is easy to carry and also that the CMR 30 handles well. The rifle weighs but four pounds. Even with a full gun load of 30 .22 Magnum cartridges, the rifle weighs but four pounds and five ounces.
The CMR 30 features a combination of steel, aluminum, and polymer construction. I was reminded of the construction techniques used in the expensive Sphinx pistol. The upper receiver is aluminum. This section also contains the 14-inch sight rail. There is a lower rail about 7 inches long for mounting lights and lasers. I mounted several accessories including the LaserMax Spartan laser with excellent results.
The barrel is a standard 16-inch carbine length and features a threaded muzzle. This is fashionable and suppressor use is popular—adding more flexibility to the design. The rifle is supplied with Magpul folding battle sights. The cocking handle is ambidextrous and does not reciprocate with the bolt on firing.
Looking to the stock, I found a neat retracting unit. The stock features two aluminum support arms that allow good adjustment as they are pinned to the textured butt plate. The stock release is positive and easily manipulated. When the stock is closed the rifle is short of 23 inches. This makes the CMR 30 a neat truck gun and a gun easily stored for handy use. I found I could slip the Kel-Tec rifle just under a standard AR-15 carbine in my Tactical Walls tactical furnishings shelf with room to spare.
The stock allows length-of-pull adjustments to make the rifle useable by tall individuals and preteens as well. The CMR 30 is a fun rifle for family shooting and would not be a bad squirrel rifle at all. The rifle features an ambidextrous safety. There is also a separate bolt release. The rifle is setup to accommodate a single point sling, and the trigger action is nice—even crisp—and allows excellent control and accuracy potential. According to the RCBS registering trigger pull gauge the Kel-Tec CMR 30 trigger broke at a nice 3 pounds and 6 ounces. The magazine is the same as the PMR 30 pistol. The magazine release is the heel type that adds to security.
Ammunition choices for the .22 Magnum boiled down to what I could find. .22 Magnum isn’t plentiful in my home town and only one of a dozen stores in my area had the ammunition in stock. I was able to obtain CCI 40-grain hollowpoint ammunition to supplement the four- or five-year-old box I had on hand. I was able to obtain the Hornady 30-grain A Max and also the Hornady 45-grain Critical Defense for testing.
Let’s cut to the chase, the rifle isn’t finicky. All three bullet weights fed, chambered, fired, and ejected normally. I lubricated the rifle well and began with the oldest ammunition, including a half-full magazine that had not been properly stored. I managed to get only 18 rounds into the magazine for the first try, and had a misfeed. I had 10-thumbed the magazines. I learned to load the magazine with the bullet nose completely in the magazine and tap the magazine after loading every five rounds, an old AR-15 trick.
After the initial misstep, I was rolling without a problem. The rifle is a joy to fire and use. It wasn’t a problem to sight the iron sights for 25 yards. I then proceeded to fire at dirt clods on the berm, range bric-a-brac such as sticks and old plastic soda bottles. The rifle is very easy to get a hit with and it moves quickly. A rapid follow-up shot is darned easy due to the low recoil and fast trigger reset. The rifle holds open on the last shot and a rapid magazine change would be possible with practice. The stock and grip configuration are comfortable.
As for ammunition performance, this was interesting. CCI’s Maxi Mag is advertised at 1875 fps, probably from a 24-inch sporting rifle. The newest loads clocked just over 1900 fps from the Kel Tec’s 16-inch barrel. The older Maxi Mags clocked 1780 fps. This isn’t an unusual variation between lots.
Hornady’s varmint popping 30-grain A Max load delivered 2120 fps. The Hornady 45-grain Critical Defense load, intended for use in personal defense revolvers, broke 1690 fps. All grouped well in rapid fire and exhibited minute of eyebrow accuracy at 25 yards. Hostage rescue hits in the cranium and center of mass groups were delivered with real speed and accuracy. I had but a single magazine and it takes more time to load a 30-round magazine than to fire it. I was able to fire 180 rounds without a single malfunction. There was a normal amount of unburned powder ash.
When handling the rifle for speed, the controls were positive and easily manipulated. The stock’s release is just in front of the trigger guard. The stock locks tight with no rebound. It is quite rigid once locked. It may be adjusted for use by a teen or shorter person if desired.
The bolt stop and safety were easily manipulated. I did find myself moving to push as magazine release that wasn’t there due to long familiarity with the Browning-type magazine release, however, the heel type magazine release is fine once you become accustomed to its manual of arms. It is secure and the magazine isn’t going to be dropped or lost.
Absolute accuracy proved to be excellent. The rifle is well balanced. I sometimes gripped the forend and sometimes the pistol grip in a two hand hold. Firing off of a solid benchrest at 25 yards several groups were less than an inch for five shots. However, I was able to fire the rifle at the 50 yard range as well. I was able to mount and use the Tru Glo Tactical scope to test the rifle at 50 yards. This scope is best suited to the .223 rifle, but it was what I had on hand and worked well for this application. At the 50-yard range, I fired several groups firing three shots for each group. The results are as follows:
|CCI 40-grain Maxi Mag
|Hornady 45-grain Critical Defense
|Hornady 30-grain A Max
This is fine accuracy for a light rifle, but the action is rigid and the glass was good. The Kel-Tec rifle is easily as accurate as the average bolt-action .22 Magnum rifle. This rifle makes the most of the .22 Magnum cartridge. The rifle is light, reliable, handy, and able to fill quite a few roles in the scheme of things. For hiking or as a just in case rifle the whole family could use well, the rifle is a winner. An advantage of this rifle over the .22 Long Rifle is that the .22 Magnum uses a jacketed bullet. This makes for cleaner shooting and greater effect on game.
Model: CMR-30 Rifle
Action: Blow-back Operated Semi-Auto
Caliber: .22 Magnum
Barrel Length: 16.10″
Barrel Thread: 1/2″-28 TPI
Length, Stock Collapsed: 22.70″
Length, Stock Extended: 30.60″
Length of Pull (LOP): 10.30″ – 14.20″
Weight: 4 lbs with empty magazine
Capacity: 30+1 Rounds
Twist: 1:16” RH
Rifle Grooves: 6
Are you a fan of Kel-Tec’s PMR 30? How do you think the carbine version will be received? Weigh in with your opinion in the comment section.