I was able to secure a new Kel-Tec CMR-30 in .22 WMR for testing, and to be honest this is one I have been looking forward to. It was almost two years ago I reviewed the Kel-Tec PMR-30, you can read that review by following this link.
The little .22 Magnum proved to be a cool little carbine that worked well but I was not sure how well the .22 WMR round really performed. Was this more of a novelty or could it serve as a defensive round? To answer that question, a ballistic test comparing several different ammunition types and various barrel lengths was in order, you can read the results by following this link. Though I did not use the CMR-30 as the rifle for ballistic testing, the CZ 512 has the same barrel length so it is reasonable to assume bullet performance would be very similar. Turns out the .22 Magnum is a potent little cartridge when using quality ammunition. Since the PMR-30 and CMR-30 share the same thirty round magazine they complement each other very well. Be advised Kel-Tec had an engineering change on the bolt hold open latch on the older carbines so if you are having any trouble with the bolt not staying back, you should put in a call to Kel-Tec.
In the above photo you can see the bolt release, just in front of the safety. Though it worked well, there is not a great deal of real estate on the lever so you need to be sure you have a solid purchase on the lever when operating it. The trigger broke clean at four pounds with a bit of take up and very little over travel, very similar to the PMR-30. The carbine also has ambidextrous safety same as the pistol. There are steel sling attachments at the very rear of the receiver.
A non reciprocating ambidextrous charging handle was easily manipulated, and they can be thinned by removing the outer portion . You can see the upper and lower Picatinny rails. Though very handy for attaching accessories, they are a bit sharp when grasping the carbine. After a few magazines, I added a Magpul forward grip which I strongly recommend. Being a rimfire, it is straight blowback operation. The upper receiver is made of hard anodized 7075 aluminum.
Kel-Tec includes Magpul front and rear sight from the factory. Many manufacturers choose to omit any type of sights and while I understand folks are particular about sights and optics I think it is a mistake to send a firearm out of the factory sans sights.
The only thing I really did not care for is the European magazine release, located at the rear of the pistol grip. Not really a deal breaker but not my favorite magazine release location and you need to be mindful of this The grip area is made of glass reinforced Nylon (Zytel).
Here you see the five position collapsible stock all the way in. It has a small lock just forward of the trigger guard. The CMR-30 is threaded 1/2 x 28 from the factory and ships with a thread protector. Fortunately that is a very popular thread pattern for accessories and silencers. I ran the CMR-30 often with the Liberty Suppressors Centurion, reviewed here While not pellet rifle quiet it suppressors the report a great deal. The stock consists of aluminum arms and Zytel buttstock. It is plenty of steady for running the gun but I don’t think I would use it for butt stroking the practice dummy.
Initial Range Trip
I started out the review at the twenty yard line just to run the gun and be sure it is reliable with different forms of ammunition, with and without a silencer threaded on. Since the CMR-30 ships with a 1/2″ x 28 threaded barrel it seems logical some owners would want to add a silencer and I wanted to be sure that would not effect function. Using the Liberty Suppressors Cosmic and Centurion on the little carbine I found that neither function nor accuracy were affected. After a couple hundred rounds downrange I was satisfied the little carbine was reliable so it was time to stretch it out to a hundred yards.
Second Range Trip
This is a pretty interesting carbine with some cool innovations. First of all, it is a helluva lot of fun to shoot but there is more to it and that became evident as the review progressed. It works excellent as a trainer for people who can be recoil and weight sensitive. As for self/home defense, well the .22 WMR would not be my first choice as a defensive round but it is a solid performer with quality defensive rounds, such as the Hornady Critical Defense, and benefits from the carbine length barrel. Considering it uses a flush fit magazine that has a thirty round capacity, it has a lot of firepower from the standard magazine that adds to the self/home defense role. Accuracy at 100 yards is better than many other carbines I have tested. I would strongly recommend running the CMR-30 with a forward grip, as it is more comfortable than gripping the Picatinny rails, and helps maintain muzzle discipline. After some 450 rounds of various types of ammunition without any trouble, I believe it to be plenty reliable, though you have to be sure you load the magazine as the manufacture recommends, seat it firmly when loading, and the carbine runs better when well lubricated. Kel-Tec recommends running the higher power .22 WMR to ensure reliability. As you can see in some of the above close up photos, it chews the brass up and leaves plenty scattered in the action. Some things to consider though, rimfire ammunition is not as reliable as centerfire ammunition so be sure to use the highest quality ammo if you choose to use this carbine in a defensive manner.
|Barrel threads||1/2″-28 TPI|
|Barrel twist rate||1:16″|
(Stock fully extended)
|Length of pull|
(Stock to trigger)
(Across operating handles)
|Width across majority||1.2″|