When I first saw a prototype of the Kel-Tec
PMR-30 pistol at the 2010 SHOT Show,
I was immediately impressed. I was so
taken with this lightweight little 22 magnum pistol that I flew
down to Florida in May of that year, to get a bit of trigger
time with the prototype, as well as a full-auto version of the
same. I came away from there thinking, “I’ve got to get
me one of these!” I have since purchased three of the PMR-30
pistols, obtaining my first in
September of 2010. I also immediately started pestering the
good folks at Kel-Tec to make a carbine version of the PMR-30,
which they already had plans to do.
Kel-Tec is big on innovation, but have never
been able to keep up with the demand for their most-popular
firearms. I have previously seen a couple of the CMR-30 carbines
at industry shows, but it was only recently that I was able to
get my hands on one for review, and that weapon is featured
The CMR-30 is very much related to the Kel-Tec’s
excellent PMR-30 pistol. The two share a common magazine, grip,
and various small parts, with the CMR using a bolt instead of a
slide. The trigger pull is very smooth, with a bit of travel,
and releases with just under three pounds of resistance. Very
nice. The grip is tapered back to front, and is very comfortable
in my hand. The buttstock consists of two rails and a buttplate,
which telescope from the receiver, with six locking positions.
Like the PMR pistol, the magazine catch is at the heel, and
functions well. The magazine has a capacity of thirty rounds.
The CMR-30 has a continuous rail atop the
receiver/handguard, with another rail on the bottom, forward of
the trigger guard. Adjustable, folding Magpul MBUS sights are
attached on the upper rail, but are removeable, if necessary.
The two-position safety is easy to use, and has ambidextrous
levers. The non-reciprocating charging handles are at the three
and nine o’clock positions on the forward handguard section,
and are easy to use. The bolt locks open on an empty magazine,
in case the shooter loses count before he has fired the entire
thirty rounds. The sixteen-inch barrel is threaded at the muzzle
1/2x28 TPI (threads per inch), for the attachment of a brake or
suppressor, if desired. The
barrel measures .62-inch diameter, and has a
one-in-fourteen-inch rifling twist. The CMR-30 weighs in at
three pounds, fourteen ounces on my scale. The overall length
measures just under thirty inches with the stock fully extended,
and just twenty-two and one-half inches with the stock
only had five different types of ammunition available to try in
the CMR-30, but those were enough. Kel-Tec states clearly in the
manual to use good ammunition of 40-grain bullet weight, but I
tried others as well. True to the manual, only the 40-grain
ammunition had enough power to reliably cycle the bolt. The
lighter weight bullet loads did not. However, accuracy with
every bullet weight tried was superb, and reliability with the
three 40-grain bullet loads was one hundred percent. All three
brands fed, fired, and ejected flawlessly. Velocities are
recorded in the chart below, and reflect an increase in
velocities of between 355 and 619 feet-per-second (fps) over the
performance of the same loads from the shorter barrel of the
PMR-30 pistol. Velocities were recorded at twelve feet from the
muzzle, and are listed in feet-per-second. Bullet weights are
listed in grains. Velocities were recorded at approximately 541
feet above sea level, with an air temperature of sixty-two
degrees Fahrenheit. JHP is jacketed hollowpoint.
|CCI Maxi-Mag HP
|Winchester Super X HP
|Winchester DynaPoint JHP
As is evident in the velocity chart, the
40-grain bullet loads are best in the 22 Magnum. Trading bullet
weight for a slight increase in velocity is not a good idea. The
22 Magnum cartridge has been around since 1959, and built its
excellent reputation on the 40-grain bullet. I prefer
hollowpoints, and weighing accuracy and velocity, have settled
upon the CCI Maxi-Mag hollowpoint as my preferred load in this
CMR-30 carbine. The CMR-30 is entirely capable of taking vermin
and predators cleanly, and is often preferred by fur hunters for
taking fox and coyote, without doing much damage to the hides.
While not my first choice for a defensive carbine, I would
certainly feel well-armed with a CMR-30 in a home-defense role,
if necessary. The weapon is light and handy, and the 22 Magnum
has an excellent reputation for penetration. The little
cartridge’s performance is all out of proportion to its
For accuracy testing, I mounted a my Leupold
VX-6 scope in Leupold 34mm rings atop the CMR-30 Picatinny rail.
This scope will crank up to 42 power, and along with the Target
Shooting Model 500 rifle rest, allows me to see just how
well a rifle can shoot. The CMR-30 was much more accurate than I
ever expected it to be, and the groups pictured are
representative of the accuracy displayed by this rifle. The
largest group fired measured only seven-eighths of an inch at
fifty yards, and most groups measured half that. Wonderful
accuracy, especially from a carbine of this type.
For most of my shooting, I used either the
provided Magpul sights, or a Leupold VX-1 3 to 9 power scope,
which is much more-fitting to the size and intended use of this
The Kel-Tec CMR-30 carbine is a dandy little lightweight 22 Magnum rifle. It is capable of match-grade accuracy, has a generous magazine capacity, and can double as a handy predator-hunting rifle and a compact weapon for home defense. The CMR-30 is built right, and built in the USA. Suggested retail price, as of the date of this review, is $630 US, and includes two thirty-round magazines and owner's manual.
Check out the CMR-30 and other firearms and
accessories online at www.keltecweapons.com.
For a look at quality Leupold optics, go to www.leupold.com.
To order the CMR-30 online, click on the GUN
GENIE at www.galleryofguns.com.
For the location of a Kel-Tec dealer near
you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
order quality 22 Magnum ammunition, go to www.midsouthshooterssupply.com
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