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Kel-Tec CMR30: Small, Light & Effective — A Rimfire Carbine for Serious Use

By Oleg Volk

Keltec began development of Carbine Magnum Rimfire 30 at least as far back as 2009. Known as RMR30 during its prototype stage, this 22WMR lightweight semi-auto went into mass production as CMR30 to avoid brand confusion with a Trijicon red dot optic. The carbine was designed as the companion to PMR30 pistol. The two weapons share magazines and have very similar fire control groups. Unlike PMR30, which uses blowback action to cycle low-power ammunition and locked breech for the rest, CMR30 is pure blowback. Since the threaded 16” barrel matches the intended burn rate of the ammunition better than pistol length barrels do, this simplified operation is entirely adequate for liability and negligible felt recoil. Combined with the bore nearly in line with the stock, this low recoil also means negligible muzzle rise and the ability to observe hits through the scope. In a select-fire version made for testing magazines, some rise and drift to the right is detectable, possibly due to the momentum of the empty casings streaming out at about 30 per second. Since the barrel is threaded for standard AR15 muzzle devices, and angled compensator could be of interest to those who want even greater
control in rapid fire.

The carbine is made up mostly of extruded aluminum, with a few laser-cut or machined parts and a molded plastic pistol grip completing it. CMR30 uses a hammer-fired action with a crisp trigger. That, coupled with the well-made barrel, makes it very accurate: 1.5MOA with a variety of loads is pretty respectable for a sub 4-pound autoloader. The full-length monolithic rail has room for a long varmint scope or a shorter optic in tandem with a thermal of night vision device. The Picatinny rail under the forend has room for a bipod, a light/laser and a foregrip. The extending stock is free from wobble, and even though a strong sideways impact would probably damage it, the gun would remain functional. With the stock collapsed, it’s only 22.7” long, short enough to hang under a...

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