So, I've got this AR lower and I'm trying to decide what to do with it... My target/varmint AR is nearing completion, and with the recent turn of political events, parts have yet again become scarce. One of the thoughts I've had with this lower is to complete it and put a .22LR upper on it for use on the pistol range at my gun club (or at the indoor range in the cold, cold winter months...)
And I started pricing out dedicated.22LR uppers. Like these rimfire uppers available from Brownells, for example. Now, they look great, don't get me wrong, but the least expensive option is just a tad under $400. It struck me as interesting, as you can get a Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 starting at a little over $100 more (MSRP) - a complete rifle compared to just an upper.
Now, I understand. My target AR has a *sweet* trigger, and dropping a .22LR upper on it allows me to shoot it all day long at the 100 yard range for literally pennies. The trigger pull is, obviously, identical (seeing as how it's the same trigger), as is the length of pull and general feel of the rifle. It's a great way to train with a centerfire rifle at a rimfire cost.
On the other hand, though, picking up a complete rifle already chambered in .22LR means no swapping back and forth. Optics will need to be purchased in either case (assuming one wishes to add a scope or red dot optic); ditto foregrips, lights, etc. There's no economy of gear between an upper or a full rifle.
It transfers into the pistol realm as well. The SIG SAUER .22LR conversion slide, barrel, and magazine cost nearly as much as the Mosquito. .22LR conversion slides for 1911-style pistols run nearly as much as dedicated trainers (although, as Ambulance Driver will tell you, some trainers aren't worth the powder to blow them to hell...). And don't even get me started about Smith & Wesson .22LR revolver prices! (Although the Ruger LCR22 is the same price as the LCR in 38 Special or .357 Magnum).
So, what do you do? Do you pick up a separate, .22LR-only firearm that's close in form and function to your centerfire arm, or do you get a conversion kit for that centerfire? Personally, I will always err on the side of buying more guns, but that's just me. Honestly, I can see both sides of the issue - having the SIG .22LR slide and barrel really sold me on conversion kits, for example; but darn that Ruger LCR22 looks like the bee's knees for cheap snubbie practice...
What say you, gunnie internets?
That is all.