22 Nosler: Hot new caliber, cool new guns

Nosler, the company known for leading the way in long-range, flat-shooting calibers, has debuted a new and unexpected twist for 2017: the 22 Nosler. Unlike previous chamberings, like the 26 Nosler and 30 Nosler, the 22 is the first built for the AR-15 platform.

The new 22 Nosler brand shown on the magwell of a Colt AR-15. (Photo: Kristin lberts)

The new 22 Nosler brand shown on the magwell of a Colt AR-15. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Though initial press leaks indicated the 22 Nosler would appear only as an upper for end-user retrofitting, that’s not the case.  Nosler indicated that they are not manufacturing this weapon at all right now.  In fact, both full rifles versions and uppers will soon be available from: Colt, Noveske, Stoner, Barrett, X-Caliber, Midway, Olympic Arms, War Sport, North Tec Defense, and Proof Research.  Others may come on board as buzz around the new round builds.

Nosler displayed full rifles in 22 Nosler from not only Colt, but also these three from Noveske, and Stoner. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Nosler displayed full rifles in 22 Nosler from not only Colt, but also these three from top-bottom: War Sport, Noveske, and Stoner. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Using the modular design of AR rifles, the 22 Nosler will  allow simple conversion from the standard AR15 in .223/5.56.  All that’s needed is a barrel swap and magazine change. By purchasing an upper, end users can easily transform any AR-15 into one of the fastest, most powerful .22 calibers on the market with the least amount of modification. The existing bolt carrier group will remain the same, though shooters are advised to switch out to a 6.8 SPC magazine for proper round feeding.

The business end of a 22 Nosler. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The business end of a 22 Nosler. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

For those wondering about the parent cartridge, there isn’t one.  The 22 Nosler is its own animal that can best be described as a lengthened and necked down 6.8SPC meeting a shortened and necked down 30-30, both with adjusted shoulders and rims.

Case dimensions on the 22 Nosler from a booth display. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Case dimensions on the 22 Nosler from a booth display. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The game-changing aspect of the 22 Nosler round is that it yields almost 25 percent more capacity, delivers 30 percent energy, and is nearly 300fps faster than the .223/5.56.  Velocities are surprisingly close to the zippy .22-250 cartridge, immediately putting the 22 Nosler into contention as a serious hunting round for varmints and small/medium game.  The .22-250 has long been a favorite of distance hunters, but they were limited by either single-shot or slower bolt action followup shots.

Receiver detail on the Noveske version of the 22 Nosler, branded with Nosler's Varmaggedon varmint-attack logo. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Receiver detail on the Noveske version of the 22 Nosler, branded with Nosler’s Varmaggedon varmint-attack logo. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

And the ammo you ask?  Nosler will be loading both Match Grade and Trophy Grade ammunition lines.  Naturally, they are the only current manufacturer of the ammunition, and they will offer brass as well.   The platform will be capable of pushing a 55 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip at 3,350 fps out of an AR-15 with an 18-inch barrel, and a 77 grain Custom Competition bullet at 2,950 fps.  According to company reps, the company plans to offer the new caliber in their line of M48 bolt action rifles sometime later in 2017.

MSRP has not yet been set, and will be difficult to nail down, as prices will vary based upon manufacturer and configuration, whether users choose uppers or full rifles. The 22 Nosler will begin shipping in the first quarter of 2017.