Nosler Custom has been on quite a cartridge run—heard about the 26, 28, 30 and 33 Nosler cartridges yet?—and speculation has been that the bullet, rifle and custom ammunition company would go up in size next. As is often the case, speculators can be wrong. Ever heard of the South Sea Bubble? No, Nosler decided to go down in size but not performance with the new 22 Nosler. How does a 55-gr. bullet at 3,350 fps sound? Frankly, it sounds like a .22-250. But what the boys from Bend have done is get that performance out of an 18”-barreled AR-15 platform rifle.
The thing many folks don’t realize is that there are serious shooters and hunters at Nosler, whether their last name is Nosler or not. These are guys that developed a rifle line because they could not find a rifle platform they were satisfied enough with for testing, well, their bullets. They shoot a lot of rounds downrange to get the data that goes in their loading manuals, and they hunt—a lot. And I happen to know there are some serious varmint hunters within the Nosler organization.
Nosler is claiming its new cartridge and upper receiver (yes, Nosler is now selling the top half of an AR) can get 300 fps and 25 percent more energy out of the AR platform. While Hornady’s Superformance out of the .223 skews that number somewhat, it is the top factory energy and velocity out of the AR-15 platform offered today. Also in 22 Nosler is a 77-gr. Custom Competition bullet at 2950 fps.
The genius of the 22 Nosler is you can use your own AR lower receiver, but you need a magazine with a slightly longer cartridge overall length—like the one provided by the 6.8x43 mm SPC, which just so happens to fit in a standard AR magazine well. If you can drop a magazine and field strip an AR, you can turn your existing AR into a 22 Nosler. And you can even use the .223 Rem./5.56 bolt-carrier group you probably already own.
“The AR-15 is indisputably one of the most popular firearms among shooting enthusiasts across the globe” said John Nosler, executive vice president for the company. “While there are other hard-hitting cartridges that exist for the platform, as far as .22 caliber is concerned, nothing compares to the performance of our newly engineered 22 Nosler case. It was important to us that every AR-15 owner could instantly customize their existing rifle to 22 Nosler without any fancy gunsmithing. In keeping with that goal, a simple switch of the magazine and upper will do the trick. With a cartridge innovation this significant, any shooter running other .22 cals in their AR-15, will at the very least, have to reconsider their efficiency.”
The 26 Nosler is a SAAMI cartridge, and you can buy the cartridges, brass, bullets, uppers and magazines from Nosler. And if you just want the 22 Nosler in a bolt gun, you can check out the Nosler Model 48. I have not shot it yet, but I have a phone call into the boys from Bend.