The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Buildsheet: The Coyote Crusher

This article originally appeared in RECOIL Issue 42

There’s got to be a name for it. That thing that happens when you get something you’re not really excited about, but it becomes one of your favorites over time. It could be a tool you bought on a whim, and that lack of emotional connection leads to some pretty hard use that then leads to endearment, as long as the thing performs.

Well, as gun people do, we picked up a 22 Nosler barrel when it was the hot new round. That barrel sat on a shelf, dutifully waiting for its time. It idled, witnessing the birth of its nemesis, the 224 Valkyrie cartridge. Struggling through a few complications in its infancy, .224 got over the hump and is on its way to maturity.

22 Nosler, though, seems stuck in a permanent awkward teenager phase. It’s extremely fast and has a long reach, but it’s a little on the hormonal side. It’s taken to bullying and stealing its rebated-rim brass’ lunch money.

The cartridge may be a little temperamental, but on the whole, our 22 Nosler build went from socks-for-Christmas to front-of-the-safe problem solver without our realizing it.

Sure, 22 Nosler is tough on brass, but we’re not reloading it, nor are we shooting enough that the cost of factory ammo prevents us from reaching for it when the coyotes start yipping.

Goals

The overall goal of this build was to make a handy AR that could ride around a farm in a truck or get carried into the fields where it could cut down unwelcome predators. To that end, three key components were selected. The Proof Research 22-inch Camgas carbon-fiber composite barrel wrings every last bit of velocity from the 22 Nosler, and it’s light for its length. A Law Tactical folding stock adapter offsets the barrel’s length. And the added weight of the folder and long barrel is further offset by a lightweight titanium bolt carrier from Brownells.

Up front, we opted for Geissele’s MK18 handguard due its full-length 1.5-inch (Arca Swiss compatible) dovetail bottom. The wide rail alone promotes stability when resting on a surface, but add a shooting bag such as the Area 419 RailChanger that’s easily positioned anywhere along its length, and you’ve got a complete rifle system in one hand that’s perfectly stable on a fence rail, vehicle window, or the lowered ROPS bar on a tractor.

We don’t want to wake the neighbors or spook livestock too badly, so we included Thunder Beast’s titanium 223 Ultra 7 suppressor to keep noise and weight down. With a can and a light BCG, we were in for some tuning of the gas system. That turned out to be fairly painless using a Superlative Arms adjustable gas block. The SA block has positive click adjustments, making it easy to return the gas system to a prior setting after experimenting with a new load or rifle configuration.

The controls are fast and light to the touch. TriggerTech’s new Diamond AR features a consistent 1.5-pound, two-stage pull that practically tells you when it’s time to shoot. Adding to the speed of employment is Radian Weapon’s 45-degree Talon safety.

Glass

When choosing an optic, we wanted something light that’d take us at least to 10x magnification for 300-yard shots, but leaves enough at the wide end to scan the woodline effectively. We chose a Leupold VX-3i LRP 4.5-14 that runs in mils and has a first focal plane reticle so we can use holds at any magnification.

Alterations

For as well as this rifle handles and shoots, the build wasn’t all lollypops and wet lips. We had to cut the anti-rotation tabs on the handguard to fit around the larger width of Grey Ghost’s billet upper receiver. Instead of using the supplied set screws, we shaved the tabs’ thickness so the bits that remain are in contact with the upper and prevent rotation.

We also had to hollow out the side of the Sierra Precision grip to accommodate the left-side safety lever. It turns out that the lever and grip work together as an excellent left-side thumb rest if you’re into that grip style … and we are.

Performance

We tested a couple types of 22 Nosler factory ammo, Varmint 55-grain BT and Varmageddon 62-grain FBHP. The 55-grain load averaged 3,507 fps with a 0.49-inch five-shot group at 100 yards. The 62-grain load gave us 3,209 fps and a 0.46-inch five-shot group.

The whole build, can and glass included, weighs in at 10.75 pounds, with the base rifle and an empty mag weighing 8.4 pounds alone. The gun’s just heavy enough to be a soft shooter with Proof’s +2 gas length helping soften recoil a bit more.

The funny thing is this rifle really is a do-all, despite its length. The thing balances at the barrel nut and handles like a Porsche 911 with new tires. The hyper-fast 22 Nosler is devastating to animals and has legs that extend its use beyond 1,000 yards with less drop than 223 Remington and 224 Valkyrie. This guy could even be pressed into use as a PRS gas gun.

Whether from a fencepost or a pickup’s bed, this 22 Nosler is quiet, accurate, and fast enough to deal with a whole pack of marauding coyotes, as long as we’re as fast and accurate as it is.


UPPER RECEIVER:
Proof Research PR15 22 Nosler, 22-inch, 8T Barrel $920
Geissele 16” Super Modular Rail MK18 $375
Superlative Arms LLC AR-15 Adjustable Gas $90
Brownells AR-15 5.56 Titanium BCG $260
Thunder Beast 223CB Brake $125
Geissele Automatics Super Charging Handle $89
V Seven Weapon Systems Ultra-Light Forward Assist $28

LOWER RECEIVER:
Grey Ghost Precision Billet AR-15 Receiver Set $399
TriggerTech Diamond AR $300
Brownells AR-15 Lower Parts Kit $25
Sierra Precision SPR grip $27
Radian Weapons Talon Ambi Safety $50
Precision Reflex 6.8mm Magazine $37
Primary Weapons Enhanced Gen 2 Ratchet Buffer Tube System $100
Law Tactical Gen3-M Folding Stock Adapter $270
Magpul H2 Buffer & Carbine Spring $71
Magpul-MOE Fixed Carbine Stock $30

ACCESSORIES:
Leupold VX-3i LRP 4.5-14x50mm $1,300
ZRODelta DLOC-M4 30mm Scope Mount $279
Area 419 RailChanger $175
Thunder Beast 223 Ultra 7 $995

TOTAL: $5,958


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