Testfire: KRISS DMK22C .22LR Semi-AutoBy Nik Maxwell
- 26th Aug, 2020 Aug 26, 2020, 12:39 PM
- 4 Comments
Shooting semi-automatic rimfire rifles is (and centrefires used to be...) a lot of fun and while I don’t have much experience with centrefire semis, I spent a considerable amount of time using .22LR semi-autos during my hunting and shooting ‘apprenticeship’.
The first .22LR rifle that I fired was Dad’s Ruger 10/22 and the first rifle I ever owned (not counting my air rifle) was a Marlin Model 60. Both great rimfires that I used throughout my youth hunting small game with Dad.
I have fond memories of my time with both those rifles. The Model 60 in particular had sentimental value as it had been purchased my Grandfather, (Dad’s dad!) Kerr Maxwell. Adding to that was hunting with it for close to a decade as I put paid to the rabbit and possum populations, as well as quite a few goats, in the Waitekauri Valley.
“During a chat on the phone with TJ and while looking over their very impressive website, my eyes were drawn to the KRISS DMK and a plan to review it was implemented on the spot.”
Most semi-auto 22s of that era were of a general hunting format with little in the way of the AR platform 22 semis we see today. However, as many of you will know, the AR 22 semi-auto has reached new heights in terms of development and availability, and rightly so. The AR platform is extremely versatile with practically limitless options for adding accessories.
Much of this can be owed to the Picatinny Rail mounting system which allows the user to customise a rifle to their exact preferences and style, allowing the owner to showcase their own personality. The KRISS DMK22C is one such rifle and I was super-excited to get the chance to review one.
Delta Mike Ltd are a new firearms importer and retailer who have an excellent range of well-priced firearms and accessories. TJ Visser and Alex McKenzie (Owners of Delta Mike NZ) reached out to us a couple of months back to begin a review campaign showcasing some of the firearms they have to offer.
During a chat on the phone with TJ and while looking over their very impressive website, my eyes were drawn to the KRISS DMK and a plan to review it was implemented on the spot.
The KRISS DMK22C is a .22LR chambered semi-automatic rifle based on the AR-15. It features all that your standard AR offers, just in a rimfire package.
What separates this rimfire version to that of a centrefire one, is the swapping out of what I have come to learn is the “direct-impingement gas system, rotating bolt and buffer system for a simple direct-blowback bolt with a single recoil spring on a guide rod.” I had to Google this as I, unashamedly, have very little experience with the AR platform.
The upper and lower receiver are made from aluminium, likewise the free-floating handguard. KRISS’s proprietary handguard will accept hex head screw mounted rails. One is supplied with the rifle. These allow you to add accessories such as a torch or laser dot.
The handguard has a full length top mounted Picatinny rail that also extends along the full length of the upper receiver providing plenty of forward and rear movement for mounting your optics. The rifle comes fitted with flip style adjustable iron sights. I removed these for scope mounting.
Like a ‘real’ AR, the DMK has all the standard features you would expect such as the charge handle, forward assist button, thumb operated switch safety and mag release button. These are all fully functional.
The trigger on my review rifle broke at just under 5lbs. Initial impression of this single stage trigger was that it is a bit ‘notchy’ and I was curious to see how this would translate when shooting groups.
The full-size magazine is made from polymer and holds 10 rounds. It slides into the mag well with ease and pops out clean when ejected.
The stock is length adjustable to 6 positions and the easy to operate latch makes it a breeze to move the stock back and forth to your preferred position. I kept it at full extension during my review. There is a small amount of play between the tube and the stock but is really only noticeable when shooting off a bench.
Removing the upper receiver from the lower is a simple task. Just push out the rear takedown and front pivot pins and voila, you have full access to the trigger and bolt assembly for cleaning and maintenance.
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The bolt carrier group is easily removed, just drag it out the back of the upper receiver. The whole process can be done in less than a minute and no tools are required.
Everything on the DMK22C feels solid and robust. This is of no surprise though; it has been adapted from one of the most iconic and well-designed semi-automatic rifle platforms of the 20th century.
ON THE RANGE
For testing I mounted my Vortex DiamondBack 3-9x40 scope. An excellent optic well suited for rimfire applications. I have a fair bit of Winchester Power Point 40 gr ammunition on hand so started off my range time using that.
Range Session One: Initial zeroing shots and groups at 25m averaged an inch with groups out at 50m measuring around 1.5”. As I suspected, the trigger wasn’t exactly what I would consider tack driver accuracy inducing and I had to really concentrate with each shot to achieve consistent groups.
I would of course need to try out a few different ammo types to confirm overall accuracy, but experience dictates that it would be tricky to fully reveal the DMKs accuracy potential with the current trigger.
However, I was satisfied that it was more than capable of putting a clean shot on a rabbit out to 50m and I had a task for it later on that week.
Range Session Two: For my next trip to the bench (this took place after my first hunt) I took along some Winchester Subsonic 40gr HP and CCI Suppressor 45gr HP ammo. I also swung by to see Stacy Whiteman from Hamill’s Tauranga to check out what he had on offer. On the shelf was some CCI Mini Mag 36gr HP, I grabbed a box of that.
At the range I put targets up at 25 and 50m and settled in for some plinking. First to go through the DMK was the Winchester Power Point which I had started off the testing with.
10 shot groups were the order of the day and the Power Point stayed true with 1”-1.25” groups at 25m. Moving onto the CCI Mini Mag, results fared better with consistent 1” groups.
The Winchester subsonic ammo averaged 2” groupings however the CCI subsonic ammo shot very well managing tight 1” groupings.
Out at 50m, group size increased marginally but matched that of 25m in consistency. The CCI ammo was the performer of the day and results of the testing indicated that the DMK is well set up for the close range and rapid-fire IPSC style format more than target shooting for accuracy.
On the rapid-fire note, I put through quite a few rounds to see if I could initiate a jam or misfeed. The DMK performed well here for the most part with only a couple of misfeeds from the Winchester subsonic.
IN THE FIELD
During my foray onto the farms with the Night Tech Thermals (review on those to come), I had been surprised at the number of rabbits getting around the place during the hours of darkness. Simply put, there were way too many and some control was required.
Two weeks prior I had cleaned up 17 rabbits using a Stealth Series XD650 Pro Thermal Monocular and Night Tech Hunter Series Thermal Mini-Sight mounted on my Savage B17. It had been a good night’s shooting but there were still dozens of rabbits left.
“...I had been surprised at the number of rabbits getting around the place during the hours of darkness. Simply put, there were way too many and some control was required.”
This time I had the DMK and the new to the market Bush Gear BG-360Z Red LED spotlighting kit (review on that in progress also, lots of content inbound on NZGUNS!). A combination I felt confident would be ideal for the close up shooting I would be doing.
With the Red LED mounted on the front of the DMK and the Red LED headlight on top of my head, I set off. There was a decent breeze that I hoped wouldn’t strengthen.
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I had just enough light to shoot and it didn’t take long to encounter rabbits. One was perched on the edge of a warren. A clean 40m chest shot followed and I was on the board.
Wanting to try out these new spotlights, I gave it half an hour. As the light faded the wind picked up and by the time it was dark, it was blowing hard! Fortunately, I have another farm to hunt on that is down in the valley and quite sheltered from the wind.
Wasting no time, I made my way back to the truck, picking up a couple more rabbits along the way. Already I was enjoying my time with the KRISS semi-auto.
As I walked along the track on the next property, I spotted a fallow doe out feeding on the paddocks, nice! There were a lot of rabbits about too, also nice!
“Wasting no time, I made my way back to the truck, picking up a couple more rabbits along the way. Already I was enjoying my time with the DMK.”
I quickly got stuck into the shooting and within about an hour I had 8 rabbits. The Winchester Power Point ammo putting them done with authority, just like it has always done! The majority of the shooting was from the prone position and I found that the full-length mag made for an excellent impromptu rest/mono-pod.
Because some of the rabbits would run around when the light hit them, being able to pivot on the magazine allowed me to quickly readjust my position, it worked really well.
The thing about shooting at night is that it helps to be familiar with your rifle as you load/unload, load the magazine etc. I wasn’t at all familiar with the DMK, but it didn’t take long to pull it together and sus out a bit of pattern for operation.
The full size of the magazine made it easy to handle and the button behind the cartridge follower which lowers the follower made thumbing in rounds a simple task. A good time to mention the magazine release button. It’s well positioned and pops the mag out into your hand perfectly.
Even in a safe hunting and shooting situation such as this, and with shooting encounters coming in quick succession, I am in the habit of only loading my rifle when ready to fire and unloading once I have taken the shot.
Due to my inexperience with the AR platform I was concerned that maintaining this process might be a bit tricky with the DMK, when compared against a bolt action rifle, but I needn’t have worried.
“The majority of the shooting was from the prone position and I found that the full-length mag made for an excellent impromptu rest/mono-pod.”
In fact, I found that I was able to eject and hold the mag in my right hand, pull back the bolt with my left hand dropping the live round into my right hand. I could also engage the bolt hold open lever with the little finger on my left hand while still holding the magazine. ARs are pretty damn cool!
Continuing on with the hunting, I ended up with total of 14 rabbits. Not bad for a couple hours effort.
The KRISS DMK22C is one sweet semi-automatic rimfire. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it both on the range and in the hills.
The fit and finish is top quality likewise the operation of the rifle giving testament to the battlefield and sport shooting heritage of the AR platform. It all just works.
My only gripe being the trigger. It’s a wee bit ‘pedestrian’ when on the range but certainly manageable on the hill. It’s by no means a deal breaker and would not put me off the purchase if I were in the market as the positives in this rifle far outweigh that one negative. And to be fair, I am used to using Sako triggers!
I have since found out that there is an aftermarket trigger available, check options with Delta Mike Ltd.
The DMK22C would be an ideal addition to the suite of firearms used in IPSC 3Gun events and one that can also hold its own in a typical pest control/hunting situation. A truly multipurpose rifle.
|Overall Length Collapsed||32" / 812.8mm|
|Overall Length Extended||35.25" / 895.4mm|
|Operating System||Direct Blowback|
|Stock||6 Position Adjustable Stock|
|Weight||6.6 lb / 3 kg|
|Barrel Material||4140 Chrome Moly|
|Barrel Finish||Black Nitride (QPQ)|
|Twist Rate||1:16″ RH|
|Trigger Type||Single Stage|
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