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If I get to thinking about it, I’ve always liked Nosler. I killed many a deer in my youth with their 95 gr. Ballistic Tip out of my .243 WIN. But I admit that I haven’t spent much time thinking about them lately. Things probably would have continued that way except that somebody in Nosler’s marketing department had the smart idea to hang an advert on the door of every room in the Venetian for the 2017 SHOT Show. When we got to the hotel room to do some writing after our first day onsite, the advert, which looked similar to the photo you see above stared back at me. Visions of Jeremy Clarkson in my head, I made a note to swing by their booth during the week.

There, I met up with their PR Manager, Zach. Zach was kind enough to walk me through the entire gamut of “new for 2017” things including 22 Nosler and 33 Nosler. Uninspired naming conventions aside, 22 Nosler is a seemingly cool cartridge made specifically for the AR 15.

Like the recipe for good hot rods, Nosler’s engineering staff upped displacement to get an extra 300 fps out of a standard 55 gr. load by going to a larger diameter case with a rebated rim that still uses a standard 5.56/.223/300 BLK bolt. Simply swap out the barrel (or upper), start using 6.8 SPC magazines, and you’re good to go. In their various press packets, Nosler indicates that 22 Nosler is good for nearly .22-250 velocities out of the much more compact AR 15 platform. Twenty four inch test barrels are showing 3500 fps for the 55 gr. Ballistic Tip and 3100 fps for the 77 gr. Custom Competition. Real world velocities out of an eighteen inch gas gun are closer to 3350 fps and 2950 fps respectively.

Having been baptized in the crusty cynicism that comes with being a long term staffer at TTAG, I approach most new products with the notion that companies create products to answer questions that nobody asked in the hopes that consumers can be tricked out of their hard earned. In this case, I have to imagine that a group of shooters actually wanted as much dadgum velocity as they could get out of a .22 caliber bullet in the AR 15 without too much fuss or muss. From that perspective, Nosler succeeded. I can’t really imagine how you’d squeeze out much more velocity without going to a weird wildcat that might have a host of issues. We’ll get a 22 Nosler upper on test to see if it feeds and fires to see if Nosler was able to make a speeding load without sacrificing reliability.

The other issue I worry about, and one that seems to plague any “new” cartridge for the AR 15, is component availability and support. This is extra special true for cartridges without a parent case as is the case with 22 Nosler. As I write this, MidwayUSA shows brass for 22 Nosler at $0.67 per piece, RCBS dies for $$62, and an eighteen inch barrel for less than $110. Load data for 22 Nosler is already online and assuming you can find any number of the powders they suggest along with small rifle primers, you should be good to go as projectiles and magazines are plentiful. Factory ammo isn’t yet available, but Zach tells me that Nosler is all over it and you should see ammo shipping in the next few months.

From a supply chain perspective, it looks like Nosler is going to do all they can to make this happen, and while I never asked the question, I’m intrigued by the prospect of more velocity out of my AR 15. I’ve asked for ammo, components, and an upper for Jon Wayne Taylor to test out. Watch this space.

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  1. THE STUPID, IT BURNS! Love Nosler Ballistic Tips, but this “new” round is going to go over like a fart in church.

  2. OK, velocity is nice, but to what end? At 0.67 a piece for just the brass, this is an expensive round when loaded up, so it isn’t range ammo to just burn up. What does it offer that you don’t already get with .243? The only “advantage” I see is that you can use an AR platform.

    • I’m a bit baffled myself, outside of bragging rights on having 3,500 fps heading downrange.

      With no parent brass, shooters are going to have to pony-up a serious investment to play with this new toy…

      • I figure at least $1200-$1500, including a new upper, $110 for a barrel (which is a good price), an optic, new mags, $670 for 1000 cases, plus bullets, primers, and $68 for dies. I think I’ll pass. For that much money, I can get a pretty nice Bergara bolt rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor.

  3. Is all the cost and aggravation worth it for the small bump in performance?

    Personally, I don’t think so. .223 brass is cheap, especially once fired. Further, factory loads for .223 and 5.56 are diverse, plentiful, and cheap (by comparison).

  4. So they just could not help .277 Wolverine get SAAMI approval. They had to create a all new cartridge. Thanks

  5. Woulda made more since in 6mm/243. There are already great factory standard catridges for ar15s in 224 264 277 308, 355, 458 and 50….

    • ^ This!!!

      I was about to write almost the exact same thing and thought I would check the other comments first.

      As it stands, you can already get over 3,100 fps with 5.56 x 45 mm. An extra 100 to 150 fps isn’t worth the expense and a unique caliber.

      What would be worth the expense? Pushing a .243 bullet out of AR-15 platform. Such a cartridge would have superior terminal ballistics over 5.56 x 45 mm but not have as much recoil as an AR-10 platform shooting .243 Winchester. And, the ammunition would be lighter and allow people to carry a higher round count than .243 Winchester.

      Think of it as splitting the difference between 5.56 x 45 mm and 7.62 x 39 mm. An AR-15 compatible cartridge shooting a .243 bullet would produce significantly higher velocity than 7.62 x 39 mm, both at the muzzle and especially at longer ranges. And yet it would retain much of the punch that .243 Winchester cartridges deliver … it would just be limited to a shorter range than .243 Winchester.

      • Assuming Hornady’s Doppler is as accurate as Litz, the .224 75 Eld has a .909 form factor compared to the Berger hybrid 140gr 6.5 at .923 or the benchmark 105gr 6mm at .924. The case body length is the problem. Just necking up would be easy.

      • As far as I can figure, an AR-15 compatible .243 cartridge would send a 95 grain bullet out the muzzle at about 2,700 fps. With a modest ballistic coefficient of 0.36, that bullet would still be zipping along at 2,000 fps at 300 yards and still have 847 foot-pounds of energy. Assuming a quality expanding bullet that expands properly at that impact velocity, I have to believe that would be plenty capable of stopping humans and medium sized game at that range.

        Compare to these cartridges at 300 yards:
        7.62 x 39 mm whose 123 grain bullet would be down to 1,500 fps and 600 foot-pounds
        5.56 x 45 mm whose 55 grain bullet would be down to 2,000 fps and 500 foot-pounds

        I would much rather be sending a .243 caliber, 95 grain bullet that is still moving at 2,000 fps with 867 foot-pounds at 300 yards … especially given that bullets need to be near 2,000 fps or higher to penetrate Level II ballistic vests.

        • Impact velocity down range is good and that’s why I wish Nosler had set this case up for 224 bullets with great form factors. If it’s energy down range then a 6.5 Grendel with 130 class can’t be beat. Explanation of FF here:

          TLDR is that FF combines SD and BC to make apples to apples comparisons between calibers. Trouble is you need accurate G7 BCs to do that and that’s where Litz comes in. So let’s use your 24″ barrel notional 2700fps 95gr 6mm as a benchmark and go with the best in class:

          Berger 95gr VLD 6mm .239 G7: 2700fps
          400yds: 2000fps, 837ft/lb

          Hornady ELD 75gr 224 .235 G7: 2950fps
          400yds: 2200fps, 800ft/lb
          500yds: 2000fps, 680ft/lb

          I don’t know why you care about long range vest penetration but if you do then you’ve just made the case for a smaller caliber LR round. Same logic applies to PDW rounds, think MP7. If it’s just 6mm and down range energy that you want then 6mmAR (necked down Grendel) is a great answer to that question especially with 105 bergers. The niche Nosler could have filled was the one where people get to use their 5.56 cans (like the 224AR) but with regular bolts to reach 1k yards from an 18 inch AR with the emerging class of high BC low form factor 224 bullets. Grendel is still the best for hunting for a variety of reasons not least bullet selection.

        • Aono,

          It looks like what I described is exactly the 6mm AR wildcat cartridge which I had never heard about … and 6.5 mm Grendel is an extremely close second. (I had heard about 6.5mm Grendel but did not realize it was also compatible with the AR-15 platform.)

          If I read everything correctly, both cartridges would allow someone to use an existing AR-15 rifle with nothing more than a barrel swap, provide a nice bump in “stopping power” (especially at longer ranges), AND cause only a slight reduction in ammunition carrying capacity.

          If only we could purchase 6mm AR or 6.5mm Grendel ammunition in bulk for less than 40 cents per round!

        • What would your 6mm round do that 6.5 grendel doesn’t already do, but with even bigger heavier bullets (if you want)? And you can buy that for under 30c/rd, even find it on shelves lots of palces now (Wolf makes a few different grades of ammo for it, Hornady and a few others are in the game too). Or if you’re already invested in 6mm bore, the 6mmAR is basically a necked-down Grendel. Bit of a wildcat, but is basically what you’ve described.

        • RocketScientist,

          I haven’t done the deep dive so 6.5mm Grendel might be just as good or better than 6mm AR.

          The only three characteristics to which I can point are:
          (1) A 6mm bullet that is the same weight as a 6.5mm bullet will have a better ballistic coefficient and have higher velocity at longer ranges.
          (2) A 6mm bullet with the same ballistic coefficient as a 6.5mm bullet — which should have identical long range velocities — would weigh less and reduce the weight of the ammunition that you have to slog around without sacrificing any round count.
          (3) Using 6mm, 95 grain bullets would produce less recoil than 6.5mm, 120 grain bullets and allow for faster follow-up shots.

          And yet it doesn’t seem like there is any significant difference in “stopping power” when comparing 6mm, 95 grain bullets to 6.5mm, 120 grain bullets … although both seem to provide a significant increase in stopping power compared to standard military 5.56mm x 45 cartridges.

          Again, I have taken the deep dive: I was just thinking out loud in response to the new Nosler 22 cartridge … and it appears that I converged on a solution that already exists!

    • What is wrong with a rebated rim? I have only dealt with basic cartridges like .308 win and .223 rem when it comes to reloading, so I am curious.

  6. I think the rebated rim is a great idea for a cartridge in an AR15 to use existing 6.8 mags and 556 bolts but the case length is a critical flaw. They were never going to achieve 22-250 full house varmint performance even with low grain weights, due to the 22 nosler having around a quarter less case capacity. So what they should have done was take a page from the Creedmoor and shortened up the whole case while maintaining a long neck and 30 degree shoulder, and made something worthy of all the high BC 224 bullets that don’t currently have a home. The 75 ELD in particular for example or the Bergers or 80+ SMKs that people already long load to single feed for competition. Just look up the Krieger match chamber. The 22 nosler though has the same case length as 223 Rem so it can’t seat those bullets without the ogive sinking into the neck. Just shortening it by 0.2 overall would have made this an efficient LR cartridge for the high BC 224s that compare very favorably in form factor with the high BC 6’s. With the right length case it would have been very efficient again like the Creedmoor. The rebated rim was a great idea that separated this from the 22 Beast. But the long case kills it. Maybe this was a hard requirement for feeding in 6.8 mags but I doubt it given appropriate case girth and taper. The AR even has a ton of fast twist blanks lying around. Just a big miss in my opinion. People wanting FPS in an AR can already go to the 204s. 224AR (necked down Grendel) remains the best AR cartridge you can use with your existing cans. Grendel bolts are readily available and so are mags.

    • If we had a comment voting system, I’d up-vote you 1K+ times.

      As I keep preaching: Choose your bullet first. Choose the best bullet you can launch.

      Then, and only then, figure out how you’re going to launch it.

      Launching just any old .224 pill with mediocre Bc’s is just more powder, more noise, more money… for results that will be only marginally better downrange. Just like the .223/5.56 round, the best bullet they’re able to pack into this is the 77gr. Just think how much better this could have been if the case had been shortened, as you say, to allow the use of 90gr VLD pills?


      • Right, but now they have given us a really good case design to wildcat right? An enterprising individiual with say, access to a lathe, could maybe turn back one of these RCBS dies a touch to move the shoulder back give a longer case neck and then really utilize the 2.3″ coal that the better 6.8spc mags allow? Then you just turn the barrel back by an equivalent amount?

  7. Just what we ‘needed’, another cartridge to go with the other umpteen bazillion cartridges that we don’t need. Too damn many choices with too little difference in them.

  8. Ouch:

    > Barrel Life with all barrels, it really depends on how they are treated but one
    > should see approximately 2,000 rounds as used in competition and as many
    > as 4,000 rounds if used as a plinking rifle.


    Isn’t the approximate rule of thumb for a standard AR barrel 10,000 rounds?

    And, if we’re looking at 3,350fps for a 55gr, that’s not *that* much over M193, and (at least) Hornady and Western Powders have 5.56 data.

    • Hammer forged chrome lined should give well over 10,000 maybe 20,000. CHF QPQ would probably give the best barrel life. But that’s just arm chair numbers I’ve never shot close to that out of one barrel.

    • Once you start packing enough powder behind a wee little bore size, your bore life starts to degrade rapidly. This is a condition we call “overbore.”

      An example can be seen from an overbore cartridge with a rebated rim and a small bullet currently used in long range shooting, the 6.5-284. The .284 Winchester was a rebated rim cartridge, developed to give 7mm RemMag velocities in a short length action (ie, .308 Winchester length action), with a .308 Win case head diameter (0.473″). The 7mm Rem is a belted magnum case, with a magnum case head diameter, and requires a long (.30-06 length) action.

      The .284 does what the 7mm Rem can do, but in a short action length. But the 7mm RemMag was so popular from the get-go, that the .284 never really caught on… until the long range guys, who explicitly wanted a short action (because it is stiffer than a long action) wanted a bottle that could hold enough powder to launch a 140+ grain 6.5mm pill at about 3000 fps. The only choices at the time were the .260 Rem (for which no one made good brass) and the 6.5×55, if you were willing to do a bunch of work on a short action.

      Up came the .284 case. Neck it down to 6.5mm, design the chamber so that it accepts a long pill on it (which the other choices did not do), stuff a VLD pill on the top and you’ve off to the races with a high Bc pill being launched at pretty high velocities, with quality brass supplied by Norma, et al. Now the 6.5-284 is more popular than the .284 Win ever was.

      But…. the cost in barrel life is significant. Talking to some 6.5-284 shooters, I’ve heard that their accuracy starts to fall apart as soon as 1200 rounds, if they’re really pushing hard. The guys not pushing it hard usually see groups come apart in the 2K+ area. This is because we’ve got a large charge of powder trying to make it down the tiny little bore hole. In these rifles, if you use a bore scope and look at the area of the throat (just in front of the cartridge mouth), you see that the steel looks like the baked clay of a desert floor in the summertime – baked, cracked, rough. The rest of the bore is usually OK. The barrels can be repaired by “setting the chamber forward,” ie, we take some off the breech (a turn on the tenon in moderate case or two+ in extreme cases), and we deepen the chamber to move the chamber forward, cutting the damaged throat out.

      OK, so what are some examples of over-bore cartridges? The usual suspects are in there: .220 Swift, .22-250 AI, .257 Ackley, .257 Wby, .25-06… but also some cartridges that lots of people don’t think of as overbored: .243 Winchester, 7mm RemMag. I’d add in the .264 Winchester (worse IMO, than the 7mm Rem), and the 6.5-284. The .270 Winchester is overbored if you’re using the lighter pills (130 and 110 grains) and pushing them to maximum pressures (the Jack O’Connor load of 60gr of 4831 topped with a 130gr pill is tough on barrels). You get the idea. Big powder charge + small bore = short barrel life.

      The .264 WM is a prime example of “holy crap” overbore. Winchester brought it out around the same time as the .338 WM and .458 WM. It is the least successful of the three, because in many rifles, it tends to throw down poor groups, and it burns barrels like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Fans of the .264 I know who load it hot with 140gr hunting bullets see their barrel’s accuracy fall apart somewhere between 700 and 1,000 rounds. Some guys I know who are in love with the ballistics charts, love their other 6.5’s which are very accurate (eg, 6.5 Swede), but they want their .264WM to group so badly at holy-crap velocities, that they’ve tried all manner of things – longer barrels, shorter barrels, glass bedding, barrel tuners, brakes, you name it… and the wretched things just won’t group.

      I think the problem is this: On paper, the .264 looks like the next best thing to a laser. In reality, it seems to be the one “long range” hunting cartridge where some shooters’ hopes go to die. I think this is because the typical .264 shooter is seeking the hottest launch velocities he can achieve – I’ve never met a .264 shooter who wasn’t working up a “pet load,” all of them starting with the maximum loads in the data books. This usually results in poor accuracy, IMO. Accuracy loads are rarely the hottest loads in the book. Sometimes, shooters just need to accept the fact that more isn’t always better.

  9. It seems like a lot of people get hard on these companies that bring a new AR round to the table. The 300 blkout had detractors and the 6.8spc which I really like. More power to them. Would be verminers might like this round or people not yet heavily invested in a .22 caliber round. But with the hope of HPA passing I went with the blkout. Barrel, gas block, tube and bolt should be here tomorrow!

  10. I’ve got a 20″ stainless Colt Hbar AR that’ll push 55 grain M193 5.56 at 3150-3200 FPS on a hot day. I was once a big 6.8 SPC fan. It’s an ok round, but I would have gone 6.5 Grendel if I had a chance to do things over again. You can’t get much better for downrange velocity / energy than the 6.5 Grendel past 500 yards out of an AR-15 length platform.

    Anyways, I’m much more into high quality bullets and more normal calibers / cases to stuff them into. I don’t see the need for the 22 Nosler and don’t think it’ll take off like gangbusters.

    I am curious if these cases can accept a large rifle primer like some 6.8 SPC Spec II cases. I bet that’d create some interesting pressure levels.

  11. I’m waiting until they neck down a 300 ultra mag to .224 @ 5000 feet per second! or maybe a 30mm necked down to 30 cal. using depleted Uranium at 8000 ft per second , man portable rail gun is the cats Meow,

  12. More Grendels for God of Grendels, right? 🙂

    Well, it’s their money, but with “more than .223” AR options being abundant…

    • Yea, I know. That’s the thing, the world is already chock-full of cartridges trying to push a .224 bullet at Mach-holy-crap velocities.

      The .22-250 AI, the .220 Swift, the .224 Wby, the .223 WSSM, the .222 RemMag… the list goes on and on. PO Ackley made, as a joke, the .22 Eargesplitten Loudenboomer, a .378 Wby necked down to .224.

      At some point, it’s time for people who want to shoot poodles to admit that they have enough choices. It’s time for them to grow up and admit that they’re fans of a caliber of bullet that has poor to mediocre ballistics, and that pushing a 50 grain .224 pill at 5K fps muzzle velocity is still going to result in poor ballistics downrange – because the bullets are short, light, have poor sectional density and therefore crappy Bc’s.

  13. If a military somewhere doesn’t shoot it so much that it is made in industrial quantities, I won’t own a rifle chambered in it.

  14. Ha ha you yanks are funny ! Remember why all this started for the AR platform.It simply was not doing the job it was made for, killing enemy combatants. What was the brief, better performance than 7.62 x 39 but in AR platform .Cost of conversion is always going to be a big factor for everyone . Only a rebarrel is the cheapest option, that said leaves only a few choices shorten the standard shell and use a larger diameter projectile but retaining a reasonable velocity, or what the 22 nosler shell does for the 6.8 spc . (the way it should have been designed in the first place) engineers = train drivers !!

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