Skip to main content

KelTec CMR30 Rimfire Rifle Review

The KelTec CMR30 is a handy rifle that can serve numerous purposes, plus it is a ton of fun to shoot.

Sometimes it takes hands-on experience to wake you up to how cool a rifle is. When I first got the KelTec CMR30, which we were planning to use on this season’s Handguns & Defensive Weapons on Sportsman Channel, I wasn’t all that impressed. I opened the box to find a small, squat black rifle. Big deal.

When I began really looking at it, though, I was surprised to learn the .22 Mag. semiautomatic had a 16-inch barrel, which certainly doesn’t look like it could be that long. It took me a minute to figure out how to operate the telescoping stock (why cheat and read the manual?) But then I found the latch in front of the trigger guard that releases skeleton-type stock, which can lock in several different positions.

A catch in the heel drops a 30-round magazine from the pistol grip. The ambidextrous non-reciprocating charging handle is located on sides of the fore-end. It offers plenty of surface area to grab.

The safety is ambidextrous as well. A small lever on the left side, similar to the slide lock on a semiauto pistol, locks back the bolt but doesn’t function as a release.


KelTec-CMR30-Rifle-Review
The ambidextrous charging handle is non-reciprocating. Picatinny rails are located up top and on the bottom, and the CMR30 comes with flip-up Magpul sights.

Like I said, looking at the rifle, you’d think there’s no way the barrel is 16 inches long, but it is. It’s threaded 1/2x28 for a muzzle device or suppressor and comes with a thread cap.


A 14-inch Picatinny rail runs the length of the CMR30’s upper receiver, and at the front and back you find Magpul’s excellent MBUS flip-up open sights. KelTec is known as a manufacturer of inexpensive firearms, so I was a little surprised to see such high-quality sights on a gun that costs only $630. Underneath the fore-end is a seven-inch Pic rail section for lights or lasers.

I mounted an Aimpoint Micro H-2 on the top rail, complete with the riser block designed for use on an AR-15. I tried mounting it without the block, but that placed the sight too low.

The pleasant surprises continued at the range as the CMR30 proved to be quite capable at 50 yards. The trigger was much better than I expected. There is a bit of take-up and creep, but the break is only two pounds, nine ounces on average.

This is probably not the gun you’re going to be using to head-shoot small game or varmints at long distances, but the rifle proved able to shoot several sub-inch groups with the red dot—including a 0.41-inch five-shot group with CCI. A small, low-power scope would also be a good companion for this rifle and would increase accuracy.


KelTec-CMR30-Rifle-Review
The grip houses a 30-round magazine that is released by a lever at the heel of the grip. A pivoting lever in front of the trigger guard releases the telescoping stock.

I came away thinking this would be an excellent “head for the hills” rifle, truck gun or camp gun. One, with its telescoping stock it’s incredibly portable or stash-able. Two, it’s super-light at just 3.8 pounds.

Three, you’re getting full power out of the .22 Mag. round, and aside from dispatching pests or getting meat for the pot, it’s no accident both Hornady and Winchester make .22 Mag. defense loads. While hardly a “man-stopper,” it can handle defensive duties—especially with 30 of them at your immediate disposal and 30 more in the second mag supplied with the rifle.

I hung a Birchwood-Casey pistol training silhouette target at 30 yards and tore into it with the CMR30. Even when shooting as fast as I could pull the trigger, it wasn’t hard to keep all hits on target, although, of course, I had to slow down in order to make more precise shots.


While I cleaned the bore several times with a snake, I didn’t clean or lube the action at all. The gun ran fine during my morning-long test, probably 150 rounds in all, but when we broke it out on the set of the TV show, it started to malfunction. A blast of Hoppe’s Gun Medic set it right, but I should’ve cleaned it prior to filming. Rimfire ammo runs dirty, and that usually means a little extra attention is required for semiautos.

While not as easy to take apart as, say, an AR-15, disassembly of the CMR30 isn’t complicated, and the owner’s manual covers it pretty well. Ensure the gun is unloaded, close the bolt and place the rifle on Safe. With the stock fully extended, drive out a pin above the trigger guard and remove the grip. This permits access to the bolt assembly and spring tube, which slide to the rear.

KelTec-CMR30-Rifle-Review
The skeletonized stock locks positively in several positions, and when collapsed, the gun is only 22.5 inches long—great for transport.

The bolt, spring and tube are removed from the stock assembly by giving them a twist to free the components from the stock rods. You can also remove the stock assembly at this point, but I didn’t. Clean, lube and reassemble.

The only other negative thing I can say about the rifle is it would not function with Winchester’s subsonic load. That’s not surprising because of the round’s low power, but it is a shame because this gun cries out for a suppressor. Of course, you would still get noise reduction even with supersonic ammo—just not as much.

Overall, I think this an incredibly handy rifle. Like I said, it could serve numerous roles quite well, plus it’s a ton of fun to shoot.

KelTec CMR30 Specs

  • Type: Direct-blowback semiauto rimfire
  • Caliber: .22 Mag.
  • Capacity: 2 30-round mags supplied
  • Barrel: 16 in., 1:14 twist, threaded
  • Weight: 3.8 lb.
  • Overall Length: 22.5–29.9 in.
  • Stock: Collapsible aluminum skeleton
  • Sights: Magpul MBUS front and rear; full-length optics rail
  • Trigger: 2 lb., 9 oz. (measured)
  • Safety: Ambidextrous thumb
  • Price: $630
  • Manufacturer: KelTec, KelTecWeapons.com

KelTec CMR30 Accuracy Results

KelTec-CMR30-Rifle-Review
Notes: Accuracy results are averages of three five-shot groups at 50 yards from a Caldwell Fire Control rest. Velocities are averages of 15 shots recorded 10 feet from the muzzle on a Pro Chrono chronograph. Abbreviations: JHP, jacketed hollowpoint

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Delta 5 - Daniel Defense

Delta 5 - Daniel Defense's New Precision Bolt Action Rifle

Those looking to explore precision rifle shooting without going broke will be well served by Daniel Defense's new Delta 5.

Mossberg Patriot Predator 6.5 PRC Revew

Mossberg Patriot Predator 6.5 PRC Revew

Mossberg Patriot Predator 6.5 PRC Revew

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand and Neal Emery of Hornady highlight the 6MM Creedmoor ammo.

Ruger Launches New American Rifle Predator in 6.5 Grendel

Ruger Launches New American Rifle Predator in 6.5 Grendel

OSG's Lynn Burkhead and Ruger's Matt WIlson kick off SHOT Show 2018 by taking a look at the Ruger Predator.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

For decades, things were quiet on the .22 centerfire front. Starting in 2017, shooters were offered not one but two hot new centerfire .22 cartridges. First out of the gate was the .22 Nosler, followed by the Federal .224 Valkrie..22 Nosler vs .224 Valkyrie Ammo

.22 Nosler vs .224 Valkyrie

Brad Fitzpatrick - May 02, 2019

For decades, things were quiet on the .22 centerfire front. Starting in 2017, shooters were...

You're only as good as your weakest link; heed these to tips to make sure your shooting skills don't hinder your rifle's accuracy potentialHow to Shoot Your Best from a Benchrest Shooting Tips

How to Shoot Your Best from a Benchrest

Keith Wood - August 05, 2014

You're only as good as your weakest link; heed these to tips to make sure your shooting skills...

With the introduction of the .22LR chambering option, the Blaser R8 rifle is more versatile than ever. Blaser R8 .22LR Conversion Review Reviews

Blaser R8 .22LR Conversion Review

Layne Simpson - July 30, 2020

With the introduction of the .22LR chambering option, the Blaser R8 rifle is more versatile...

Announced in 1958, the .264 and .338 Winchester magnums hit the market in 1959 amid one of the biggest media blitzes the industry had seen. Both were introduced in β€œnew” versions of Winchester's beloved Model 70..264 and .338 Magnum - Winchester Twins Ammo

.264 and .338 Magnum - Winchester Twins

Craig Boddington - May 24, 2019

Announced in 1958, the .264 and .338 Winchester magnums hit the market in 1959 amid one of the...

See More Trending Articles

More Reviews

With the Venture II, Thompson/Center has a flagship bolt gun that will appeal to a lot of hunters.Thompson/Center Venture II Bolt-Action Rifle Review Reviews

Thompson/Center Venture II Bolt-Action Rifle Review

J. Scott Rupp - July 09, 2020

With the Venture II, Thompson/Center has a flagship bolt gun that will appeal to a lot of...

With the new Chassis version of the carbine, Ruger's PC Carbine gets a significant upgrade.Ruger PC Carbine Chassis Review Reviews

Ruger PC Carbine Chassis Review

James Tarr - July 23, 2020

With the new Chassis version of the carbine, Ruger's PC Carbine gets a significant upgrade.

SIG's new MPX PCC, a carbine chambered in 9mm, is the largest gun in the MPX line and is intended for PCC competition.SIG Sauer MPX 9mm PCC Review Reviews

SIG Sauer MPX 9mm PCC Review

James Tarr - August 18, 2020

SIG's new MPX PCC, a carbine chambered in 9mm, is the largest gun in the MPX line and is...

The Bravo Company MK12 MCMR in .300 BLK is reliable and accurate.Bravo Company MK12 16 MCMR .300 BLK Review Reviews

Bravo Company MK12 16 MCMR .300 BLK Review

David Fortier - May 13, 2020

The Bravo Company MK12 MCMR in .300 BLK is reliable and accurate.

See More Reviews

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Rifle Shooter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now