Skip to main content

Uintah Precision .22 ARC Bolt-Action AR-15 Upper: Tested

Want to try out the new .22 ARC without building an entire new gun? The Uintah Precision bolt-action upper will drop onto your existing AR lower, giving you the .22 ARC's screeching firepower.

Uintah Precision .22 ARC Bolt-Action AR-15 Upper: Tested
Uintah Precision offers a bolt-action upper for the scorching .22 ARC Cartridge.

A bolt-action AR will get you funny looks at the range. But Uintah Precision (UP) has a history of making interesting and accurate tackdrivers. Being an early adopter and avid fan of the 6 ARC, I was excited to see Hornady moving forward in the direction of the .22 ARC. UP supports this exciting cartridge with their UPR-15 in 16- and 20-inch barrels. With impressive ballistics, I can easily see the .22 ARC becoming the go-to cartridge for long-range predator hunters, varmint hunters, and PRS competitors.

.22 ARC?

uintah-precision-22-arc-upper-review-02
The UPR-15 upper fits perfectly on any AR-15 pattern lower without modification. The 3-lug bolt is manufactured from a single piece of 4140 chromium-molybdenum alloy steel.

The .22 ARC (Advanced Rifle Cartridge) is a sibling of the popular 6mm ARC cartridge, using the same .441-inch diameter case head, making it an excellent candidate for AR-15 platform rifles. While it was designed with gas-operated ARs in mind, the .22 ARC is equally at-home paired with the UP bolt-action. The .22 ARC is designed to send heavy, high ballistic coefficient (BC), .224-caliber projectiles out to long ranges with impressive velocities. For example, Hornady’s 88-grain ELD Match has a BC of .274 (G7) and a published velocity of 2,825 fps. So, theoretically, at 500 yards with a 10-mph full-value wind, you’ll only need 9.3 MOA of elevation and 2.9 MOA of windage. By comparison, a 140-grain 6.5 Creedmoor (with a G7 BC of .311) travelling at 2,730 fps needs about 9.2 MOA of elevation and 2.5 MOA of windage. So, we’re seeing roughly the same trajectory and with much less recoil. It makes sense why varmint hunters and competition shooters are excited about this cartridge. Hornady ushered in the .22 ARC with a variety of offerings and was kind enough to send me a couple boxes of 62-grain V-Match and 88-grain ELD Match for testing.  

UINTAH PRECISION

UP operates out of Duchesne, Utah, and is gaining popularity with their bolt-action rifles and uppers spanning from 5.56 to .45-caliber muzzleloaders. Making a bolt-action that fits any AR-15 lower is a tricky proposition, but UP has done an excellent job. As expected, the function and feel of the bolt is rougher than a traditional bolt-action rifle, but it works well. UP had certain unavoidable mechanics to contend with, like the AR hammer, the bolt catch, etc. Working around these obstacles, UP still created an action that provides cartridges a much gentler feed into chamber than the traditional gas-operated rollercoaster ride. If you are a meticulous handloader as I am, that makes a big difference. UP uppers attach to any AR lower without any modification, so you can be up and running, out of the box, in under a minute. The 3-lug bolt is beautifully machined from a single piece of 4140 chromium-molybdenum alloy steel. The bolt is then heat-treated to Rockwell Hardness of 45 RC, making it amazingly strong. The bolt face has a wide extractor claw and large ejector pin that tosses spent cartridges to the side with authority, especially when the bolt is brought back with speed. If you look at the top center of the bolt, you’ll see a subtle divot that has a big job. When in battery, it aligns with a spring-loaded, stainless-steel ball bearing captive in the ceiling of the receiver. This gives users a smooth and positive lock when the bolt is chambered and in proper position. It’s those subtle details that matter.

uintah-precision-22-arc-upper-review-03
The Vitrum drop-in trigger is adjustable from 2 to 4.5 pounds.

You can leave your AR buffer and spring in for added cushion. The spring helps keep a rearward bolt from rattling by adding tension against the bolt catch. It also makes it easier at the range when the range officer needs to inspect your chamber. I tested it both ways and left the spring in. The UPR-15 has a 15-inch handguard with plenty of M-LOK slots for any accessory you may have. The handguard marries perfectly to the CNC-machined receiver, giving about 20 inches of usable rail along the top. The receiver is reinforced in all the necessary areas for a lifetime of rugged use. UP also makes left-handed receivers and matching bolts for southpaws and the growing number of right-handed competition shooters that prefer to run the action with their support hand. The upper I tested had a 16-inch 416R stainless barrel with a 1:7-inch twist. A 20-inch 416R barrel is also an option as well as carbon-fiber-wrapped barrels also in 16- and 20-inch lengths. A stainless-steel knurled thread protector covers the standard ½-28 threaded muzzle, giving users an option for a muzzle device or sound suppressor.   

uintah-precision-22-arc-upper-review-04

Replacing the barrel is easier than a standard AR-15 upper, since there is no gas system to contend with. Remove the handguard and barrel nut, and the barrel pulls straight out. You can buy pre-fit barrels from UP. They guarantee your stock bolt will headspace properly with a new barrel. Get them on the phone if you have something custom in mind. They’re easy to deal with and offer excellent customer service. Along with the upper, UP sent their single-stage drop-in trigger, the Vitrum. They did a great job on the design, with zero noticeable creep or take-up. The trigger arrived with a crisp, 3-pound pull and is adjustable from 2 to 4.5 pounds. I dropped it in a lower selected for this project and adjusted the weight down to a consistent 2.25 pounds. The trigger blade has a nice contour to it, and the reset is short and positive. I’m guessing it would be great in a gas gun as well. Once I got the main components assembled, I added a QD bipod, a NightForce NX8 2.5-20x50 riflescope, and headed to the range.

Shooting Impressions

uintah-precision-22-arc-upper-review-05
Both types of .22 ARC ammunition tested fed smoothly using Amend2 10-round magazines.

UP guarantees sub-MOA with match ammo, and accuracy performed as advertised. Using Hornady 88-grain ELD Match ammunition at 100 yards, I shot several sub-MOA 5-round groups, the best being .67 inch. The 62-grain V-Match was a screamer at over 3,000 fps, with the best 5-round group being .78 inch. For a 16-inch barrel, that’s impressive. The .22 ARC is a hotrod cartridge with recoil somewhere between a .223 and 6mm ARC. I did need to try a few different magazines before settling on the Amend2 10-round 6.5 Grendel mags. They worked well. Other mags needed some finessing, but that’s part of the fun when you build your own bear. The cuts on the bolt handle made it easy to operate. If you’re familiar with running a traditional bolt-action, the timing on the UPR-15 is slightly different. But after cycling a few rounds, I got everything working smoothly, ejecting cartridges neatly to my right in a small pile.

uintah-precision-22-arc-upper-review-06

Since it is a bolt-action, it also suppresses surprisingly well compared to a gas-operated AR. For testing, I used Silencer Central’s new Banish Speed K suppressor. Its 4-inch overall length kept the rifle to a manageable size for getting in and out of a hunting vehicle or trudging through buckbrush. It does a great job of keeping the noise down but is a little louder than a standard-length 5.56 suppressor. But, like Silencer Central’s Banish Backcountry 30, the benefits of a shorter rifle in certain applications overrules the need for a few dBs in sound reduction. While I haven’t yet taken the UP upper out to long range, the math suggests I’d be happy with the results. You likely have an AR-15 lower or three laying around looking for a long-range project, and this might be what you’re looking for.




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

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

The Remington Model Seven is ready, willing and able to handle just about any task.
Rifles

Kimber Hunter Pro Desolve Blak - A Lightweight Heavy Hitter

The Remington Model Seven is ready, willing and able to handle just about any task.
Rifles

Browning BLR Lightweight '81 Stainless Takedown Lever Rifle

The Remington Model Seven is ready, willing and able to handle just about any task.
Rifles

Hodgdon Reloading

The Remington Model Seven is ready, willing and able to handle just about any task.
Rifles

Savage Impulse

The Remington Model Seven is ready, willing and able to handle just about any task.
Rifles

Mossberg Patriot Predator 6.5 PRC Rifle Review

The Remington Model Seven is ready, willing and able to handle just about any task.
Rifles

Marlin Model 1895 in .444 Marlin

The Remington Model Seven is ready, willing and able to handle just about any task.
Rifles

Review: Springfield Armory M1A Loaded Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor

The Remington Model Seven is ready, willing and able to handle just about any task.
Rifles

Long-Range AR Shooting

The Remington Model Seven is ready, willing and able to handle just about any task.
Rifles

Colorado Pronghorn Hunt

The Remington Model Seven is ready, willing and able to handle just about any task.
Rifles

RCBS ChargeMaster Lite Review: Not 'Lite' on Ability

The Remington Model Seven is ready, willing and able to handle just about any task.
Rifles

RS Sako Finnlight II

The Remington Model Seven is ready, willing and able to handle just about any task.
Rifles

Remington Model Seven SS HS Bolt-Action Rifle Review

RifleShooter Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the RifleShooter App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Get the top Rifle Shooter stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All RifleShooter 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

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now