The Air-Ordinance SMG 22 Air Machine Gun
Air Ordnance SMG-22: The Solution for Affordable Full-Auto Fun
When I purchased my first automatic weapon, it was an M16. I know this may not be a popular statement, but in 1996, I acquired the stripped transferable full-auto receiver for only $700. At that time, the new machine gun ban had not yet celebrated its first anniversary, and therefore, the prices for transferable MGs were still reasonable. However, today, that same gun costs a whopping 20k!
For today's millennial gun enthusiasts, it's challenging to build a collection of full-auto firearms without having a hefty bank account like Gates, Trump, or Soros. The cost of a cheap transferable MG is equivalent to buying a decent used car.
Luckily, Air Ordnance has the solution to this problem.
Full Auto Machine Airgun Fun
A transferable .22LR American 180 SMG can fire at a rapid pace of 1,200 rounds per minute, but it comes with a steep price tag of around $16,000. The process of acquiring it through transfer can take up to a year, and they are no longer being produced. Additionally, if you damage it beyond repair, you'll be stuck with an expensive and useless item.
In contrast, the Air Ordnance SMG-22 is a fully functional gas-powered .22-caliber SMG that operates at a variable rate of fire. You can purchase it straight from the manufacturer and have it shipped to your doorstep. The best part is that it sells for a similar price to what I paid for my M16 32 years ago. This gun features genuine belt-fed operation, and you only need a credit card and a shipping address to own it.
NOT An Actual Firearm
Federal law dictates that a firearm must use an explosive to expel a projectile. However, if you use pressurized gas to push the projectile instead, the resulting gun is not considered a firearm and is unregulated. The Air Ordnance SMG-22 can run on CO2, compressed air, or pressurized nitrogen, making it highly accessible and versatile.
This gun utilizes standard .22-caliber airgun pellets, which are readily available at stores like Wal-Mart for a fraction of the cost of traditional ammunition. You can refill your CO2 tanks at some sporting goods stores or paintball fields. If you opt for compressed air, you can recharge using a scuba tank.
The Air Ordnance team developed a non-disintegrating belt-feed system to organize the pellets and load them into the firing chamber efficiently and reliably. The gun fires from an open bolt and feeds from a 100-round belt that goes back into the drum for easy maintenance. The gun features a railed top for an optic, which is included, and accepts a forward handgrip at the front end. The tank screws into the back of the pistol grip, and the receiver accepts a standard M4 collapsible stock at the rear.
The resulting gun is a bit lengthy and bulky, and the center of gravity is a bit far to the rear due to the tank layout. The manual of arms is an interesting combination of a German MP40 and a Browning 1919. But overall, the Air Ordnance SMG-22 is an addictive and impressive piece of machinery that will not disappoint.
Ready to Belting Up The SMG 22 And Blast
To make the most of the Air Ordnance SMG-22, it's recommended to have several ammunition belts on hand, which come as snap-together links that don't need to be taken apart once assembled. These belts are quite sturdy and will last for multiple uses.
To load the belt, you arrange it in the loading tray and place a perforated steel plate on top. Then, you pour your pellets out onto the plate and give the tray a little wiggle, causing the pellets to settle nose-down into the holes. Once you have a pellet in every hole, pour off any excess and use a pressing tool to seat the pellets five at a time. It takes 20 iterations to fill a 100-round belt, which makes for a great activity while catching up on your favorite shows.
Once the belt is loaded, stack it in the drum according to the instructions. To shoot, lock the bolt to the rear, lift up the top cover similar to an M60, and lay the first link into the feed sprocket. Close the feed tray, aim at your target, and unleash a stream of pellets.
It's recommend to acquire several ammunition belts for the Air Ordnance SMG-22, as they come as snap-together links that are quite sturdy. To load the pellets, I first arrange the belt in the loading tray, then place a perforated steel plate on top and pour the pellets out loosely onto the plate. I give the loading tray a gentle wiggle to allow the pellets to settle nose-down into the holes.
Once every hole is filled with a pellet, I pour off any excess and use a convenient pressing tool to seat the pellets five at a time. It takes 20 repetitions to fill a 100-round belt, which is a great activity to do while catching up on some entertainment.
Stack the belt in the drum according to the instructions provided. When I'm ready to shoot, I lock the bolt to the rear, lift up the top cover - much like with an M60 - and lay the first link into the feed sprocket. After closing the feed tray, I point the gun at a target and unleash the chaos.
The SMG-22 boasts a unique feature that even the most seasoned machine gun enthusiasts will appreciate: a manually adjustable rate of fire. The user can choose from a variety of cyclic rates, ranging from a slow and steady 500 rpm for those who prefer the classic Grease Gun or Sten feel, to a lightning-fast MG42-style 1,200 rpm for the more adventurous shooter.
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility (and a great appetite for ammo). The SMG-22 will devour pellets at an alarming rate, with a 250-round tin lasting just two-and-a-half belts. However, when compared to traditional firearms running on fixed ammunition, the SMG-22 remains a more economical choice overall.
Hitting Your Target with Rapid Fire
The SMG-22 is an impressive pellet gun with a claimed velocity of 600 fps, although actual tests using CO2 showed a velocity of around 450 fps. While engagements at distances of 60 meters or more become parabolic, the gun's real strength is in close-quarters combat.
During testing, a water-filled milk jug was effortlessly shredded with a full 100-round magazine dump, and not a single malfunction occurred during testing. The SMG-22 is impressively reliable, requiring only modest care and attention to function flawlessly.
The unique manual of arms for the SMG-22 will raise testosterone levels regardless of gender. Snapping in a drum, locking the first link, and unleashing a withering barrage of full-auto .22-caliber lead will cure any ailment.
While the price tag of $600 may seem steep for a pellet gun, the SMG-22 is no ordinary pellet gun. As a genuine belt-fed SMG, it may not hit as hard as a "real" gun, but it can certainly wear out an empty Coke can. Compared to expensive and finicky transferable machine guns, the SMG-22 is an absolute steal.
Overall, the Air Ordnance SMG-22 is a highly enjoyable and affordable full-auto option that offers a unique shooting experience. Its combination of a belt-fed system, gas-powered operation, and variable rate of fire make it stand out in the crowded SMG market.