30-Shot .22 Magnum Pistol
The Kel-Tec PMR-30.
In polymer-based firearms design, the people at Kel-Tec are Masters. Observe their latest: a pistol in .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire chambering, with a magazine holding 30 rounds. The model designation refers to both points. “Pistol, Magnum, Rimfire, 30 (rounds).
It is the work of two of the “Masters” at Kel-Tec, George Kellgren and Chief Design Engineer Tobias Obermeit. With these two on it, it’s not surprising there are numerous neat little design points. The most important one is a barrel that is allowed to move, lengthwise, in an amount determined by cartridge case adhesion.
The .22 WMR has, of course, a very long case. And, there are several different loads. This results in varying degrees of case expansion, and also differences in duration, measured in micro-seconds. In the PMR-30, the moving barrel simply adjusts to these factors. It’s a brilliant design.
There is another design point that is also related to the removal and ejection of that long cartridge case. The PMR-30 has dual extractors. The primary one, on the right side, has the usual sharp-rim-contact beak. The left one has a rounded end, and its only function is to keep the case load in contact with the breechface and extractor beak until the instant of ejection.
The external controls are perfectly located. The magazine release is at lower rear, and is pushed inward (forward) in operation. The slide stays open after the last shot, and the release latch is at the top of the left grip. The ambidextrous safety levers are at upper rear. Clicked downward to fire position, they expose a red signal bar.
The nicely shaped trigger has no annoying vertical ridges. Take-up is minimal, and there is a rear flange that limits over-travel. On my pistol, the crisp pull averaged 3.6 pounds. Perfect. The grip-frame has ample space for even a large hand, and the shape is excellent. Obviously, George and Tobias spent a lot of time on this.
The sights are also excellent. The non-adjustable rear sight has orange-red fiber optic dots on each side of the square notch. The front sight has a single dot in bright green. It is laterally adjustable (dovetail-mounted), but the manual cautions against do-it-yourself drifting. Have a gunsmith do it, with a sight-mover.
By J.B. Wood
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