Magnum Research’s Barracuda .22 WMR.
Magnum Research stunned everyone with the introduction of their remarkably innovative, gas-operated Desert Eagle handgun and went on to stun the rimfire world with a carbon-wrapped barrel and the meanest looking stock in the business. I like mean machines like the SR-71 Blackbird and the Lamborghini Aventador. Magnum Research’s “Barracuda” rimfire magnum, part of their Magnum Lite rifle series, fits into the same visual class as those classics. It is high style, high tech and high performance from muzzle-to-butt.
Carrying the Model designation “MLR 1722M,” the Barracuda was available in both .22 WMR and .17 HMR. In fact, Magnum Research was responsible for carrying out some groundbreaking studies to see how the hot .17 HMR could be managed in a blowback, semi-automatic action.
While the .17 HMR functions well within SAAMI pressure standards, the cartridge generates its peak pressure almost as soon as the bullet leaves the case plus the timing of those peaks is not consistent from one shot to the next. This peak pressure inconsistency proved a challenge in solving the mechanical timing and inertia issues inherent in the design of a blowback, semi-automatic action.
Magnum Research solved the problem by drilling a small orifice in the barrel just in front of the chamber to bleed off a bit of the expanding gas. The effect was to equalize the peak pressure from shot-to-shot which solved the timing and inertia design problems. Over the orifice, Magnum Research installed a multi-holed gas block to diffuse the vented gas under the forearm.
Unfortunately, Magnum Research, which is now part of Kahr Arms, no longer lists a .17 HMR chambering in their catalog, but this same gas metering system is used in the current .22 WMR to enable the rifle to function with all bullet weights.
By Holt Bodison
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