Over the weekend, I’ve decided to finally partake in a monthly sub-gun match. And to be honest, I’ve been putting it off for almost two years mainly for three reasons. First is that the match range is far as shit from my place. Well, anything more than an hour away from me is what I consider far as shit. The second was that I didn’t have a sub-gun. I mean, if I were to go to a sub-gun match, I wanted to run the MP5. Or at least some 9mm or 45 ACP pistol caliber. But alas, my friend said that I can just run my 22LR. Namely the HK416D that I have sitting in the safe for a long ass time. And finally the last reason was ammo. While 9mm and 5.56/.223 ammo are coming back to stock, 22LR – not so much. Or at least not the CCI Mini-Mag.
Still, despite the weather and lack of sleep, I sucked it up and started my drive at 0600 just to make the 0830 sign in time.
Let me say, I was really quite impressed to see a bunch of different UZIs and suppressors all laying on the table. It was like a glimpse to everyone’s personality based on seeing how they customized their own sub-gun. Of course, UZIs weren’t the only thing I saw. There were a few others like Hi-Point, Kel-Tec, and Beretta.
There was this one dude that rocked the HK Mark 23 with a big ass can. I’m like “WTF Really?” Can I touch???
With that said, this was really the first match that I got a chance to really run the HK416D in a dynamic sense. And to top that off, it rained during my shoot. Now keep in mind, just because its a HK416D .22LR, it’s not a Heckler and Koch hardware. It’s a Carl Walther knock off. The reason why I say this is because it just so happened that during my first stage, I had nothing but problems.
My first stage was Stage 3, which was made up of sub-gun and pistols with paper targets and steels. This was the worst stage for me and it was a wake up call. The worst stage because I got a “DNF” caused by two factors. Ammo related issue and ammo management, as similar as they sound, they are not.
First off, because I haven’t shot the 416 in any capacity like I was doing at this match, I really didn’t know what ammo was compatible with this gun or not. During this stage, it was really apparent that the gun did not like any of the Federal ammo I was using. Which was surprising because I thought that a majority of the 22LR ammos are the same. Furthermore, I used these same Federal ammo when I was zeroing the red dot. But then again, it was indoor and I was really slow firing the rifle.
However, one of the other shooters asked if I was running a cooper nose or lead nose. I was like, a little of both; but most of the jams I was having did occur with the Federal lead nose ammo. He stated that he had the exact same problems with his Sig 522. He suggested to stick with cooper nose ammo. Lucky for me, it just so happened that I did pack the last two boxes of my CCI Mini-Mag and as soon as I switched out the ammo, I didn’t have much of the same problem.
In general the gun seem to slapped me in the face to be more cautious in checking for double-feed jams, instead of doing emergency reloads.
The wake up call was that I didn’t really understand or know both my gun or the ammo selection. Maybe I can blame it on the lack of CCI Mini-Mags that are out there or the poor quality of manufactured ammo. But a part of me wished that I never bought this gun at all. I did wished I had bought a 9mm carbine instead, truth be told. But now I’m stuck with the gun and guess I will have to really dive into learning this particular HK416 clone and the nuisance of the 22 ammo.
It really is a suck that there are a bunch of 22 horders out there. Otherwise, it would be just really convenient for me to go grab a box of 22 off of any ammo shelf and not worry about losing out $7 for a box to see if it’s compatible with my gun or not. But now that 22LR ammo are getting up in prices, I have to really make sure beforehand if it’s indeed compatible. And that means really spending time on them forums. Who really wants to spend time on the forums reading/weeding through someone’s bullshit? Like I said earlier, I’ve already spent my last two boxes of the “Gout de Diamants” CCI Mini-Mag 22LR ammo. So I’m scrambling to find some in stock but no luck on my part so far. Whether I will be able to go to next month’s match or not is up in the air.
The flip side also is that since I still have two boxes of them Federal ammo, I should probably learn how to adjust the bolt speed screw on the 416 and see if it can run the Federal any better. However, the factory has it set “just right” to run a wide range of ammo. So do I really want to muck around with this setting?
Your Mileage May Vary
Despite the set back of crappy ammo and the “DNF” (Which I found later, someone else who got a DNF was allowed to do a re-shoot. Seriously? What’s up with that shit?) I ended up deciding that the entire match will be used as my training event.
Because the 416 clone lacks the ability to use any ambi aftermarket parts, thanks to the genius thinking of Walther, I’m stuck running this rifle as is. Still, it was real painful reminder for me that not all rifles are “South Paw Friendly”. Oh I so missed my ambi charging handle and fire control selector! I was ok with the standard magazine release but still; I found that this rifle forced me to go back to the basic methodologies of manipulation I had started with.
Rolling my rifle over just to grab the charging handle and rack it back. Or using my thumb or index finger to go from “Safe” to “Fire” mode.
But you know the one thing that really pissed me off on this rifle, aside from the ammo? There is no bolt catch on this rifle at all. So I was pretty pissed that I could not manipulate this rifle like I would normally on a AR rifle when dealing with malfunctions or reloading. But it didn’t take long before all of my old ways came back to me. I soon found myself manipulating the rifle and clearing the malfunctions pretty quick. The RO said he was pretty impressed to see me work my malfunctions quickly and smoothly.
So before I completely switched out the ammo, I decided on the next stage that I was going to purposely run the shitty Federal ammo once again. Just to make sure it’s the lead nose that’s giving me problems. But also more time for me to really work my malfunctions clearing while at the same time do a little CQB and pie the doorways. So I guess its really comes down to what did I really want to get out of this match.
The 416D 2nd Look
So what do I really think of the HK416D 22LR clone after this sub-gun match? I think it’s an ok rifle to be honest. I liked it for mere cosmetic reasons. But if I were given a choice between this particular clone design or another 22LR rifle, I’d would probably be choosing the M&P15-22. The options to customize the M&P 15-22 with aftermarket parts, like the trigger, are much more versatile. However, to be really fair to the HK416D, I will continue to run this rifle (to supplement my carbine fundamentals) until it no longer meets my demand.
Taking it for what it is, it’s a good tool for me to reenforce my fundamentals and sure enough, did I have a few issues at that match. Secondly, it makes me remember all the manipulations I needed to do on a standard rifle (for a South Paw). Sadly though, until all rifles are built with ambi features as the standard, I will have to get use to learning to run it as is. Cause what happens if my ambi rifle does go down in a match and a friend loans me his? Am I going to worry about working a right-handed setup or am I going to shoot the match?
Looking back, this rifle cost me $600. Of course, this was right at the cusp of the massive surge of buy ups on firearms and ammo. I didn’t know any better at the time so in a way, maybe now I’m starting to feel a little buyer’s remorse. Still, it’s a fun rifle to shoot. But I’m a little hesitant to utilize this rifle for anything else other than plinking and training.