5.56 Timeline

Review: XM 18-22 40mm Beehive Round.

I went to the range and was setting up only to realize I left my range bag at home. It was going to be one of those days. Had to peel tape off an old target to hang up my target.

It is said that a 40mm grenade launcher is one of the most versatile useless things you can buy. You can fire all sorts of different types of munitions out of one, if you can get your hands on them. Smoke, star clusters, parachute flares, CS gas, shotgun shells, beehives, etc, etc.

A “beehive” or “hive” round uses multiple smaller projectiles for antipersonnel use. A beehive round for an 105mm artillery might disperse 8000 flechettes. We are going to be looking at something a little bit smaller. This round fires 18 .22 long rifle rounds from a 40mm launcher.

I’ve read debate on if various rounds were technically “canister” rounds, or “beehive” rounds. To me, there does not seem to be any rhyme or reason why a round would be called one and not the other. There is no consistent pattern between various designs.

At one point the military tried a “bee hive” round for the 40mm that fired 45 flechettes. This was replaced with a buckshot shell as that turned out to be more effective against targets.

I’d been wanting to get a hive round for my M203 even before I had the M203, but I had not seen any in stock anywhere. But to be fair, I only really looked around once a year or so. I finally found one for sale online and $425 + Tax + S&H later I had it.

I was rather underwhelmed when I got it. Now I knew that I was going to be getting this for novelty purposes and would likely only fire it once or twice a year, mainly to show off to other people. But it kinda sucks.

First, what is it and how does it work?

It has 18 bores, and uses a large pistol primer to drive an internal firing pin to fire off the 18 .22 LR rounds with in.

The anodizing on the aluminum is spotty in appearance, and the bores are very rough. I figured they were dirty from a test fire, but no, it looks like they were just drilled roughly.

The plate that acts as the firing pin is made from stainless steel. It also was not deburred so it is covered sharp edges and rough metal at the edges. There was a chamfer on the inside that was cut after the part was anodized leaving bare aluminum. Lots of chatter marks in that rough cut.

Quite frankly, this is a simple design. I understand that there is extremely low demand for something like this, so the price is going to reflect the very low volume of sales. But I know that if there was any substantial amount of demand for these we would see for them sale on Wish for $20 each shipped from China.

It feels like I paid a premium price for an item manufactured with lower the quality than a Happy Meal toy.

But the important question is, “Does it work?”

I’ve read people posting online that the 18 round hive should not be used in a M203 due to the excessive recoil could damage the M203 launcher. That only the 8 or 9 round hives should be used in a M203.

I’m sure you are reacting with, “Excessive recoil? It is a .22! .22 has negligible recoil.” Well. . . 18 times negligible can add up.

I decided I’d fire it side by side with a 12 gauge round to see how the recoil felt.

I think the people who claim the recoil on this might damage your launcher don’t know what they are talking about. This certainly has less felt recoil than the 12 gauge or a standard 40mm chalk round.

I’m going to be writing about the Trijicon MRO, so I was playing around with it today. I threw it on the M203 stand alone mount and tried using that for aiming the 12 gauge shotshell. I found my impact was very low and right. Only 2 pellets hit the target. So I aimed high left for the hive round. In the video below you can see the two pellet impacts on the target before the hive round is fired.

It was a little slow to insert this hive round into the chamber. It would have been nice if there was more of a chamfer or radius to the nose of it.

It is very disappointing to see that almost all the 22 rounds impact the target sideways. At first I thought the bores might be oversized, but this might just be because they are smoothbores.

I did not expect so much residue from the large pistol primer.

A rod is necessary to push out the spent .22 cases. I keep one in my range bag (which I forgot to bring with me).

I found the insert of a pen would work as a rod for pushing out cases.
Well. . . It worked for a bit.

My concern when using this round is hang fires and .22 rounds that don’t go off. .22 long rifle is very reliable for what it is, but it certainly isn’t 100% reliable. If a round doesn’t go off, I’m not likely to know until after I have disassembled this adaptor and rodded out the cases.

I really wanted one of these rounds and now I have one. Yet I don’t feel it is worth $425. I wouldn’t suggest buying one. For $425 I would have expected it to be a piece of metal art instead of rough surfaces, burrs, and weirdly discolored anodizing. It would be nice to see steel used for the bores, and I would have at least liked to have seen a reamed bore instead of just drilled. Preferable it would have been even better had they been rifled.

Some might say, “Why complain, shooting .22 is cheap.” But when you look at the price of 18 .22 rounds along with a large pistol primer, that is comparable to the cost of a cheap shotgun shell. It is much quicker and easier to fire 12 gauge out of my M203 than to load and unload this hive round.

Still, I have the round now, and I’ll use it occasionally. It will probably spend most of its time sitting on my desk as something to show off to people.

Perhaps someday I’ll make my own. I’d turn the body from stainless steel and rifle the bores. There are some lower capacity .22 hive rounds for the 40mm with rifled bores. Also now someone came up with a 4 shot .410 hive round. Still, having to use a pistol primer to actuate it really slows down the reloading. I’ll probably stick to 12 gauge and chalk rounds for plinking. The XM 18-22 is fun, but I feel it is a poor value.

Range Report mounting the M203

Decided to throw the LMT M203 on the AR as it was intended. The M203 slides over the barrel and index on the barrel nut. It then clamps to the barrel. The KAC QD M203 mount has an insert that allows you to adjust the length of mounting area. Depending on wear and tolerance stacking you use this insert to make sure that there is no forward/backwards play in the launcher.

This spacer solution that KAC came out with is rather nifity. In their QD mount this insert is X shaped with 4 U notches in it. Each notch is cut to a different depth, allowing you to pick between 5 different thickness to take up any potential slack in the mounting.

Yes 5 options. The 4 notches are each different thicknesses, and if they are not enough, you can flip this spacer around, to use the backside, for a 5th option.

I should have taken a picture of it for this description.

Anyways, the rambling was to explain that the M203 launcher puts the barrel in tension, applying forward pressure on bottom of that M203 step cut into the barrel.

On this gun, that pressure moved the point of impact about 5 MOA up. I adjusted the zeros on the iron sights and the ACOG. I started at 25m, then adjusted the ACOG zero again at 100 yards.

Since the M203 was moved to this gun, I put on a leaf sight for it on the top rail. Fortunately it was right on, and no adjustment was needed. (Well, it impacted about 8 inches high at 100 yards. 1 elevation increment on the leaf sight would move the impact about 5 meters, so I choose to call that close enough)

Best part for me is that my stand alone mount has its’ own sights. I’ll be able to just pull the M203 right off this upper and slap it on the stand alone mount when I want to run it by it self, and I can throw it on this upper when I want to run it on an AR. I’ll just have to remember the 5 MOA point of impact shift should I take the launcher off this rifle.

I recall back when I was in the Corps, some of the M203 gunners liked having the M203 on their rifle during rifle qualification as the extra 3 pounds helped keep the rifle steady and made for less movement during firing. Personally, unless I knew I was going to be lobbing a bunch of 40mm, I’d rather have it off my gun. But here I am throwing it on a gun anyways.

Endcap strike and a partially grenaded 3-lug

ARFCOM user ,JAG2955 had an interesting oopsie with his silencer

So in like 30 hours into actually having my Silencerco Summer Promo 2018 Octane 9.

Got an ILWT 3 lug and the Silencerco adapter on it.

Load up some 115gr Lawman for my MPX.

20 rd mag-shoot one, no end cap strike, seems like in good to go. Two sets of 5, checking the mount each time. Accuracy starts getting bad, so I clear and grab the can to see how hot it is. Not bad, let’s remove it.

Oh fuck, it’s twisting!

I installed it with Rocksett a month ago, WTF?

Get the can off, thinking the Rocksett let go for some reason. Aaaand an end cap strike.

Let me check my precious tube. Tube looks okay.

Remove SiCo 3 lug adapter, and I see why the muzzle device is loose.

3 lug now has speed holes.

some frag shown in pics.

I’m sad now, but I’m certain ILWT will make it right.

Link to thread below