Tippmann Arms M4 Elite-L Fluted 22LR
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- Last updated: 17/09/2023
For those that don’t know, Shooting Supplies Ltd is a successful gun shop up in Bromsgrove. They sell a wide variety of gear including airguns, shotguns and rifles from the likes of Weihrauch, Air Arms, BSA, Beretta, Browning, Benelli, Blaser, Tikka, and CZ. They also sell scopes, night vision, reloading equipment, and your usual array of accessories.
Pleasingly, the company also imports and distributes a high-quality range of .22LR semi-auto rifles from Tippmann Arms. These rifles form the M4-22 line and are designed around the excellent AR15 platform. I’m excited already! Importantly, while they are designed from the ground up as rimfire rifles for maximum reliability and performance, they are also compatible with most aftermarket AR15 accessories, like triggers, pistol grips, and stocks!
If you take a look at their website, you will find a selection of models. These range from the Tippmann Arms M4 Pro-S (12.5” barrel) at £999.00, to the M4 Elite-L Fluted (16” barrel) at £1149.00, which is the gun on test. The reason for the price difference is that the latter comes with an aluminium handguard and a 16”, 4150 solid steel fluted barrel, while the Pro-S comes with a composite handguard and a non-fluted, 12.5” barrel. The choice is yours!
So, the rifle arrives in a Tippmann-branded tactical hard case. Inside, you will find the rifle, 2x 25-round magazines, an owner’s manual, and a ‘bicycle lock’ for security. Unfortunately, like a lot of other manufacturers, the case that’s supplied looks like it will be of limited use once something like a Low Powered Variable Optic (LPVO) has been attached to the rifle, as the case is not particularly deep.
On the plus side, you do get a very nice set of Tippmann flip-up sights that are very similar to the Magpul MBUS ones. They are attached to the full-length Picatinny rail on top of the rifle and can be used as basic ‘battle sights’ while folded down or quickly deployed by pressing a sprung catch on either side. Both the rear sight and the front sight are finger-adjustable, with the rear offering windage and the front, elevation. There is only one aperture size to choose from, but it works well, lining up nicely with the cylindrical post in the front sight.
Furniture-wise, this model comes with an A2-style, Tippmann-branded, Gen 2 polymer pistol grip that fills the hand and is comfy to hold. It is secured by one bolt and features stippling on the sides, plus ridging on the front and rear faces.
Next up is a common Mil-Spec adjustable stock that attaches to a standard buffer tube. It shows no recoil pad, 2x sling slots, and a sprung lever in the 6 o’clock position. Depress this lever and you can slide the stock through six positions, changing the length of pull from 10.25” - 13.5”, which is very handy! It’s worth mentioning that if you are shooting from a supported position to zero the rifle, and are using your non-shooting hand to support the butt of the rifle and to manipulate elevation, then you might find yourself accidentally depressing the lever and adjusting the length of pull at exactly the wrong moment! Some butt stocks let you lock the adjustment lever, but this one doesn’t. Tippmann has also secured an ambidextrous sling adaptor plate under the castle nut at the receiver end of the buffer tube.
Up front is a hexagonal, 12” aluminium handguard with a 2” diameter, meaning the barrel is free-floated for its entire length. It shows a Picatinny rail at 12 o’clock and multiple M-LOK attachment points on all the other sides for accessories like lights, lasers, vertical grips etc.
At this point, it’s worth mentioning that Shooting Supplies also brings in an impressive range of FAB Defense accessories, including pistol grips, mag well grips, stocks, Picatinny accessory rails etc. The selection is extensive, so definitely check them out!
Overall, I was really impressed with the quality, fit, finish, and feel of these parts, and would say that the 12” forend seems the perfect length for me, giving me plenty of room to extend my support hand, while also leaving space for an underslung Pic rail and bipod, for example.
Unlike a lot of other tactical-style .22 semi-autos, this rifle has an aluminium upper and lower. Straight from the box, this gives the rifle a solid, mil-spec-grade feel, especially when combined with that metal handguard and the decent matte black finish.
For those familiar with the AR15 platform, you will immediately feel at home. On the right-hand side of the upper, you will find a sprung dust cover. This seals the ejection port when the firearm is not in use, opening automatically when the rifle is cocked/made ready or when fired. It has to be manually closed and is handy on a .22 semi like this, as not only does it stop debris from getting in, but it also stops all the fouling from falling out in your gun bag! Behind this, you will find a case deflector and a functional forward assist. The latter can be used to push the bolt fully forward if the return spring has not done its job. I never needed it!
Also, scope mounting is made easy, as there is a Picatinny rail running along the top of the upper. If you want to fit a conventional scope, just make sure that you source a reach-forward mount. I used a Sportsmatch HOP77 Maxiclamp.
Look to the lower and you will see two captive push-pins that make disassembly a doddle. The one to the front acts like a hinge and is often left alone, so just push the rear one from the left side and the gun will open up. Next, just pull the polymer T-handle out, and just like that, you will have the bolt in your hand and excellent access to the chamber, barrel, and fire control group (FCG). This makes cleaning so much easier, which is something that is incredibly important due to the amount of fouling that can build up in a semi-auto .22. The bolt, incidentally, feels very solid and is nickel-plated. The face shows an extractor claw and in use, even after 100s of rounds, it stayed remarkably clean.
The 4150 solid steel barrel has a 1:16” twist rate and measures 16” in length. It shows four significant flutes to reduce weight, measures 18.8mm in diameter at the muzzle, is threaded 1/2” x 28, and comes with a metal thread protector.
The rifle feeds from a 25-round polymer magazine that from the outside, looks very similar to a centrefire AR15 mag. To load it, simply depress a square button on the side and this allows you to pull down the outer sleeve to gain access to a tab that is connected to the follower. Next, just move the follower down as you load rounds in through the top. Here, you will notice some black, oxide-plated, steel feed ears, which are there to make the magazine more durable.
To fit the magazine, just insert it into the mag well, where it clicks into place precisely, meaning no wobble, adding to that sense of overall quality. To remove it, simply depress the well-placed release button on the right side, just above the trigger guard. Overall, I was chuffed with the design and it operated flawlessly throughout testing.
The FCG is Mil-Spec, while the safety selector is proprietary. The latter is a 90º switch that’s located on the left-hand side of the receiver (horizontal for SAFE and vertical for SEMI/FIRE). As AR15-type triggers go, the unit fitted is nice, offering a small amount of creep before a fairly predictable release. I thought the reset was very good, making it easy to operate the trigger consistently and at a decent pace. It is advertised as having a pull weight of around 4 ½ lbs, however, in the aim, it felt heavier than that, and after checking with a trigger pull gauge, it was nearer 6 lbs. There is a standard bolt hold-open/release catch located on the left side, above the front of the trigger guard.
When it came to testing the rifle, I opted for a more practical setup and therefore attached a red dot sight. However, before fitting it, I had a go with the flip-up sights, and they were easy to zero, although there are no markings on them to indicate the direction of adjustment. I just happened to guess correctly! It always surprises me how accurately you can shoot with irons, and although most people probably won’t bother using them, I really enjoyed them.
Obviously, the red dot sight made shooting quickly and more accurately a lot easier, and without really trying, and while firing quite quickly, 1” at 30m was easily achievable. I took the opportunity to churn through a selection of ammo, including some Remington Thunderbolt and some SK match ammo, with the latter reducing the group sizes by over 50%! This is evidence that you should definitely try a few brands of ammo!
I found the magazines quick and easy to load, and crucially, reliable in use. Combined with the rifle, I experienced zero stoppages while using standard velocity ammunition. Zero! The gun ran like a sewing machine and ejected brass ferociously as if it was allergic to it! I found it particularly refreshing not to have to spend time clearing malfunctions and instead just enjoyed shooting the rifle. However, I did try some Winchester subsonics and they didn’t produce enough energy to cycle the action reliably. Saying that, there are so many brands of subs to try, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them work. Plus, I doubt many people will be shooting subs through this type of rifle anyway! All the controls operated as expected, as did the last round hold-open feature.
For accuracy testing, I did fit a variable scope and do some supported shooting from the bench (remember, the magazine dictates a higher shooting position). I managed some 1” groups at 50m, with the trigger being the limiting factor, and I was left with the feeling that the rifle was capable of shooting much smaller groups than that! I do not doubt that with a bipod fitted, some more practice with that trigger, and some ammunition trials, that there is a lot more performance available.
As you have probably gathered, I am rather smitten with the Tippmann Arms M4 Elite-L Fluted. It has been an absolute hoot to test and has not really left me wanting. OK, maybe a lockable butt stock and a lighter trigger would be my personal preferences, but for practical shooting, everything is spot on. The performance, reliability, fit, finish, feel, and build quality are right up there, and the rifle defiantly feels like a premium product. This is, however, reflected in the price, which is £1149. Although each of us must decide if that is value for money, I for one think it is a rifle worth saving up for. You won’t be disappointed.