Heckler & Koch’s G36, chambered in 5.56mm NATO, inspires lots of envy on the range and battlefield, and now Walther is offering an officially licensed, blowback-operated .22 LR version that replicates the venerable centerfire’s looks, feel and operation.
The stock folds to the right side and locks securely against the receiver. Extended, the stock locks solidly in place without any wiggle, ensuring maximum stability.
As a manufacturer officially licensed by Heckler & Koch, Walther does a superb job of replicating the look and dimensions of the proven G36 in 5.56mm NATO.
Walther’s rimfire G36 kept on running at the range, no matter what .22 LR round it was fed. With a Weaver Kaspa scope mounted, it was also very accurate out to 50 yards.
Strongly reminiscent of a simplified HK grip assembly, the rimfire G36 uses a straightforward assembly that comes out all in one piece for cleaning and lubrication.
The ejection port is one place where this rifle departs visually from the centerfire G36. The shell deflector helps secure the folding stock against the receiver.
The polymer-framed magazine has polymer feed lips, standard for many modern military-replica rimfires, and is held together with metal Torx screws.
With the rimfire G36’s grip and bolt assemblies removed, the interior portion of the receiver is easy to access for cleaning.
The blowback-operated bolt assembly features a single extractor claw and sturdy steel construction, while the ambidextrous charging handle, made of polymer, reciprocates with every shot.
The author printed this rapid-fire group at 25 yards with Winchester’s M-22 ammo.
CCI’s Mini-Mag created a 0.28-inch group before a flyer opened it up to 0.66 inches.
Though the retaining pin on the right side looks like a mag release, the real magazine release on the rimfire G36 is actually on the port side, and is not reversible.
I obliterate an orange chunk of clay pigeon, then knock an empty shotgun shell down the berm, seeking and destroying bits of junk at about 35 yards with an Aimpoint sight.
There are still a few of the magazine’s 20 rounds left, and I look for more things to obliterate. This is a blast. It’s a great way to spend a Thursday. And it sure looks like I’m shooting a real-deal Heckler & Koch G36. But, of course, I’m not.
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The rifle in my hands at the range is a little enigmatic. The box and receiver are both stamped with the famous Heckler & Koch logo, and the model “HK G36.” The box also says “.22 Tactical Rimfire,” and below that, “Made by Carl Walther, Germany.
It is imported by Walther Arms of America, which sells a vast array of rimfire replicas, including officially licensed models from Heckler & Koch and Israeli Weapons Industries (IWI), as well as its own series of centerfire pistols. In other words, you can get a Walther PPK like James Bond or a rimfire replica of an Uzi carbine with a 16.1-inch barrel.
The G36 .22 looks exactly like its identically sized, identically proportioned centerfire counterpart. In hand, it feels a bit more like Walther’s rimfire guns. It’s light. Its construction is primarily polymer, encapsulating the steel components that comprise its dedicated firearm workings. Its sights are polymer, its magazine is polymer and its safety switch is polymer (externally, anyway). But inside, it’s a proper firearm with a steel barrel and bolt, built with a very clever design and beefed up to take plenty of abuse.
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So while it looks authentic, it feels like a recreation, and while it is a dedicated recreation (of the 5.56mm G36), this G36 .22 stands completely on its own merits. Before shooting the rifle, I took it apart to understand it better.
To read the entire story on the Walther HK G36 .22 Replica Rifle, please visit PersonalDefenseWorld.com.
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