Jess is a
GunBlast contributor whose book Old
Guns & Whispering Ghosts was
reviewed here not too long ago.
You can get a personally signed copy of this fully
illustrated book by going to www.oldgunsbook.com.
The .22 Long Rifle remains one of the most
accurate, affordable and versatile of cartridges, far outselling
all others... and the Ruger 10/.22 carbine is the most
popular and dependable rifle ever to be built around this
ubiquitous rimfire. While
an instant hit, the accuracy and trigger pull on the dependable
Rugers left something to be desired, and almost immediately an
industry sprung up offering custom after-market barrels,
triggers, stocks and other accessories.
So called “Race Guns” typically feature all the
above, able to consistently provide for one-hole 50 yard groups.
Those of us wanting to build a custom 10/.22
have generally had to purchase a whole gun to work with, even
though we might end up replacing essentially everything but the
was the first to offer an after-market receiver for the Ruger,
so far as I know, and now the good folks at Idaho’s Tactical
Solutions have introduced what is perhaps the finest
receiver ever made with the 10/.22 footprint.
Announced to the industry at the 2007
SHOT Show and reported here on GunBlast, I wrote
TacSol’s Keith Feeley right away to place an order.
Production was initially slowed by their move to new and
much larger facilities, and extra care was put into setting up
the machining so that every receiver marketed would meet their
exacting standards for quality.
In July I was excited to receive one of the first units
sold, along with a TacSol barrel, magazine release and Raptor
stock for this GunBlast evaluation.
First out of the box was a lightweight TacSol
bull barrel, a superbly rifled steel bore inside a .920 sleeve,
aircraft aluminum that adds stiffness and therefore considerably
greater accuracy than the original Ruger barrel.
Readers may recall the praise heaped on their PacLite
receiver/barrels for the Ruger .22 pistol, by my much esteemed
fellow scribe John Taffin as
well as our own Jeff Quinn, and you may have had a
chance to read the GunBlast
review of the TacSol 10/.22 barrels as well.
In brief, these fully fluted, 16.5” tubes are capable
of sub 1/2” groups at 100 yards, while weighing it at a mere
15 ounces. For
comparison, I replaced TacSol’s entry with my trusty 16” Whistle
Pig lightweight barrel and fired additional groups.
Whistle Pig tubes come in a wide variety of colors and
finishes as well as a tempting octagon version, and mine has
frankly been the pinpoint leader against which all other barrels
and rifles have been measured.
A glance at the targets pictured at right, proves the
TacSol to be every bit as precise an instrument as the always
impressive Whistle Pig tube and, in my experience, considerably
more accurate than most other after-market brands.
Next out of the box we pulled a lovely composite
wood stock. When it
came time to choose furniture to sell with their barrel and
receiver, the ladies and gents of Tactical Solutions chose the
radically sleek “Raptor,” sporting a cutout panel, contoured
palm swell, integral butt pad and broad fore end for steady
offhand use. Because
I do my best shooting as a southpaw, I also ordered a relatively
inexpensive left handed stock from Rimfire Sports &
Custom called the “Yukon.“
Following the same basic design as the Boyd’s
“Blaster” and others before it, the Yukon is a thumbhole
model with a cheek rest. Responding
to my deep seated urge to “mess with things,” I shortened
the fore-end and gave it a semi-Schnabel look, enlarged the
thumbhole, and reshaped its outline to suit my personal tastes.
Finally, I inlaid a carved ivory medallion showing a wild
tribal huntress. The
rifle slings I had on hand seemed plain and unattractive once
I’d finished, so I cut up a silver-buckled alligator belt I
had on hand and made my own.
One glitch with the original 10/.22 was the
difficulty in reaching its recessed magazine release button, but
the problem is readily and attractively solved with the TacSol
magazine release lever we unpacked next. Besides
making ejecting the magazine sure and fast, the lever adds
a new design element reminiscent of the single shot Sharps,
Ballard, Farquharson, and Ruger’s
derivative Model #1, altering the outline of what was originally
meant to evoke the handy but club-stocked military M-1 carbine.
One has to remain aware in order not accidentally bump
the lever and drop the magazine at just the wrong moment,
dropping the magazine on the ground... but then, awareness
is the name of the game when it comes to either gun handling,
hunting or defense!
Last out of the package, came the shimmering new
TacSol “X-Ring" receiver, a sight to behold!
If I was going to spend a fair amount of hard earned
money on every other part of the gun, I wanted to have an
improved receiver at its heart.
At this, the “X-Ring” receivers certainly fill the
bill, machined as they are to exacting tolerances out of solid
billets of 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum.
One of the first things you will notice is its deep
anodizing and unique profile, including an integral Mil-Spec
scope rail. Most
shooters will top their TacSol rifle with glass, but the rail
can also accommodate Holosight or red
dot options for fast acquisition.
Functionally, the X-Ring features a hardened steel bolt
and a dual spring design for positive lock-up, as well as an
aggressive extractor. TacSol
engineers took a cue from current trends among 10/.22
aficionados, by drilling a hole in the rear of the receiver for
optimal cleaning, and by including a large and easily
manipulated bolt handle. With
the standard Ruger, someone under pressure, with cold hands or
with gloves on could have trouble loading the first round into
the chamber. The
receiver, barrel, and release lever are all available in a wide
range of colors from my favorites, matte black or olive green,
to red, blue, purple and even pink.
Keith tells me that there is a TacSol trigger in
their future, but I needed an improved unit before I could
realize this gun's real accuracy potential.
Touted above all others is the Kidd trigger
assembly, but they’re a two-stage affair that I doubted I
could get used to. I
purchased a Jard trigger system instead, while also
sending off a factory Ruger trigger to Dan Brown of Brown’s
Sporting Goods in Gaston, Oregon.
Dan’s “Pinnacle” trigger job includes polishing the
hammer for smoother bolt contact and a faster lock time, mating
the hammer and sear, adding oversized pins and overtravel
adjustment, removing trigger side play, polishing the adjustable
sear, trigger plunger, magazine plunger and disconnector.
Dan advertises his triggers as “breaking like glass,”
and indeed his reworked Ruger unit broke so smoothly that I
returned the comparable Jard assembly to the distributor where I
Capping this project rifle is a Mueller
6-18X Sport-Dot scope with a 50mm bell, a truly brilliant scope
for the price, and previously reviewed
on this site. I
am a firm proponent of using large, light gathering glass built
for high powered rifles, on precision rimfires.
The lighter weight of the TacSol package makes the
mounting of a substantial scope possible without pushing the
complete rifle (minus the sling) over a comfortable 7 pounds.
Test firing began at 50 yards, and then was
extended out to the 100 yard mark.
A handful of cases jammed in classic stovepipe fashion,
before the bolt and receiver broke in, after which I was able to
burn up thousands of additional rounds of 7 different brands and
types flawlessly. Accuracy
was predictably amazing, and at 350 feet, I was able to not only
punch tight holes in paper, but knock out the 1/2” diameter
door locks on a junked Ford Bronco my buddy had planted
in his field. There
is surely little more satisfying than sending projectiles of any
caliber through the broken and discarded machinery of our modern
age, be it an aggravating television or the steel and glass of a
rig fated to never see the road again!
Was it worth all the expense and wait?
there is reason to be happy with an unaltered Ruger 10/.22,
grabbed from a pickup truck rack for a chance to plink or hunt
small game, it is nothing less than awesome to own a one of a
kind .22 semi-auto rifle customized to your personal needs and
taste, readily able to outperform this shooter, and built with
the absolutely finest components available.
The list price for the TacSol receiver is $375,
the bull barrels retail for $180, the Raptor stock goes for
$170., and their magazine release lever runs another $40.
The Yukon stock sells for $139.95. The cost of a Brown
Sporting Goods Pinnacle Trigger assembly is $159.95, or Dan will
rework your factory Ruger trigger for $80 plus postage.
To order your Tactical Solutions receiver,
barrel and magazine release call: 866-333-9901 and tell
them we sent you.
To peruse their entire line of quality gun parts
and accessories, go to: www.tacticalsol.com
For Dan Brown’s trigger assembly or custom
trigger work, click on: www.brownssportinggoodsonline.com
Whistle Pig barrels can be found at: www.wpgbc.com
One source for the Yukon thumbhole stock is: www.rimfiresports.com
L. "Wolf" Hardin
author fired his groups from a poor man’s shooting bench,
making use of an available juniper stump.
author tried a wide range of ammo brands, bullet shapes and
weights, high speed and standard velocity, everything but
full-on match rounds. There
was surprisingly little difference in accuracy between the
various types, despite substantial differences in bullet drop
and retail cost. The
author shot best with the Federal AutoMatch, followed by a box
of nearly antique CCI Mini-Mags!
For hunting, he has decided he likes the hard hitting
40 gr. Velocitators above all others.
poorly focused photo shows a typical 100 yard group from a
rest, using the Tactical Solutions barrel.
Groups fired with the Whistle Pig tube installed were
just as tight.
Whistle Pig barrel produced this impressive 10 shot group at
115 yards using the Federal AutoMag cartridges.
Not shown is the one shot “kill” of a troublesome
Ford Bronco lock, dropping a round into the dime-size keyhole
at 90 yards with CCI Mini-Mags that had been in dry storage
since the 1980s.
author may have grown up a rough and rascally outlaw biker,
but he still appreciates the Tactical Solutions rifle’s
artistic beauty as much as its bang.
When it comes to this new treasure, he says “let no
man come between.”
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