Remembering the anticipation of heading into the woods with a .22 rifle evokes images and smells that never wear away. And opening a little cardboard box of 50 cartridges added to the day’s excitement.
Modern manufacturing makes it possible for us to have a plinker with a stock wearing any one of many colors. If you were a kid today and could have any rimfire, how would you choose?
Tactical Solutions (TacSol) was established in 2002 in Boise, Idaho. Initially offering accessories for Ruger’s rimfires and eventually other popular brands, TacSol pioneered lightweight and precision-accurate barrels for these guns. Complete firearms are now one of TacSol’s many specialties, and they do them well.
Today, we see many companies that specialize in manufacturing rifles taking advantage of the expired patent on the venerable Ruger 10/22, but not without trying to improve on it. Continuously produced since 1964, the 10/22 remains one of the most beloved .22-caliber rifles brought to market. The platform lends itself to a variety of accessories and enhancements. More than two dozen variations of the 10/22 have been created, but the recent Takedown models are among the most popular.
Great things happen when you blend products from brands like TacSol, Ruger and Magpul around a popular design and .22-caliber. Case in point: TacSol’s newest lightweight, collapsible, accurate, and compact X-Ring Takedown (TD) VR featuring Magpul’s Backpacker stock. Weighing in at 3.5 pounds it’s a full-sized, highly-accurate, dependable and packable semiautomatic. A ground-up build, TacSol’s latest rifle comes standard with an exciting list of features and benefits.
Although appearances of the X-Ring Takedown (TD) VR (Versatile Rifle) point toward a customized 10/22, it’s actually much better. Save for Ruger’s BX-Trigger and rotary magazine, TacSol designed and manufactured these custom .22s for serious survivalists, target shooters and backyard plinkers. Even accuracy snobs might be impressed with this one.
“Many years ago, TacSol made left-hand charging rifles, but only for our competitive shooters,” said Chet Alvord, owner of TacSol. “Our shooters have many world and national championships, as well.” He continued to explain that a left-side charging handle meant that a right-handed shooter could stay on target and clear any jam with the left hand. It was so successful that they incorporated reversible charging handles into all TacSol rifles as of last year. He added, “Another advantage of the left-side charging handle is so that a shooter can show the rifle’s clear condition to range officers. You don’t have to reach your hand across the action to work the bolt.” G&A’s staff loved this functionality during testing, as well.
The X-Ring’s bolt is machined from heat-treated stainless steel and incorporates a twin guiderod recoil system. Unlike having a factory recoil spring and guiderod on one side of the bolt, which can cause the bolt to cant and bind, TacSol engineered a better system. Twin guiderods ensure the bolt travels smoothly and squarely within the action. Alvord says the system was “designed to handle high round counts.”
The top surface of the bolt has a grooved design. Alvord said, “Unlike all other bolts, it does not run on a flat surface. Rather, the grooved bolt is more like running on thin rails. The grooves allow carbon and residue to collect in them, ensuring more consistent bolt speed. And, with carbon and residue accumulating in the grooves, you can go longer between cleanings.”
TacSol’s guns are crafted in-house, and the X-Ring’s receiver is home-machined. By machining receivers from solid stock and not using forgings, incredible tolerances were achieved. The integrated 15 minute-of-angle (MOA) optic rail is machined atop the receiver. Clean lines are evident. Conveniently, TacSol receivers have a hole machined into the rear, directly in-line with the barrel for chamber-to-muzzle cleaning. This is not necessary with a takedown rifle, but it will help with other fixed-barrel models.
Externally, the barrel is machined with 6061-T6 aluminum, as is the receiver, and both have an anodized finish available in many colors. Internally, it’s designed for long life and accuracy with 4140 chromoly steel and a 1:16-inch twist, and complete with a target crown. Measuring 16.5 inches, the flutes lighten barrel weight. How they flute is a unique process and proprietary.
The fire control is all Ruger. However, the BX-Trigger has been enhanced with TacSol’s extended magazine release (EMR) installed and anodized to match the barrel and action. It’s a great trigger that breaks cleanly between 2¾ and 3½ pounds.
The EMR is one of the best magazine releases on the market. You’ll never have to pluck them out with two fingers again. It won’t unintentionally drop magazines either. The worst part of the BX-Trigger the bolt catch. The bolt catch is nothing new or helpful. It functions just as any 10/22 when it comes to locking and releasing the bolt. Fiddling with that little flat lever to lock and release the bolt is a hassle. We struggle with it almost every time, despite being familiar with how it works. This alone should dissuade you from buying an X-Ring TD.
During our interviews with Chet Alford, we learned that TacSol didn’t coordinate with Magpul on the X-22 Backpacker stock. “As soon as it was released, we knew it was a great fit for our X-Ring Takedown rifles,” said Alford.
Magpul did a nice job, too. Besides being a drop-in design compatible with all factory Ruger 10/22 Takedown rifles, it has a unique locking interface to attach the barrel assembly to the stock body when being transported. The reinforced polymer construction is durable and ergonomic. Standard and optic-height cheek risers are included and necessary when mounting an optic. Two positions for optional quick disconnect (QD) sling mounts are visible, but QD swivels are not included.
The stock offers more than meets the eye with storage in both the grip and the cheekpiece. Completely practical, it epitomizes the “Backpacker” name. A water-tight compartment is incorporated into the grip for storing anything that fits; A fire starter, fishing tools and batteries come to mind. The cheek piece is hinged and specifically designed to hold three spare 10-round rotary magazines, ready at hand, or a cardboard box of 50 rounds and one spare mag. It’s very well thought out by Magpul.
Wanting to see if the rifle would fit in a pack, we disassembled the rifle, which measured just 19½ inches in its takedown form. This rifle reasonably fits many packs except something the size of a school bookbag — even with an optic attached.
Obtaining a hasty 50-yard zero was simple and bullet holes were stacked on bullet holes. Setting our sights on 100- and 200-yard targets, we were able to repeatably connect with 10- and 20-inch steel targets.
Accuracy testing took a little effort because there are so many ways to fire this rifle. With fiber optic sights standard and the option for mounting a magnified optic or red dot, we tried them all. Also, with a threaded- and suppressor-ready barrel, we shot the rimfire both suppressed and unsuppressed.
The X-Ring’s bright fiber-optic sights are fixed at the front, and adjustable for windage and elevation at the rear. These are sufficient for plinking or hunting. We fired numerous half-inch groups at 25 yards. Being a takedown rifle with iron sights fixed to the barrel is the only way to guarantee a consistent zero. The optics rail on the receiver is separate of the barrel.
Although overkill, Trijicon’s AccuPower 4.5-30x56mm First Focal Plane (FFP) Long Range Riflescope was perfect for 50-yard testing. Not only could we see the holes on target, but we could make out bullets traveling downrange. The adjustable parallax helped us focused and straight.
The 1/2x28 threaded barrel accepts any suppressor or muzzlebrake of similar threads. Using a Gemtech Outback II .22 LR, we experimented by firing groups across the chronograph while testing accuracy. Accuracy didn’t suffer and bullet impact shifted only slightly — about a half an inch high. Bullet speeds were minimally increased when suppressed.
Not all .22 LR rifles like all .22 ammo, and the X-Ring TD is no exception. Not what we expected, but CCI’s Mini-Mags were this gun’s favorite. Whether it was due to the lighter bullet weight or the faster speeds, who knows? Other brands didn’t perform poorly, just not a well as that from CCI.
We fired about 500 rounds through TacSol’s new custom takedown, and you can rest assured, reliability is not an issue. There were three failures to fully eject, likely caused by underpowered ammo. A look at the extreme spread (ES) and standard deviation (SD) from the chronograph shows none were perfect. There was also deviation from zero after taking the rifle down and firing again using the rail-mounted optical sight. The change was as much as 2 inches.
Everyone on G&A’s staff liked this rifle, and any of us would entertain owning the compact package — even for the $1,115 price. If you only own one .22 rifle in your life, this could be it. It is a great backpack gun, survival gun and plinker. It’s accurate and well-built, no doubt. If you want to suppress it, we’d recommend the TacSol Axiom can ($465). With a 1-inch outside diameter, it is ideal for use on a 10/22, and it makes shooting more hearing safe and enjoyable.
While you’re at it, we encourage you to visit tacticalsol.com and explore the brand’s many other offers. TacSol isn’t just a custom gun maker. Just be sure to keep the kids away as you browse, or you’ll end up with more than one. They make custom rimfire pistols, accessories for both rifles and pistols as well as AR products, suppressors and other gear. If you do look them up, and you have kids, be sure they’re not around; They’ll cost you more money.
TacSol X- Ring TD VR .22 LR
- Type: Blowback, semiautomatic
- Cartridge: .22 LR
- Capacity: 10 rds.
- Barrel: 16.5 in., fluted, threaded
- Overall Length: 34 in.; 19.5 in. (take down)
- Weight: 3 lbs., 8 oz.
- Stock: Magpul X- 22 Backpacker
- Finish: Gun Metal Gray, anodized
- Trigger: Ruger BX Trigger, 3 lbs.
- Sights: Fiber optic (front); drift adjust fiber optic (rear); integral 15 MOA optic rail
- Safety: Crossbolt (manual)
- MSRP: $1,155
- Manufacturer: Tactical Solutions, 866- 333- 9901, tacticalsol.com