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Next generation rimfires: Tactical Solutions offers hunters and shooters real-world hunting answers.

Among the leaved-out oak branches, the squirrel flattened against the trunk. With only his head visible, he peered through a fork in the branches and barked. Leaning against a tree, I steadied the little rifle. The squirrel barked again and again, and I squeezed the trigger. At the shot, the bushytail pitched out of the tree and landed with a satisfying thump on the forest floor.

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Small-game hunting is something I enjoy tremendously, but I don't do as much of it as I would like. Between trips for big game, upland birds and spring turkey, I rarely get the time to hunt small game, but when I do, I dearly love it. From beagles running a cottontail to squirrels high in the treetops to hot-barreled prairie dog action, I always seem to find a place for a .22 LR.

But not just any old .22--it has to be accurate. Col. Townsend Whelen's statement that "only accurate rifles are interesting" holds doubly true for the pint-size two-two. Luckily for accuracy buffs, there are many rimfires that do incredible work straight from the factory. However, there is always room for improvement.

CUSTOM 10/22

Enter Tactical Solutions. I ran across the company's booth at SHOT Show and was captivated as soon as I picked up one of its custom 10/22s. It had a green fluted barrel, compensator and a futuristic-looking green laminated stock, which fit like the proverbial glove.

As aesthetically appealing as that specimen was, creating aftermarket accessories for 10/22s is nothing new. In fact, bull-barrel target versions of this popular rifle abound, but most come with a trade-off. When a bull barrel is added for accuracy, weight often becomes excessive. In addition to weight, the fine balancing characteristics and sporter feel that made the 10/22 so popular in the first place go right out the window. Owning several such rifles in the past, I didn't want to make that mistake again.

However, Tactical Solutions X-Ring barrels are a bit different. Utilizing 6061 T6 aluminum around a chromemoly steel barrel, this .920-diameter bull barrel gives the stiffness and accuracy of a bull barrel, but with the balance and weight of a sporter. Accuracy is enhanced by an oversize shank for a snug action-to-barrel fit. Muzzles are available threaded for a compensator, or, if you are lucky enough to live in a state where its allowed, a suppressor (of course, a federal tax stamp is required).

While the barrels are noteworthy on their own, Tactical Solutions offers a matching stock (made by Predator Gunstocks), which is ideal for offhand shooting. The fit to my body was fantastic, and the stock is lightweight and, being laminate, very rigid.

CUSTOM RIMFIRE PISTOLS

Continuing the idea of customizing popular rimfires, Tactical Solutions also offers accessories for two popular rimfire pistols, the Browning Buck Mark and the Ruger MK series and 22/45. Like the X-ring rifle barrel, both pistols barrels (Trail-Lite for Browning and Pac-Lite for Ruger) incorporate an aluminum barrel with a button-rifled chrome moly steel liner. The Pac-Lite is available in two lengths, 4 1/2 inches and six inches. The six-inch barrel can be had in a standard non-threaded muzzle or a threaded version for use with a compensator or suppressor. The 4 1/2 inch barrel is only available with a threaded muzzle. Both lengths come equipped with quality adjustable sights and are drilled and tapped for a matching Picatinny rail. The barrels are fluted, which can be done before or after the anodizing process for a unique look. Standard colors include matte black, matte OD green, black, red and blue (custom colors are also available). Since the barrel and upper receiver on the Ruger is the serialized firearm, the Pac-Lite barrels have to be bought through an FFL dealer.

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10/22 X-RING BARREL (5-shot groups at 50 yards)

Winchester Super-X  .76  .79  .81  .79 Avg.

Remington Target    .72  .79  .84  .78 Avg.

Federal Gold Medal  .61  .69  .65  .65 Avg.

Eley Tenex          .51  .64  .58  .58 Avg.

BROWNING w/TRAIL-LITE BARREL (5-shot groups at 25 yards)

Winchester Super-X  .60  .66  .70  .65 Avg.

Federal Game-Shok   .75  .65  .71  .70 Avg.

Remington Viper     .99  .85  .89  .91 Avg.

Remington           .79  .82  .78  .80 Avg.


The Trail-Lite for the Browning is a true replacement barrel (not a regulated FFL item). Being a long-time Buck Mark guy, I ordered a four-inch threaded-muzzle Trail-Lite in OD green (Trail-Lites are also offered in 5 1/2 and 7 1/2-inch lengths with our without threaded muzzle or fluting). I had it equipped by Tactical Solutions with an accessory rail for an optional light/laser. For sights I topped the Buck Mark with a red dot as well as a laser, both from Insight.

I took both the rifle and pistol to the range to see if they would perform as good as they looked. I shoundn't have questioned it. I ran five different types of ammo through each of the guns using a Shooter Ridge rest for rifle and pistol alike. Like all rimfires, these guns showed a definite preference for certain fodder, both in terms of accuracy and reliability. However, both showed enough potential that finding a suitable hunting, as well as target, round shoundn't be much of a problem.

In addition to its line of innovative barrels, lightweight stocks and highly-efficient compensators and suppressors, Tactical Solutions also makes some cool accessories such as a tactical magazine release for the 10/22, aluminum grips and accessory attachments.

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Title Annotation:GUNS & LOADS
Author:Schoby, Mike
Publication:Petersen's Hunting
Article Type:Product/service evaluation
Date:Jul 1, 2010
Words:926
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