Gun Review: Tactical Solutions X-Ring .22LR Rifle

    Weight can be deceptive.  You can’t put your finger on the how or why of it, but you almost subconsciously make an inarticulable quality judgment as soon as you assess the weight of a tool in your hands.  Often, ‘lightness’ connotes ‘flimsiness’ or cheap build; If you’ve ever handled a counterfeit branded watch, something about the light weight is unsettling, and it just ‘feels’ wrong.  Other times, however, that first impression you get when you pick up an instrument makes a different mark.  Like picking up what you thought was a steel rifle suppressor, only to find that it has a titanium body.  In other words, it feels lighter than it should, but you still feel a sturdy quality about it.  Handling the Tactical Solutions (“TacSol”) X-Ring gives that same feeling – in person and from across the room, the beefy, bull-barreled X-Ring looks like a substantial block of alloy, but to pick up this light and balanced rifle is next to shouldering a cloud.

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    TacSol started up in 2002, and its reputation derives from its precision replacement barrels and accessories for the Ruger 10/22.  TacSol has since thrown its hat into the ring and started manufacturing complete rifles.  While the X-Ring is based on the Ruger 10/22 and shares many parts and functions in common, the X-Ring is no off the rack 10/22 (TacSol still makes numerous upgrades for the 10/22, including the X-Ring receiver and barrel which are available separately).  Rather, the Tactical Solutions X-Ring is a high-end .22LR comprised primarily of TacSol’s two “finest products”: The X-Ring barrel and X-Ring receiver. The X-Ring receiver is, essentially, a 10/22 receiver machined from 6061-T6 billet aluminum.  TacSol says it is “precision machined” for “the ultimate in accuracy and flawless performance.”  The X-Ring barrel mated to that receiver is a bull-profiled aluminum sleeve over a stainless button-rifled barrel.  This combination produced excellent results during our evaluation.  The X-Ring also offers a host of other upgrades and options over the standard 10/22, which will be discussed in greater detail below.  All said, the first thing you will notice when you pick up the TacSol X-Ring is the weight.  As stated, the bull barrel and robust Vantage RS stock or Hogue Overmoulded stock lend to the deception.  But take it in your hands, and you notice a surprising lightness.  Not a fragile weightlessness, but a substantial balance. The gun just feels sturdy and tightly fit.  Consistent with this observation is the X-Ring’s lifetime warranty, because you don’t really feel like you’ll ever need it after you handle one.  The X-Ring is manufactured in Idaho.

    Specifications:

    The TacSol X-Ring is an extremely accurate target/hunting .22LR rifle introduced in 2013.  The X-Ring weighs in at 5.1lbs with the handsome TacSol brand wood “Vantage RS” stock, or a scant 4.3lbs with the Hogue overmolded 10/22 stock.  MSRP starts at $850 (price varies with options).  The X-Ring’s light weight no doubt derives form its heavy investment in aluminum; Tac Sol says that their rifles are composed primarily of 6061-T6 aluminum billet.  TacSol also claims that all of its anodized aluminum is “a Type 2/Class 2 anodizing that known for being quite durable.  For instance, blued metal, if consistently rubbed with the same friction and pressure as an anodized metal, would show signs of wear and fading before the anodized unit.”

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    Obviously, the heart of this rifle is the fluted, 15 ounce, 16.5″ bull barrel.  The X-Ring barrel is, as you may have guessed, chiefly made from 6061-T6 aluminum.  The barrel is actually a rigid .920″ O.D. aluminum sleeve over a chrome-moly 4140 steel, button-rifled barrel with a 1-in-16-inch twist rate and 11-degree crown.  The fluting dissipates heat more efficiently and reduces the rifle’s overall weight.

    2013-355 As a bonus, the TacSol X-Ring barrels are available with or without 1/2-28 threading for mounting your silencer, and, as silencer owners know, this saves a couple hundred dollars and several weeks of time versus sending off your barrel to be threaded.  A flush-fit thread protector is included (when in place, this thread protector makes the rifle appear as if it had never been modified with threads).  The X-Ring barrel has an oversized shank to fit a variety of 10/22 receivers. 2013-347

    The barrel is mated to the X-Ring receiver – again, CNC forged from 6061-T6 aluminum.  The X-Ring receiver features an integrated/monolithic 15 MOA Picatinny rail for optics mounting.  According to TacSol, each X-Ring receiver comes with a custom barrel retained V-block “to eliminate barrel droop.  The receiver also features a dual spring and guide rod system “that allows a smooth and balanced operating cycle”.  The stainless bolt is heat-treated and polished with some edges beveled “for enhanced reliability.”  Also, as pictured, the bolt has an extended charging handle that makes the X-Ring very easy to charge, even with gloved hands.  TacSol says that the X-Ring receiver has the same “footprint” as the 10/22 receiver and can be thus interchanged freely.  The receiver takes 10/22 magazines.

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    The X-Ring receiver is fitted with the 2013 TacSol Trigger Group:  A 7.2oz trigger group offering a 2.5-2.75lb single stage trigger pull with an adjustable over-travel adjustment screw.  It is contained in an anodized aluminum housing, also accommodating a hardened A2 tool steel hammer, sear and disconnect.  The rifle’s trigger group also features an auto bolt release – a common upgrade for the 10/22.  Best of all, the trigger housing comes with the excellent TacSol extended magazine release (pictured below) – a lever running along and under the trigger guard that permits quick and comfortable mag changes, especially in contrast to the standard 10/22 mag release.

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    The myriad of standard options with the X-Ring certainly trends towards justifying the MSRP for this rifle, but does the X-Ring handle and shoot like an $850 .22?

    General Observations:

    As you have probably gathered, I was struck with the light weight and balance of this rifle, and I can positively report that the fit and finish are also excellent by any measure.  The entire package is sleek impeccable, even –  uniform finish, no loose parts or play in the assembly, and with no machining or tool marks.  Manipulation is also well thought-out: The charging handle built into the bolt is an excellent addition, as is the ergonomic and aesthetic magazine release that traces the curve of the trigger guard.  As mentioned, the X-Ring takes 10/22 mags which insert easily and drop free, unlike some factory 10/22 rifles. You may have gleaned that the balance of this rifle is striking, and I emphasize that point again; this is a light but sturdy rifle that feels great when shouldered, whether with the Hogue Overmoulded stock or the Vantage stock from TacSol. And though the renowned TacSol barrel might be the X-Ring’s claim to fame, it’s only as accurate as the trigger permits.  Fortunately, the X-Ring trigger is a light and crisp single-stage, breaking at under 3lbs.- a perfect complement to the X-Ring’s capable barrel.  Results were consistent with expectations.  CCI Stingers would often punch one-hole groups from 50 yards shot from prone unsupported.  The tightest group came in at .6″. Eliminating the first round flyer, the four shot group was one hole about .3″ across (pictured below):

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    Unbeknownst to me at the time of evaluation, TacSol recommends CCI Mini-Mags for use in the X-Ring.  However, CCI specifically states that CCI Stingers and other high velocity rounds are not recommended.  Coincidentally, most of the ammunition I fired through the X-Ring was CCI Stinger, and results were excellent.  I have asked TacSol for an explanation as to why they do not recommend high-V ammo, and I will update as I receive a response.

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    Also, the barrel comes with 1/2×28 threads, so I took the opportunity to slip my AWC Archangel Titanium suppressor on.  While occasionally a subsonic round (Aguila SuperExtra) would fail to extract, almost certainly because the round did not generate enough energy to cycle the bolt completely, that is more or less the nature of the beast with quasi-inconsistently charged subsonic ammunition in a semiauto rimfire.  That said, the gun was laughably quiet, and I mean that in the literal sense.  Myself and a few other shooters at the range we so surprised with how silent this ammo/rifle/silencer was that we couldn’t help but laugh at the almost movie-like “pffff…pffff…pfff” sounds the silenced X-Ring made when fired.  See video below.

    TacSol X-Ring Rifle with AWC Archangel Ti Silencer: from Pelican Handgun Instruction, LLC on Vimeo. A couple of quick notes relative to the gun’s appearance: There are numerous options for the X-Ring in terms of anodization color and stock choices, so the gun will look exactly how you want it to – make it your own.  Our sample was OD green anodized and shot with the camo Vantage wood stock (check the photo below to see how well this stock would blend in with southern U.S. flora) and then the rifle was re-stocked with the Hogue Overmoulded stock in “Ghillie Green”.  Both stocks were extraordinary, and although the Vantage was a bit heavier, the Vantage had slightly better ergonomics in my opinion.  You can’t lose with either stock, here.

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    In all, performance was excellent.  There’s nothing more to say about this rifle in terms of performance other than the fact that the barrel gives you the mechanical means to produce tight groups, while the short, crisp trigger allows the user to capitalize on the barrel’s capabilities. Negative Observations: Negative observations are few for this able rifle.  The $850 MSRP may be offputting to some, especially since the gun is basically unusable in its out-of-the-box format (no sights or optics), however, most shooters, including this reviewer, would point out that you are certainly getting what you pay for.  In this instance, that is a top-end rifle that pulls out all of the stops in terms of capability and aesthetic. Also, we initially had some issues with light hammer strikes.  In the picture below, the left casing is from a properly expended round, the right casing is a fresh round, and the middle casing is a Stinger that took a light hammer hit and did not discharge.  This became more frequent – about once per magazine – as testing went on.  However, a trip back to TacSol took care of this apparently unusual issue, and it never occurred after we received the rifle back from TacSol.

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    Also, as stated earlier, subsonic rounds would frequently fail to extract, however, as these rounds generate very low chamber pressures, this issue is common and not necessarily an issue with the platform.

    Conclusion:

    In conclusion, the Tactical Solutions X-Ring is an accurate, reliable standalone rifle based upon the ubiquitous and proven Ruger 10/22 platform.  Accuracy derives from the TacSol fluted bull barrel in combination with the TacSol brand trigger, which features a light and crisp ~2.5-3lb trigger pull, allowing the shooter to take full advantage of the accuracy offered by TacSol’s excellent barrel.  The barrel comes threaded in 1/2×28, so use of a silencer is available right out of the box, and moreover, those of us with .22 suppressors save a couple hundred dollars and some time with the threaded barrel.  There are two equally excellent stock options in the Hogue Overmoulded stock or TacSol’s own magnificent Vantage RS, which is slightly heavier.  Either way, this rifle clocks in around a feather-light 4-5 pounds or so depending on configuration, and the balance of the rifle makes it seem even lighter.  While some shooters may flinch at the $850 MSRP, those looking for a precision .22 out of the box are, in fact, getting a bargain in the heavily tweaked X-Ring.  In sum, this is a handsome and capable rifle that I can fully recommend to any potentially interested shooter.

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    James Reeves

    • NRA-licensed concealed weapons instructor, 2012-present
    Maxim Magazine’s MAXIMum Warrior, 2011
    • TFBTV Executive Producer
    • Former Regional Sales Rep, Interstate Arms Corp., MA
    • Champion, Key West Cinco De Mayo Taco Eating Competition
    • GLOCK® Certified Pistol Operator, 2017-2022
    • Lawyer
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