TFB Review: Tactical Solutions’ X-ring SB-X Barrel for 10/22

    The Ruger 10/22, by dint of its modular construction, it quite easy to modify.  Trigger packs, bolts, receivers, stocks and barrels are easy to change out for many purposes.  Many people enjoy shooting them suppressed. Though eye and ear protection should be worn at all times on a public range, plinking in your back 40 or small game hunting can be enjoyed with no risk of hearing damage when using a suppressor.  However, adding a suppressor means adding extra barrel length.  In order to keep the 10/22 in a light, compact and handy package, short barrels are available but require paperwork and a tax stamp (at least in the USA).  The Tactical Solutions SB-X Barrel allows for a compact suppressed platform without all the red tape (assuming one already has a suppressor).

    10/22 with the SB-X Barrel

    10/22 with the SB-X Barrel

    Per Tactical Solutions:

    The SB-X barrel provides the versatility of a short barreled rifle (SBR) without the burden of red tape paperwork.  The SB-X barrel allows the addition of a suppressor without drastically increasing the overall length of your firearm.

    The barrel length of 12.375” would be considered an SBR if not for the shroud which brings the overall length to 16.625”.  This barrel avoids cumbersome paperwork and provides a shorter, light-weight solution for those who love shooting suppressed.  With the standard threaded end, attaching a suppressor is easier than tying your shoe.

    Specs:

    • Weight: 13.5oz
    • 0.920″ Barrel Diameter
    • Inside Diameter: 1.1″
    • Twist: 1-16″
    • Threading: 1/2″x28
    • Color: Matte Black
    • Inert/Display Suppressor NOW included!

    (The MSRP of the barrel is $295.00, but can usually be found for around $250.00)

     

    TFB’s Alex C. (so long, compadre!)  and Patrick R. previously shot Tactical Solutions’ A-22 with an SB-X barrel and were impressed by it.  With the barrel now available for 10/22’s, I wanted to try it out as I usually start instructing new shooters with suppressed .22’s.  Note that being a bull barrel, the SB-X cannot fit in a standard 10/22 stock.  I was in the process of putting my 10/22 into a Blackhawk Knoxx Axiom R/F stock that was adjustable for length of pull and would allow the use of bull barrels, and therefore could give this new barrel a try.

    The shroud has a nice spiral cut pattern to it

    The shroud has a nice spiral cut pattern to it

    Installation:

    The SB-X barrel came in plastic clamshell packaging, along with a fake suppressor for “display purposes” if one doesn’t already own one.  Being that I had a real suppressor, the fake one went into a parts bin.  The overall finish and look of the barrel was very nice, with a slight line where the shroud was permanently attached to the barrel.

    Installation was simple.  First, I removed the barreled action from the stock.  I then removed the barrel from the action.  Some aftermarket 10/22 barrels can either take “fitting” or insert a bit too loosely into the receiver, which can degrade accuracy.  Not so with the SB-X.  With firm, steady pressure, it fit precisely into the receiver.  After ensuring that the barrel retainer screws were properly torqued, I placed the barreled action back into the stock.  The whole process took less than 5 minutes.

    Barrel and shroud with a Gemtech suppressor

    Barrel and shroud with a Gemtech suppressor

    My suppressor, an older Gemtech Outback-II, threaded on easily and only extended past the shroud by about 1/8 of an inch.  Though the SB-X is a bull barrel, it is machined from 6061-T6 aluminum with a chromoly steel liner, and weighs only 13.5 oz, a bit less than half the weight of a stock 18.5″ 10/22 barrel.  Total weight with the new stock and a red dot sight mounted was a very light 3lbs 14oz or 1.75kg, about 1lb 2oz lighter than a stock 10/22.  The rifle now fit in a compact rifle case with the suppressor attached at a total length of 29.9″.

    This whole package can easily fit inside a backpack as well

    This whole package can easily fit inside a backpack as well

    Accuracy and Range Results:

    5-shot groups were fired at 50 yards with a red dot sight, both suppressed and unsuppressed.  Groups are measured center to center.

    Unsuppressed:

    1. Gemtech Silencer Subsonic: .349″
    2. CCI Stinger: .637″
    3. Remington Subsonic: .733″
    4. CCI Subsonic: .767″
    5. American Eagle: 1.05″

    Suppressed:

    1. Gemtech Silencer Subsonic:  .236″
    2. Eley Match:  .503″
    3. CCI Stinger:  .634″
    4. CCI Subsonic:  .796″
    5. American Eagle:  .883″
    6. Remington Subsonic:  .931″

      Best group of the day from Gemtech Silencer Subsonic. .25" grid.

      Best group of the day from Gemtech Silencer Subsonic. .25″ grid.

    I’m no Kirsten Joy Weiss or .22 Plinkster, but I was very pleased with the accuracy of the barrel.  The barrel did show a clear preference for Gemtech’s 42 grain “Silencer Subsonic” load.  It was capable of sub-1/2 MOA accuracy and was a bargain (by today’s .22 prices) for such results at roughly 14 cents/round.  All the other ammunition demonstrated very good accuracy from this barrel, especially for an autoloading .22.  Sadly, I did not have any Eley Tenex or Lapua ammo available at time of testing.

    Testing the rifle on a bunch of steel poppers and swingers, the light, compact barrel helped me swing faster when moving from target to target.  The light weight also made extended offhand shooting sessions easy.   The rifle even balanced and shot well one-handed with no issues.  I have fired a total of 300 rounds through the barrel so far with zero malfunctions.P8172607

    Conclusions:

    The Tactical Solutions SB-X Barrel is a great upgrade for the 10/22.  It enhances accuracy and portability and decreases weight.  It would make a great addition to any 10/22 platform, be it for survival/small game hunting, training, plinking, or instruction.  For even more portability, a model is available for the 10/22 takedown.  The cost is easily justified by the increased performance and no need for onerous paperwork or a $200 tax stamp.  I would fully recommend it to anyone who is contemplating a 10/22 SBR build that would be subsequently suppressed.  It is also a good option for a bull barrel that doesn’t increase weight.  The only improvement I could recommend Tactical Solutions make is the addition of an iron-sighted model.

    Pros:

    • Reduces weight
    • Enhances accuracy
    • Easy installation
    • No need for Tax Stamp

    Cons:

    • Precludes use of iron sights (though a long-barreled X-ring barrel can be had with them)

     

    For more information, please visit Tactical Solutions.

    Thanks to Aaron Hughston Shooting School for range time.

    Rusty S.

    Having always had a passion for firearms, Rusty S. has had experience in gunsmithing, firearms retail, hunting, competitive shooting, range construction, as an IDPA certified range safety officer and a certified instructor. He has received military, law enforcement, and private training in the use of firearms. He is fortunate enough to have access to class 3 weaponry as well.


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