Lightweight Bull Barrels in .17 HM2 and .22 LR for the Ruger 10/22


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

August 26th, 2004




Tactical Solutions in Boise, Idaho is going full steam producing their excellent Pac-Lite receiver/barrel units for Ruger .22 auto pistols.  I reviewed these little jewels here a few months ago, and continue  to be impressed by their accuracy and light weight. As busy as they are, Tactical Solutions continues to expand their product line with innovative new products.

I recently received two new barrels from Tactical Solutions which are made to fit the Ruger 10/22 semi-auto rifles. These barrels are of the same high quality aluminum construction with steel inner barrels as their Pac-Lite pistol uppers.  They are of a heavy bull barrel profile, but due to the aluminum construction and fluting, they weigh much less than the stock Ruger slim-profile standard barrels. The .17 HM2 barrel weighs just 15.8 ounces, and the .22 Long Rifle barrel is just a bit lighter. For comparison, I removed a blued steel bull barrel from one of my 10/22 rifles and placed it upon the scales. It has the same outside diameter of .920 inch as the Tactical Solutions barrel, but weighs over three times as much at 49.6 ounces. The  Tactical Solutions barrels really lighten the load, without giving up barrel rigidity. In addition, the lightweight fluted barrels look much better, and are offered in several interesting anodized colors.

Tactical Solutions also offers lightweight 10/22 barrels that are of the standard Ruger slim profile, but these barrels are stiffer, and add very little to the weight of the gun, and as stated above, are significantly lighter than the stock factory slim barrel. However, to use these bull barrels on a 10/22, or any bull barrels for that matter, the barrel channel must be widened, or another stock purchased for the rifle.

For testing here, I chose the Butler Creek Packer Stock system. The Packer stock is a black synthetic stock that allows the user to quickly, and without tools, remove the barrel from his 10/22 for storage or compact transportation. It is an excellent design, and in use the barrel can be removed in about five seconds, and reinstalled just as quickly. I liked the idea of the Packer stock for this project, as it allows the shooter to switch between the .17 HM2 and the .22 Long Rifle in just a few seconds, with no other changes necessary, except adjusting the scope.  Installing the Packer Stock was very simple, and involved the removal and reinstallation of the two barrel block retainer bolts from the 10/22, and installing them into the forearm of the Packer Stock, attaching the forearm to the receiver. It is very quick and simple. The barrel is then attached to the receiver by folding down the forearm, sliding the barrel into the receiver, and raising the forearm up until it locks into place. The Packer stock also has a hollow buttstock with a swing-away recoil pad for handy storage of a cleaning kit, ammo, candy bar, compass, or other essential equipment.

This would be a good place to insert a bit of information about the new .17 HM2 cartridge. After Hornady’s phenomenal success of the .17 HRM cartridge, they set out to develop a .17 caliber cartridge based on the .22 Long Rifle cartridge case. Aguila has also been working on a similar project, but the Hornady cartridge seems to be taking the lead at this point. Calling the new shorter seventeen the .17 Mach 2, or HM2 for short, they basically necked down the .22 CCI Stinger case, which is longer than the standard Long Rifle case, to accept their 17 grain .17 caliber V-Max bullet. The little seventeen shoots much faster and flatter than a high-velocity .22 Long Rifle cartridge, and suffers less wind deflection in spite of its lighter weight, due to a much shorter time-of-flight.  Chronograph readings at a temperature of eighty-five degrees, with the screens twelve feet from the muzzle, showed the .17HM2 achieved a velocity of 2072 feet per second (fps) from the 16.5 inch Tactical Solutions barrel. I also fired the .17 HM2 from a Tactical Solutions twenty inch light profile barrel that was installed into a Ruger Model 77/22 action. The chronograph readings were actually a bit slower from the longer barrel, achieving only 2052 fps. This shows that the .17 HM2 is a very efficient little cartridge, achieving maximum velocity from a relatively short barrel. The new seventeen ammunition is slated to sell for less than the .17 Magnum ammo, making it a bit easier on the budget than the larger seventeen rimfire cartridge. However, the main advantage to the smaller cartridge is that if you own a Ruger 10/22, and there are millions of them out there, a new barrel from Tactical Solutions is all that you need to make the switch. The .17 HM2 uses the same rotary magazine as the .22 Long Rifle, so no other changes are needed. A shooter can switch back and forth between the .17 and .22 as desired. If adding the Butler Creek Packer stock, it can even be done without tools. Using any other stock, the switch still only requires about five minutes, a slotted screw driver, and an Allen wrench.

I tested along with the new barrels a new scope custom designed for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. The new scope was developed by John Pride and Mickey Fowler, both world class shooters, to offer a better method of connecting at long range. Their company is called Pride Fowler Industries, and they are located in San Dimas, California. The Mini Mil-Dot reticles are calibrated for different cartridges so that, once sighted in, the shooter simply holds the reticle on target to match the distance, and fires. There are no knobs to twist, and no estimation of holdover. The optics are excellent, and the price is very reasonable. The reticle for the .22 Long Rifle is marked out to 200 yards, and the scope is very compact, with a power range from three to nine. Another excellent feature of the scope is that the reticle is in the first plane, which means that the reticle gets larger optically as the power is cranked up. The scope has target turrets, which are easily finger adjustable. I look forward to doing a full review on their line of scopes in the future. I tried to get a good photo of the reticle through the scope, but a  better view of it is in the diagram below, taken from their website:

Click picture for a larger version

Accuracy testing of the Tactical Solutions barrels revealed that the sample .22 Long Rifle barrel was superbly accurate, easily grouping three shots into three-eighths of an inch at one hundred yards, using high velocity CCI Mini-Mag hunting ammunition. I look forward to further testing of this barrel with match-grade ammo, but can hardly imagine that it could get any better.  The .17 HM2 barrel proved to be less accurate than the .22 LR barrel, but still placed three shots into seven-eighths of an inch at one hundred yards. This is not as accurate as any of the .17 HMR rifles that I have tested, but I had only one box of pre-production HM2 ammunition for testing, and I expect the production ammo will do better. Still, less than one inch at one hundred yards is very good accuracy from the hot little cartridge. Hornady says the .17 HM2 ammunition will start shipping in September of 2004.

The Tactical Solutions 10/22 barrels are beautiful, accurate, and a delight to carry. Adding the Butler Creek stock makes for a neat little switch-barrel combo rifle that allows cheap and accurate plinking and small game hunting with the .22 Long Rifle barrel, and a flat shooting varmint and small pest rifle with the .17 Mach 2 barrel.

Due to some problems with bolt speed and pressure peak in the .17 HM2, Tactical Solutions has suspended production of these barrels for semi-automatics. However, the excellent .22 barrels are still in full production, as well as .17 HM2 barrels for the Ruger M77/22 bolt action rifles.

Check out the innovative Tactical Solutions products online at:

For a look at the Butler Creek line of replacement stocks, go to:

For more info on the .17 HM2 cartridge, check out:

Check out the Pride Fowler scopes at:

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.


Tactical Solutions manufactures a line of quality aftermarket barrels in .22 LR and .17 HM2 for Ruger's 10/22 and 77.22 rifles.



Tactical Solutions' 20-inch slim-taper barrel mounted on a Ruger 77/22.



Tactical Solutions' .17 HM2 fluted bull barrel mounted on a Ruger 10/22 with Butler Creek's Packer stock system.



Butler Creek's Packer stock system is a great choice for shooters wanting a switch-barrel option or quick-takedown ability for ready storage. The Packer system allows barrels to be swapped literally in seconds with no tools required. 



Pride Fowler Industries' new Mini Mil-Dot scope shows a lot of promise. Author was favorably impressed with it, and looks forward to more extended testing.



The .17 HM2 (.17 Mach 2) cartridge, shown on the right, was developed to allow shooters some of the advantages of the successful .17 HMR (left) in a .22 LR sized action.



The advantage of the shorter .17 HM2 can be readily seen here, as the little cartridges easily function in a standard Ruger 10/22 magazine.




Cartridge comparison (left to right): .22 Long Rifle, .17 Mach 2, CCI Stinger.



The accuracy of the Tactical Solutions barrels proved to be exceptional, with all loads grouping into less than 1" at 100 yards. Jeff looks for the accuracy of the .17 HM2 cartridge to improve even more as the cartridge enters regular production.

Tactical Solutions gives shooters accurate, lightweight and beautiful options for Ruger's classic .22 rifles, including the ability to switch calibers quickly and easily. Highly recommended.