Tactical Solutions 10/.22 Receiver


By Jesse L. Hardin

August 14th, 2008

Photography by Jesse L. Hardin




Jess is a GunBlast contributor whose book Old Guns & Whispering Ghosts was reviewed here not too long ago.  You can get a personally signed copy of this fully illustrated book by going to www.oldgunsbook.com.

The .22 Long Rifle remains one of the most accurate, affordable and versatile of cartridges, far outselling all others... and the Ruger 10/.22 carbine is the most popular and dependable rifle ever to be built around this ubiquitous rimfire.  While an instant hit, the accuracy and trigger pull on the dependable Rugers left something to be desired, and almost immediately an industry sprung up offering custom after-market barrels, triggers, stocks and other accessories.  So called “Race Guns” typically feature all the above, able to consistently provide for one-hole 50 yard groups.

Those of us wanting to build a custom 10/.22 have generally had to purchase a whole gun to work with, even though we might end up replacing essentially everything but the receiver.  Volquartsen was the first to offer an after-market receiver for the Ruger, so far as I know, and now the good folks at Idaho’s Tactical Solutions have introduced what is perhaps the finest receiver ever made with the 10/.22 footprint.  Announced to the industry at the 2007 SHOT Show and reported here on GunBlast, I wrote TacSol’s Keith Feeley right away to place an order.  Production was initially slowed by their move to new and much larger facilities, and extra care was put into setting up the machining so that every receiver marketed would meet their exacting standards for quality.  In July I was excited to receive one of the first units sold, along with a TacSol barrel, magazine release and Raptor stock for this GunBlast evaluation.

First out of the box was a lightweight TacSol bull barrel, a superbly rifled steel bore inside a .920 sleeve, aircraft aluminum that adds stiffness and therefore considerably greater accuracy than the original Ruger barrel.  Readers may recall the praise heaped on their PacLite receiver/barrels for the Ruger .22 pistol, by my much esteemed fellow scribe John Taffin as well as our own Jeff Quinn, and you may have had a chance to read the GunBlast review of the TacSol 10/.22 barrels as well.  In brief, these fully fluted, 16.5” tubes are capable of sub 1/2” groups at 100 yards, while weighing it at a mere 15 ounces.  For comparison, I replaced TacSol’s entry with my trusty 16” Whistle Pig lightweight barrel and fired additional groups.  Whistle Pig tubes come in a wide variety of colors and finishes as well as a tempting octagon version, and mine has frankly been the pinpoint leader against which all other barrels and rifles have been measured.  A glance at the targets pictured at right, proves the TacSol to be every bit as precise an instrument as the always impressive Whistle Pig tube and, in my experience, considerably more accurate than most other after-market brands.

Next out of the box we pulled a lovely composite wood stock.  When it came time to choose furniture to sell with their barrel and receiver, the ladies and gents of Tactical Solutions chose the radically sleek “Raptor,” sporting a cutout panel, contoured palm swell, integral butt pad and broad fore end for steady offhand use.  Because I do my best shooting as a southpaw, I also ordered a relatively inexpensive left handed stock from Rimfire Sports & Custom called the “Yukon.“  Following the same basic design as the Boyd’s “Blaster” and others before it, the Yukon is a thumbhole model with a cheek rest.  Responding to my deep seated urge to “mess with things,” I shortened the fore-end and gave it a semi-Schnabel look, enlarged the thumbhole, and reshaped its outline to suit my personal tastes.  Finally, I inlaid a carved ivory medallion showing a wild tribal huntress.  The rifle slings I had on hand seemed plain and unattractive once I’d finished, so I cut up a silver-buckled alligator belt I had on hand and made my own. 

One glitch with the original 10/.22 was the difficulty in reaching its recessed magazine release button, but the problem is readily and attractively solved with the TacSol magazine release lever we unpacked next.  Besides making ejecting the magazine sure and fast, the lever adds a new design element reminiscent of the single shot Sharps, Ballard, Farquharson, and Ruger’s derivative Model #1, altering the outline of what was originally meant to evoke the handy but club-stocked military M-1 carbine.  One has to remain aware in order not accidentally bump the lever and drop the magazine at just the wrong moment, dropping the magazine on the ground... but then, awareness is the name of the game when it comes to either gun handling, hunting or defense!

Last out of the package, came the shimmering new TacSol “X-Ring" receiver, a sight to behold!  If I was going to spend a fair amount of hard earned money on every other part of the gun, I wanted to have an improved receiver at its heart.  At this, the “X-Ring” receivers certainly fill the bill, machined as they are to exacting tolerances out of solid billets of 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum.  One of the first things you will notice is its deep anodizing and unique profile, including an integral Mil-Spec scope rail.  Most shooters will top their TacSol rifle with glass, but the rail can also accommodate Holosight or red dot options for fast acquisition.  Functionally, the X-Ring features a hardened steel bolt and a dual spring design for positive lock-up, as well as an aggressive extractor.  TacSol engineers took a cue from current trends among 10/.22 aficionados, by drilling a hole in the rear of the receiver for optimal cleaning, and by including a large and easily manipulated bolt handle.  With the standard Ruger, someone under pressure, with cold hands or with gloves on could have trouble loading the first round into the chamber.  The receiver, barrel, and release lever are all available in a wide range of colors from my favorites, matte black or olive green, to red, blue, purple and even pink.

Keith tells me that there is a TacSol trigger in their future, but I needed an improved unit before I could realize this gun's real accuracy potential.  Touted above all others is the Kidd trigger assembly, but they’re a two-stage affair that I doubted I could get used to.  I purchased a Jard trigger system instead, while also sending off a factory Ruger trigger to Dan Brown of Brown’s Sporting Goods in Gaston, Oregon.  Dan’s “Pinnacle” trigger job includes polishing the hammer for smoother bolt contact and a faster lock time, mating the hammer and sear, adding oversized pins and overtravel adjustment, removing trigger side play, polishing the adjustable sear, trigger plunger, magazine plunger and disconnector.  Dan advertises his triggers as “breaking like glass,” and indeed his reworked Ruger unit broke so smoothly that I returned the comparable Jard assembly to the distributor where I bought it.

Capping this project rifle is a Mueller 6-18X Sport-Dot scope with a 50mm bell, a truly brilliant scope for the price, and previously reviewed on this site.  I am a firm proponent of using large, light gathering glass built for high powered rifles, on precision rimfires.  The lighter weight of the TacSol package makes the mounting of a substantial scope possible without pushing the complete rifle (minus the sling) over a comfortable 7 pounds.

Test firing began at 50 yards, and then was extended out to the 100 yard mark.  A handful of cases jammed in classic stovepipe fashion, before the bolt and receiver broke in, after which I was able to burn up thousands of additional rounds of 7 different brands and types flawlessly.  Accuracy was predictably amazing, and at 350 feet, I was able to not only punch tight holes in paper, but knock out the 1/2” diameter door locks on a junked Ford Bronco my buddy had planted in his field.  There is surely little more satisfying than sending projectiles of any caliber through the broken and discarded machinery of our modern age, be it an aggravating television or the steel and glass of a rig fated to never see the road again!

Was it worth all the expense and wait?  Absolutely.  While there is reason to be happy with an unaltered Ruger 10/.22, grabbed from a pickup truck rack for a chance to plink or hunt small game, it is nothing less than awesome to own a one of a kind .22 semi-auto rifle customized to your personal needs and taste, readily able to outperform this shooter, and built with the absolutely finest components available. 



The list price for the TacSol receiver is $375, the bull barrels retail for $180, the Raptor stock goes for $170., and their magazine release lever runs another $40.  The Yukon stock sells for $139.95. The cost of a Brown Sporting Goods Pinnacle Trigger assembly is $159.95, or Dan will rework your factory Ruger trigger for $80 plus postage.

To order your Tactical Solutions receiver, barrel and magazine release call: 866-333-9901 and tell them we sent you.

To peruse their entire line of quality gun parts and accessories, go to: www.tacticalsol.com .

For Dan Brown’s trigger assembly or custom trigger work, click on: www.brownssportinggoodsonline.com .

Whistle Pig barrels can be found at: www.wpgbc.com .

One source for the Yukon thumbhole stock is: www.rimfiresports.com .


Jesse L. "Wolf" Hardin


The author fired his groups from a poor man’s shooting bench, making use of an available juniper stump.



The author tried a wide range of ammo brands, bullet shapes and weights, high speed and standard velocity, everything but full-on match rounds.  There was surprisingly little difference in accuracy between the various types, despite substantial differences in bullet drop and retail cost.  The author shot best with the Federal AutoMatch, followed by a box of nearly antique CCI Mini-Mags!  For hunting, he has decided he likes the hard hitting 40 gr. Velocitators above all others.



This poorly focused photo shows a typical 100 yard group from a rest, using the Tactical Solutions barrel.  Groups fired with the Whistle Pig tube installed were just as tight.



The Whistle Pig barrel produced this impressive 10 shot group at 115 yards using the Federal AutoMag cartridges.  Not shown is the one shot “kill” of a troublesome Ford Bronco lock, dropping a round into the dime-size keyhole at 90 yards with CCI Mini-Mags that had been in dry storage since the 1980s.



The author may have grown up a rough and rascally outlaw biker, but he still appreciates the Tactical Solutions rifle’s artistic beauty as much as its bang.  When it comes to this new treasure, he says “let no man come between.”

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Click pictures for a larger version.


The fabulous Tactical Solutions X-Ring Receiver seemed to call for nontypical furnishings, including a silver appointed sling made from a high-dollar alligator belt.



My first look at the tack-driving TacSol barrel and sleek Raptor stock.



The practical TacSol magazine release lever also adds some nostalgic lines to the rifle’s profile.



The TacSol bolt handle is attractive, and considerably easier to get hold of.



A view of the assembled Tactical Solutions rifle, complete with the radical Raptor laminated stock.



The thumbhole stocks for the TacSol contribute to its fast and easy handling characteristics as well as its customized appearance.



Note the low serial number on my unit, appearing on the left side of my TacSol rifle.  The green Mueller logo has been removed from the 4-16X scope for aesthetic reasons, but this author considers their models the absolute finest scopes available under $300.



The author likes the Mueller scope for its brilliant clarity, adjustable objective lens, crosshairs that naturally go from black to red when panned over a dark shaded area, and an adjustable battery illuminated center dot for low light conditions.  The 4-16X has both low enough magnification for 30 yard running shots on rabbits and a high enough setting for pinpoint hundred-plus yard shots from a rest or bench.



A comparison of two target grade steel and aluminum barrels, the custom 16” Whistle Pig barrel in matte finish at top, and the 16.5” Tactical Solutions barrel at bottom.  Both were found to be not only pleasantly light in weight, but accurate beyond the practical abilities of the author.



Here you see the left handed, Hardin-carved Yukon stock, above a right-handed version of the Raptor stock offered by Tactical Solutions.



Shooting the lightweight TacSol .22 was a can-busting, rabbit bagging delight.



Note the over-travel screw on the 2.5 pound Ruger trigger assembly rebuilt by Brown Sporting Goods.



A close-up of my carved ivory inlay, featuring Artemis, the archetypal primal huntress.



Here you see the field version of the author’s “10/.22,” featuring a considerably reshaped, left-handed Yukon thumbhole stock, and the Mueller scope with sun shade extension.  The author swears this gun is a lifetime “keeper,” and it’s already provided rabbit, squirrel and rattlesnake for the Hardin family dinner table.