December 21, 2022
When it comes to the ubiquitous Ruger 10/22, there are essentially three routes you can take. One, you can buy a base-model 10/22, throw away everything but the action and build a Franken-gun from a wide universe of aftermarket 10/22 parts. Two, you can buy a stock 10/22 with at least some of the features you’re looking for right out of the box and then customize the rest. Three, you can buy a high-end, highly customized rifle like the new TacSol X-Ring VR Takedown.
For Tactical Solutions, which is based in Boise, Idaho, the 10/22 is a key part of its business, and its X-Ring VR series of 10/22 rifles is available in several different stock configurations and with two different triggers. All are built with TacSol’s own receivers and barrels. You might remember when Ruger came out with its 10/22 takedown. It was an innovative design. By simply pushing a button and giving the fore-end a twist, fore-end/barrel easily separated from receiver/buttstock—creating an easily portable rifle perfect for hiking and backpacking or stashing in a duffel for a hunting or camping trip. Best of all, when you reassemble the rifle, it consistently returns to zero.
Ruger Takedown Influences
TacSol’s rifle uses the same takedown system that Ruger came up with, and on this model it features the Magpul X-22 Backpacker stock in Kryptek Highlander camo. It’s ingenious. The dished-out area in the bottom of the butt isn’t just to reduce weight or give the gun a space-age look. When broken down, the fore-end fits into this relieved section, creating a super-compact way to transport the rifle—whether in a vehicle or on your back.
Lock back the bolt, ensure the chamber is empty, then push the fore-end button to free the barrel and give the fore-end a twist to take down the rifle. The barrel extension fits into a rubber piece in the toe of the stock, and the tip of the fore-end latches into a cutout in the bottom of the buttstock wrist. To reassemble, press in on serrated buttons on either side of the fore-end to disengage the latch. Pull out the fore-end and put the gun back together.
The fun doesn’t stop there. Press on the latch at the rear of the buttstock’s comb, and when you lift up the comb you will find compartments for three 10/22 magazines. There’s also an O-ring-sealed, small storage compartment in the grip of the stock. This would be a handy place to stash spare batteries for a red dot, although I wouldn’t put them in there loose because they would rattle. The butt features a serrated rubber pad that won’t slip in your shoulder.
The X-22 Backpacker comes with two different cheek risers. TacSol ships the X-Ring VR Takedown with the standard height installed, and inside the box you’ll also find a higher one for use with optics. Changing them is easy, although it takes a bit of elbow grease to pull the old one out because the fit is tight, as it should be. I used a rubber mallet to tap in the optic-height cheekpiece. The heart of the X-Ring VR Takedown is its receiver, which is milled from 6061-T6 aluminum. The bolt is machined from stainless steel, and it’s set up with threaded holes on both sides so you can easily swap the charging handle.
I took the rifle to a Rimfire Challenge match, and a pro shooter on my squad suggested I swap it from the right side, where I had it, to the left side. The advantage, he said, was if the rifle has a malfunction, it’s a lot quicker to clear it and get back to shooting because you don’t have to release your firing grip. Fortunately, he had a 9/64 hex wrench with him (thank you, Collin!) and we moved it to the left side of the bolt. On the very next stage I had a round fail to fire—the only failure I had that day. (It could’ve been a dud round, but I was unable to retrieve the cartridge to examine the primer strike or lack thereof.) My left hand flew up to the handle, racked the gun, and I was back in the game with little time lost.
The bolt runs on a dual guide rod system for smooth cycling and reliability, and top flutes help reduce fouling and the need to clean it as frequently. The Picatinny rail is machined right in, and it has a 15-m.o.a. angle, so you’ll never have to worry about running out of elevation on your optic. By machining the rail integrally, it’s both stronger and keeps the rail height to a minimum—placing your optic lower, which improves head position and accuracy potential. While it’s a moot point in the takedown model, there’s a port in the rear of the receiver for cleaning via a traditional cleaning rod—moot because it’s a million times easier to separate barrel from receiver in order to clean with a rod.
This particular X-Ring VR Takedown model featured TacSol’s XRT trigger, an all-new design. “The XRT trigger was designed from the ground up in-house to be extremely reliable, with tool steel components, as well as provide a trigger pull in the 2.5-pound range,” said TacSol’s Keith Feeley. The XRT features an aluminum trigger housing, and it has removable side panels to allow the user to be able to easily clean the trigger components. Feeley said the trigger guard was designed to fit small and large hands comfortably.
The trigger pull is fantastic. My sample broke at two pounds, three ounces on average. The XRT incorporates an auto bolt release; just tug on the charging handle to send the bolt forward. Also, you don’t have to “hold your mouth right” to lock back the bolt like you do on stock 10/22s with the standard trigger—one of the first things people change on their 10/22s. Simply press up on the silver bolt lock at the left-rear of the trigger guard while holding the charging handle to the rear.
The rifle also incorporates a redesigned magazine release designed just for the XRT. It’s meant to be low snag, and it fits seamlessly along the bottom of the trigger guard. There’s just enough of a “tail” at the back for your finger to easily push the release forward to drop the mag. I’d never used an extended 10/22 release before, and once I trained myself not to reach forward for the traditional button release, I found this to be a great addition.
The 16.5-inch barrel is 4140 chrome-moly steel inside a fluted aluminum sleeve, with a total diameter of 0.920 inch. The muzzle sports an 11-degree crown, and it’s threaded 1/2x28, so you can add a brake or suppressor. If a compensator is your thing, TacSol makes a Performance series comp for $85 and a standard for $45. They’re available on the company’s website. TacSol also makes suppressors, and there are three models available, ranging in price from $324 to $505. Of course, you will have to go through the necessary federal approval, tax-stamp process to obtain one of these. The fiber-optic rear sight is screw-adjustable for elevation and windage, and it’s paired with a fiber-optic front that’s screwed into the barrel sleeve to allow easy replacement if you want or need to.
I mentioned the bolt has fluting that reduces the need to clean it as often, but it still does need to be cleaned periodically. Thankfully, 10/22s are easy to disassemble. Ensure the rifle is unloaded and remove the action screws, which, mercifully, are hex and not slotted. They’re also captured, which is another nice touch. Place the safety in the middle position then gently pull up on the barrel to free it from the stock. On my sample the inletting was such that the fit was super-tight, and this did complicate initial assembly/reassembly a bit. While this would ease with repeated disassembling and reassembling, if it were my rifle, I might carefully relieve the stock with sandpaper or a light file where necessary.
Drive out the pins holding the trigger in the receiver. On my sample the front one fell out on its own. Loose pins are common on the 10/22s I’ve worked with, and they’re something to watch for so you don’t have one drop somewhere you can’t find or retrieve it. Drive out the bolt buffer, a polymer “rod” at the rear of the receiver. The cleaning rod port can be pushed out at this point, from outside to inside.
Unscrew the charging handle, push the bolt to the rear and place two straightened paper clips into the holes at the rear of the bolt to hold the twin guide rods/recoil springs. Turn the receiver upright and tap on it. With a little fiddling, the bolt will drop out for cleaning. Reassemble in reverse order. Just remember to place the safety in the middle position. Both for the rimfire match and for 25-yard accuracy testing, I opted for an Aimpoint Micro H2 red dot. For two of the loads, I spun on a Silencer Central Banish 22. I also tested the rifle at 50 yards with a Crimson Trace Brushline riflescope and one of my favorite .22 loads: Lapua’s Midas+. In all cases I used the high cheekpiece. Results are shown in the accompanying accuracy chart.
As you can see, it’s a good-shooting gun, plenty accurate for a small game rifle and certainly a terrific plinker. And based on shooting it at that Rimfire Challenge match—where you engage a variety of steel targets as fast as you can—it makes a good competition rifle as well. For such a light gun, at 3.7 pounds, it points well and swings nicely. The XRT trigger makes it easy to break good shots. The rifle feeds from standard 10-round Ruger magazines, and one comes with the gun. I live in a restricted state, so I don’t own any extended Ruger mags and can’t report on how they might feed. However, TacSol’s instructions advise that the rifle was designed to function with the Ruger factory 10-shot BX-1 magazine.
I mentioned the malfunction I had in the match, but it was the only one I had that day and could’ve been the ammo. I also experienced a few failures to fully eject when shooting it from the bench. There were two or three with SK Semiauto—the same ammo I used at the match—and several with CCI Quiet 22. In the case of the latter, I wasn’t surprised by the malfunctions because, well, take a look at the velocity in the chart. There’s not a lot of energy there to operate a blowback semiautomatic.
Since it’s a takedown, I also tested the rifle’s ability to return to zero after taking it down and putting it back together a total of six times. Repeatability was terrific, with no appreciable zero shift. TacSol’s instructions remind you to loosen the adjustment ring before removing the barrel/fore-end and then tightening it after reassembly.
As I mentioned early on, you’ve got choices when it comes to 10/22s. Some people just love to do their own tinkering and customization, but if that’s not you, the TacSol’s X-Ring VR Takedown with the XRT, while not cheap, is a great way to go. The milled aluminum receiver, swappable charging handle and integral rail put it ahead of the game right off the bat, and I think it would be really hard to top the XRT trigger. When you add those features to a rifle that breaks down into a super-transportable package—one that will maintain its zero after reassembly—you’ve got a premium gun for hunting, camping, plinking or competition.
Tactical Solutions X-Ring VR Takedown
- Type: Semiautomatic, rimfire takedown
- Caliber: .22LR
- Capacity: 10-rd. Ruger mag supplied
- Barrel: 16.5 in., 4140 chrome- moly steel bore, fluted alu- minum sleeve; 0.920-in. diameter; 1/2x28 threads
- Overall Length: 34.25 in.
- Weight: 3.7 lbs.
- Finish: Matte Black
- Stock: Magpul X-22 Backpacker, Kryptek Highlander
- Trigger: TacSol XRT (tested); 2 lbs., 3 oz. pull (tested)
- Safety: Crossbolt
- MSRP: $1,706
- Manufacturer: Tactical Solutions