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For little kids, sometimes it really is all about the box. Moms and Dads pore over such stuff as Christmas and birthday gifts for youngsters only to find that tearing into the parcel is half the fun. The excitement of the unknown, that inimitable new-stuff smell and the allure of curiosity soon satisfied drive the hearts of even us weathered grownup gun nerds to race a smidge when tearing into something new, black and shiny.

As it regards guns, I shall never tire of the experience. The brown UPS Truck of Happiness drops off some long-anticipated parcel, and you have but an obtuse inkling of what lurks within. It isn’t until you whip out your knife and skin the package for real that you can really become one with your spanking new weapon. That’s how it was when I recently peeled open a new box from Tactical Solutions.

Origins Of The .22 LR

Tactical Solutions X-Ring Takedown rifle magazine release
A notable improvement over Ruger’s standard 10/22 design, the large lever under the triggerguard quickly releases the rifle’s 10-round rotary magazine.

The .22 LR is most accurately described as the 5.6x15mm rimmed cartridge. This ubiquitous plinking and utility round traces its storied lineage back to the Flobert BB cap. The Frenchmen Louis Nicolas Flobert designed a tiny rimfire cartridge in 1845 that propelled a small lead bullet solely via the force of a percussion cap. This low-powered round fed generations of gallery guns that were used to impress girlfriends at carnival midways the world over. While his design was certainly prescient, I suspect it was tough surviving second grade with a last name like Flobert, even in France.

The American manufacturer Stevens Arms adapted the concept to something more utilitarian in 1887. By combining the case of the established .22 LR with a 40-grain lead bullet, Stevens birthed the .22 LR, the most popular firearms cartridge in human history. Production in the United States alone runs between 2 and 2.5 billion rounds per annum.

With few exceptions, every shooter in America starts out with something that throws these compact but zippy rimfire rounds. Many derelict tin cans have paid the ultimate price to introduce a neophyte American shooter to the rudiments of rifle marksmanship. While there are certainly others, most of those rounds run through a Ruger 10/22 rifle.

In continuous production since 1964, the Ruger 10/22 is the world’s most popular .22 LR rifle. Lightweight, reliable, inexpensive and fun, more than 5 million of these magnificent little guns have rolled off the Ruger lines over the past half century. Modern production techniques combined with these truly vast numbers conspire to keep costs down, and it would spill a river of ink to catalog all the many-splendored variations and accessories available.

Among the many companies that have built empires upon this ubiquitous rifle is Tactical Solutions of Boise, Idaho.

X-Ring Takedown

Tactical Solutions X-Ring Takedown rifle left profile
From muzzle to buttpad, the X-Ring Takedown is a serious plinking machine. The barrel is fluted to help reduce weight without sacrificing any strength.

A gun is simply a tool, not philosophically unlike a toaster or spanner wrench. While our political opponents might feel that guns serve as repositories for evil spirits or some similar malice, they really are little more than mechanical contrivances designed to do a particular job. However, in the case of the X-Ring Takedown rifle from Tactical Solutions, this compact rimfire embodies a little something more.

I live guns. I shoot them incessantly, I collect them compulsively and I write about them vocationally. Amidst a sea of gleaming black weapons, this nifty X-Ring rifle is indeed exceptional. This thing is a work of art. To devolve into the vulgar tongue, the X-Ring Takedown just looks cool. When you first glance at the X-Ring, you realize this is not your ordinary .22 rifle.

For starters, the X-Ring Takedown is tiny. The barrel is just beyond the 16-inch legal minimum, and the Magpul X-22 Backpacker stock is purpose-designed for portability. Split the gun in half and the resulting package would conceivably ride in the center console of a proper pickup truck.

Tactical Solutions X-Ring Takedown rifle receiver
The receiver features a Picatinny top rail for mounting optics as well as a right-side charging handle with a large knob for quick charging.

The lines of the X-Ring Takedown exude an almost sensual grace. The bull barrel is fluted along its length, and my test gun sported a sexy gunmetal gray finish. The muzzle is threaded, but the workmanship that defines the demarcation between barrel and thread protector is such that you have to look to find it. The rear sight is adjustable for elevation with nothing more than a small standard screwdriver. Both the front and rear sights include fiber-optic tubes for rapid targeting.

The receiver includes an integral 15-MOA scope base milled into the assembly along with a dual recoil spring design for butter-smooth cycling. Without an optic, the scope mount produces a nifty sighting trough that channels the rifle’s sights on target. There is also an extended charging handle that makes running the gun fast and easy. The odd appendage underneath the action is a very effective quick-release magazine catch. Options include the standard Ruger fire control group or a proprietary Tactical Solutions variant that is, among other things, adjustable for overtravel.

The takedown feature is simply inspired. Lock the bolt to the rear, pull the barrel release catch underneath the forearm, and rotate the barrel about a quarter-turn to free it up. Slip the chamber end of the barrel in place and give it a twist to lock it in place. The process is easier to perform than describe.

Stock Options

Tactical Solutions X-Ring Takedown rifle stock
The Magpul X-22 Backpacker stock has several useful features. While the barrel/forend assembly can be locked into the bottom of the stock, the cheek riser also pivots open to reveal a spare magazine storage compartment.

My test rifle came with a Magpul X-22 Backpacker stock. Built from high-quality reinforced polymer, the X-22 Backpacker stock is adjustable for length of pull. The cheek height can also be adjusted via an included cheek riser for optics, or it can be left as is. The buttpad is made from non-slip rubber, and the ergonomic, 60-degree grip perfectly interfaces with the human form. The stock is also compatible with push-button QD swivels as well as a variety of other sling mounts.

In typical Magpul fashion, a reversible barrel tray accommodates both heavy and pencil barrels. The X-22 Backpacker stock accepts all manner of standard 10/22 magazines independent of capacity. There is a storage compartment in the pistol grip, and the stock itself totes three 10-round spare magazines within its labyrinthine guts.

The coolest aspect of the X-22 Backpacker stock is the way it complements the takedown feature of the rifle. The barrel/forearm assembly may be secured underneath the buttstock when removed to collapse into a tiny portable package that is incredibly small. Combine that with the gun’s 4.6-pound overall weight and you have the ultimate backpack rifle. The stock also comes in several colors and embodies that muscle-bound Magpul ambience we have come to expect from the guys who brought us the PMAG.

Silent Plinking

Tactical Solutions X-Ring Takedown rifle test
With a Lucid HD7 red-dot sight on top and a Gemtech Outback suppressor out front, the X-Ring Takedown rifle was extremely accurate and quiet on the testing range.

Lucid is the best optics company you’ve likely never heard of. Lucid specializes in top-quality tactical glass at a fraction of the cost of the big names. Its conventional riflescopes have all the bells and whistles you could want, while its tactical sights offer certain features not found elsewhere.

Lucid’s classic HD7 incorporates a rubber-armored aluminum housing, four different reticles, seven different intensity settings and an auto-brightness feature that adjusts automatically for ambient conditions. It also runs on a standard AAA battery.

You can spend a grand or more on some admittedly great glass. You could also find something in the $50 range on Amazon that will make a simply superb paperweight. Or you could land top-flight quality at a reasonable price from Lucid.

Just in case you have been living underneath a rock for the past few years, sound suppressors are all the rage. It took us 80 years to convince ourselves that silencers wouldn’t leave the gutters awash in blood, topple the government, accelerate male-pattern baldness or render us all sterile. Now at long last sound suppressors are appropriate genteel conversation, in the free states at least, across our great republic. When it comes to sound suppressor technology, few companies today come close to Gemtech.

Gemtech was there from the very beginning, and its Outback .22 is the company’s flagship model. I have owned mine for more than a decade and have done nothing more than wipe it off to maintain it through literally tens of thousands of rounds. Despite the most egregious abuse, my Outback still looks new and works like a champ. And, like the Lucid HD7, it is a fitting addition to the X-Ring Takedown rifle.

Indescribable Fun

Tactical Solutions X-Ring Takedown rifle shooting
At the range, the X-Ring Takedown proved that it’d be a great choice for plinking, training and varmint hunting. Just add ammo and a quality optic and you’re good to go.

Reliable, accurate, deadly, addictive—how many ways can you really describe the experience of running the world’s coolest rimfire rifle? The package weighs nearly nothing, stows handily in a daypack and shoots straight. Whether the mission is to kill a lazy Saturday afternoon, keep you and your family safe on your trek out of the hot zone after the zombies come, fill the cooking pot with tree rats or bunnies, or just knock the socks off of the other guys and gals at the range, the X-Ring Takedown rifle is the cat’s pajamas. I could stay on the range and shoot this thing until I died of hunger.

I’m an avowed cultural philistine, but the various Tactical Solutions components are clearly designed with an aesthetic that accompanies function. I don’t want to sound too much like a Renaissance-era French artist, but the lines are graceful and elegant, speaking to a genuinely beautiful balance between utility and art. The overall effect conjures youthful memories of days gone by recreationally turning rimfire cartridges into noise along with a little sports car vibe and some Terminator thrown in for flavor. If you were looking for the ultimate packable .22 rifle, this is it.

Caliber: .22 LR

Barrel: 16.5 inches

OA Length: 34.75 inches

Weight: 4.6 pounds (empty)

Stock: Magpul X-22 Backpacker

Sights: Fiber optic

Action: Semi-auto

Finish: Matte black, gunmetal gray

Capacity: 10+1

MSRP: $1,105-$1,315

For more information, visit tacticalsol.com.

This article was originally published in “The Complete Book of Guns” 2018 #200. To get a copy, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.

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