Whoops, I should have put this in reviews. I saw that too late. Sorry.
Serendipity struck! I had a Volquartsen carbon fiber barrel (10.5"?) on order for months with no end to the wait in sight; I know, because I inquired. I knew Tactical Solutions also had a short barrel for my Ruger .22 Charger SBR so I started researching and digging. The end result was that I cancelled the Vol’ CF barrel and bought the TacSol and had it in days, no backorder and no additional months of waiting.
The barrel was a handsome matte black when I got it. It is threaded for a muzzle device and I like the HK 3 lug adapters as they make putting a can on a matter of seconds and no tightening the can as it warms up, so I put an adapter on never to be taken off. That ruined the lines of it, but the barrel is to be used and not merely admired. But it sure did look nice w/o the adapter. Installation was identical to the factory barrel and since it’s made to takedown there was simply nothing noteworthy regarding that.
The design goal of the SBR was to see how small and light I could make a rifle for small game and while the Ruger barrel filled that goal I was disappointed in the accuracy. I think that only accurate guns are interesting and while my design goal was met I wasn’t terribly happy with what I had. The Ruger barrel weighed 18 1/8 ounces and was (the memory is foggy) 10 1/2" long. The TacSol weighed 11 7/8 ozs and is 9". That was even more within my design goal.
Another reason I got the new barrel was to get better accuracy. While the Ruger barrel was disappointing a few days ago I sighted in the red dot for the new barrel and was pleasantly surprised. Just with a red dot it was already outperforming what the old barrel with a 3-9x scope could do. Today I took off the red dot and put the scope on. Another goal for the SBR was versatility and the sights come off and go back on in seconds. I sighted the scope in at 45 yards and then started to shoot groups. First was Fed’ Auto Match which gave satisfyingly small groups. Where the OEM barrel would give maybe 1-1.5" groups this barrel was giving MUCH smaller groups. I wish I was 30 years younger to see what it will actually do, but I’m not. Next up was Fed’ Champion Hi Vel’ and that gave even smaller and more satisfying groups. Big smile! But I wanted to see what it would do with a can on the 3 lug adapter so I put the Dead Air Ghost-M on it after putting some ultrasound electrode gel in it. That gave me a group of just 3/8" for an even bigger smile. Next up I tried Fed Champion standard velocity and clearly the barrel doesn’t like that ammo. It ran the gun fine but groups opened up. I didn’t bother to measure them.
After building the Charger SBR I thought to myself, "You know, this would make a heck of a rimfire rifle optics gun for Steel Challenge and the shorter barrel that 7 ozs lighter swings much easier. You might think how can 7 ozs make a difference but it does.
Tomorrow I’ll get to test it further in a match. But I know that the barrel will perform, the rest is a test of myself. And that’s the entire reason that I want accuracy. If I miss I want to know it was me and not my gear.
Just an aside, I also added some Ti parts to the lockwork to speed it up, and I’m looking into a new part to allow me to drop weight from the stock. Typical me, even after a build is “finished” it’s not finished until I say it is and maybe not even then. Just like the barrel reviewed here. My ultralight AR build took me over 20 years to finish as I waited for technology to catch up to my desired part; when I saw it I knew that’s what I was waiting for
Things are either right or they aren’t. The TacSol barrel is one such item that’s right.