The day started with a call from a buddy of mine saying he had received his Tactical Solutions Pac Lite Upper for his ruger 22/45 frame. The Pac Lite is an aftermarket replacement receiver for the Ruger family of semi-automatic 22LR pistols, Ruger MK I, MK II, MK III and the .22/45 semi-automatic platforms. The receivers are all aluminum and are machined from a single piece of solid aircraft aluminum which makes them ultra lightweight. The barrels are chrome-moly inserts. The weight makes for a very well balanced easy to shoot 22.
We then decided hey lets have a pistol 22 shootout, with one stipulation the pistol must have a barrel with the length of 8inches or longer. This was the excuse we both needed to make time to get to the range as soon as we could. We both had new 22’s we had not shot yet, I had actually just acquired a new 10inch stainless Ruger MKII I was itching to shoot.
Keep reading for the pictures and review.
First up for review is the “Tactical Solutions OD Green Receiver” atop a Ruger 22/45 lower.
8” is 7.4 oz
Liner: Premium ‘button’ rifled chrome moly
Twist Rate: 1 in 16
Colors Available: Red, Blue, Matte Olive Drab Green, Black, & Matte Black
Pac-Lite barrels are produced with flutes and post anodized flutes (silver)
Pac-Lites are available in a 4.5” and 6″ Threaded end model (1/2 x 28 tpi threads)
Threaded models come with one thread protector
As you can see by the above picture the fit and finish of this weapon is very nice. The after market receiver fits very tight against the frame as if it came directly from Ruger itself. Most important the weight reduction does not affect the balance of the pistol. Though there is very minimal to no recoil to a 22 pistol I instantly thought the recoil would be more noticeable due to the lighter weight, but I was wrong. For me it shoots no differently than an all original Ruger 22/45.
After putting about 30 rounds down the pipe of the new chrome moly barrel we decided to try and group 10 shots on target at 12 yards. We were not shooting the best of ammo, all we had at the time were very old Winchester Wildcat 22LR ammo. The group was shot with 2 handed hold.
Though not the greatest group I am very confident once really broken in and with better ammo we will be able to achieve a tighter group. I am also sure most of this were due to shooter error and the unfamiliarity of not knowing what the proper site picture to use with this platform, 6oclock or center mass hold.
This platform could serve multiple roles, as a competition 22 or even cooler a platform to introduce young newcomers to this fantastic sport of ours – shooting. As we put more rounds down range with this platform we will retest and report back with the results, so stay tuned.
Tactical Solutions has an awesome product I rate it 4 out of 5 stars.
Next up for review the “Ruger MKII 10in Stainless Steel Pistol”
The Ruger Mark II pistol can be had in a variety of different barrel lengths from 2″ to 10″ barrel, the 10″ barrel are not collectors but fairly rare. The Ruger Mark II’s grip dimensions resemble those of the old German Lugers. Though I favor this grip angle there are those that say it should be modeled after the 1911. With so many request Ruger listened to it’s customer base and released a Ruger 22/45 with just about the same grip ergonomics of the 1911 in a polymer frame.
As you can see above my 10″ Ruger included adjustable sights which offer easy sight alignment and makes it easy to acquire a quick sight picture. With the 10″ barrel it does seem to be a tad bit front or muzzle heavy with a one handed hold. Although it doesn’t balance as well with a one handed hold as my S&W model 14 with 8-3/8″ barrel 38 special, with a two handed hold the Ruger balances fairly well for me. Understand I have very large hands and are accustomed to shooting long barrel pistols. The one thing I have noticed about 22 pistols is that most are picky about which brand of ammo they shoot well. This seemed to not be the case with my 10″. It was tried with the same Winchester Wildcat ammo we used in the Tactical Solutions test and also tried with regular Federal bulk box ammo. Both groups were very consistent so we decided to stick with the Wildcat ammo to keep the conditions of the test fairly consistent for all 3 weapons.
This platform receives a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. I know I will receive emails for giving such a reputable platform a 4 out of 5 stars but this model is known for being very difficult and counter intuitive to disassembly for cleaning. Some say they have owned this model for 10 or 15 years and have never broken them down for a thorough cleaning only swabbing the barrel and oiling thoroughly, and following this method is usually good enough. I am also not a fan of the magazine release being on the bottom of the frame, I always have found this some what cumbersome to operate. Ruger has fix this with the MKIII series and the 22/45 by placing the magazine release along the side of the frame as most traditional aemi-autos.
I am very happy with this platform as it is the first Ruger 22 I have owned in all my years of being in and around this sport. I have often been criticized by friends saying a Ruger 22 is like the 1911 in that every warm blooded American should own one.
I haven’t owned one due to me being such a huge revolver fan, hence the S&W 617 with 8 3/8in barrel up for review next.
The Smith and Wesson 617 has the same cult like following and reputation of the larger N Frame platform S&W is very popular for. Some have often considered me weird and argue the practicality of the 22LR in a long 8-3/8″ barrel. I say it is one of the funnest weapons I take to the range and is a great stress relief from the every day walk of life. This is also a great platform for introducing women, children and new shooters to the sport. The revolver is very easy to operate simply load the cylinder, close it take aim and pull the trigger. Though I love the look of the full lug and length of the barrel it can be muzzle heavy for youngsters and women but S&W also produces the 617 in 4″, 6″, and of course 8-3/8″ barrel lengths. For the younger shooter and women the 6″ platform would be perfect. The version pictured below is the 6 shot cylinder version, S&W is now also producing these in a 10 shot cylinder version. I really would like to have a 10 shot version but I am to fond of my 8-3/8″ version and I have not seen a 10 shot version with a 8-3/8″ barrel on any store shelves just yet, not to mention mine is pre-lock. The only negative I can pinpoint is the price, in my area new the S&W 617 runs $619.00. I got this one used from a very close friend who made me a deal I could not refuse simply because it was to muzzle heavy for him. This happens to be the same friend that owns the Tactical Solutions platform reviewed in this article. He too is fond of the 617 S&W as he has since acquired a 4″ version.
We shot the S&W 617 with the same Winchester Wildcat 22LR ammo at 12 yards. With the semi-auto platforms reviewed in this article we fired 10 shots a piece down range for this test. So for the revolver we fired two cylinders worth totaling 12 rounds.
The fit and finish of the S&W 617 is excellent, the trigger is smooth and crisp on par with what S&W has become known for. I rate this platform a 4 out of 5 stars the one negative being the cost. The 22 pistol has been known to be a beginner platform but S&W with this retail price has the potential of forcing customers to the Ruger MK series as reviewed in this article. The Ruger MKII can be had for $200 to $300 bucks cheaper.
Here is the complete target for a side by side review of all platforms.
Overall in this shootout as painful as it is for me to say a semi-auto beat out a revolver the Ruger 10″ MKII takes home the trophy.
Stayed tune for further updates on the Tactical Solutions platform. I plan to try and find a few different version of 22 Target ammo to try it with.