Review: Tactical Solutions Ridge-Lite Barrel (S&W Victory) - RimfireCentral.com Forums

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  #1  
Old 11-17-2018, 09:58 PM
p4triot1

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Review: Tactical Solutions Ridge-Lite Barrel (S&W Victory)



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Pro's:

1) Rear sights are fixed to the barrel itself, not the receiver. This is an advantage over the stock barrel/sight configuration for the base model as well as the performance center Victory with fluted barrel. For those barrels, the rear sights are fixed to the receiver, not the barrel. This means when the barrel is disconnected from the receiver for a good cleaning, it's possible to introduce a small amount of sight misalignment. The Ridge-Lite barrel removes this weakness by making the rear sights fixed to the barrel itself.

2) Extends the sight radius of the victory by 0.5", increasing iron-sight accuracy.

3) Using this barrel shaves ~8 oz from the gun (base model drops from 36 oz to 28 oz). It makes for a much more pleasant shooting experience.

4) The fluted barrel should, in theory, dissipate heat more efficiently.

5) Unlike the Volquartsen aftermarket barrels, you can mount your optic on the rail without messing with your iron sights. The Volquartsen aftermarket barrels don't have front sights and are therefore not compatible with iron sights whatsoever. The Ridge-lite barrel provides flexibility in sights.

6) Threads allow for easy attachment of a compensator.

Cons:

1) The design of the barrel facilitates mis-feeds when chambering the first round of a magazine. The TacSol Ridge-Lite barrel chamber is simply a circular opening ~1 mm above the feed ramp. When chambering a round, bullets get caught on the lip of the chamber, right where the feed ramp meets the barrel. This is in contrast to the factory barrel, which is contoured at an angle leading into the feed ramp--there's no flat face for the bullet to get caught on. I used a metal file and some sandpaper to file down the edge of the chamber to allow for a smooth contour leading to the feed ramp, just like the factory barrel. If you purchase this barrel, expect to need to do this for proper feeding. If you don't mod the barrel in this way, bullets will misfeed and lead scrapings from the friction will majorly gunk up your chamber, compounding the issue. It took me a few minutes to fix and wasn't a total PIA once I figured out what the problem was, but it was annoying that the barrel ships with a major design flaw that effects feeding. For more details, see: https://www.rimfirecentral.com/forum....php?t=1140179

2) Much like the stock victory front sight, the Ridge-lite front fiber optic sight is annoyingly large because it has globule melted endcaps that hold in place the 0.06" fiber optic rods, which artificially increases the visual rod diameter. In practice, this means that the fiber optic front sight is exceptionally large and bright, which makes the top of the front blade difficult to see, drastically reducing accuracy. I replaced the front fiber optic with a 0.06" white rod and glued it in place to remedy this glaring issue (pun intended). This is the white rod I used for my front sight: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The Ridge-lite barrel ships from the factory with annoyingly large diameter fiber optic endcaps on the front-sight.

3) The rear sights use a U-notch instead of partridge. Faster target acquisition, but less accurate. Given the light weight of the Ridge-Lite and the U-notch sights, it seems catered to steel challenge. I contacted the manufacturers and was informed that they use a proprietary rear sight and that there are no replacements available to change the sight style, although allegedly the dovetail is made to "Williams Sight specs". I've included a picture below showing the sight measurements (click on the image for higher resolution). Thus far I've been unable to find a replacement.


4) While the rear sight is both elevation and windage adjustable, the windage adjustment is made by loosening a small screw at the top of the rear sight and physically moving the sight to the left/right, which is far less precise than a "clicking" windage adjustment. Since the sights are proprietary and cannot be replaced, this is a minor annoyance (since windage is typically "set it and forget it").


Comparison between Ridge-lite and factory sights.

The Ridge-lite rear sights are adjusted for windage by loosening the screw that rests in between the rear fiber optic rod.

Close-up of U-notch rear sight.

Summary:

The misfeeding issue and poor front sight fiber optic diameter issues are exasperating, albeit easily fixable (you're going to want to do the mods I listed above if you are to truly enjoy the barrel). The fact that the rear sight cannot be replaced is a bigger issue mainly because there is no easy fix--if you buy this barrel, you are stuck with U-notch rear sights (bad for bullseye shooting, good for steel challenge) with an imprecise windage adjustment.

That being said, I do believe the pro's balance the cons: this barrel significantly lightens up the gun, increases your sight radius, allows you flexibility with iron sights or optics, and is the only Victory barrel which has truly fixed iron sights (rather than fixed to the receiver). For anyone looking to improve their Victory shooting experience using iron sights (with the option of optics) while lightening up the somewhat awkward 36 oz weight, this barrel does the trick. Just be prepared to have a "project gun" on your hands, and make your peace with a U-notch sight.

Although the barrel MSRP's in the $300-$350 range (quite above its $200-$350 Volquartsen competitors), you can find them new online for around $240 if you look around.

Last edited by p4triot1; 11-18-2018 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 11-18-2018, 12:06 AM
gregbenner

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very Nice write up, good pics! I got my Victory as I was getting onto NRA Bullseye shooting. I have the VQ carbon barrel, and a modded trigger. However, I realized the Victory is not well suited for that, so I donít shoot it too much anymore. That said, one advantage of the new barrel might be for a outside carry 22. Say hiking, camping, etc. at 28noz it would easy to holster.

Iím a bit surprised anyone would release a barrel these days that doesnít chamber well. For me, that would make it a deal killer
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  #3  
Old 11-18-2018, 06:34 AM
cabin22
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Excellent review!!

The issue with the feed ramp is critical; perhaps TacSol will revise their production to address this. I can't imagine having to do that to a new barrel.
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  #4  
Old 11-18-2018, 11:04 AM
p4triot1

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbenner View Post
very Nice write up, good pics! I got my Victory as I was getting onto NRA Bullseye shooting. I have the VQ carbon barrel, and a modded trigger. However, I realized the Victory is not well suited for that, so I donít shoot it too much anymore. That said, one advantage of the new barrel might be for a outside carry 22. Say hiking, camping, etc. at 28noz it would easy to holster.

Iím a bit surprised anyone would release a barrel these days that doesnít chamber well. For me, that would make it a deal killer
Thank you. I'm curious what about the Victory you found not well suited for NRA Bullseye shooting?


Quote:
Originally Posted by cabin22 View Post
Excellent review!!

The issue with the feed ramp is critical; perhaps TacSol will revise their production to address this. I can't imagine having to do that to a new barrel.
Thank you, and agreed; perhaps I should let TacSol know of my experience with the barrel.
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  #5  
Old 11-18-2018, 11:17 AM
gregbenner

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Quote:
Originally Posted by p4triot1 View Post
Thank you. I'm curious what about the Victory you found not well suited for NRA Bullseye shooting.
As I became involved in Bullseye shooting, I became aware of “Olympic” pistols, basically those used by the top shooters,in competition, and, of course, in the Olympics. S&W make a fine example at the lower end, the Model 41.

Significantly better trigger, adjustable pull weight and in many cases adjustable length, angle, etc. adjustable ergonomic grips, adjustable barrel weight, etc.

Plus, I found the Victory too light to shoot well one handed (as required).

Even compared to the model 41, the Victory doesn’t come very close.

However, it is much less expensive, so not a fair comparison if price is the issue. Not knocking the Victory, I just found trying to make it something it wasn’t to be expensive and unobtainable. YMMV

Last edited by gregbenner; 11-18-2018 at 11:19 AM.
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  #6  
Old 11-23-2018, 06:51 PM
MikeK

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Great review. I got out today to test my Tacsol barrel and did experience a few mis-feeds on the first round. CCI minimag 40 g worked flawlessly, 36 g Federal bulk grouped better but had a few mis-feeds. The feel of the gun is much better. If I hadn't lost the detent spring on the TandemKross trigger I would have that installed also (3 more on the way).

I plan on using it mostly for steel plates. I may try your mod. The Ruger Mark IV 22/45 Lite has been a great shooter but after $'s and hours is still not reliable enough.
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Old 12-11-2018, 05:29 PM
p4triot1

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeK View Post
Great review. I got out today to test my Tacsol barrel and did experience a few mis-feeds on the first round. CCI minimag 40 g worked flawlessly, 36 g Federal bulk grouped better but had a few mis-feeds. The feel of the gun is much better. If I hadn't lost the detent spring on the TandemKross trigger I would have that installed also (3 more on the way).

I plan on using it mostly for steel plates. I may try your mod. The Ruger Mark IV 22/45 Lite has been a great shooter but after $'s and hours is still not reliable enough.
Ah good to know--all my misfeeds were also with federal bulk 36g.
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  #8  
Old 01-10-2019, 06:37 AM
joenjg

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I found the victory w the Volquartsen all metal fluted barrel, upgraded trigger to be more accurate - for me - than sw41 as the weight sits back in my hand rather than forward as in the Sw 41. I use the Etsy grips but modified to fill out the right aide palm area.
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