Last month. I shared my “Mild Makeover” for the Browning Buck Mark. The plan was to add a few items that improve on its reliability and usability, nothing more. This pistol wasn’t purchased with the intention of going all out, so I avoided that temptation. Well, for about four months anyway. I was perfectly content to have a mostly factory pistol with a few aftermarket parts. The ones I consider “necessary”.
And then I ran into someone selling a Tactical Solutions (TacSol) 7.25″ Trail Lite barrel, designed for the Buck Mark. These are no longer on their website, and are pretty much limited runs for retailers that request something special. In other words, not at all common today. Heck, it wasn’t even threaded, and I still bought it. The asking price was less than I can get a barrel from TacSol using my dealer account. It was a deal I could not pass up. Even better, the guy delivered it to the Mexican restaurant where I was having lunch with coworkers. I can’t make this stuff up. Tacos and cheap gun parts. Living the dream.
About the TacSol Trail-Lite Barrel
The packaging is pretty thin on details, beyond the obvious. It’s anodized red, with fluting. Overall length is 7.25″, and it’s not threaded. Diameter is .900″, and it’s described as “Ultra Light Weight”. That last part is confirmed, as it cut close to half a pound off the weight of the pistol. Or maybe seven ounces. I really should have written it down when I had a chance. Too late now. Anyway, that’s it: red, light, and shiny. And the front sight is not a fiber optic. Which doesn’t matter, since I mounted a red dot. Or does it?
By design, the Browning Buck Mark makes barrel swaps simple. Verify it’s unloaded, of course. Lock the bolt in the open position. Remove the front and rear sight base screws, and take off the sight. Under the barrel is a screw at the front of the frame, ahead of the trigger. Back that out, and the barrel can be carefully tilted down, then lifted out. After a little cleaning, install the TacSol Trail-Lite in the reverse order. Make sure it’s completely tightened down. Reinstall sight base and tighten those screws. Perform a full function check, and make sure there is no gap between bolt and barrel. If there is, it’s probably not tightened properly.
Obviously, I got a little sidetracked when it came to reinstalling the sight base. Because I threw an Outer Impact optic mount on there instead. But that was only a temporary setup. So try not to look at that. It will appear again in a future article, on its real home. But it was on this pistol for a short time, along with a Vortex red dot. And I dialed that in before calling this one ready for the range.
For this range trip, I had several different pistols to shoot, mostly 9mm. Some just needed a quick function check (does it go bang?), while others were being reviewed and got passed around to friends to get the round count up. But this being rimfire, it got shot a lot. With the new barrel, it’s much better balanced. After some time on the dueling tree, it was obvious that this was light, fast, and accurate. I started picking off empty shotgun hulls as far as I could see, and that become boringly easy. While I’ll admit that I like a good challenge, I also like when a pistol is just plain easy to shoot well. And that’s what I ended up with after installing the Trail-Lite. That’s not to say it wasn’t great before, but it was definitely more fun with the new barrel.
Did I bench it and shoot some groups on paper? Nope. Can it still be a tack driver, if I didn’t? Well, probably. I’m not a paper puncher, and absolutely prefer the ring of lead on steel instead. We have gongs, spinners, a KYL rack, and a dueling tree for that reason. If you’re like me, and just want to have a very accurate, very fun pistol, the Trail-Lite will not disappoint you. I have no doubt that it’s plenty accurate for more discriminating shooters as well. But when it shoots this well with bulk Federal ammo, I have no complaints. Guess I should have added an “*” in the title of this article.
Obviously, an article about a barrel with limited availability isn’t going to have wide appeal. But Tactical Solutions makes some other Trail-Lite barrels for the Browning Buck Mark. So this could serve as a good opener to a future article about their other barrels. And the longer sight radius of a 7.25″ barrel is kind of wasted with that red dot. On that Outer Impact optic mount. And that black Halo looks a bit out of place with the red barrel. Now that I think about it, so does the gold trigger. Surely, there must be some solution to all these concerns. If you read my first Buck Mark article, I did mention that I had bought a second one. Yeah, I’m dropping hints here. So check back soon to see how this one and the other end up.