Issue 16 Preview – Faxon Redux Iain Harrison Join the Conversation Print Version Subscriptions:WTF Back Issues (digital only): Click Here Click Here Digital Version iTunes for iPad: NOOK: Click Here Click Here Kindle: Google Play: Click Here Click Here Zinio for computers, Android, RIM, iPad and other devices: Click Here Photography by Kenda Lenseigne Its Switch-Barrel Piston Gun Is All Grown Up. We Shoot the First Production Model. Way back in Issue 7, we took a prototype piston upper for the AR-15 out for a spin. While we noted a few areas that could be improved, we reckoned it showed enough promise to pronounce it a winner. Never ones to pass up a test piece, we decided to hold onto the sample and beat the snot out of it, using it for optics and ammo evaluations, shooting from helicopters, and abusing it as a truck gun, where it was usually encrusted with a ¼ inch of fine Arizona desert dust. After dropping in the .300 BLK barrel, the upper enjoyed a couple of hog hunting trips wearing all manner of IR kit — and apart from a couple of chewed-up Picatinny rails, it’s shrugged off all the abuse we could heap on it. In the intervening months, the Faxon team has addressed the initial problems we found with their baby and are now offering it as a complete firearm. We decided to examine the improvements and see how the finished product stacks up. Prototype to Production Firearms are a pretty small part of the Faxon Engineering empire. Based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, the company caters mainly to the aerospace industry, and one of its specialties is making things that produce very, very big booms for three-letter government agencies. This is not a mom-and-pop business bolting together ARs in their garage. It’s not a faceless multinational defense contractor either, as Bob Faxon has a reputation for replying to customers’ emails and calls personally, especially if there’s a question about his gun that the customer service team can’t answer. Notice: We Found Ammo In Stock: (Check our Current Deals page for more ammo deals - including bulk ammo) 9mm 150gr FMJ 50ct $26.99 Optics Planet9mm 115gr JHP 50ct $54.99 Palmetto State Armory 5.56 62gr LAP 20ct $15.99 Palmetto State Armory.223 REM 75gr HPBT 200ct $194.95 Creedmoor SportsGet 5% off all Creedmoor brand ammo with code CREEDMOOR5 Disclosure: These links are affiliate links. Caribou Media Group earns a commission from qualifying purchases. Thank you! In case you missed the original review, the upper is based on a long-stroke piston system, mated to a multi-lug rotating bolt. As such, it offers the best of both the AK and AR platforms, with a smattering of improvements over both. Hogged out of a monolithic block of aluminum, it gives a massively strong (if heavy) continuous top rail for optics. A four-position, adjustable gas block ties into the front of the rail system, and one of our earlier concerns was that this area became pretty hot after extended periods of firing. In order to mitigate heat transfer, phenolic spacers have been added under the lower and side rails on production models. On the 5.56mm barrel, the prototype’s A2 birdcage flash hider has been replaced with a device that looks very similar, but which offers more recoil mitigation and the benefits of the “Muzzlok” feature, enabling installation without the use of a crush washer. The .300 BLK barrel currently lacks this improvement, which is a pity as it allows the removal of the device in the field, should you wish to install a can. Instead, the .300 BLK ships with a proprietary Loudmouth single-chamber brake. The good news is that the brake is effective, despite its abbreviated dimensions, and when shooting supersonic 110-grain ammo, it cuts felt recoil to about that of a 5.56mm. Muzzle flash, though, was pretty spectacular in low light. The .300 BLK barrel ships with a couple of thick, red rubber bands emblazoned with the caliber, which slip over the magazine body. We asked Bob why he decided to include them, and he replied, “Ha, easy answer. I blew one up!” The number of people who have accidentally chambered a .300 BLK round in a 5.56mm chamber continues to grow with the popularity of the round — so to reduce the chance of this happening, the Faxon’s .30-cal barrel is identified by means of three ridges at the muzzle end, in addition to the inclusion of the mag markers. For the rest of this article, subscribe here: RECOIL Issue 16 Explore RECOILweb:Weapons and Weather: Hurricane Matthew and GunsRuger Releases AR-556 PistolPDN: Training Talk Live with Grant CunninghamPhase 5 P5T15 Rifle Review Budget AR-15s In Stock: PSA PA-15 5.56 $699.99 Palmetto State Armory PSA 7.5" Pistol Length 300AAC $769 Palmetto State Armory Sig Tread M400 5.56 $799 Rainier Arms F-1 FDR-15 5.56 $819 Rainier Arms Bulk Handgun Ammo in Stock 9mm Magtech 115gr FMJ 1000ct $689 True Shot 40 S&W FMJ 1000ct $549 Rainier Arms Disclosure: These links are affiliate links. Caribou Media Group earns a commission from qualifying purchases. Thank you! NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOILFor years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included). Click here to get IMMEDIATE ACCESS to a digital PDF of this target pack!