Saturday, April 19, 2014

An Afternoon with Faxon ARAK-21 and Bushmaster AR-15

ARAK-21 new-in-box w/EOTech HHS1, (above) M4A2 Upper Reciever

I bought 3 Bushmaster Stripped Lowers 16 years ago. I built one into a combat rifle for myself, and have since used the other 2 stripped lowers to built combat rifles for friends. Specced out the way they wanted them. Then sold it to them at cost.

Before becoming a truck driver I was never really able to afford anything beyond the iron sights. So with this year's tax refund I figured it was time to give my combat rifle some upgrades. But I realized early on that all the upgrades I ordered would leave a lot of residual parts, and going from those residual parts to a completed rifle would not be much of a stretch. All I was missing was the stripped lower and lower parts kit. So I got those ordered when I was on the road.

I was going to sell the older completed AR-15, but, my Mom and Dad have since asked to have it around at their house in Phoenix.

For the new build I picked Faxon Firearm's ARAK-21 for my Upper Receiver. Faxon is not new to machining, but, the Firearms branch is 2 years new. I noticed that it's getting some stellar reviews in what few periodicals have been hands-on with it so far. For my sight solution I picked EOTech's HHS1 Hybrid Holographic Sight and 3x Scope (G33.STS). This was developed for our military a few years ago. More Information: http://www.eotechinc.com/. The forward assist and weapon light is from Surefire (http://www.surefire.com/). How important is a Weapon Light? Answer: http://youtu.be/tJf_xl3VlLU

I was planning on building the AR-15 on camera, starting with the stripped lower. When I got to my Hometime to start the build I found that not all lower receiver parts made it into my parts order(s). So I used the Bushmaster lower I built 16 years ago for all the new upgrades. Maybe I can do the build project later this year?


We went to the range to have fun with the new ARAK-21. With 5 cameras rolling (2 Camera Glasses) we filmed 4.6 hours. I got that vetted down to 8 minutes and change.

It originally included what would be a 5 minute intro and narrative. "I got to looking over you folks subscribing to my Channel," is how I wanted to start narrating it. "Most of you are truck drivers. And most of you are into guns. I find myself in good company amongst you folks." Say a few more paragraphs - then I'd move to build the combat rifle in front of a Chroma Key so that I could put quotes from the Framers in the black background.

But, that all got deleted because of the missing lower receiver parts. You can see the start of the deleted scene here [1m3s]: Deleted Scene on YouTube. I worked a long time getting this to look as good as it does. Please watch it.


We brought a new shooter onto the range with us. For the first time handling and firing a gun - she seems to have a natural talent for it. She handled my Glock .45 with excellent control both left and right hand. Very tight group - double and single hand. The Glock 21 and ARAK-21 seemed to be a good fit for her. She thoroughly enjoyed shooting the ARAK-21. And I got just as much a kick watching the enjoyment she experienced.

The ARAK-21 was a pretty awesome upper. There's no muzzle rise at all when I dropped a 30-round magazine downrange in 3 seconds. We had an issue with the firing pen not making contact with the bullet after 90 rounds or so - towards the end of our shoot. I kept having to pull the bolt to fiddle with it. I don't know enough about the ARAK-21 yet to troubleshoot it.

Before I bought the Bump-fire Stock from Slide Fire (http://www.slidefire.com/) I think I barely put 300 rounds through my AR-15 over the past 16 years. Now that I have it we're dumping what looks to be 600 rounds every time we go to the range - 2 times now. I'm not saying it like it's a bad thing. I'm just saying that it's getting really expensive. Time to start pacing myself?

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