Axelson Tactical is a business I hadn’t heard much of until eight months ago. At that time, I was sent one of their competition muzzle brakes for review. During my research period for that article, I realized I had heard the name Axelson before, with regard to Operation Red Wings: Matt Axelson was a Navy SEAL killed in 2005 while bringing the fight to the enemies of Liberty; his brother Jeff started Axelson Tactical as a way to honor Matt and those like him who bore the ultimate and final cost of freedom.
Finding out I’d be getting the AXE-300 upper receiver meant I’d be getting a chance to put the company name to the test on a bigger product this time around. The AXE-300 upper is new enough that it doesn’t have it’s own webpage yet, but it shares nearly every detail with the AXE-18 Combat Upper. This means the AXE-300 comes with:
- 10.5″ QPC Nitride finished barrel in .300 Blackout
- Axelson’s Blast Shield over a ROC Competition brake
- 10″ Centurion Arms C4 Quad Rail
- Nitride coated bolt-carrier group
My initial impressions of the AXE-300 were positive, noting snug fit on all parts. While the Centurion 10″ quad rail is a little heavier than comparable length MLOK or Keymod variants, there’s no questioning it’s strength. The Blast Shield snugs up to the front of the rail with only the smallest gap between them. The charging handle has a medium sized latch, allowing easy racking of the rifle even when you’ve got a scope mount with large throw levers installed as I did. Said mount held onto a Lucid Optics MLX 4.5-18x optic. Ready to roll, I put the upper onto a V7 Weapons Systems lower with a Geissele trigger and hit the range.
As luck would have it, the range was packed, so I hit a little known spot in the woods with a safe backdrop at 50 yards. A spritz of WD-40 on the BCG, a mag full of Barnes RangeAR 90 gr. rounds and I was off and running. With my primary shooting spot taken, I was left shooting groups from the kneeling shooting position. I still managed to print the groups below.
Recoil was average for the caliber, though the concussive force was noticeably directed away from me by the Blast Shield. After the first couple groups, I went to grab my brass and noticed them piled up in the tightest little group I’ve ever seen: this is a testament to consistency and it continued throughout the day. Every string of fire left neat piles of brass separated by no more than a few inches. An overgassed gun usually bangs the brass out unpredictably. A slightly undergassed gun will often function, but fail to lock back after the last round. The AXE-300 performed flawlessly, chewing through the Barnes 90 gr. rounds as well as some Remington UMC 110 gr. ammo I had handy.
Axelson Tactical may not be a name known to every AR enthusiast, but I’m a believer that it should be. With each exposure to their craftsmanship and dedication to commitment, I’m left ever more impressed with what they’re producing. If you’re in the market for quality AR’s and parts, head over to Axelson’s website and check them out. The AXE-300 is $949 for the complete upper.
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