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Faxon Big Gunner or BA Modern? Helping a Friend Decide


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I've got a friend who's asked me to help him assemble his first .308 AR. Wanting, essentially, an exact replica of the rifle I built for my wife, but in .308.

While I ran a Criterion Hybrid in the wife's 5.56 rifle, he's not looking to spend that kind of money.

I'd recommended the Faxon Big Gunner 16" mid-gas to him. Then he found the BA Modern Series 16" mid-gas.

I know the Faxon barrels are, to some extent, "darlings" around here.

The BA can be had for ~$40 less than the Faxon, but it's about 5 oz. heavier (not trying to go ultra-light, but obviously the lighter, the better). And I have zero experience with BA.


Which of these two barrels would y'all gurus recommend, as far as accuracy, stringing, and general impressions of quality? TIA, fellas!

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I would feel comfortable with either. I have decided between BA and Faxon twice on different builds and used one of each, no regrets with either of the barrels. I've built rifles for others that used Criterion and was super impressed with them, fit and finish plus accuracy. But given your choice I'd save the $40 and get the BA.

My LGS told me last week that Aero was buying up the rest of BA "soon". I cannot confirm anything on this with google searches but he is usually dead on. If true, and given both BA and Aero's aggressive marketing there very well might be some good sales to come. ?

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1 hour ago, Ravenworks said:

I would tell your freind to reconsider the Criterion and a good trigger and to save money elsewhere.

When people come to me and want good but cheap,I tell them to look elsewhere.

I understand that sentiment, I do. Rifles for myself and the wife fall squarely into that line of thinking. Money is no object, just make it perfect. That's why her rifle cost me $1,200.00 to build. Well, that and the fact that I got in a hurry there toward the end and didn't want to wait for sales.

I've got him a LaRue MBT ($87 + shipping) on the way. This makes the 6th or 7th MBT I've purchased. I'm impressed, especially for the price.

However, this rifle is a dare, to some extent. He was asking me about PSA PA-10s back in the spring, and was just losing his mind over the fact that he could get a complete "AR-10" [insert Hank Hill eye twitch] for ~$850 and that would only weigh 8.5(ish) lbs.

So I popped off and said, "Give me some time to find some good deals on parts, and we can build you a much better rifle. But you're gonna have to bump your budget up a touch. Make it an even $1,000." So this is a build with a hard-line budget.

So, watching for deals, some time on DVOR, and I've got a complete rifle built (in Excel) for $972.73, excluding sights/optics and a mag. That's with the Faxon barrel. And it should weigh in right around 7.25 lbs., again, sans sights/optics/mag.

Gill Rifle 2 Cropped.jpg

Rex Brown Large Frame.PNG

Edited by COBrien
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CO B, I have several of both, Faxon and Ballistic Advantage.  Both are very good barrels, and neither pick will leave you wishing that you'd done the other.  The Faxons are the 16" 5.56 Pencil Barrel, 16" midlength .308 Win barrel, and the 18" midlength gas Grendel barrel.  All those barrels are fantastic.  The Ballistic Advantage barrels are the 18" SPR profile 5.56 barrel (Mk12 Mod 1 gun), and the 18" SPR profile Grendel barrel (Mk12-ish Army Green Grendel) - those things just shoot the lights out.

Either one will leave the owner with a bigass smile on his face.  :thumbup:

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10 minutes ago, Robocop1051 said:

I can deal Faxon barrels. I personally use Big Gunner barrels on all my .308’s. 

^^^  I completely forgot that he was a Faxon Dealer...   :bitchslap:

*** I also completely forgot about another Faxon barrel - I've got a 12.5" Faxon barrel on a short Grendel - and THAT BEAST DELIVERS!!!   :hail:

I have so much shiit, I forget about some, sometimes.  Don't hold that against me... 

Edited by 98Z5V
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  • 1 month later...

Sorry to re-rail this thread, fellas... ?

We got tired of waiting for DVOR to list the 16" Mid Faxon (the 18s and 20s have been all over DVOR lately...), and everyone else is out of stock. I sent a message to Robo re: pricing, but didn't hear back.

So... I got an e-mail today from Right To Bear re: their Presidents' Day Sale. BA Modern 16" Mid for $169.99. Checked out OpticsPlanet, and they're listing them at $181.31. Wrote a quick review on some Leupold Alumina scope caps, got my 7% coupon, and ordered one up for $168.62, free shipping.

It'll be a touch heavier than the Faxon (35.9 oz. vs. 30.6 oz.), but this rifle should still come in under 8 lbs.

And the BA 1 MOA guarantee is something he can brag about, though we all know accuracy guarantees on barrels really aren't a thing one should concern himself with...

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34 minutes ago, Robocop1051 said:

So sorry brother. I meant to hit you back. I’m waiting on a shipment of 16” Big Gunners. They are all back ordered. They said sometime in February, but I haven’t heard anything since SHOT. 

No worries, I know you've got several irons in the fire. Plus there was SHOT.

I expect my father-in-law will want to build a .308 or 6.5CM after we get his 5.56 rifle together (they're coming down in a couple weeks, and I can finally get this box o' parts out of my way...).

I'll definitely hit you up on the next go-around!

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