Raptor Charging Handle

First thing I changed on my Stag Model 2L was the charging handle.  I was kind of disappointed that with all the nice left handed features Stag puts on their rifles, a left handed charging handle wasn’t one of them.  I did some searching on line, and I found the Raptor by Rainier Arms and AXTS Weapon Systems.

This is a very nice charging handle.  It’s all aluminum, very sturdy, and the handles are just about the right size.  When pulling back the handle, the action moves both sides of the handle at the same time, kind of wing like.  Since This was probably designed for a right handed AR-15, the right side is longer to stick further than the forward assist, and the left side is about the same length as a standard charging handle.

So far, I’ve had no problems with the handle, and I like the size.  I like how it’s not as huge and oversize like the one from Badger Ordnance.  However, I think it would have been nice for both sides to be the same length.  On my right side, since there is no forward assist, it’s great.  However, on the left side where the forward assist has been relocated, it’s almost too short to be affective.  It works, but not as well as it could.

If you are a lefty, hell if you’re a righty, it’s a nice upgrade under $100, that’s actually useful.

Savage Mark II BTLVSS first shots

I’ve always wanted a nice left handed, bolt action .22LR rifle.  With the good experience I’ve had with my Savage 111 hunting rifle, I decided I needed to look no further than Savage again.  When it comes to left handed models, they have the best selection.  They have a good selection for the leftys, but only four in the .22 caliber.  The Rascal and the Mark II GL Youth were obviously out of the picture, leaving the Mark II BTVLSS and the Mark II GL.  I already have a Ruger 10/22, so I ruled out the standard Mark II, and went with the BTVLSS

BT – Laminate Thumbhole Stock

T – Target (Redundant with BT?)

V – Heavy Barrel

L – Left Hand

SS – Stainless Steel

This is a very nice looking rifle.  The stock is beautiful, and everything fits quite nicely together.  The barrel is free floated and of course, there is the Accu-Trigger.  This rifle does come with Weaver scope bases already installed, which was a big question I had when ordering it.  Some folks in the past had to order a separate set of scope bases for their rifle.  But I had mine.  I mounted my older Leupold VX-1 3-9×40 scope with an old set of UTG high detachable rings.  Since I already had the good scope, and mediocre rings, why waste the money right now.  I will be upgrading to a set of standard medium rings, but that’s a future purchase.  I also installed a Champion Bi-Pod for shooting from the bench.  I also ordered two 10 round magazines, since it only came with one 5 rounder (really, only one, and a five shot).

After a good cleaning and lube, the action worked pretty good.  Not as smooth as my .30-06 Savage 111, but that is a whole different beast.

For the first time, it shot pretty well. I tried various ammo at 50 and 100 yards:

 

 50 yds
50 Yards
100yds
100 Yards

Not too bad for a windy day, with not much of a wind break, and getting used to a new rifle.  I’m hoping I can find the right ammo combo for better grouping.  I also hope I can do a little more behind the rifle to improve that grouping.  This is the first time in a long time I’ve shot a bolt action more than 6 times a sitting, so the mechanics are still improving.  I am a left handed shooter, but right handed at everything else, and have been used to manipulating my right handed Ruger 10/22.  So time will tell how long it take me to get used to full left handed operations.

Looking forward to shooting this more often, and I’ve accumulated a nice stash of .22 ammo to test.

Stag Arms Model 2L+ AR-15

Before all the madness, before all the fear, I ordered a Modern Sporting rifle.  Why? They are great for target shooting, they have a ton of options for customization, then can be very accurate, and they can be used for a multitude of situations by law abiding citizens.  They also are a lot of fun to shoot.

But where does that leave lefty?  Well, we can go along and shoot a normal AR-15 left handed and hope all the brass gets deflected properly (I know, when is the last time the brass deflector not deflect brass away from you?).  Or you can look toward Rock River Arms or Stag Arms for a left handed version of the AR.  Both make great rifles, but there are a few big differences between the two companies philosophies on how to make a left handed rifle.  Rock River Arms makes a true left handed AR-15.  Left side ejection port and bolt carrier group, right side safety selector and bolt catch, and an ami mag release and charging handle.  I even believe the twist is opposite conventional barrels.  However, their uppers and lowers are only compatible with their LEF-T equipment.  This is why I chose to go with Stag instead (their wait time was months, as opposed to weeks with Stag Arms).

So I went with the Stag Model 2L+ (Plus Package)

Right out of the box, this looks like your standard AR-15, but a little different.  The lower is a standard Stag Arms lower, which is 7075 T6 aluminum with type2 hard coat anodizing, plastic A2 grip, standard charging handle, right side safety selector, but a left side bolt catch, right handed mag release, and a collapsible stock.

The upper is where all the left handed goodness comes into place.  You’ll notice the dust cover flips up and not down, that way it doesn’t interfere with the bolt catch (the lower is a standard right handed lower).  The RRA LEF-T flips down.  Anyhow, it has an A2 front sight, but with the sling attachment on the other side.  The bolt carrier group is reversed to eject the brass properly, but that is about where the different pieces end.

I went with the plus package to get the the following upgrades:

  • 4150 barrel steel chrome lined
  • 1 in 7″ twist rifling
  • HP/MP tested bolt and barrel
  • M-16 Bolt carrier
  • Heavy buffer assembly
  • M4 feed ramps
  • Extra USGI magazine

I really only wanted the 1 in 7 twist and the extra mag sure helped out at the time when there were no extra mags available.

As for shooting, I think it shoots pretty good.  I am new the AR platform, and don’t have much to compare it to.  So to sum up the shooting experience, I place a loaded magazine in the magwell, it stays in, I close the bolt, it loads, I pull the trigger, and it goes bang.  Repeat until empty.  So far I’ve put a couple hundred rounds through the rifle, and I’ve encountered no problems with the rifle.  It shot everything well, and I am learning to shoot it better.  The only malfunctions I’ve encountered have involved my brass catcher blocking the brass from full ejection.

As for it’s left handed ability, I am very pleased.  Since the bolt catch is on the left side, I can manipulate it with my left hand naturally.  I replaced the standard charging handle with an AXTS/Rainier Arms Raptor Charging handle.  So all of that is done on the left side.  I’ve heard that since the dust cover flips up, Magpul B.A.D. Lever will block the dust cover, and is not recommended. I think this is the same for The Troy ABR.

All in all, I have a lot to like about this rifle, with nothing to complain about.  It seems like Stag Arms makes a quality product, and the price is right.  They also do sell a left handed .22LR conversion kit.  But I took that money and bought a .22LR bolt rifle.