80% Arms Billet Aluminum Lower Build–No Milling Machine Needed

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Making an AR lower from a billet that is 80% complete is completely legal and not as hard as some would have you believe.

Making an AR lower from a billet that is 80% complete is completely legal and not as hard as some would have you believe.

80% Arms: http://www.80percentarms.com/

“With certain exceptions, a firearm may be made by a non-licensee provided it is not for sale and the maker is not prohibited from possessing firearms.” ATF: [18 U.S.C. 922(o) and (r), 26 U.S.C. 5822, 27 CFR 478.39, 479.62 and 479.105]

You heard it from the horse’s mouth! As long as you can posses a firearm, you can legally create your own firearm! But how does anyone short of a machinist create a firearm?

80% Arms has made it simple.

Hidden behind enemy lines in the Peoples Republic of Californiaistan, 80% Arms is a company whose mission is to help you help yourself create your own firearms.

80% has brought to market no compromise 80% lowers in both AR15 and AR10 patterns. An 80% lower is just what it sounds like. It isn’t 100% complete. The lower is 80% of the way there, but requires some finishing to make it an actual firearm. You’ll need to remove material for the trigger group and drill some holes. Without these additional steps, it might as well be a paperweight. But because it isn’t technically a firearm at the 80% completion point, it can be shipped directly to you without the hassle of an FFL and form 4473.

You will need some guidance, a few tools, a few jigs, and billet to work.

You will need some guidance, a few tools, a few jigs, and billet to complete a firearm.

Features of the Lowers

  • Full mil-spec part compatibility ensures maximum rifle customization.
  • Machined from 6061-T6 billet aluminum for superior strength, 7075-T6 optional.
  • Broached, flared mag well aids with faster, easier magazine reloads.
  • Integral trigger guard enables winter use with gloves.
  • Easy bolt catch installation with a regular punch eliminates need for special tool.
  • Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.
  • Three finishes available: raw aluminum, bead blasted matte aluminum, and mil-spec type III hard anodized in black, flat dark earth (FDE), and pink.

Besides the lowers, they also have a universal jig that makes the completion of your lower receiver as easy as possible. The jigs are designed to be used with hand tools and a simple vise. A novice can easily complete a lower receiver in a matter of a few hours. Available as replacement parts or as a whole kit, it gives you an easy to use jig that is designed to be universal for all AR15 lowers.

The kit doesn’t include the drill bits and mills but they are available from 80% Arms for an added cost of about $45. If your going to complete one of these lowers your going to want to purchase a few tools and miscellaneous things to make sure its smooth sailing.

Cordless drills may not cut it. Go for a larger drill, or a drill press.

Cordless drills may not cut it. Go for a larger drill, or a drill press.

Other tools needed

  • WD40
  • Trim Router
  • Corded drill
  • Vise
  • Shop glasses

Nice to have

  • Cutting fluid
  • Drill press
  • X Y vise
  • Air compressor with nozzle to blow out chips
  • Gloves
Milling out the lower doesn't have to be done on a milling machine. A router will work.

Milling out the lower doesn’t have to be done on a milling machine. A router will work.

Cost of lower and parts necessary for build

  • $99.99- 6061-T6 Anodized Billet 80% Lower
  • $149.99- AR-15 Easy Jig
  • $44.99– Easy Jig Tool Kit

How to mill out the lower

First things first. Lay out your parts and tools and make sure you have everything you need for the job. Assuming you’ve got all the right parts and tools, it’s time to assemble the jig around your lower. Installing the 4 cross bolts in the jig firmly locks the lower into place and keeps it centered and free of movement.

Add the appropriate top section of the jig. You can now prepare for drilling the front trigger pocket. Lock the jig in the vise. You now use the supplied drill bits and stop collar to drill the depths of the front pocket. Though it is possible with a hand drill, I’d say if you have access to a drill press, use it. It’s good to use lots of cutting fluid and to take small breaks fairly often to clear the chips of aluminum from the jig.

Setting the depth on the bits is crucial. Don't drill too much material. Removing it is much easier than putting it back.

Setting the depth on the bits is crucial. Don’t drill too much material. Removing it is much easier than putting it back.

The next step in the process is to drill the rear trigger pocket. Remove the top rear bolt in the jig.  You now set the proper depth on the drill bit and go to work as you did on the front pocket.

The next step in finishing your lower is milling out the remainder of the aluminum with a router. I used a DeWalt Trim router and found it to be perfectly powered and sized for the job.

It’s important to do this part very gradually to achieve clean and even lines inside the lower. Taking half steps at a time you should start inside one of the drilled holes and move toward the center of the jig, slowly connecting the dots. Once you get the mill bit below the walls of the jig, you can move toward the sides of the lower. I made around 12 passes to get the pocket milled out to perfection (or as perfect as I could get it). Next I moved to the rear of the pocket taking the same caution to make smooth passes (moving from hole to hole then moving outward to the sides of the jig).

After the pocket is cleanly milled out, drill out the trigger hole. Using the trigger hole template, make a square cut and then switch to a mill bit and expand the hole to size.

Drilling holes for the controls requires a bit more control. The angle of the holes is important, so I opted for the control offered by a drill press.

Drilling holes for the controls requires a bit more control. The angle of the holes is important, so I opted for the control offered by a drill press.

Once the pocket is complete, turn the jig on its side and drill the selector hole as well as the trigger pin holes. Using the supplied bits, make sure your holes are straight and square to the receiver. I found it easier to flip the jig over and do one side at a time. After the holes are drilled, disassemble the jig and clean off your freshly finished lower.

After removing the remainder of the aluminum chips and excess cutting fluid, I would say the lower came out pretty much perfect. Apart from a few cosmetic blemishes (due to negligence on my side) the lower came out better than I had expected.

A few tips

Go slow and make sure to check your depths frequently, I had the drill stop slip a few times. It is better to make twice as many passes with the router than to make deep rough passes. Gloves would be a great investment because tiny slivers of aluminum will slide under your skin very easily and may cause annoying discomfort. Deburr the selector holes to ensure smooth operation. Though not necessary, I will eventually recoat the entire lower with Cerakote.

The process makes a mess. Go slow. That will allow you to clean up frequently and judge your progress.

The process makes a mess. Go slow. That will allow you to clean up frequently and judge your progress.

It really isn’t all that complicated. There are some out there who think you can’t make a functional aluminum lower without a milling machine. Even though I did use a drill press for a few cuts, I didn’t have to. And I got a fully functional lower without a milling machine.

80% Arms has something unique here. They have a quality system that makes building a lower receiver so easy that you can do it from home with minimal tools. Yes, you can go out and buy a completed lower for less than it would cost to complete one from an 80% billet, but there’s more to it than that. And the jig and tool kits are reusable and all the parts of each can be replaced, making this an investment you can depend on for years to come.

The Real Question

We’ve written about the 80% lowers before. They can be a bit of an enigma to those who don’t know guns. This lower isn’t serialized. That scares some people. They want to call it a ghost gun, or some equally terrifying name. People who have an irrational fear have a crazy irrational fear of these things. They think thugs are going to line up with their milling machines and start churning out machine guns and no one is ever going to know.

The process is nearing completetion. In a couple of short hours (and I was taking my time) I had a fully functional lower.

The process is nearing completion. In a couple of short hours (and I was taking my time) I had a fully functional lower.

The reality is much less terrifying. Because it isn’t serialized, and doesn’t have to be serialized if you follow the basic rules that govern who can make guns at home and what can be done with those guns, this has become a personal liberty issue. You can build a gun, and you don’t have to tell anyone. And if the result is as solid and functional as any other lower you might buy–why wouldn’t you? Unless you are one of those types that likes bragging to Uncle Sam about all of you personal business.

But there’s more to it than that. This is about getting your hands dirty. You can go buy a gun or you can build one. Which do you think you will have a stronger affinity for? Which one will bring you more personal pride? And this way, if something does go wrong with the lower, you’ll know a hell of a lot more about how to fix it. It will be yours. There’s something about the process that I find personally gratifying.

Milling out pieces that are exposed on the outside should be done with extra care, just to make them neat.

Milling out pieces that are exposed on the outside should be done with extra care, just to make them neat.

The jig has a plate to help support the router.

The jig has a plate to help support the router.

When set up in a vise, with the jig, routing is very easy.

When set up in a vise, with the jig, routing is very easy.

The jigs are crucial and help with stock removal in incremental steps.

The jigs are crucial and help with stock removal in incremental steps.

A drill press with its own vice makes the whole job even easier.

A drill press with its own vice makes the whole job even easier.

The milling inside will almost surely show tool marks, but that won't change how it functions.

The milling inside will almost surely show tool marks, but that won’t change how it functions.

The router zips through aluminum more slowly than wood, but it still works.

The router zips through aluminum more slowly than wood, but it still works.

The drill holes make milling much more efficient.

The drill holes make milling much more efficient.

80% Arms' jigs are ideal, and can be used for multiple builds.

80% Arms’ jigs are ideal, and can be used for multiple builds.

The whole build takes very little time. The most time consuming part is the process of discovery. Assembling jigs and pacing the cutting both have small learning curves that quickly disappear.

The whole build takes very little time. The most time consuming part is the process of discovery. Assembling jigs and pacing the cutting both have small learning curves that quickly disappear.

Getting the appropriate bits is easy through 80% Arms, or you can find them yourself.

Getting the appropriate bits is easy through 80% Arms, or you can find them yourself.

These bolts hold together the jigs and keep the work from shifting.

These bolts hold together the jigs and keep the work from shifting.

{ 68 comments… add one }
  • vocalpatriot December 22, 2016, 9:07 pm

    RE:
    ATF: [18 U.S.C. 922(o) and (r), 26 U.S.C. 5822, 27 CFR 478.39, 479.62 and 479.105]
    Since when is an agency of the executive branch allowed to make law?

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude May 28, 2017, 2:47 pm

      Well done article and should be cornerstone information in a Nation with a status quo of privacy, liberty, and inalienable rights to defend themselves and maintain that freedom that is guaranteed Constitutionally.

      So when the author says “AS long as you can possess a firearm”, I’m wondering the same thing as Vocal Patriot here is asking?
      When our precious liberties included the right to keep and bear arms as a means of protecting these rights, there were absolutely No qualifications or penalties, or restriction of gun forfeiture for any reason.

      If you were a criminal and committed a crime your whole body was ‘restricted’ from doing any crimes for a period of time, and you forfeited ALL Freedom to act criminally, tools and methodology notwithstanding. A.and sometimes for the rest of your life. Once you ‘paid’ for your criminal act, and allowed to re-integrate back into society as a rehabilitated law abiding citizen again. All your natural rights were restored. Including “being able to ‘possess” a firearm.

      There was no agenda based judicial mentality that once a criminal always a criminal? This goes against all reasonable and justifiable principles not to mention set up a system where all a totalitarian oriented government needed to do was make laws that made target focused anti-despotic people to make them criminals, if you already made an unconstitutional law banning ex criminals from having firearms. And then you could easily ‘disarm’ through strict enforcement, and potential dissidence and revolution… to thwart your tyrannical plans! The Framers realized this and separated Natural inalienable uninfringable rightrs from the Criminal Justice System, unless they were being violated. They didn’t want the efficacy of an armed citizenry eroded in any way.

      Which is exactly what is happening today.

      At this time the dark state criminals (who will never be disarmed, or even go to jail) in the form of virtually autonomous
      power elite agencies like the CIA, FBI, NSA, and DHS, who actually run the country and control the populate, are not friendly to Trump and have actually been using their powers to bring him down.

      In a way that’s a good thing. Maybe now, that The Donald had a personal taste of what totalitarian spying and privacy invasion is like, he’ll get more encouraged to begin serously dismantling these useless Nazi Gestapo agencies, and get busy restoring our liberties starting with repealing ALL gun laws.

  • Rick Gilhousen November 18, 2016, 12:40 am

    i have a machine shop primarily work with aluminum i use WD-40 on everything when i machining aluminum it works great except when i’m tapping or cutting threads then i use special tapping fluid for this i would use cutting oil because i have a milling machine but for the way there doing it for the hobby shop guy will work fine but you need to use a lot did you see where he broke his mill end cutter most likely was to dry and it grabbed and broke the cutter personally for this application i would use cutting oil made for aluminum but where an apron because its going to throw it around but your going to get a very nice job just go slow it not a road race even if it takes you most of the day you will or should be very happy with it or you should be .

  • BorisRoberts October 23, 2016, 12:21 pm

    Hey guys. Be careful when you are doing these, sneak up on the dimension when finishing the walls and floors of your pockets. I’ve seen a few, including one that was “fixed” with JBWeld. If you overcut it, and the walls get too thin, just buy another one. I’ve seen a lower with the wall gouged to maybe .010 of the wall left, then filled back in with JBWeld (basically, Bondo and glue). It has no structural strength. I wouldn’t shoot a few that I’ve seen.

    Even though I have access to regular cutting fluids, at home I do use WD-40 on my milling machine, because it’s what I have. There sure is a lot of misinformation about it being spread by paranoid people. A previous poster was correct about cutting speeds. But, with the rights speeds and feeds, a solid carbide end mill, should last for hundreds, if not thousands of pockets. I’m a machinist, and I have solid carbide end mills (I’ll only use high quality end mills, I also have some high speed steel end mills that are 15 or 20 years old and still going strong), that will last indefinitely when machining aluminum. But, another thing to keep in mind, in a less rigid set up, such as a router, the cutter tends to bounce around, and carbide chips fairly easily, it likes a solid set up, maybe high speed steel end mills might be more durable.

    I bought a Cincinatti mill for $900. It was made in 1960, and is a bit bigger than a Bridgeport. I would think that, at $900, you might save some money, on end mills alone (if you keep smoking them with your router), if you bought a milling machine. I can make some pretty good lunch money with it. It is large enough to surface a cylinder head for a motorcycle (or even a Chevy V8 head if you feel up to building a fixture), pretty much everything you want to do.

    Good luck.

  • Chris Erickson October 12, 2016, 7:43 am

    The below items will cut down your shavings to nearly ZERO. dnp615 is the adaptor for the Dewalt DWP611 Router. It hooks direct to my Rigid vacuum and works great on 6061, 7075 and Polymer lowers. I work for Dewalt and these routers are great and variable speed with an LED light so you can see your work. Speeds up to 24k.
    DNP615
    DWP611

  • Chris Baker February 8, 2016, 7:57 am

    I like this article. First one that I’ve read that actually has good pictures of the equipment I’ll need when I get around to trying this out. The initial cost of the parts is less than buying the entire gun at once and that is a selling point to me as well as the “builder pride” I expect once I get it complete and am able to fire it. I just might try to talk my wife into making one too. Or maybe two too. One for each of us in .556 and in .308. Nice common ammunition which should be easier to find when things go to pieces than trying to find ammo for your 6mm BR or .627 Buffalo (made up name). Hmm. Big heavy bullet that runs over whatever it hits. I was going to buy a 25-06 but that would have the same problem although I could neck down .30-06. But then I’d have to find bullets or make them. Now there’s a thought for the prepper types. A cool article or series of articles on how to make your own jacketed bullets.

  • William S December 11, 2015, 9:31 pm

    Please, please do not recommend using gloves. Never wear gloves when operating milling machines or lathes. If you have the stomach for it, look up some mechanical degloving videos.

  • John November 13, 2015, 9:51 pm

    WD40 is not now, nor has it ever been, cutting fluid.

    • Chris Baker February 8, 2016, 7:24 am

      It is, however, far better than nothing at all.

    • Jeff August 11, 2016, 9:24 am

      WD-40 is a multipurpose petroleum based lubricant which can be used as cutting fluid, I am a welder and I use it in a pinch all the time when in the field and works very well. As long as whatever you use controls friction and allows you to use your drill bits much longer it serves it’s purpose and there’s no need to go out and buy a specialty product.

    • Michael Simpkins October 23, 2016, 6:58 pm

      But….. WD-40 is a petroleum distillate which keeps aluminum from sticking and gumming up the flutes of an end mill or drill bit. As a machinist with almost 39 years in the business i prefer this alot of times due to the fact it is light and thin, not thick and heavy. And yes, a Bridgeport milling/drilling machine would be perfect for this application!

  • mikelasnicov June 1, 2015, 2:32 pm

    Using a single speed router for metal is not a good choice. A typical router spins at way too high of a rate of speed. When you cut metal [drilling is cutting] you are supposed to do it at a low rate of speed because high RPM makes the cutting bit get too hot which ruins the carbide steel cutting tip. Most routers run at between 25,000 to 30,000 RPM’s, those small laminate cutter type routers tend to be faster than the bigger ones. The speed you should use is also determined by the diameter of the cutter. The smaller diameter the faster you can go. If it’s a 3/8 to 1/2 inch then you should not go over about 4,000 RPM. If it’s bigger than that then you should slow it down even more. This work is better off being done with a drill press because you can keep the spindle speed at a more appropriate speed for metal cutting. Aluminum is not as bad as steel, but it’s still metal cutting. Some of the bigger industrial mills are more capable of doing this work at a higher RPM. The small stuff we have in out garage not so much.

    After milling something like this out I would also clean, polish and smooth everything out with something like a Dremel, so it is easier to get it and keep it clean inside.

    Also WD-40 is crap for using as a cutting oil. If you don’t have real cutting oil you would be better off using transmission fluid or even motor oil. And keep it wet, the cutting oil helps cool the bit. When the cutting bit reaches a certain temp it changes the metal in a very bad way, it loses its hardness. If you drill and cut steel then you need to slow the bit down a lot more, like 800 RPM. Unless it’s just thin sheet metal with a small bit, then you can go fast. WD-40 is still better than nothing though.

    • OFBG June 1, 2015, 3:46 pm

      Right you are about tool speed and cutting oil. You can get a reasonably good drill press for what you’d pay for a variable-speed router of comparably quality, it just takes up more space. Skimping on cutting oil reminds me of the old comment about buying a $1000 rifle and mounting a $50 scope. If you can afford the jigs, etc. you should be able to cover a $5 bottle of cutting oil.

    • Mark N. June 2, 2015, 1:04 am

      Same problem with Dremels. The high speed is waaay too fast, and the low speed does not have enough torque on the model I have. On the polymer lower I did, the low speed would not cut and the high speed melted plastic, clogging the bit.

      • OFBG June 2, 2015, 4:51 pm

        As with routers, speed is an issue with some Dremel tools. I have a a rechargeable one with high/low that is fine for most everyday tasks, but for “serious” work I use my corded, variable-speed Dremel. It has click-stops and so is not infinitely variable, but it does the job.

    • Jarett June 2, 2015, 2:12 am

      80% Arms sells a custom manufactured 2 flute solid carbide end mill designed to work excellent with the high speed laminate routers. The finish is nice and smooth and you can mill about 5 lowers before the end mill is dull. I’ve done several and they come out great. Using a router with their Easy Jig is about 3 times faster than using a drill press to finish a lower, and much easier.

      • OFBG June 2, 2015, 4:58 pm

        I guess I just don’t understand why “faster” is better, unless you are finishing a lot of lowers on a deadline – as apparently you have done. Most of the other comments I have seen above talk about the pride and pleasure of crafting one’s own firearm, even to the extent of such values outweighing the cost of the tooling necessary to complete the job. So, if you’re finishing a lower for grins, why would speed be an issue?

  • James L Fritz June 1, 2015, 12:01 pm

    I bought one and it is amazing, just make sure you have a good router I had to call for help and received a suggestion to get the porter Cable router instead of my harbor freight one (this was after tearing up a couple of lowers). Customer service is really helpful and friendly. Also if you bugger it up you can use JB weld, I recommend them 100%

  • Rick Borges June 1, 2015, 11:31 am

    Since they probably wont post my original comment – This is a very good article, that is 80% the truth like the receiver they are trying to market. The caveat at the end of “With certain exceptions, a firearm may be made by a non-licensee provided it is not for sale and the maker is not prohibited from possessing firearms.” ATF: [18 U.S.C. 922(o) and (r), 26 U.S.C. 5822, 27 CFR 478.39, 479.62 and 479.105] — exceptions being you cannot get approval for machine gun unless manufacturing for government agency, AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL – YOUR BUILD HAS TO BE APPROVED AND TAX PAID TO THE BATFE. Get caught with unserialized lower without written approval/paid tax to uncle sams/BATFE and you may be a felon if your lawyer cannot get off charges. SO 80% OF THIS ADVERTISEMENT IS FALSE – THE FIRST 20% OF MILLING AND MAKING SOUNDS INTRIGUING BUT YOU ARE STILL TELLING UNCLE SAM YOU POSSESS AND MADE THIS FIREARM WITH THEIR APPROVAL AND PROBABY 250 TAX. FILING YOUR FIREARM WITH THE FEDS!!!! SHOULD BE CALLED 100% REGISTERED WITH BATFE.

    • joe dontcha know June 1, 2015, 3:38 pm

      I believe that you are incorrect, as the permission to manufacture and the $200 subsequent transfer tax would only be applicable if an approved entity produced an NFA Title II type firearm , such as a fully automatic machinegun, silencer, short barreled rifle, or other nonsense. If you, yourself wholly (without contracting another entity) manufacture a title 1 (semiautomatic non NFA) firearm with the intention of your own exclusive personal use and will never transfer, loan, sell, giveaway, or allow another to use or be in possession thereof………. You are absolutely free to do so, (at least for the time being) as long as you abide by the legal stipulations of your juristriction of which you legally reside and manufacture such firearm and as such are free and clear of any federal registration, permission or taxation.
      IT IS YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT!
      They can regulate only the transfer, in which case this firearm would not be transfered and may be subject forfieture should question arise to its origin being other then the posessors own making for personal usefulness.

    • James OD January 14, 2016, 9:58 pm

      You are completely wrong. You are citing the regulations for Title II (NFA, “Class 3,” etc) firearms when you began gibbering about taxes. A semi-auto AR lower is a Title I firearm. There is no requirement to pay a tax on it, serialize it, get a permission slip from BATFE…

      Stop spreading disinformation. You clearly don’t know how to look up federal laws or regs. Educate yourself before you spread any more hysterical bullshit.

  • Rick Borges June 1, 2015, 11:23 am

    You people have a bait and switch theory for sales and nobody hardly references actual laws – to help 2A (second amendment bruthas) bruthas who could potentially face felony charges. WHAT YOU FAIL TO SAY AFTER, IF YOU ARE LEGAL TO OWN IS: YOU MUST PAY A TAX TO THE BATFE AND HAVE IT APPROVED BY THEM – QUITE A STARK CONTRAST FROM ANYONE LEGAL TO OWN CAN BUILD. If democrats could set a trap to screw people who believe that you can own more than one box of ammo, more than a 5 rd magazine (or clips for clip idiots – there are stripper clips but no clip well – the stripper clip still feeds into the magazine) and more than a revolver – THEY WOULD SAY YOU CAN BUILD THIS, GO AHEAD – IF YOU GET CAUGHT WITHOUT THE PAPERWORK/APPROVAL/TAX FROM BATFE – YOU’LL BE LUCKY TO EVER BUY ANOTHER FIREARM/POSSESS LEGALLY AGAIN. I JUST FRIGGIN LOVE DUMBOCRATS, YOU HAVE TO HAVE STUPID PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.

    • Mark N. June 2, 2015, 1:00 am

      Umm, no. I don’t know where you get your information, but the only time you have to pay the BATFE is if you create a short barreled rifle. You can build an AR pistol without SBR paperwork, but put a stock on it and your goose is cooked. An 80% AR with a full length barrel requires no paperwork at all, no federal government approval, and no FFL. The one big caveat is that the completed firearm has to comply with state law, which is an issue in California and NY, and probably a few select other states as well. (California law requires a fixed magazine or a Bullet Button, no folding stock–which you can’t do with an AR anyway- a minimum 16″ overall barrel length (which includes the muzzle device if it is pinned) and an overall length of 30″.)+

  • Tom V June 1, 2015, 10:19 am

    Don’t understand the negative comments. Although I’ll probably never build one, I like the idea. The AR platform is so versatile that I can understand the tremendous interest. And I love to work on projects like this. The idea of starting with something in the ruff and creating something that you have custom made yourself is very appealing to me. Good article.

  • joe dontcha know June 1, 2015, 9:36 am

    Oops double posted because i thought that my first comment was lost as my internet connection failed. Sorry! Choose whichever diatribe ya wish….

  • MSG John Laigaie June 1, 2015, 9:32 am

    ARs, the Legos of the gun world. I bought a half dozen aluminum lowers at US$35 ea. I have a few of the polys too. They make great weapons and YES, they are like potato chips, you cannot have just one.

  • joe dontcha know June 1, 2015, 9:26 am

    I agree, how many stoner mattel black rifles does one want to build. The 80% lower YAWN…..(oh excuse me) is getting old…
    New project please! Howabout a Colt .45 frame 80%? Or maybe a M1a1 reciever or even better yet a BAR .50 or SAW ? Just what attribute defines 80% anyways? When exactly does that paperweight become construed as a firearm? Ya mean if i drill a hole in my paperweight it now is a firearm? What about spoiled or screwed up mistakes? Duh!!! Obviously, military weaponry is the key to assembling (uh,,,err, ) I mean “building” your own sporting arm. A prolific widely avail. source of uniform (“milspec”) parts make or break the popularity of such a project….. Just as lame as a serialized paperweight defines a firearm ,,, any loose and unassembled combination of three of the wrong internal parts from the wrong time period can be construed as a complete rat-ta-tat-tat!!! Used to see alot of mix and match surplus on the original commercial AR’s of the 70’s, not to mention tons of M16 surplus following Nam. Beware and check that junk drawer huh? Well guys just dont slip the jig when drilling them pins and add an extra in the wrong place…. Ya dont see the drop ins very much anymore because its also deemed a complete nfa in and of itself…. Damn whatever became of all those Sten kits? Rock n Roll Hootchie Koo We outgrew Macs and openbolts long ago. Lets build something nice and precise, lets do some gunsmithing and build some fine firearms, instead.

    • Robert June 1, 2015, 11:15 am

      They do have the 1911 80% frames available now if you look on the net. I believe Cheaper Than Dirt has them (if you buy from them…)

      • Mark N. June 2, 2015, 12:51 am

        There are a number of high end sources for 1911 80% frames. But they require a GREAT deal more skill to complete.

  • LibertyRick June 1, 2015, 9:07 am

    I prefer the 80% lowers and jig gear from ARES Armor at half the price

    • Tom June 2, 2015, 2:28 am

      The ares armory jig takes about 5 hours to complete a lower and requires an extra $40 in bits plus a $250 drill press, which you don’t need for the 80% Arms easy jig. I just knocked out my 3rd lower with the easy jig in one hour. When you factor in the extra equipment you need for the ares jig, it’s more expensive. Your time savings is also probably worth something, about 4 hours per lower saved in my case.

  • joe dontcha know June 1, 2015, 8:50 am

    80% lowers,,,,,,,
    Yeah, I am in agreement about just how many variations of the stoner rifle do you want to build? Yawn……. How about some new projects? Just what denotes the 80% point on something different? Howabouts a M1? Or maybe a Colt .45 ,,, or ultimately a BAR .50
    Also whatever became of the Sten kits? Obviously, milspec and surplus is the key to assembling ah….er…. Uh I mean “building” or rolling your own gun, as obviously a prolific source of uniform parts are readily availible on an open market.
    So silly, a single serialized paperweight is construed as a firearm. Just as lame as owning a loose combination of three ‘wrong” fire control components is construed as possesion of a complete rat-ta-tat-tat!!!! Man, Better double check my junk drawer and tool boxes!!!
    Guys beware where you locate that extra pin when ya drill the side of that lower.

  • Steve June 1, 2015, 8:39 am

    I thought you did have to give your completed 80% lower a serial # once you milled it out.

    • MSG John Laigaie June 1, 2015, 9:28 am

      No, you are NOT REQUIRED to mark the lowers. I have made several and I mark them under the pistol grip for my own records, and for no one else.

  • Gem Gram June 1, 2015, 8:30 am

    You can buy high quality lowers for $49.00 or less right now. Carbon fiber and plastic ones even cheaper, so other than someone who can’t own one legally what is the point? Everyone should buy three or four and just stock them away. 🙂 Most gun “nuts” are already on record with the Feds for other purchases, so what is the point?. Other than just for recreation this is just hobby work. Take up knitting, it is cheaper. Or buy an extra thousand rounds of ammo and go shooting.

    • OFBG June 1, 2015, 3:37 pm

      Knitting is cheaper? You obviously are not married to a knitter!

    • Ted June 2, 2015, 9:48 pm

      Because when they come and take all those nice serial numbered and registered firearms from you, you will still have your un-numbered AR15 buried out in the back yard after they leave because they have no record of you having any other firearms. Why is this so difficult to understand? That’s the whole point of owning one. Its OFF THE BOOKS. As long as you have a serial numbered firearm, the government knows you have it and exactly where to come and get it from. And make no mistake, one day they will. If you don’t have the 80% AR that you finished yourself, you are going to be left with your slingshot.

      • OFBG June 3, 2015, 5:24 pm

        Unless you live in a State that allows private transfers of firearms. Yes, maybe the person you bought it from remembers you and sends the “jack-booted thugs” to your door, but that’s unlikely, particularly if you got it at a gun show.

    • Chris Baker February 8, 2016, 7:34 am

      That’s fine if you’re a complete klutz but I build and fly model airplanes, that is, I did, until I was injured in a car/motorcycle incident and it now hurts to look up. Can’t see much point in building planes now but this gives me a new incentive to build something I can use and take pride in having done at least some of the work. Like a model airplane kit, I much preferred to fly the planes I built rather than the ready made ones even if the ready made ones were “prettier”. It’s fun.

  • Michael June 1, 2015, 8:26 am

    According to what I’ve been told and read there have been rule changes regarding these lowers that now require they include some basic information. This includes a unique serial number, model, caliber, your name, and the city and state of manufacture. They deem this necessary because they apparently find these unmarked lowers scattered all about crime scenes and I guess, ummm, you know, they want to return them to their rightful owners or something. OK, yes, they’re using scare tactics and attempting to criminalizing the possession of an unmarked lower. How do they deal with grandfathering? They don’t so it’ll likely be tossed by the courts. Note there is still no requirement that these marked lowers be registered. See the ATF guide book: MARKING REQUIREMENTS – NFA FIREARMS (27 CFR § 479.102) for additional information.

    • LibertyRick June 1, 2015, 9:12 am

      My friend, you are misreading and misinterpreting the ruling. The marking only applies to firearms imported or manufactured for transfer/sale to another. Individuals can still mill pout a lower and not have to place identifiers like a serial or location on it.
      To be clear – you do not have to put any markings on your ‘manufactured’ firearm’ provided it is for your own use and is legal to own in the state you reside in.

      • Mark N. June 2, 2015, 12:48 am

        Unless you decide to sell that lower, and then you have to add a serial number for the transfer.

    • James OD January 14, 2016, 10:06 pm

      Notice how it says “NFA Firearms” right there in the title of the regulation you’re erroneously quoting? The reg is talking about Title II “firearms” — machine guns, suppressors, short-barreled rifles, etc — NOT ordinary Title I firearms such as a semi-auto AR lower receiver.

      THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT FOR MARKING OR SERIALIZING A TITLE I FIREARM ONE HAS MANUFACTURED FOR PERSONAL USE. BATFE even says that — explicitly — in the FAQ on their official web page.

  • Jim June 1, 2015, 8:14 am

    This looks like a fantastic jig. I love the 80% stuff because of the ability to do it your way……and the pride of saying “This is my rifle, there are many like it but this one is built, NOT bought!”. I think I may have to liquidate some guitar stuff into money and buy one of these no nonsense jigs.

    Some people just don’t get it…..and likely never will. The old, out of date and irrelevant argument “Why have so many guns? You can’t shoot them all at once” is about as dumb as saying “Why have so many forks? You can’t eat with them all at the same time” or “Why have so many different rooms in your house? You can’t stand in all of them at the same time” or “Why have so many rounds? You can only shoot them one at a time!”. Likewise, that argument is as dumb as the folks that say (about the military) “You knew what you were signing up for!” in reality none of us knew precisely what we signed up for so why pretend that we did. Why tell us we can’t shoot all our guns at the same time? Is it anyone’s business how many guns we own? Why do so many in the 2A community act anti-2A sometimes? It’s bewildering.

    Uncle Sam doesn’t need to know anything. People get up in arms because these lowers don’t have serial numbers. Why does that matter? Haven’t we established that a criminal is going to get a gun regardless of anything? Oi!

    Anyhow, thanks for posting this as I hadn’t heard specifically of 80% Arms. They seem like a good outfit and I will be doing business with them in the future. Cheers! Jim

    • JD MAK June 1, 2015, 8:35 am

      Well said, Jim. Wish there was an option to “thumbs up” comments.

      • D Hicks June 1, 2015, 9:56 am

        Thumbs UP!

      • Chris Baker February 8, 2016, 7:36 am

        Ditto! In fact, Mega Dittos.

  • L E Henson June 1, 2015, 8:09 am

    WD40 was originally a quack arthritis “treatment”! Since it was PROVEN to be detrimental – they hired Andy Granattli to “suck it” on TV and Radio Ads, as an oil – FACT; it ruins everything it touches and will NEVER allow oils to lubricate, as it gets into the PORES of the metal. Louie and Al Unser suffered this FACT, in the 70’s. NOW fast forward, Richard Petty has been hired to “suck it” on TV as an arthritis treatment (different name).
    NEVER use the fish oil on ANYTHING you care for! LEHenson@msn.com
    NOW go SEE DEATH CARE, based on AGE: “Complete LIVES Chart” Where: 10 year olds = 1/3 of a human! Zero – 2 years old = non human! 60 = 1/3 human, 80 – 1/20 human! Handicapped and “chronically ill” (2 overnight stays in a year, at a hospital) NO health care, only “palliative care” (DEATH CARE via http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/brompton+mixture ) REMEMBER the demon-rats EXEMPTED THEMSELVES from this!!!! FACT! LINK: http://cassandraeffect.com/the-health-care-chart-that-will-scare-you-to-death/
    “”FACTS” are Conservative”” a quote from a strong Leader and Mother – Margret Thatcher, Prime Minister of England
    “Feelings, lies, opinions NOT based on Truth = Satin and the Demon-rat party = pure ignorance!” Larry
    Also from the Bible: “only a fool takes advise from the LEFT”.

    • MSG John Laigaie June 1, 2015, 9:24 am

      This will all go away for you after you apply more tinfoil to your head. Really, it will work for you.

    • JD MAK June 1, 2015, 11:35 am

      Time for a visit to the doc to get those meds adjusted pardner…

    • Roy Hunter June 1, 2015, 12:34 pm

      Humm… Didn’t the military come up with WD40 in WW2 to spray/poor on equipment that was wet.. Like jeep engines that became submerged after crossing rivers or had to drive on land from landing craft, as a water displacement agent (Water Displacement Formula 40 – WD40)

      It sure helps an engine run when there is no water grounding out the ignition system.

      I am not sure if it is a myth or true but sounds reasonable to me.

      • L E Henson June 2, 2015, 7:49 pm

        Shame on those who refuse to SEARCH first and SEE the FACTS. Hilary/obamination “Healthcare” is Death Care.
        WD40 was claimed to be “water displacement f WD40” in the Commercials by Andy – he’s an Indy driver, NOT a mechanic nor a chemist. It has water in it and causes both flash rust AND molecularly does get into the pores of the metal, preventing future oiling.
        Mu metal (cheap metal that rusts if not chrome plated) is required to prevent radio and/or other rays- tin foil doesn’t work = FACT! Check inside 99% of all radios and TV’s.
        Meds are fine (=none) . . . how about yours? The LEFT libtards really like idiots using the meds argument AGAINST Gun Owners – ARE YOU a Libtard?

        • J. Sam Colt January 22, 2016, 12:50 pm

          Mr. Henson, you might want to check the radon level in your basement.

          • Chris Baker February 8, 2016, 7:44 am

            Interesting that you mention Radon. There are studies that show that below a certain level of radon your cancer risk actually goes up again. Sounds strange but the study I read sure did show that curve. Starting at zero it dropped as the PPM went up and then curved back up after a certain point.
            http://forensic-applications.com/radon/reviews.html

      • TGC September 20, 2016, 5:47 pm

        NOPE. WD-40 was brought to you by Rocket Scientists. WD stands for Water Dispersion (or Dispersement). 40 was the 40th formula. It was a NASA developed item. YES, it is basically Kerosene with some oils or greases that stay behind. The BEST use of WD-40, other than what is ON LABEL, is to loosen and remove pesky double backed adhesive residues.

        You can clean the surface all day and it will be tacky. BUT, if you spray with WD-40, that will usually dissolve it and let it be “rubbed off”. NOW, you do have to clean with soap and water and I usually rinse with rubbing alcohol. I have replaced gaskets or rubber strips or salvaged many using that technique.

        MOST folks that have some issues with electronics will spray the assembly with WD-40 and then follow up with contact cleaner. The WD-40 will flush out that pesky moisture that is causing the electrons to do unspeakable things to each other. THEN you remove the WD-40 and you are good to go. This is also a common trick for multiple push switch panels or plastic switches that eventually get “hung”. Think of the speed switch on a standard floor or table oscillating fan.

  • Joe June 1, 2015, 7:23 am

    I am AR’d out. I have an AR 10 and an AR 15. I can only shoot one at a time and those .308 rounds ain’t cheap.
    I don’t think another ghost gun or regular gun is in my interest.

    • richy June 1, 2015, 11:50 am

      Having unregistered guns is a huge plus.
      The libtards are not giving up on taking away the 2nd.
      Having back up for your back is always the right thing.
      Redundantsy.

    • Chris Baker February 8, 2016, 7:45 am

      Reload! 🙂

  • jm3 June 1, 2015, 6:32 am

    This is a great offering for the self sufficient folks out there that can do this legally. Building anything from “scratch” is always more enjoyable and increases your knowledge and experience in doing so. Costs are always higher for doing things yourself, very true. Setup tools and workspace have a cost, that’s why others just hire a professional or buy at a store. With this, it’s all about personal development. Good stuff!

  • Mark N. May 31, 2015, 2:50 am

    Yes, there is a great sense of accomplishment carving out the lower from billet, but this particular kit seems to be not cost effective. There are many stripped lowers for well under $100, but here you are in $200 just for the jig and the bits (of which only the end mill can be difficult to find), and then another $100 for the billet? To recover the cost of the tools you’d have to carve 4+ lowers, and even then they’d be costing you $150 a piece. True it is a very solid looking jig, but how many rifles are you going to build? I figure that you can only shoot one rifle at a time, so a couple of complete lowers and a variety of uppers is the way to go. Or maybe I’m just cheap.

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude June 1, 2015, 10:51 am

      Brownells or Midway sells a nice polymer one with a full jig and all the drill bits included for 75. bucks!

      • Richard Wischnef June 1, 2015, 12:19 pm

        The Brownells are defective. The take down holes are to big ( they’re.262 & sould be .250) & they’re old stock model’s. For $5.00 more you can get the new improved from the factory.

      • Richard Wischnef June 1, 2015, 12:33 pm

        Brownell’s are defective, take down holes are to big(.262 & should be .250) The’s are old stock & old models. For $5.00 more you can get the new & improved model from the factory. They work great,I milled one out in a half hour,on my drill press.

  • Buckbeak May 31, 2015, 2:09 am

    “Your” is not the same as “you’re”.

    • Chris Baker February 8, 2016, 9:05 am

      There you go. Put them in their place when they’re making errors. (yeah, it’s one of my pet peeves too).

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