View Full Version : AR 80/20 Kit Question

01-25-2012, 12:58 AM
Hi, I am new here. I had a question about the 80/20 AR kits in .223.

What manufacturer do you prefer and why? This is my first kit.

I would prefer a kit that is already anodized. I have no experience doing it myself.

I was looking at vbd at the Anodized Forging, Drill Kit, Jig, and Prints, for $394.50.

If you have any better suggestions for a complete kit it would be apreciated.

Thank you.

01-25-2012, 10:22 AM
AR FCG pockets really need to be milled.

The drill jig methods usually turn out looking like they were attacked by an angry beaver.

If you have a good drill press and a good XY table, that can work out OK but if your drill spindle has loose bearings, your drill chuck loosens up in your spindle taper or your XY table isn't rigid enough or has too much backlash, you can wind up with an ugly or ruined lower.

If you have a good manual mill, you shouldn't really have to worry about the machine letting you down, now the main variable is the skill of the operator.

If you find someone doing a CNC build party, that's the best. You need to have the lower well clamped and properly zeroed but if the cutters are sharp and the NC program is good, your pocket should come out perfect. Problems can still occur but as long as you are not the first lower in line, the chances are rather small.

I can't recommend either drill press method and that price seems high.

If you can find a CNC build party with reasonable prices, the same money would pay for about three 80% lowers and machine time. You won't have a jig afterward but you'll have two more lowers and all of them will be well machined.

01-25-2012, 12:18 PM
What wash said. As for the sources for 80% lowers, Tactical Machining, Quentin Laser, and Colfax Tactical are the 3 most common ones. There're others out there, too, but these 3 are the cheapest sources (which isn't the same as bad quality, all 3 make high quality lowers. And yes, I've tried all 3). Check out the frequent group buys on this site for even better prices on them.

The differences between the 3, in my experience, are as follows:

1. Tactical Machining has better anodizing than Colfax, if you buy it already anodized. It's darker and appears to be thicker.

2. Quentin Laser lowers are billet, TM and Colfax ones are forged.

3. Quentin Laser has an integrated trigger guard, and it uses a sort of a screw instead of the bolt release catch roll pin. The other two are standard AR15 lowers.

4. Colfax Tactical has a bit wider magwell. Some of my PMAGs didn't drop free in Tactical Machining magwells, but did fine in Colfax ones. I haven't assembled the Quentin Laser lower yet, so I can't comment on that one. This speaks more of the rather loose tolerances in PMAGs than anything else though, as other PMAGs, and GI mags drop free just fine. And the ones that didn't drop free needed a very light pull before they dropped free.

5. If you buy them in the white and then anodize them, Tactical Machining ones come out nice and black. Quentin Laser ones, anodized in the same batch, came out purplish black. Go figure.

01-25-2012, 10:19 PM
Thanks for the responses. How often are there a CNC build parties? It would be better buying three instead of the jigs. But, if I found a party, would a 30% work, or would I need an 80%?

Tactical Machining was one of the sites I was looking at. I would prefer unfinished, so I could mark it and serial number it.

Also, I do not know how to anodize. Is it hard, or is there someone who could help me or help me learn?

01-26-2012, 11:14 AM
A 30% lower is a lot more work than 80%. In a build party, they are not going to be set up to complete one.

One of the nice things about home made guns is that you don't need to mark or serialize them. There is no federal or state law requiring it.

If you want to mark it, electro-chemical etching works and engraving works but the next thing I'm going to try is laser etching on annodizing. It won't be deep enough for ATF specs so I will need to re-mark it if I want to sell but since I never intend to sell it's good enough for me.

Annodizing itself isn't very hard but the type of anodizing that is easy to do is not like a hard coat anodizing which you really want.

01-26-2012, 2:23 PM
colfax tactical has a nice kit......

01-26-2012, 3:16 PM
Where could I get it laser etched on anodized? I want to mark it in case it was to get stolen.

01-26-2012, 3:21 PM
I plan to try that at Techshop.

I'm sure there are many laser etching companies you could use, I just want to DIY.

Oh how about just making sure it doesn't get stolen...

01-26-2012, 3:25 PM
I'm buying a milling machine very soon....i think ill get me one of these 80% lowers and give it a shot!