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  #1  
Old 01-24-2009, 3:30 PM
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Default Finishing your own lower receiver

This thread is for discussion, Q/A, etc. regarding finishing your own AR-style lower. I may post a tutorial as well, but there are so many out there already (see links below) it almost seems like a waste to do so.

That being said, I have a good deal of experience in this area. I'm happy to offer any info or advice people need on the topic, to the best of my ability.

I started this thread to avoid stepping all over oldrifle's "Yes You CAN" thread, which seems to have sparked some interest in DIY lowers.

Part of what I said in that thread:
...the finish-your-own 80% lower thing really is totally doable, fun, and you get the satisfaction of having built your rifle yourself, from something that didn't used to be one (as opposed to just assembling it from all ready-made parts). And as has been said, no paperwork, waiting, or fees of any sort.

To finish one, you don't need a CNC mill, or even a mill at all (but either one will make the job even easier). A decent drill press, a good jig (such as Justin's) and some bits and taps are all you need.

Various brands have different parts that are left unfinished. Some are easier or harder to do, depending on one's skill and available tooling.
There are lots of tutorials and information in various forums and such regarding how to finish an 80% or even a 0% lower (which is a solid forging in the shape of a lower, with no holes or cavities milled or cut. They are MUCH more work and require a mill, but are still doable and only cost like $25).

It is not generally cheaper. 80's cost as much as a finished OLL (or as much as they used to cost, like $120 or so), and there are the tooling and finishing costs. If you make quite a few, or go in on the tooling w/ a buddy or club, it helps amortize those costs at least.

As Gene said, serializing is not required but a pretty good idea both to avoid LEO confusion and in case it is ever stolen.

More info for those interested here
and
some tutorials include Justin's, The Builder's Squad Project, Building the KT-15, and others. Although they are more directed towards finishing a raw (0%) casting/forging, the Ray-Vin and 5Bears tutorials also have a wealth of useful information for the 80% builder.
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  #2  
Old 01-24-2009, 4:20 PM
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For Drill Press Only:

80% Receiver----------------------------------
https://www.vbd.com/noc/shop/product...&ProductID=122

Reasoning: The front 1/4" takedown pin is already drilled, this gives you a place to index off of with the Jig. Also it is simpler to drill the holes than to try and mill out the FCG area with a drill press.

Jig--------------------------------------------
http://www.cncguns.com/tooling.html

Reasoning: Cheap and accomplishes everything necessary. Im talking about the BLue jig that is second down on the link.

Tooling---------------------------------------
Graingers or McMaster's

Milling Machine Access:

Receiver--------------------------------------
http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.htm...599127&page=1?

Reasoning: It is easy to cut the FCG pocket with the milling machine on these lowers.

Jig--------------------------------------------
None needed

Reasoning:Index off the top plane and the front 1/4" Takedown pin, or even use the rear face as a reference because the location of the FCG pin holes isnt that important, just their relationship to eachother.

Tooling----------------------------------------
Graingers or McMaster's




Last edited by asheron2; 01-24-2009 at 4:23 PM.. Reason: Clarity
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Old 01-24-2009, 4:40 PM
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Thanks asheron2! THAT'S what i'm talkin about!!!

Note, that the lower you listed for Milling Machine Access (Kevin audibk's) can be done using just a drill press with Justin's jig and new adapter plate, which is on the same page as the jig you linked;
http://www.cncguns.com/tooling.html
It bolts to the top of his jig and makes it pretty easy to do the FCG with just a drill press. The design and creation of this adapter was in fact inspired by the fact that Kevin's most recent batch of 80's has the FCG solid (due to changing BATF regs).

Last edited by goober; 01-24-2009 at 4:47 PM.. Reason: added info about kevin's lowers and the jig
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Old 06-25-2009, 6:15 PM
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Thank you for the thread.

I have what is probably a dumb (and definitely a newbie) question. Can I legally do this in California with a minimum of fuss?

Edit: I found a FAQ that says it's probably a bad idea to try it. Might skate but the odds of a felony are too high.

Thanx.

Last edited by OleCuss; 06-25-2009 at 6:18 PM..
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Old 06-25-2009, 6:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OleCuss View Post
Thank you for the thread.

I have what is probably a dumb (and definitely a newbie) question. Can I legally do this in California with a minimum of fuss?

Edit: I found a FAQ that says it's probably a bad idea to try it. Might skate but the odds of a felony are too high.

Thanx.
that may be quite an old FAQ. i would be willing to bet the writer would change his tune now. if not, he is mistaken, b/c it's perfectly legal as long as you obey the laws as far as how you build your rifle after finishing the lower.
no fuss at all.
by an 80% lower.
finish it.
put serial numbers and such on it if you choose.
build into a legally configured rifle or pistol.
shoot it as much as you can.
wheeee!
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Old 06-25-2009, 6:40 PM
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  #7  
Old 06-25-2009, 6:48 PM
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BTW- i have a build thread in the works covering my current 10% AR 10-style lower project.
i'm using a CNCGuns CNC-10 lower and a modified CNC AR15 jig. due to the size difference of the .308 lower, there are some workarounds one needs to employ relative to a standard AR15 80% lower.
should have the first installment up by this weekend if anybody's interested.
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Old 06-25-2009, 7:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goober_0 View Post
that may be quite an old FAQ. i would be willing to bet the writer would change his tune now. if not, he is mistaken, b/c it's perfectly legal as long as you obey the laws as far as how you build your rifle after finishing the lower.
no fuss at all.
by an 80% lower.
finish it.
put serial numbers and such on it if you choose.
build into a legally configured rifle or pistol.
shoot it as much as you can.
wheeee!
Thank you. It's actually the OLL FAQ here on Calguns.net that I was going from.

So if I do an 80% and don't put on a flash suppressor or pistol grip I'm probably OK? (I don't want things like grenade launchers). A telescoping stock would be nice but I don't expect to get one.
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Old 06-25-2009, 7:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goober_0 View Post
BTW- i have a build thread in the works covering my current 10% AR 10-style lower project.
i'm using a CNCGuns CNC-10 lower and a modified CNC AR15 jig. due to the size difference of the .308 lower, there are some workarounds one needs to employ relative to a standard AR15 80% lower.
should have the first installment up by this weekend if anybody's interested.
Thank you. I'll have to look at that.
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Old 06-25-2009, 7:16 PM
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a lower that you finish from an 80% is just like any other OLL, with an added benefit: b/c it was never DROS'ed as a long gun, you can build it into a pistol.
so you can build a featureless rifle and not worry about mag locks and such,
or build a rifle with "evil" features as long as you make the magazine non-detachable through use of a BB or similar
or build a pistol, again, you must use a BB
in the spirit of droog Alex, a user-finished 80% AR lower is sort of an "OLL-plus"
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Old 06-25-2009, 7:55 PM
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Thank you. I really like the detachable mag (I got some 30 round mags back before the ban went into place) so I wouldn't be adding the "evil" features.

Still, I need to figure out what "BB" is and then I'll think a bit more.
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Old 06-25-2009, 8:02 PM
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BB= bullet button, a type of device that locks the mag in the well, requiring the use of a tool to remove the mag. it makes the magazine "non-detachable" according to the legal definition, which is what allows one to have the evil features, as long as the mag capacity is kept <= 10 rds.
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:25 PM
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great post here! all the places i've seen with the lowest price are all "sold out" kinda sucks and seems some companies are driving the price up just because they can....
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