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Old 02-28-2016, 2:43 AM
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Default My Howa AR-180 Equiponderation Creation

My Howa AR-180 Equiponderation Creation

Back in 2006, as OLL/OLR was unleashed and in its infancy, before Darrin's Prince-50, before the Monster-Man Grip, before Radd-lock and others, when buying nothing but LWS or "Atom" AR OLLs and still not yet sure what to do with them, I came across an AR180 kit that was like new with its original box, but the receiver had been cut, probably the result of some unlucky soul having had their firearms confiscated in the Great State of California, or a voluntary turn-in or "buy-back" from some ungrateful offspring of a kindred spirit of a better generation having passed on.

No matter its history, I jumped on it knowing that one day, I would either cut, fold, hammer, and weld up my own receiver, or some ingenious bloke with come long and build an OLL billet/CNC receiver replacement.

On the very day that I set on finally getting around to building my own receiver, as a last-look, I Googled "AR180 Receiver" and up pops new news of Mike's heavenly conjuring of a beautiful gob of metal, ready to go: the NDS-18S, yet another fine product from their company.

Didn't even pause. Sent him an email; how fast can I get one? Oh yeah, I guess I'm supposed to ask "how much" too merely because I have to pay you the right amount. Done.



A few days later, I was looking at a wonderful, wonderful thing. On first look, got a kick out of the "spot-welds". So I was ready to put together my AR180... well sort of.

Mike's receiver was meant to replace the AR180-B models which were slightly different internally than the original AR180s, and had a polymer receiver. Those different internal parts would prove a stalling point for a little while longer as I still had to then get my hands on an AR180B selector-lever, bolt-hold open, springs and pins. Some of these things I got from Armalite direct from their NOS, but the selector-lever was proving to be a unicorn in a haystack of horses, piled on the beaches of Shangri-La.

I searched GunBroker regularly. Persistently checked Ebay. Googled. Contemplated making my own.... then just as I was about to do so... along comes GunLabs by way of Rick at AR180 advising as much, and helping me get those desperately needed parts by acting as the Pericles of A R One Eighties, the Prometheus of Armalites bringing the fire to my project. That Rick helped to give updates and reports during the R&D of these parts, and announce their birth, all while agreeing to put me on his notification sheet when they became available, and DID notify me, was a blessing.

So with those parts in tow, now came the task of putting it all together. However, key to my project was that I wanted it to look as much like an original AR180 as possible. That again was going to prove difficult, because while it was great that the replacement receiver was established to use AR-15 parts (such as the pistol grip and internal trigger/hammer items) it was also made for a more modern custom butt-stock and would not allow attachment of the original AR180 style stock.

Fortunately, my "kit" still had the majority of the original Howa AR180 receiver intact (all except the front, forward of the mag-well. Looking at it once, twice and about another dozen times I decided to dive into it. The receiver was shot, and while I mildly entertained using it to weld on a new front end to essentially have an "80%" home-made receiver, it would have hindered my current project, and I would still have had to come up with another kit to build on it anyway; coming across another original first generation AR180 kit appeared to be unlikely; I was lucky to even have gotten this one with which I had.

Additionally, if doing another AR180, I would be more likely to simply pursue an AR180B kit with a cracked (or simply useless) polymer receiver, convince someone just to send me everything BUT the receiver, and buy another NDS-18S from Mike at NoDakSpud.

I was off to do some damage. First things first; figuring out how I was going to do the stock. Initially I was going to cut off the very back end and do simple flat-based attachment at the hinge. However, I then realized that would put me well under the 30-inch OAL required in the USSCA. Likewise, even if I only used the last boxed-end portion of the receiver, that comprised the rear hinge-area of the stock, it would have still left me short.

Not wanting that AND an ugly spacer at the back-end, I decided to remove the original 3-prong Flash-hider and swap it out for something that would emulate the 1960's 3-prong look, but have the length to make up the difference on the front end. Googling "3-prong flash-hider" came up with a lot of modern Star-Trek/Star-Wars/Predator/Phallic looking items, but nothing as simple as the one that I found from Damage Industries that retained that simple style and not look like something Ripley was using in "Aliens".






With that and my plans for the back end, it put me right at 30-and-1/4th inches. That's when the cutting started... even then, I wasn't fully sure as to how I was going to make it work, how I would I keep it in place once folded and not flop around, how was I going to use the AR180 grip, etc. It's not like I could just go out and buy the parts, but as usual with a lot of my custom projects, whether that be cars, motorcycles, tools, furniture, household items, flamethrowers, fusion-generators, lightsabers, or guns, I was off on a course to make my own parts.

So the rest that follows is a story best told mostly by pictures:

First step was to create how I was going to attach the folding stock. I decided on cutting off the back end, and using a 1-inch aluminum-stock channel to act as a reinforcing center, then from my miscellaneous saved-fastener/bolt bin supply, found the perfect bolt with matching threads, having a very flat Allen-wrench head to keep it in place. I believe it was a surplus ARP Engine fastener kit that was not used in a build but was perfect for this task.














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What compelling interest has any level of government in knowing what guns are owned by civilians? (Those owned by government should be inventoried and tracked, for exactly the same reasons computers and desks and chairs are tracked: responsible care of public property.)

If some level of government had that information, what would they do with it? How would having that info benefit public safety? How would it benefit law enforcement?

Last edited by The Gleam; 02-28-2016 at 11:30 AM..
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Old 02-28-2016, 2:43 AM
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What compelling interest has any level of government in knowing what guns are owned by civilians? (Those owned by government should be inventoried and tracked, for exactly the same reasons computers and desks and chairs are tracked: responsible care of public property.)

If some level of government had that information, what would they do with it? How would having that info benefit public safety? How would it benefit law enforcement?
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Old 02-28-2016, 2:44 AM
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What compelling interest has any level of government in knowing what guns are owned by civilians? (Those owned by government should be inventoried and tracked, for exactly the same reasons computers and desks and chairs are tracked: responsible care of public property.)

If some level of government had that information, what would they do with it? How would having that info benefit public safety? How would it benefit law enforcement?
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Old 02-28-2016, 2:45 AM
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Next I had to make an anti-rotation peg for the upper hole on the stock attachment, with a bolt from a 1981 Yamaha Virago engine coming to the rescue.












So with the folding stock completed, next I had to do something about the grip. A standard AR pistol grip just did not look right. And looking at the original AR180 grip, there was no way to Dremel it or adapt it to fit. The angle of the hole was different, and grinding out the pieces to make it slide onto the AR15 style mount would have left the side walls of the grip too thin, and the back end hanging out, with the front curved trigger recess too far forward. So I got a spare AR15 grip not used on a previous AR build and went to work. I sued a cheap plain plastic-like one as opposed to a proper "hard-rubber" example. The reason for this is, that when grinding down a true hard-rubber grip, it end up with a velvety rubber-like texture that is too pliable to be polished smooth. (Which I've done in the past to make custom grips molded to my hand). There is a lot of meat on these grips that you can grind off large portion and they are still quite strong with a lot of material remaining.








I really wanted it to hug the area around the attaching tab of the receiver, to be more liquid into that area as opposed to having a lip, to better give the illusion of the original AR180 grip as it met the receiver. So I traced and marked off that area to bring it down about an 1/8th inch on each side.



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What compelling interest has any level of government in knowing what guns are owned by civilians? (Those owned by government should be inventoried and tracked, for exactly the same reasons computers and desks and chairs are tracked: responsible care of public property.)

If some level of government had that information, what would they do with it? How would having that info benefit public safety? How would it benefit law enforcement?
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Old 02-28-2016, 2:45 AM
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That done, it was time to rough things out:










And then smooth things out:





And then polish things out:



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What compelling interest has any level of government in knowing what guns are owned by civilians? (Those owned by government should be inventoried and tracked, for exactly the same reasons computers and desks and chairs are tracked: responsible care of public property.)

If some level of government had that information, what would they do with it? How would having that info benefit public safety? How would it benefit law enforcement?
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Old 02-28-2016, 2:46 AM
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Now it was time to make the sling-ring for the grip like the original had. Drilled a hole, then used a 5-1/2 Bright Tile Nail, the exact thickness of the original ring, to bend up and shape to nearly the exact same dimensions. First time the bends weren't perfect, so had to do it again; but I had plenty of spares to get it wrong as many times as it would take, but I got it right on the 2nd make.








Next came some home-made Parkerizing. As I really only needed to Parkerize two small parts, this and another (more on that later) I set up something quick on a minimized proportion and quantity. After realizing I already had everything in my garage that I would need to make a Parkerizing solution, I went to work. I merely cut down the percentages to make a mini-bath to be done on my stove top (yes, with respirator filters and an oven-hood fan to suck away the fumes). Because I wanted a nice gray park as opposed to a black, I doubled up on pennies (that's Zinc to you and me).













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What compelling interest has any level of government in knowing what guns are owned by civilians? (Those owned by government should be inventoried and tracked, for exactly the same reasons computers and desks and chairs are tracked: responsible care of public property.)

If some level of government had that information, what would they do with it? How would having that info benefit public safety? How would it benefit law enforcement?
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Old 02-28-2016, 2:47 AM
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The completed pistol grip for comparison to the original:






Next came the most perplexing part.... how to replicate the AR180's original style folding-stock retaining nib. The original was just a tang-and-cone welded to the original receiver. Obviously I would not be able to do that with the aluminum billet receiver. So it would be something I would have to find to work, of the right diameter and shape that also had threads, then drill a hole ( albeit, very carefully with perfect placement), then tap threads (again, carefully) all without screwing up the receiver.

My first thought was to use one of a couple carburetor throttle balls from prior projects that went unused, that I had saved and tucked away, for a rainy Holley day. However, the neck on these would either be too narrow and cause the folded butt-stock to flop back and forth, or too short to really reach in through the clips and grab hold firmly. Additionally, I wasn't keen on tapping fine threads into aluminum; too fragile for this part that would see some push-me/pull you activity. I wanted something with coarse threads.






So, it was clear I would need to make my own for the best possible fit and resemblance to the original. Here, a bolt from a 1986 Jaguar XJS V12 Engine came in handy. It had the right large diameter shank size in comparison to the thread-size I wanted, and was just large enough to maximize the area without also running over the magazine release backside port. As I said, I never throw away ANY fasteners of any kind.

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What compelling interest has any level of government in knowing what guns are owned by civilians? (Those owned by government should be inventoried and tracked, for exactly the same reasons computers and desks and chairs are tracked: responsible care of public property.)

If some level of government had that information, what would they do with it? How would having that info benefit public safety? How would it benefit law enforcement?

Last edited by The Gleam; 02-28-2016 at 11:35 AM..
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Old 02-28-2016, 2:48 AM
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First I had to drill the hole and tap threads (sorry - by this point I grew tired of stopping to take photos) but I did take a shot of the chaser. Somewhere Mike from NDS is looking at this photo and probably thinking "What in the hell did you do to my beautiful creation!?!"



Then I had to make "the nib". Instead of a lathe set-up, I simply used a drive shaft driven socket-head in the end of a drill, taped the bolt within the socket, and ran it on a spare 4" grinder wheel fixed in a vice, much like a clay pottery wheel maker scoops out a vase design. Little by little, it took shape; it was quite a hard bolt so it took some time.



















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What compelling interest has any level of government in knowing what guns are owned by civilians? (Those owned by government should be inventoried and tracked, for exactly the same reasons computers and desks and chairs are tracked: responsible care of public property.)

If some level of government had that information, what would they do with it? How would having that info benefit public safety? How would it benefit law enforcement?
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Old 02-28-2016, 2:48 AM
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Completed and pre-Parkerizing:








About this point I got annoyed with stopping to take photos, so jumped right to the chase - did the gray Parkerizing, and installed it combined with yet another perfect fastener in the form of a very narrow-walled lock-washer having the exact ID/OD I wanted, that I seem to recall came from a... oh hell, I don't know - but it was perfect:











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What compelling interest has any level of government in knowing what guns are owned by civilians? (Those owned by government should be inventoried and tracked, for exactly the same reasons computers and desks and chairs are tracked: responsible care of public property.)

If some level of government had that information, what would they do with it? How would having that info benefit public safety? How would it benefit law enforcement?
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Old 02-28-2016, 2:49 AM
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Next I wanted to simulate the original AR 180 retainer in how it was welded to the receiver. I Googled as many photos of this as possible and I noticed a wide variation of clean welds to sloppy welds, and in order to exemplify the idea and actually visibly draw someone's attention to it, I decided to clone big, chunky, ham-fisted welds. So I took some JB Weld, mixed in a small dab of black epoxy to darken it from its lighter gray color, and dabbed it on the upper and lower halves where the originals were tacked. I could only go so far on the lower half as the backside of the mag-release port is close to where I installed the nib:







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What compelling interest has any level of government in knowing what guns are owned by civilians? (Those owned by government should be inventoried and tracked, for exactly the same reasons computers and desks and chairs are tracked: responsible care of public property.)

If some level of government had that information, what would they do with it? How would having that info benefit public safety? How would it benefit law enforcement?

Last edited by The Gleam; 02-28-2016 at 11:39 AM..
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Old 02-28-2016, 2:49 AM
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Before putting it together, I had to cut a notch in the underside of the original upper as the bolt-hold open device was slightly different between the original models and the "B" models. Mike at NDS explains this in his instructions; so to make this task easy and very exacting, I took the smaller photos he provided and merely blew them up on a copier to a larger size, matching them to actual size of the real-world receiver; this gave me a perfect pattern serving up the exact locations on which to cut and grind out the u-shaped area you see in the photo dead middle of the underside.





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What compelling interest has any level of government in knowing what guns are owned by civilians? (Those owned by government should be inventoried and tracked, for exactly the same reasons computers and desks and chairs are tracked: responsible care of public property.)

If some level of government had that information, what would they do with it? How would having that info benefit public safety? How would it benefit law enforcement?

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Old 02-28-2016, 2:50 AM
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And FINI:





















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What compelling interest has any level of government in knowing what guns are owned by civilians? (Those owned by government should be inventoried and tracked, for exactly the same reasons computers and desks and chairs are tracked: responsible care of public property.)

If some level of government had that information, what would they do with it? How would having that info benefit public safety? How would it benefit law enforcement?
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Old 02-28-2016, 2:54 AM
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I would like to thank the Academy and the following people that helped make this production possible, in the order that they appeared...

1) Me, because I'm so awesome.

2) Mike at NoDakSpud for having made the desperately needed NDS-18S receiver.
NoDak Spud LLC
7683 Washington Ave So.
Edina, MN 55439
Phone: 952-942-1909
info@nodakspud.com
http://www.nodakspud.com/NDS-18S.htm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOpADEv41gA
2) Tim at Fort Courage Armory in Simi Valley for being the FFL to field the receiver.
Fort Courage Armory
1518-B Los Angeles Avenue
Simi Valley, CA 93065
Phone: 805-526-6563
http://www.fortcouragearmory.com/
3) Rick or BigRix at AR180s.com for being the liaison to get the right internal parts and Safety Selector lever for the AR180B to me that I needed - as created by GubLab.
http://ar180s.com/
4) And of course, GunLab for making those parts:
http://gunlab.net/category/ar180/
http://gunlab.net/ar-180b-parts-update/
5) Damage Industries (the 3-Prong Flash Hider replacing the original short Flash-hider)
Damage Industries
PO Box 1534
Granger, IN 46530
Phone: 574-256-7006
http://damageindustries.co/
http://damageindustries.co/index.php...product_id=170
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What compelling interest has any level of government in knowing what guns are owned by civilians? (Those owned by government should be inventoried and tracked, for exactly the same reasons computers and desks and chairs are tracked: responsible care of public property.)

If some level of government had that information, what would they do with it? How would having that info benefit public safety? How would it benefit law enforcement?

Last edited by The Gleam; 02-28-2016 at 3:13 AM..
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Old 02-28-2016, 7:27 AM
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Old 02-28-2016, 7:40 AM
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Came out better than I imagined it would!! I hope you get BigRix to post your write up on AR180S.com. Everybody over there would be very interested.
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Old 02-28-2016, 10:10 AM
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Wow, just fantastic. You will have a special seat at that bar in heaven where Eugene Stoner and other Armalite Hollywood and Costa Mesa employees get together for a cold one every once in a while. Epic work & well done. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-28-2016, 10:26 AM
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Beautiful.
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Old 02-28-2016, 10:36 AM
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****ing epic!
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Old 02-28-2016, 12:44 PM
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An epic story of craftsmanship, resourcefulness and persistence. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-28-2016, 1:09 PM
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Wow! VERY impressive! Well done!
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Old 02-28-2016, 2:18 PM
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Very well done!!!
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Old 02-29-2016, 12:29 PM
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Awesome work and I will most definitely point my readers to this thread.

I commend all my brothers behind enemy lines who jump through all the hoops to keep the Second Amendment alive and well.

Are you guys allowed to have AR180B's?

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Old 02-29-2016, 12:58 PM
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Excellent write up and creative fabrication!

"creation is a matter of shear will!" - John Hammond, Jurassic Park
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Old 02-29-2016, 1:31 PM
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Awesome work and I will most definitely point my readers to this thread.

I commend all my brothers behind enemy lines who jump through all the hoops to keep the Second Amendment alive and well.

Are you guys allowed to have AR180B's?
Interesting question!

It's not named AW (Armalite AR180 is) a AR180B is different. If I'm reading the Flowchart correctly. It would need a bullet button and the stock would need to be fixed. Or not able to fire in the folded position(over all length)

Some one please correct me if I'm wrong otherwise I'm ordering one!
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Old 02-29-2016, 1:48 PM
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Awesome work. Beautifully done
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Old 03-01-2016, 9:05 AM
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Excellent job, would take someone with knowledge in AR-180's to note
the differences from the original.
When I constructed mine, I went the direction on setup and
features, I would desire on this weapon platform today.
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Old 03-01-2016, 4:39 PM
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This is a guy that REALLY liked his AR-180. I liked mine too but I can't say I was heartbroken to see it go when I sold it.

It's crazy that someone made a receiver for what was a pretty obscure rifle.
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Old 03-03-2016, 7:22 AM
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Quote:
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Interesting question!

It's not named AW (Armalite AR180 is) a AR180B is different. If I'm reading the Flowchart correctly. It would need a bullet button and the stock would need to be fixed. Or not able to fire in the folded position(over all length)

Some one please correct me if I'm wrong otherwise I'm ordering one!
The AR-180B was sold during the national "Assault Weapons" ban and does not have a folding stock or flash hider or bayonet lug.

It might need nothing more than a bullet button to be legal in CA.

I'm not sure, I live next door in AZ
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Old 03-03-2016, 9:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigRix View Post
The AR-180B was sold during the national "Assault Weapons" ban and does not have a folding stock or flash hider or bayonet lug.

It might need nothing more than a bullet button to be legal in CA.

I'm not sure, I live next door in AZ
In any case, I would STILL swap out the receiver for NoDakSpud's NDS-18s. That polymer receiver would have to go. Besides, with the NDS-18s you get all the advantages for AR15 replacement parts, trigger-sets, grips, magazines, etc.

Either way you would have to use a Bullet-Button - or go gripless with a fixed stock and muzzle brake (instead of the FH) to be "OK" in CA.
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What compelling interest has any level of government in knowing what guns are owned by civilians? (Those owned by government should be inventoried and tracked, for exactly the same reasons computers and desks and chairs are tracked: responsible care of public property.)

If some level of government had that information, what would they do with it? How would having that info benefit public safety? How would it benefit law enforcement?
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Old 03-20-2016, 6:54 AM
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Gleam
as a long time homebuilder and as well known homebuilder, (Im found on roderus, gunco, weapons guild, weaponeer). I would like to tell you what a wonderful job you have done. In the past 6 months all I have been reading is everyone who slaps a fully assembled ar upper to a ffl lower is a builder. that sickens me to hear people defame folks like yourself a true master homebuilder, also the thought process you put into this project.

congrats on a wonderful build and modification. the only thing that bothered me was the cutting of the original upper receiver to fit the Nodak lower, but that is not your doing. I own several ar-180's and a blog member on ar-180 and retro section on ar-15.com

Thank you again. pleasure to see a true craftsman at work

sprat
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Old 03-20-2016, 6:25 PM
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sir9usr sir9usr is offline
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Interesting question!

It's not named AW (Armalite AR180 is) a AR180B is different. If I'm reading the Flowchart correctly. It would need a bullet button and the stock would need to be fixed. Or not able to fire in the folded position(over all length)

Some one please correct me if I'm wrong otherwise I'm ordering one!
OP - great work, what a masterpiece. I've always wanted an AR-180 after seeing one at a nearby LA pawnshop in the 80's, so I had to settle for a newer model so yes, we can get the AR-180B here in Kali. I picked this up from a fellow Calgunner over a year ago and PPT'd at Aegis in Burbank. Haven't seen too many for sale, but they're out there.

Started with the Stormwerk cocking handle mod and I'll eventually do the NoDak lower. It's a sweet shooter and surprisingly light, here it is next to one of my heavier 5.56 shooters...

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Old 03-20-2016, 7:50 PM
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LowThudd LowThudd is offline
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Nice work OP. I especially got a kick out of the appearance of hastily done stick welds on the stock catch. First class!
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Old 03-20-2016, 8:54 PM
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BroncoBob BroncoBob is offline
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Fricken awesome job by Gleam

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Originally Posted by ar15barrels
Unscrew the lid. There is a foil seal there.
Pull the seal off and screw the lid back on.
Then you can squeeze the mustard and it will come out of the bottle..

Liberals are termites eating at the foundation of our constitution.
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  #34  
Old 03-20-2016, 9:10 PM
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BarrettM99 BarrettM99 is offline
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Excellent work fellas. Wow. Out freaking standing.
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RIP SGT Mark Allen RLTW! I love you brother. ‘Til Valhall’...
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Old 03-20-2016, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by sir9usr View Post
OP - great work, what a masterpiece. I've always wanted an AR-180 after seeing one at a nearby LA pawnshop in the 80's, so I had to settle for a newer model so yes, we can get the AR-180B here in Kali. I picked this up from a fellow Calgunner over a year ago and PPT'd at Aegis in Burbank. Haven't seen too many for sale, but they're out there.

Started with the Stormwerk cocking handle mod and I'll eventually do the NoDak lower. It's a sweet shooter and surprisingly light, here it is next to one of my heavier 5.56 shooters...

I think you have room there for an FNC clone.
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Old 03-20-2016, 10:33 PM
Cody805 Cody805 is offline
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Great work OP! Thanks for taking the time to post great pictures and descriptions!
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  #37  
Old 03-21-2016, 12:14 AM
El Trollo Mejor El Trollo Mejor is offline
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OP, wanna trade this for a WASR and a firm handshake?
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