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80% Lowers & Other DIY Firearms

AllAmerican75

Running the IT Help Desk
None
Contributor
I'm thinking about building an AR from an 80% lower now that I have time for hobbies and personal projects. Do any of y'all have any experience or advice? I'm a bit overwhelmed by choice between jigs, tools, and all of the other stuff. Do you have any recommendations for jigs and tools? Are the tools from the various 80-percenter companies as overpriced as they seem?

Thanks in advance.
 

ChuckMK23

Well-Known Member
pilot
In my opinion, not worth the effort. Quality forged lowers are easily available for under $50. With an 80% item, you are just removing metal and I am almost certain you will not be pleased with the aesthetics once you remove the other 20%.

But doing a build with a quality lower is great - go for it. So many great parts and uppers to be had. Aim Surplus is a great source.

I did do a P80 pistol build - from Brownells when it was deeply discounted. The final product is functional and looks OK - but not as good as a factory Glock. The 20% material removal was straightforward. However, transferring it is verboten. The aftermarket slide looks blocky too. I think I spent $380 or so on all the parts. In retrospect I'd rather have a used Gen 3/4 G17. YMMV.
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
However, transferring it is verboten.
I'm pretty sure you can transfer it, it just needs a serial number. It would also need a serial number if you intend to NFA it.

In retrospect I'd rather have a used Gen 3/4 G17. YMMV.
Or just buy a new Blue Label for ~$30 more.

I think playing with an 80% and a Ghost Gunner setup could be fun if you had a SOT.
 

OscarMyers

Well-Known Member
None
Don't forget about our red friends across the pond. I've built a couple AKs. Little more intensive regarding rivet squeezing and pressing in the barrel. I've never done an 80% AK lower, but they seem a bit easier with just having to drill it out. Battle field pick-up themed AKs are so hot right now.
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
A guy I work with, who is very mechanically savvy, recently built a MP5 out of a beautiful HK de-mill'ed kit and a new receiver flat. He did a really nice job bending the flat and the welding. He wanted to Form 1 the pistol, so he had the engraving done locally, and their work was impressive. Looks picture perfect HK, with the added serial up top (of his son's birthday).

He's done several AK/RPK builds, but he has the tools to do it. I definitely appreciate his work, even if I don't dig the weapon system.
 

Hair Warrior

Well-Known Member
Contributor
I would like to shoot an MP5SD on full auto someday. Any shooting ranges on the east coast rent them?
 

OscarMyers

Well-Known Member
None
Anyone dabble in the exotic AR calibers? I picked up a spare stripped upper on black Friday and am looking to make something weird. Any thoughts on the .458 SOCOM?
 

ABMD

Bullets don't fly without Supply
I'm thinking about building an AR from an 80% lower now that I have time for hobbies and personal projects. Do any of y'all have any experience or advice? I'm a bit overwhelmed by choice between jigs, tools, and all of the other stuff. Do you have any recommendations for jigs and tools? Are the tools from the various 80-percenter companies as overpriced as they seem?

Thanks in advance.
I think as long as the jig is high quality the results will be pretty good. Take your time and done rush and you have nothing to worry about. The better jigs are compatible with routers and end-mill bits and the results are like factory milled. Back in the day you could pick-up a 6-pack of 80% for like $100. Then it was build time at a friends house, just as long as no one else touches the paperweight while you're working on it. Spend the money on a quality barrel and trigger.
 

ChuckMK23

Well-Known Member
pilot
The future (or present) of DIY firearms is 3D printing with metal/polymer/fiberglass 3D printers.
Until the 3D printer manufacturers embed AI into their devices to recognize firearm designs and restrict the device from printing such parts - I actually think this is likely.

The change in tone from ATF is interesting - first on braces now on 80%. I suspect that shipping the 80% lower with the slide, barrel/upper parts in a single "builders kit" was what crossed the line.
 
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