Thursday, July 25, 2013

AR15 Lower 80% madness!

Ever since January this year, there have been several new 80% lower manufacturers producing new lowers.  I've been buying up one or two of each, however, I won’t get a chance to test them until Thanksgiving.  Some of the more interesting 80% lower kits include a type of "Jigsaw puzzle" steel AR, the polymer AR, the jigless polymer AR, and there's also a plethora (really hate that word) of improved 80% lowers that have more mass added to key locations for enhanced durability.  Here’s a quick rundown of lowers I’ve accumulated over the past year.

HLF Manufacturing - - Just another run-of-the-mill AR manufacturer, they have good customer service and the lowers are compatible with the CNCGuns lower drill jig.

CNCGuns - - Another standard AR manufacturer.  They sell lowers and also a lower drill jig.  I bought the jig and lower from them.  It looks legit and is made specifically for people who only own a drill or drill press.  The base jig and the drill-milling adapter, together, costs double the price of Juggernaut tactical’s jig.  However, something to consider is that JT’s jigs are ONLY compatible with JT’s unique lower, while this one is compatible with HLF and CNCGuns lowers.  He doesn’t accept online payment, only check or money order, which is kind of bothersome and I’m always apprehensive about that kind of stuff, but I received my jig without any trouble.

Juggernaut Tactical - – Has a built-in ‘winter’ triggerguard, sharp, unrounded corners, and reinforced material on the sides.  This isn’t a bad thing, but in my opinion (in which I know nothing about manufacturing and machining) it seems to me that requires less machine work and I would think that it should cost less, but again, what do I know!  They have lowers that are pre-anodized so you don’t have to anodize it yourself and mess with the chemicals and stuff, plus it looks classier than BBQ paint.  Also their drill jig is priced pretty cheap and looks as good as CNCGuns’s but only works on their lowers.

I guess I can’t really complain about the price tag since I got this one on ebay from some guy who was selling a random bunch of lowers at once and I happened to get this one by chance.  Since the sides are flat, I can’t see why I couldn’t just turn the sideplates of CNCgun’s lower jig around and align the lower to the jig using the pivot pins.  That should work for getting the holes axis pin holes drilled, anyways.

Polymer 80 - – A polymer 80% lower.  So far it is the cheapest (not-flat) AR lower at $70 a piece.  Polymer is easier to carve away at so this should be a simpler project for people who only own a cheap electric drill.  They have a low-priced disposable jig that clamps on and are supposed to come with drill bits that prevent you from drilling too far.  The guy claims that this is a new type of polymer that is stronger than anything that has come out before.  You can find a pretty lengthy interview with everything you need to know about the lower and the jig right here .  I’m not really a fan of polymer but I’m keeping an open mind and I bought two lowers plus a jig.  One I plan doing one with the included jig and the other I’ll somehow force it to work with the CNCGuns jig.

EP Armory - - Another 80% polymer lower, but also the first (as far as I know) to be jigless.  The black lower has a white plastic insert that is molded into the polymer FCG area so that it can be peeled away as you chip at it with a cutting tool, such as a dremel.  There’s a video here:  It comes in black or pink.  I bought the pink one so the internet can see another Hello Kitty themed AR15 to test RIT Dyes on and see how well it stays colored.

Also interesting is their clear AR15 lower (and soon to be upper).  I’m not sure how strong that material is but it would make a neat display piece.

Jack Squat’s Flat Spot - - This guy has flats for AK47s as well as other stuff in stock.  What is most interesting is his steel AR15 ‘flat’ kit.  The kit appears to be composed of six layers of flat pieces that are fitted and welded together.  I feel like I could probably align the inner layers with rolls pins and JB weld, then sandwich it all in place with the outer plates and use long 10x32tpi screws (my favorite screw!) to bolt them all together.  I ordered two of these kits - one for welding, the other for the roll-pin idea.  They’re only $25 for a piece, so it’s not a big loss if you waste one.  The lowers are pretty heavy, by the way.

More reviews and descriptions of more 80% lowers can be found on a thread here at Weapons Guild: (Requires registration)