View Full Version : the 80%er's

3/07/2017 7:56am,
i've been hearing a decent bit about people buying 80% finished ar lowers because they don't require serialization, therefore the government doesn't know bout yer guns. i haven't been able to find a wealth of information on this and was wondering what the pros and cons of going this route may be.

it really just looks like a temporary loophole. once you mill the assembly and make it functional it seems like you would be legally responsible for ensuring that the rifle is given a serial number and registered as a firearm. so sure nobody knows about it initially, but if they find out then what? am i overthinking this?

finally, i was told that you can make 80% finished ar's just as accurate as a functional system you buy off the shelf, but this seems like a redundant point. aside from trigger pull, is there any other way the trigger assembly affects accuracy?

in closing: pros and cons of the 80% lower route, how does trigger assembly affect accuracy, and are there any other parts to the 80% lower that might affect accuracy?

3/07/2017 8:38am,
There is no federal requirement to register firearms a hobbyist manufactures as long as he/she/thon is not doing so for business purposes and the weapon in question isn't on the BATFE "naughty" list. This similar to the concept of being lowed to sell firearms on occasion but not as a profession. If there is no intent to conduct such activities as a business, there is not any requirement to obtain a Federal Firearms License of the relevant types and classes.

That said, if your state requires registration of "ghost guns" or of whichever type of firearm you manufacture, then you may be required to register them with the state, in which case they will need to conform to federal law/regulation for serialization.

As far as building out 80% lowers and pistol frames, they will be as good as you are at working with your hands, your equipment, your base material, and your experience manufacturing such things. As far as FCG altering accuracy, it is more nuanced than just trigger squeeze. My suggestion to you would be to drop the cash on a self contained FCG that allows for adjustment and tightening within the lower with a steel plate and set screw. I say this because the likelihood of an inexperienced person milling everything out correctly without some slop is not great, and this will allow you to fix a lot of what you screw up, assuming you get your distance and positioning for drilling your FCG retaining pin holes close enough together. Other than the FCG, your lower is not precisely relevant to accuracy unless it is out of spec enough to affect feeding or operation of the firearm.

6/13/2017 12:43pm,
Everything Cassius said. Also, I've built a bunch of ARs. I've had lowers that came from very reputable places that had a little bit too much cerekote on them or were just enough out of milspec to make it so that you had to alter the lower in some way to get it put together. I've even had to argue with companies until they admitted that they messed up stuff, like the mag well being too shallow and send me their bolt catch that they custom made to make up for the discrepancy.

All that being said, these are lowers that come from people who have CNC machines and mill everything out in house. How many 80% lowers have you seen that were done well? Not many, if any. They usually look like **** when you take the upper off and look into the lower. And, man I've seen some bad ones. Most get thrown in the trash or put on a shelf to remind you to never do it again.

Now days, since Hillary didn't get elected, everyone is unloading lowers at such good prices that you wouldn't need to buy an 80% lower and mess with it. ****, I bought a lower from BCA the other day that was only like 5 dollars more than their 80% lower.

6/13/2017 4:51pm,
There are people who have the skill to produce absolutely perfect stripped lower receivers. And then there are most of us. That said, I am glad they exist. Forcing the ATF to constantly adapt to innovation is a good thing.

6/13/2017 5:40pm,
It's a fun exercise, but unless you really care about have no paper trail, just get the cheapest forged lower you can find. I paid $40 for my Anderson lower and haven't had any issues. Their lower parts kits fucking suck though. The trigger return spring was too weak to reset the trigger. My lgs swapped it out for free (even though I didn't buy the kit from them, I was just there for a barrel), but it left a sour taste in my mouth. It's to be expected though. Anderson's bread and butter is forgings. They sell those to a lot of big name companies. The rest of their stuff just sort of... is.

6/13/2017 10:10pm,
Even in CA for a VERY long time it was perfectly ok to build an 80% lower gun without having to register it.
This changed when California passed AB 857, and the requirement for all completed firearms to have a serial number doesn't even go into effect until Jan 1, 2019.
Though contrariety to popular belief CA isn't the most gun unfriendly state. It certainly is headed that way once all of AB 857 hits the streets. That being said if its OK here it is likely OK in most states. So check your local laws of course but you are probably A OK to build an 80% lower and not register it.

6/13/2017 10:27pm,
When I was looking into doing an 80% build a few years back, it seemed to be common practice to come up with your own serial number, just for the novelty. GOODLUN0001 seems like a nice number. Never got around to doing it, myself. Registered serials don't bother me, anymore, and the slight extra spend to have a reliable firearm seems worth it. When you get down to the philosophy, I actually prefer that my government knows I'm armed (MOLON LABE). I just don't want to have to jump through hoops to be so.

6/14/2017 10:41am,
I've got a friend who has a drill press and he is about to take on an 80% lower. I think his will probably turn out ok. Not as good as from factory, but probably functional. I saw a guy at the range a while back and he made one with a hand drill on the jig. He couldn't get the thing to fire. I looked at it with him. When you held it up, you can clearly see that his trigger pin holes were not strait. So the whole FCG was crooked. *facepalm