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80% Lower Receivers

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What is an 80 Lower Receiver?
Unofficially referred to as a “receiver blank” by the BATFE, an 80 percent lower is an incomplete piece of stylized aluminum that requires simple machining and drilling of the FCG (Fire Control Group) pocket which holds the hammer, sear, and trigger assembly in order to complete. Unlike a serialized firearm receiver it is not required to be transferred through a Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) dealer so it can shipped directly to your home or business.

We say “unofficially” for the ATF reference since the firearms industry and enthusiasts across the country established the designation 80% lower receiver long before the ATF followed up with with their designation. When we tell family and friends what we make and refer to the parts as receiver blanks, they don’t understand. We have to clarify with 80 lowers, and then they know what we are talking about as does everyone else in the firearms realm.

Why is it called an 80% Lower vs Receiver Blank?
Actually that can be answered in a few ways so our first thought would be the “why” of it being called an 80% receiver, and that’s simply because it takes about 4/5 of the time to machine an 80 versus building a complete serialized lower from a forging. This of course is different for billet lowers because all of the faces have to be machined from the rectangular billet aluminum, so the billet version takes much longer to 80% versus complete – more like 95 percent of the time.

The ATF established the term “receiver blank” because the name 80 percent lower was a bit open to interpretation. For instance, manufacturer A will build an 80% lower with the rear take-down lug pocket already machined, and manufacturer B does not. And yet, both manufacturers refer to the part as an 80 lower receiver even though they are at two different stages of completion. The ATF doesn’t like this situation so they call them receiver blanks with the specific definition that it can’t have the FCG area machined, or any holes or dimples for the pin and safety holes. This definition defines a boundary not to cross.

What Law Says its an 80% Lower vs 100% Complete?
Actually that’s a good question, and the simple answer is that there is no specific law establishing what is an 80% receiver, and what is complete. Per 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(3)(C), the GCA defines the term “firearm” as:

(A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; (C) …

The operative words here being “may readily be converted”, and that’s it. The ATF made the “determination” that a receiver blank is where the FCG area is not machined or drilled, and not a specific law. We’re not sure how they established that line not to be crossed, and they could change their minds next week. We just elect to not ask questions and fully comply to make things easier in the long run.

Are 80 Percent Lowers Legal to Own and Build?
Per the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) Yes in every state in the U.S., it is legal to build your own firearm for personal use as long as you can legally own a firearm. However, some states such as New Jersey have “Assault Weapon” bans in place so you can’t build a firearm that meets those criteria, but you can still build a pistol or a 10/22.

Is a serial number, FFL or transfer needed to complete the 80 lower?

You do not need a FFL to make any number of firearms intended for your own use, nor do you need to do a transfer when completed. You are not required to engrave a serial number or any other information but should consider doing so per this detail from the ATFs website:

Individuals manufacturing sporting-type firearms for their own use need not hold Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs). However, we suggest that the manufacturer at least identify the firearm with a serial number as a safeguard in the event that the firearm is lost or stolen. Also, the firearm should be identified as required in 27 CFR 478.92 if it is sold or otherwise lawfully transferred in the future.

Source: http://www.atf.gov/qa-category/receiver-blanks

How do I Complete and/or Finish an 80% Lower?
You can easily complete the lower receiver and do not need to have any machining experience in order to do it. An 80% lower jig is one way to finish a lower in conjunction with using a hand router and/or drill press. A drill press type jig is less expensive but takes longer to complete the lower, and router jigs can be much faster but typically cost more. You have to be patient with either method to finish the lower to the needed specifications.

You can purchase an 80 lower in the raw which is deburred only straight off the CNC machine, do the needed milling and drilling to complete it, and then apply a finish coat as desired. Or you can order one that is already finish coated in either black anodizing or cerakote. But be aware that after you mill and drill the lower to complete it, you will need to reseal the areas of exposed aluminum to prevent possible corrosion.

Your Prices seem a Little Higher than Others?
We don’t machine and sell the cheapest 80 lower by any means, but we do try to be competitive against others offering similar products made from billet. An 80 lower made from a forging is always going to cost less simply because it takes much less time to complete the machining process. Our billet lowers are our own unique designs, and are not featured on any other website. We hope that you find the ‘cool factor’ enough to justify making a purchase.

Are bulk or volume discounts offered?

We offer our lowers in a 3 pack, 5 pack or 10 pack – or rather we offer discounts at those quantities so you can just add to the cart whatever quantity that you wish to purchase.  It will show the volume discount per the bulk pricing table under the add to cart button but ONLY in the cart.