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What You Need To Know About 80 Lowers

AR-15 80 Percent Lowers

One of the most popular rifles ever created is the AR-15 which can be customized easily. An 80% lower receiver is one such custom component, and is not legally considered to be a firearm therefore it can be acquired without federal firearms transfer paperwork or licensing. You must acquire the other needed components separately, and finish some minor drilling of an 80% lower receiver yourself to complete your custom rifle build.


AR-15 Lower Receivers are made out of either Aluminum alloy or a Polymer. However the most popular materiel to use is Aluminum. This versatile alloy is widely used across many industries because of how lightweight it is but still retains it’s strength. 80% Lower Receivers are made of one of two different types of Aluminum.  The first being 6061-T6 which is mainly used because it is less likely to corrode. Because it’s not quite up to MIL SPEC it is usually a more affordable option. Don’t worry though, 6061-T6 is still very durable and will do just fine for your next Rifle build. 7075-T6 is used for it’s strength and is almost twice the thickness of the 6061. Because of the extra material and thickness, it can take longer for machines to drill and mill it. This makes it a little more expensive but certainly worth it for the extra safety.


And How If Affects Cost


The most popular method of making Lower Receivers is Forged. Starting with a block of raw aluminum, the end product will be forged into the desired shape using hydraulic hammers. Once this is done it will then be sent in that raw shape to be turned into a final Lower Receiver product using a CNC machine. At this point the general shape can be altered for practical or aesthetic design. Using this method does tend to make a strong Lower Receiver and it can be made comparatively quickly to other methods. These aren’t the prettiest from an aesthetic standpoint but they work fine.


These are also made from a solid block of Aluminum which is called a Billet. This method exclusively uses a CNC machine to create 80 Lower Receivers from start to finish. They are meticulously crafted and as a result, very time consuming but the end product is worth it. Many unique customization and designs can be created using this method which makes it ideal when you’re looking for competitive uses or just something very light weight. They tend to cost a little more because of the extra time it takes to manufacture, they are well worth it in terms of strength and reliability.


This method involves pouring liquid metal into a mold in the shape of an 80% Lower Receivers. Once the mold has hardened it can then be removed and finished on a CNC machine. Cast 80% Lower Receivers are not that common and for good reason. They really aren’t as strong as either of the previous methods. To the point, that they are not recommended as a choice for a Lower Receiver. We don’t offer these because of this reason and generally they are not up to our high standards of durability and safety.


These have become well liked as Lower Receivers over the last several years, but not without some controversy! This materiel is not as strong as Aluminum and subsequently some believe for that reason they are not as safe, durable and generally a lower quality. On the other hand, many disagree and believe that they provide a lifetime of use without any issues. Whatever side is more correct, you should do your own research before you decide. Besides the light weight and affordable price, one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Polymer 80% Lower Receiver is that it doesn’t need any coating or finishing unlike the Aluminum Lower Receivers. Since the color of the Polymer dictates the actual color of the Lower Receiver, these won’t blemish easily from normal wear and tear.


In order to make the aluminum Lower Receivers be up to MIL-SPEC requirements, it needs to have a hard coat anodizing finish. Doing this will enhance lubrication as well as long term durability.This finishing method involves applying an electrical current while the part is placed in a sulfuric acid, this allows aluminum oxide to evenly form over the Lower Receiver.

Also there are many different coatings that can be applied to your 80% Lower Receiver. Using Cerakote or Duracoat, you can even choose from a wide variety of colors like blue, pink or red that can then be applied on top of the existing anodized finish to realize some very creative effects! If you didn’t want to have something all that colorful, then there is still a wide variety of more traditional gun colors to still personalize your AR Rifle with.


You can ask to receive your 80% Lower Receiver, either fully stripped of components, with partial components or with all needed components fully installed. From a cost stand-point, stripped Lower Receivers without any components is your most affordable option. In this case, of course, you will be assembling the necessary parts to complete the Lower Receiver. If however you want custom finishing or further custom designs, then that will increase the price some. One of the best feelings as a gun enthusiast is the pride you feel in having created a firearm that’s personal to you. So don’t be afraid of learning how to finish assembling the final parts to your Lower Receiver. There are many videos and guides that go into detail about the simple steps it takes to make your Lower Receiver fully functional.


One of the exciting aspects of building your own AR Rifle , is in customizing it to make your Rifle have your own personal look. With some of the methods mentioned above, a CNC machine can create unique shapes and designs to your specifications. As well, a wide variety of colored coating can help to put the finishing touches on it.

Some of the design variations can be quite functional. A few of the popular alterations involve creating a flared mag-well for to make a reload easier, making an oversize trigger guard can make using the trigger much more practical when wearing gloves. Some of these useful enhancements not only make your AR Rifle unique, but much easier to use.

Another popular way to personalize is to add your own custom logo to the Lower Receiver. These can be engraved via laser, etched or even just stamped. Places that offer Lower Receivers will often give you the option of just a plain Lower Receiver without any logo, the companies standard logo or you can design your own logo. This is where you can really use your imagination and have something made that will bear your own unique mark.
However you choose to customize your AR Rifle, just make sure and check out all the different designs, colors and logos that are widely offered now by various manufacturers. You will most likely find something that catches your eye or will at least give you a good idea what you would like to make your own personal AR Rifle look like.


Depending on what your budget is there is virtually no limit on the materiel, customization, performance and designs that you may want for your AR Rifle. If you’re just starting out doing your first Lower Receiver, you should just experiment with a plain, stripped Lower Receiver until you get the experience necessary to complete more expensive high-end AR Rifle builds. Whichever you choose, there are step by step guides readily available to help easily create the perfect AR Rifle just for you.