When it comes to 80% receivers for weapons, people generally think of’ and but there are a growing number of weapons that are based on the notion that they can be built up from the very bottom components.
Building your own weapons, and to your own specification is one of the growth industries in the US arms market, and more manufacturers are embracing the notion, that the customer may not want to just buy something off the shelf. A growing number of people are finding the joy of having a hands-on approach to their weapons and it is no longer the preserve of semi-automatic rifles. So, what weapons can you build up in the same way? Well, since everyone is aware of the AR in this respect, we’re not going to start with that. How about:
Colt M1911A1. No, really, old it may be but it is the workhorse of the US military and still fun to fire and you can make it your own too. The Lowers for these are available in either steel or aluminum, and must have the lowers must have the barrel seat, slide rail, and hammer and sear holes cut into them. Steel versions will obviously be heavier and will soak up recoil but the aluminumtype make the gun easier to wield. Not easy to build, but that just makes it more satisfying.
Ruger 10/22 Rifle. One of the most used rifles, like, ever, the little Ruger is a great way to start teaching kids how to target shoot. It is also a good little gun to build and there are 80% lowers available for this too, however, even if you are skilled at building AR’s you might find that the Ruger needs a fair bit of work on the 80% lower. Typically, the barrel V block attaching point will need to be milled out, as well as you having to add a number of holes for pins and screws. Still, get it right and you can sit back and soak up the admiration form others on a job well done.
Glock 17. Pretty easy to work with, the Glock 80 percent lower receivers typically feature a more aggressive styling than the more conventional weapon, making a built gun instantly recognisable. However, care need to be taken with these as they are polymer, which makes them easier to work than even aluminum lowers, but also not very forgiving towards mistakes, so you need to get it right the first time. Many of the replacement and 80% lowers on the market also have integral Picatinny rails for mounting extras, and embedded steel plates to add a serial number to if you live in a State that requires identification.
AK-47. Yes, even everyone’s favourite Soviet workhorse has a range of 80% lower receivers, letting you build up your own, custom gun. However, as you might expect, finishing off one of these is a tad more complicated than drilling a few holes, and you may find yourself having to carry out a bit of steel bending, riveting, and even spot welding (no, really). Most of the 80% lowers come from European sources and may not be of the quality that you have found if you are used to building AR rifles, so it might be worth shopping around.
AR. What more can we say. The AR is the basis of many custom weapons and there is a huge industry in supplying after-market parts for them. Choose your 80% lower with respect to your budget and your intended usage and you will have a fine weapon that will be the pride of your collection.