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80% Lower AR Build: Money Saved?

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by cascadianliberty2012, May 7, 2013.

  1. cascadianliberty2012

    cascadianliberty2012 DPR Portland Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I'm asking this because I am fairly ignorant when it comes to AR's (not really my thing...):
    Suppose I went out and bought one of those 80% AR lowers and did the "finishing" myself, then built the rest of the AR with purchased parts, all done myself. Now, assuming I am capable of doing all this, how much money would I save doing this as opposed to just buying a completed AR from a dealer or seller?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Morpheus

    Morpheus Columbia Gorge Anyway, back on the farm.

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    Right now, I don't know if you would save any time. Finding 80% AR lowers isn't so easy right now, and when you do the seem to be very over priced.

    I would just save up the cash and look for a used AR. The bubble seems to be bursting, so you can find one for a reasonable price these days.
     
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  3. cascadianliberty2012

    cascadianliberty2012 DPR Portland Well-Known Member

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    I'm not really looking for it now, but could you tell me what the non-hype pricing would be, and how much money I WOULD save in non-panic times?
     
  4. Morpheus

    Morpheus Columbia Gorge Anyway, back on the farm.

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    In the past, if you don't have to buy any tools I saw people building them for as low as $650.

    But if you need the various tools and jigs needed to assemble an AR, it could run you more like $1000 to $1100.

    Now, if you and a few friends want to split the cost of the tools and jigs. And you can find all of the various parts you need for good deals. Then you can keep your overall costs down. But unless you are going to have a build party, it really isn't worth it.

    Just my opinion, and I looked at it a lot a few years ago.
     
  5. Squidly

    Squidly Sandy Active Member

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    I ordered one of those so-called 80% lowers. It's not as easy to finish as they make it sound, unless you already have experience with metal working. It can be done, but unless you are concerned about serial numbers and registration, buy a finished lower. Mine came out fine with the help of a mill.
     
  6. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Even with the tools.(maybe $200) you could do one for around $800-900

    Heck it nothing to put one together and I'm sure there is someone with the tools to loan (you won't hurt the tools)

    But there isn't much available and when there is,the prices will be a little higher.

    Good luck either way

    BTW,the lower is the easiest part to do.Takes a little more time but it's a cinch.If you want to buy something assembled,buy the upper assembled and you do the lower yourself
     
  7. Mister_E

    Mister_E Oregon Active Member

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    I'm assuming by 80%, you mean that the lower is complete, minus the stock, sights, etc? Unless you are contemplating 'assembling' the upper, you really have most of the 'work' done. I helped a friend 'assemble' his from a bare lower, before all the madness started, and using mainly tools he had on hand, I did bring my AR mult-tool/wrench just in case. We were able to find a lower parts kit (LPK), all of his furniture (stock, grip, foregrip, etc), optics, and upper assembly on-line. After all was said and done, and WITHOUT going for top-tier 'designer-name-brand' parts, we were able to build it for right around $700 +/- a few bucks. Most of the instructions can be found on the interwebz, even from sites like Midway or Brownell's, with excellent instructions and videos to show you how. It really isn't rocket-science, but you do have to pay close attention to what you are doing to ensure you don't get hurt. Most of the instructions do a pretty good job of providing SAFETY CHECKS during the assembly, and AFTER assembly - PRIOR to firing with live ammo. And I agree with the others here, finish the 80% lower, then buy an ASSEMBLED upper. All you have to do is align them, push in the two pins, and you are almost done. Put on the optics of your choice, whether it be back up iron sights, red dot, scope, etc., pick up some mags and ammo (probably the hardest thing to find), and you are set.

    Back a few months, it wasn't impossible to some-what affordably buy the 'right-parts', and build yourself a piece that could compete with anything else out there, assuming you know what you are doing and take your time doing it.;)
     
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  8. Morpheus

    Morpheus Columbia Gorge Anyway, back on the farm.

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    80% lowers are hunks of aluminium which require drilling out the punch holes, and sometimes the chamber in the center where you put the lower and seer.

    Not just a stripped lower which has nothing inside of it.
     
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  9. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    Assuming you have the tooling and patience to finish an 80% lower (mill / drill press depending on how they arrived at 80%) you probably still won't save any money going that route. I've been seeing finished lowers around for about $130-170 range in the last week (stripped) and the cheapest 80% lower I've seen was $170. Most of the 80% market isn't about saving you money - they are charging you full price or more for an item that they don't need an FFL to sell and most people who buy them do so to avoid any paper trail. The funny thing is that most who are doing this have bought guns with paperwork in the past so they aren't avoiding being noted as a gun owner and most order with a credit card from the seller so there is still some form of trail.
     
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  10. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    OK OK I missed that one.
    Yeah the factory has assembly lines that can mill one out in a minute or 2.....at perfect milspec
    I don't get buying the 80% and trying to mil spec it yourself
    Unless you have the same machine the factory does,then why not do the whole unit?
     
  11. Ryo

    Ryo WA Member

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    You just need a manual mill to drill out the holes and spaces on a 80%. Making one from scratch is not easy task. Doing a 80% work a jig is easy.

    There is no savings on doing a 80%. Cost of the lower, engraving, and finish will add up quick.
     
  12. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    There is NO need for engraving. One of the points of an 80%...........
     
  13. PDXSparky

    PDXSparky Keizer / Hillsboro Well-Known Member

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    Fixed that for you. I'd still want MY own roll mark.
     
  14. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    There is still no need for it. But yes you can mark it anyway you want.
     
  15. Ryo

    Ryo WA Member

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    True enough, but I would personally want to have my 80% engraved. It's part of the fun to engrave what ever you want in it. However you can engrave on a budget using a power supply, vinegar, and some type of masking tape.

    You could also keep your 80% unfinished and shoot it, but that too I would wish to have a decent hard anodizing. Of course you can do a batch at home with car battery acid, aluminum, power supply, etc.
     
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