Two 80% lowers and a few jig pieces later, and I finally finished my very own 80% AR-15 lower that is ready to be assembled. The following are my thoughts and a short review about the jig and unfinished lower I was sent to work on and make a gun from. I can say that I am pleased with the outcome and what I was sent.
First, I have to say that there is a bit of pride flowing through my veins. I literally just finished the process of milling out the last section. If you recall, the struggle was real. After I finally got everything I needed, I made the mistake of not tightening down the end mill in the router I used. And, about 75% of the way through the first attempt, the bit worked its way out of the router utterly destroying the lower receiver.
Have no fear, because 80% Arms sent me a new piece at a huge discount and I got on it again, as soon as I was able to. I have this feeling of accomplishment that is almost indescribable—but then again, I've never done anything like this before, because I'm just not that handy.
I can say that I'll be buying another lower, and giving it another go to see how fast I can make one. Over all, from start to finish, this one took me about six hours because I really had no clue what I was doing and referred to the instruction manual several times and in between each step.
The lower itself is of a good quality. I like the fact that the this 80-percenter is a one piece unit. So, unlike other lowers that don't have the bottom of the trigger guard in place, this one does. It doesn't matter all that much, but it looks better cosmetically and is one less step during assembly.
I have yet to put all of the parts into it just yet, but based on what I can see, the lower receiver turned out great, which is a testament to the quality of 80% Arms' products. One thing I can say, though, from my time finishing it is that you should take the time to periodically clean the metal shavings out of the jig to make sure that they don't mar up the outside finish.
However, when it was sent to me, there were no marks on it whatsoever so I know that it was operator error. Honestly, I don't really care what it looks like, as long as it goes bang when I need it to.
As far as the jig goes, I don't think it could have made my milling of the lower any easier. The parts are well made and fit together perfectly. The instructions are detailed so if you don't like to follow written instruction, you may want to pass and just buy one already finished. For the most part, they tell you exactly what you need to do. There were a few steps I had to re-read a few times to make sure I got the bigger picture, but that was mainly because I was on a time table and didn't want to screw up.
You aren't required to use a drill press, however, after using a hand drill and the former option, I can say that using a press makes the job go much easier (not to mention faster). I bought a 75$ Ryobi router from Home Depot that works well. All I can say here, is to mill slower than you want to, and make sure the end mill doesn't come loose. If it does, you'll regret it. Trust me on that.
If you're in the market for an aluminum lower and jig, you really can't go wrong with this setup. It really made the job easy, and I can say that if I can do it with my limited ability, so can you. And, you may want to do it sooner than later because who knows where we're heading as a country.
Someone pointed out that I didn't list total prices, so here it goes:
Upper Assembly and Lower Parts: $359.99
Total Price = $684.97
The jig and the router will be used again on the next one I build, so I won't have to buy them again. The next one will only cost me: $459.98
Here's the video:
Sound Off Gun Carriers! Have you ever milled out an 80% lower using this setup? If so, how did it go? Did you have a similar experience? Let us know in the comments below. Make sure you stay tuned for the upcoming video where I do my best to show you how I worked on this thing. Oh, and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you know when it goes live.