It’s a great way to learn more about firearms and to customize your gun exactly the way you want it. When you build your own carbine, you know every single part of the gun and you can be sure that it’s completely compatible with all of your other parts.
Drilling and assembling an AR-15 requires a few specialized tools and some know-how, but it’s not as hard as you might think. One of the things that makes building your own rifle so affordable is the existence of 80 lower receivers for AR-15 carbines.
AR-15 80 Lowers
An 80% lower receiver is a block of aluminum that’s partially completed. You can buy these lower receivers from reliable suppliers, like 5D Tactical, then you simply machine them into the final shape that you need.
What to Consider When Choosing an 80% Lower for AR-15s
When choosing an 80% lower receiver for your next build, there are a number of factors to consider. When it comes to aluminum AR-15 80% lowers in particular, there are commonly two choices — billet 80 lowers and forged 80% lower receivers.
High-Quality Forged vs. Billet 80 Lower Receivers
All of our AR-15 lower receiver blanks are manufactured to precision tolerances and exhibit extraordinarily high quality. However, there are some minor differences between the forged and billet 80 lower receivers we carry here.
Forged 80 lower receivers are made from 7075-T6 aluminum that is heated and hammered into a mold, before being allowed to cool and finished via CNC machining. All mil-spec lower receivers are forged.
Billet 80 lowers, which can be made from either 7075-T6 or 6061-T6 aluminum, are machined from an extruded billet of aluminum (which is also finished via CNC machining). Billet 80 lowers may not be compatible with mil-spec components.
Billet 80% Lowers for AR-15s
A billet 80% lower begins their lives as solid blocks of aluminum that are CNC machined from beginning to end, with varying designs available that will suit any style.
A billet AR-15 80% lower milled from 6061-T6 is multiple times stronger than required for the application. 6061-T6 billet 80% lowers are preferred by many for finishing an 80% lower at home, because the output is an 80% lower that is easier to drill and mill for the user.
Still, some prefer 7075-T6 due to the increased hardness and tensile strength. Fortunately, our AR-15 Router Jig will make short work of either!
Two Types of Aluminum Used in Billet 80% Lowers
The two types of billet aluminum that are commonly offered for billet 80% lowers are 6061-T6 and 7075-T6. Both are very high strength grades of aluminum. 7075-T6 is harder and stronger than 6061-T6, but that is largely unnecessary to a degree.
Forged 80% Lowers for AR-15s
Forged 80% lowers, sometimes referred to as “Mil-Spec” lower receivers, are manufactured in a very different manner than billet 80% lowers. All forged 80% lowers start as “receiver blanks” that are formed (forged) under high heat and pressure into the general shape of an 80% lower.
There are only a handful of companies in the USA that are responsible for producing the majority of receiver blanks. These are then sold to machine shops and firearms manufacturers to complete the machining process.
Conclusion: The Differences Between Forged and Billet
Besides mil-spec compatibility, there is very little functional difference between forged and billet 80 lower receivers. The chemistry of the aluminum alloy will affect hardness, heat resistance, corrosion, tensile strength, and more, but both our forged and billet 80% lower receivers are exceptionally strong.
Can I Complete a Forged or Billet 80 Lower at Home?
You may be able to complete your own 80 lower at home. We encourage you to perform your own research and consult legal counsel to ensure you are in compliance with local laws and regulations, but the ATF does not consider either forged or billet receiver blanks to be firearms and does not regulate them as such.
The ATF has also stated that it is legal to complete a receiver blank and assemble a firearm at home, provided the firearm is for personal use only. Remember, this is federal law only and applies only to firearms created for personal use. State and local laws may restrict or prohibit the possession, sale, transfer, or alteration of forged or billet 80 lower receivers.
Complete the Project with an 80 Lower Jig Kit
To complete an 80 lower, complete an 80% lower receiver — whether it’s a forged or billet model — you’ll need:
- 80% Lower Receiver
- 80% Lower Jig
- Drill Press
- End Mills (compatible with your router or press)
- Cutting Fluid
- Shop Vac
- Allen Wrenches
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Eye Protection, such as Glasses or Goggles
- Ear Protection, such as Soundproof Headphones
- Hand Protection, such as Gloves
The Benefits of an AR-15 80% Lower Receiver from 5D Tactical
All forged AR-15 80% lowers are 7075-T6. The finished quality of a forged 80% lower depends entirely on a number of factors, starting with the finish machining. Our Forged AR-15 80% lowers are precision CNC machined to tolerances of +/- .001″ and inspected thoroughly to ensure consistent quality.
Next, consider the presence and quality of the FIRE/SAFE engraving. Our 80% lowers have the FIRE/SAFE markings present, engraved deeply in large, bold print.
Finally, the quality of the hardcoat anodizing finish can make or break your build. A consistent, deep black finish that will match well with other hardcoat anodized components should be a major consideration. Our forged AR-15 80% lower receivers will arrive with a quality and consistent Type III Class 2 black hardcoat anodized finish completed per the standards set forth by MIL-A-8625.
Finish Your AR-15 Project Right Away
We have Forged and Billet AR-15 80% lower receivers that are ready for your next custom rifle build project. Our lower receivers are precision CNC machined and are made of high-strength, high-grade aluminum.
Whether you want matched sets for upper-lower assembly or a complete 80 percent lower kit, we bring you superior quality products that you can always count on for reliable fit and finish. At 5D Tactical, we carry essential AR-15 80% lower parts including receivers, Mil-Spec lower parts kits, and upper/lower matched sets.
From the Engraved AR-15 Forged 7075-T6 80% Lower Receiver to our lightweight Billet AR-15 6060-T6 80% Lower Receiver with the look and feel of a Mil-Spec Lower receiver, we offer a selection of AR-15 80% lowers in a variety of styles. Whether you’re looking to build or upgrade a complete AR-15 80% lower, we have you covered.
Buy Specialized AR-15 Parts
At 5D Tactical, we have been specializing in AR-15s for many years. We employ firearms experts with over 40 years of experience, who are happy to answer any of your questions about your next build.
Do you want a forged stripped upper and 80% lower matched set? We have a complete set for your AR 15 80 percent lower receiver and upper receiver build project. Order your AR-15 80% Lower Receiver and the Mil-Spec AR-15 80% Lower Receiver Kit today.
Forge an AR-15 with AR-15 80 Percent Lowers from 5D Tactical
As we said, whatever your project requires, you need a reliable collaborator that can provide the supplies and information you need. Here at 5D Tactical, we sell everything that you’ll need — forged and billet 80 lowers as well the upper receivers and 80 lower jig kits — to complete your project at home.
Because, at 5D Tactical we’re passionate about DIY gun building, and we love sharing that passion with others. For more information on drilling, milling, and assembling your own carbine from an AR-15 80% lower receiver, reach out to our team today.