Choosing your lower receiver is an exciting part of any AR build. With the lower receiver being the very foundation of the AR platform, the anticipation of what components will be added and envisioning the rifle that will be created, is all part of the overall pleasure of a DIY AR build. When deciding on what lower receiver you want to build on, there will be a multitude of options available. Although some lower receivers will offer more exquisite options, most AR lower receivers are fundamentally and operationally similar. Before you spend your hard earned money on a lower receiver, take the time to ask a few questions before making the purchase. A few overlooked details can mean the difference between frustration and elation.
Ask Yourself the Following Questions:
Although you might not be able to answer each of these questions on your own, take the time to think through your purchase and contact the manufacturer if you are uncertain about the product in question. If a manufacturer can’t or won’t give you detailed answers regarding their product, they’re probably not someone you want to buy from anyway.
Should I Buy an 80% Lower Receiver or a Stripped Lower?
With the ever-growing popularity of the 80% lower receiver, the first question to ask yourself is if you want to finish the lower receiver on your own. As long as your AR build is for personal use only, using an 80% lower will save you from having to fill out an ATF Form 4473 and will not require an FFL transfer or serialization. The 80% lower can be shipped directly to your home and can be finished by using a drill press, drill bits and end mills. On the other hand, a stripped lower receiver is completed and serialized by the manufacturer and will require an ATF Form 4473 and an FFL transfer. Stripped lower receivers come ready to attach the upper receiver and are the ‘pin-and-play’ method of building an AR-15.
Does the Lower Receiver Come With a Warranty?
When purchasing your lower receiver make sure the lower comes with some sort of manufacturer’s warranty. Yes, most manufacturers produce quality products and you should never have an issue — but why take the chance? For instance, AR-15 Lower Receivers offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our products. Why? Because even after we do our best to make sure every product is built to our specifications, we understand there could potentially be an undetected issue in manufacturing or with the product itself. To prevent the consumer from having to live with an inferior product, we simply choose to stand behind our products 100%. No matter what lower receiver you decide on, make sure the company has your best interest in mind. (Note: 80% lower receivers sold through AR-15 Lower Receivers, cannot be warrantied after completion. If you have further questions regarding the warranty of an 80% lower, please contact us.)
Is the Lower Machined, Forged, or Cast?
While there are countless opinions regarding the benefits and differences between a machined, forged or cast lower receiver — the data is what counts. Metallurgy and scientific proof should ultimately be the deciding factor when purchasing a lower receiver. There will always be someone telling you why one manufacturing process is better than another. It’s important to do your homework, and talk to the manufacturer about their product. If you want to know more about AR-15 Lower Receivers findings regarding metallurgy, we will be happy to share those with you.
What Material is the Lower Receiver Made From?
Similar to the debate between machined, forged and cast lower receivers, so goes the many opinions regarding 6061, 7075, or a380 aluminum lower receivers. Again, what metallurgists can tell us is often much different than what the man on the street might believe. Metallurgy is no secret. There are countless findings that apply to all three materials (6061, 7075, and a380) and the differences in their strength, performance and durability are no secret. Before purchase, talk to the manufacturer and get the data from their test results. Let the data help to determine which lower receiver is right for you.
What Are the Laws on 80% Lower Receivers?
First and foremost, be sure to familiarize yourself will all federal, state and local laws that apply to the purchase, possession or completion of an 80% lower receiver. As long as an 80% lower is legal in your state, AR-15 Lower Receivers can ship an 80% lower and 80% lower jig directly to your residence. It is also permissible for you to complete the lower for personal use without serialization or filling out an ATF Form 4473. For more information please visit the BATFE website.
Few things can compare to the satisfaction that comes with building your own AR-15. Not only that, but once it is completed you can have fun at the range or shooting varmints, and possess a reliable firearm should the need arise to protect your family. Have fun, be safe, and we hope you can start your AR build today.
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