How can one lower differentiate so much from another? You’d really be surprised at the answer to that question. There are literally dozens of measurements of finish, fit, and quality for every small part of an AR 15, including the lower receiver. The AR 15 is a benefactor of extreme popularity, to which the market has responded by producing even better modifications for the platform. This hyper-competitiveness bit us, too: Today we are going to look at what puts the ‘Premium” in our new, Premium 80 Percent Lower.
The Perfect Alloy
So, here is where the biggest difference comes into play in our new Premium 80 lower. In simple terms, it’s built out of the best aluminum alloy you can find for its intended purpose: 6061 T6 aluminum. This aluminum alloy is a hyper-strong, durable compound that’s often used in structural engineering. If you’ve ever flown in a jetliner, you’ve sat in a giant hollow tube made of the stuff, wings included. The 6061 T6 alloy is extremely lightweight in comparison to its strength and it boasts excellent corrosion resistance. But why is it particularly great for building your own 80 Percent Lower? It’s slightly ‘softer’ than 7075 T6. By soft we don’t mean it’s a pillow, by any means. It’s simply easier to mill and easier to finish. This allows you, the at-home black rifle builder to reduce the time and possible mistakes necessary to machine an 80 percent lower receiver.
The Perfect Milling Process
Our Premium 80 Percent Lower is a billet lower receiver. So, what does that mean exactly? It begins life as part of a solid brick of 6061 T6 alloy. A CNC machine and an experienced operator turns that block of aluminum into an 80 percent lower receiver – it’s not quite yet a firearm. A billet lower receiver starts and ends as one piece of aluminum. Billet 6061 lower receivers take machining more easily and they present a “blank canvas” that allows for more advanced design cues, so they often have a unique and modern look that makes them distinguished from standard AR 15 forged lowers.
Mil-Spec Quality Finish
Our billet lowers are also anodized with a mil-spec Type III hard coat anodizing. This is the standard finish utilized by the United States Military on their service rifles. It’s a hard, matte black finish that’ll match any standard upper and it’s resistant to gouges, scratches, and of course surface wear.
Improved, Simpler Assembly
There are a series of small changes between a standard high quality lower and our Premium 80 Percent Lower. These subtle features make a big impact when it comes to machining and assembling your Premium Lower. The first is the threaded bolt catch hole. This makes installing the bolt catch superbly simple, and if you ever have to take it apart life will be even simpler. This threaded portion replaces a roll pin with a threaded hex screw. If you’ve ever attempted to install one of these roll pins the old fashioned way, you’ve probably dealt with stabbing your hand, losing 2 or 3 roll pins, scratching your receiver, or using every curse word in the book. Not any more.
No More Losing Parts
This same threaded convenience is also present in the rear takedown detent hole. This hole holds the takedown pin detent, which is pressed into place via a spring, which is held in place by an end plate. The threads replace that archaic method of assembly and instead uses a hex screw that holds the spring in place.
This makes it easier to install the buffer assembly as well as swapping stocks, end plates, and buffer tubes. Microscopic springs popping out, never to be found again? Not here.
Beyond these small pieces of utility you’ll notice this upgraded 80 lower sports some nice aesthetics: A lipped and angle-cut magwell and angled trigger guard present just a small but stylish departure from all the “run of the mill” (pun intended) lowers out there on the shelves today. It’s the small differences that turn our high-quality 80 lower receivers into Premium 80 Percent Lowers, ready for your craftsmanship with a jig and router.