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Thread: AR18/AR180 build from parts kit

  1. #1
    Senior Veteran r.erichsen's Avatar
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    AR18/AR180 build from parts kit

    I've been interested in doing an AR18 build for awhile, though parts kits aren't growing on trees and I can't seem to find one. A year or so ago I saw them on Numrich's but they are all sold out. I'm sure I'll find some combo of used and new Armalite parts and a torch cut receiver to try something with to satisfy my curiosity. The one change I'd like to make is modifying the receiver with an AR15 mag catch to use regular M16/AR15 mags.

    Has anyone undertaken such a build and care to share any words of wisdom?

    R

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    R.E - although few and far between, there are AR-180s and AR-18s for those who have long green, available on Gun Broker, Guns America, and various other forums. I bought one late last year, earlier this year, locally in the greater Detroit Metro Area (off of MIGUNOWNERS.org); paid $1,100 for it that included 5 magazines (one 40 rounder still sealed in the original plastic bag) 4x40 rounds and 1x20 rounds. It is in the simplest of terms, an easy gun to field strip, clean and lube, and reassemble. For unknown reasons I haven't shot it yet; everytime I go to the range with 3-4 other guns I seem to forget its existance. I have the magazines loaded for it just haven't shot it yet.

    The only items I'm missing that I wish I had are an owner's manual (although I've downloaded one from Steve's Pages), bipod, and a Scope/Scope mount - something I really would love to get.

    Mine is a Sterling made gun, from England. The three makers (which includes Armalite in So. California) are Armalite USA, someone in Japan, and Sterlilng in England. Here are a few photos of mine:


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  3. #3
    drine's Avatar
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    Is the AR180 receiver just stamped and folded like the AK and CETME? It looks like two different sections with a few pin holes and spot welds.
    It always looks darkest.....just before it goes totally black.
    COG# 11M1P

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    Drine - it looks like it is stamped and folded as you suggest.
    Integrity is doing what you say you are going to do...

  5. #5
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    You will have a much better chance of finding a complete rifle than parts. Most parts are not available.
    You see complete rifles up for sale often. I just sold mine complete with original mount and scope a few months ago

  6. #6
    Senior Veteran r.erichsen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwo4uscgret View Post
    R.E - although few and far between, there are AR-180s and AR-18s for those who have long green, available on Gun Broker, Guns America, and various other forums. I bought one late last year, earlier this year, locally in the greater Detroit Metro Area (off of MIGUNOWNERS.org); paid $1,100 for it that included 5 magazines (one 40 rounder still sealed in the original plastic bag) 4x40 rounds and 1x20 rounds. It is in the simplest of terms, an easy gun to field strip, clean and lube, and reassemble. For unknown reasons I haven't shot it yet; everytime I go to the range with 3-4 other guns I seem to forget its existance. I have the magazines loaded for it just haven't shot it yet.

    The only items I'm missing that I wish I had are an owner's manual (although I've downloaded one from Steve's Pages), bipod, and a Scope/Scope mount - something I really would love to get.

    Mine is a Sterling made gun, from England. The three makers (which includes Armalite in So. California) are Armalite USA, someone in Japan, and Sterlilng in England. Here are a few photos of mine:
    In the list of firearms that were "shot little, carried little and perhaps not even dropped" AR18/AR180 are a top pick. As for just buying one, there are some catches. I could buy the AR180B legally and use either a grip strap and otherwise go "featureless" or a bullet button/mag attachment limited to 10 rounds but then keep all other aspects of a rifle that might be considered an "Assault Weapon" otherwise. No problem there, I know that drill. What I don't like is the polymer lower, the narrower guide rods and a few other features of the "B" that are less product improvements than cost reduction efforts on the part of Armalite.

    I've wanted an AR18 since I was a kid, so much so I still can't see buying or building an AR15 before I have one. As a sheet metal gun, I really wanted to BUILD one given that the whole claim to fame for the AR18 design was the ease of manufacturing on less sophisticated tooling. Time has passed, I had a family to raise and I eventually ended up in CA for the third time, but this time AFTER the Roberti-Roos Act which added the Sterling AR180 to the list of "Assault Weapons" banned by name. In 2007 the list was forever frozen, but what is on there will always be there unless the entire act found itself repealed (unlikely at present). The Japanese manufacturer was Howa, the same company that make excellent bolt actions (the Howa 1500) and the Mauser type action behind the Weatherby Vanguard, which is Weatherby's entry level rifle.

    If I could find a Howa, I wouldn't feel good about taking a torch to it considering how few examples there are. An orignal Armalite would be similarly poor unless already scraped as a parts kit. I suppose my next task si finding a torched receiver and attempting a re-weld. The other parts I'll locate as needed. I've already found loaded bolts and similar parts. I'd also like to adapt to the AR15 mag catch, making my AR180 more like the "B" in that way without some of the aspects of the B I don't care for. My search is on for an ATF approved de-milled receiver turned into "scrap metal" that could be useful in either a direct reweld attempt or guiding reconstruction using a sheet metal blank. I've contacted Cold Steel whom I was told may make, or at one time made such blanks. That would go a long way to getting that bit along. The next set of hard parts that are proving difficult to locate are the trunnions. I might have a machinist take a blueprint and work from that if I can't find them otherwise. The barrels can be modified from AR15 barrels, so no real problem there. I've already found an FCG and selector, so that's a start.

    R

  7. #7
    Senior Veteran r.erichsen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drine View Post
    Is the AR180 receiver just stamped and folded like the AK and CETME? It looks like two different sections with a few pin holes and spot welds.

    This was part of what always appealed to me: A sheet metal gun. With a half decent blank it should be a question of using some square scrap metal to fold it against the correct inner dimensions and build it up in a manner similar to a CETME with spot welds and plug welds (barrel trunnion) to secure the bits together.

    Given what some folks over on Weaponsguild build with NO plans and NO ready-made parts kits, I'm pretty convinced that with some helpful advise, some factory or used parts here and there, it can be done. It won't be cheap or fast and there is a good chance the first attempt will be trash, but I'm down for the process more so than the end result. I have enough rifles to shoot in the meantime.

    R

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