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Completing an 80 Percent Lower: 5 Must-Have Tools for Success

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Tools Required to Complete an 80 Percent Lower

Building an 80 percent lower into a fully-functioning rifle requires a few tools, a little patience, and the ability to follow instructions. You have to provide the patience, and the ability to follow instructions - we can provide everything else!

5. An 80 Percent Lower 

billet 80 percent lower - blog photo

Well of course before you start any AR build you need a trusted, high-quality 80 percent lower receiver. Go with a forged or billet lower receiver, made from 6061 or 7075 aluminum. You can use a standard 80 percent lower for an AR-15 pistol, AR-15 or an AR-10 build. Go for quality (not budget) when choosing an 80 percent lower receiver; it is the foundation of your entire build! 

4. An 80% Lower Jig 

80 percent lower jig - blog photo

A 80% lower jig acts as the template to finish an 80 lower. There are different AR jigs for different AR lower receivers and they function with different kinds of tools. Solid steel or aluminum AR-10/AR-15 Jigs are the best way to go. You want to avoid crappy, super-cheap finishing jigs that may not be secure, or will vibrate out of place while milling. The cheapest and most effective method of buying a high-quality jig is to combine it with the appropriate tooling. This way you get the correct tooling for your jig and your chosen method of milling an 80 lower receiver. Our most recommended and highest reviewed AR-15 jigs are the 80% Arm Easy Jig and the 5D Tactical Jig. 

3. Tools & Tooling

Router for easy jig - blog photo

So the tools you choose to work with will determine the type of jig you use, and the tooling you choose. The two major ways to complete an 80 percent lower receiver is using a drill press and router, or a router and a hand drill. In any case, you will need a hand drill or drill press for some initial drilling. The deciding factor is if you want to go with a drill press or a router. A router is the faster and easier method - especially if you’re new to building ARs. If you don’t have a router or drill press already it’s better and more cost-efficient to go with the router and Easy Jig setup. A drill press can be an expensive purchase while a router will run you less than $150.

You’ll also need a good quality vise to hold the 80 percent and the jig in place. A vise is a must have. Another small and often overlooked commodity is cutting fluid. This will make milling much easier.

Lastly, you’ll need tooling. Drill presses and routers have different tooling. Another good reason to buy your AR-10/AR-15 Jig packaged with tooling. You’ll need tooling capable of cutting through aluminum.

2. Assembly Tools

Castle nut wrench - blog photo

After you finish milling the 80 lower, you will need to assemble the lower parts kit into the newly milled fire control group of the lower receiver. This involves several small pins and parts. For these roles, a good set of roll pin punches is a lifesaver. Without roll pin punches you can permanently mar your roll pins. An armorer’s wrench will make assembling the buffer assembly much easier, and keep that castle nut nice and staked in place.

1. Lower Parts Kit

AR-15 lower parts kit - blog photo

A lower parts kit will make your 80 lower ready to mount and use with an upper receiver. A lower parts kit involves the trigger, and fire control group, as well as the magazine catch and release, and a few small pins and springs. The lower parts kit you choose will determine the quality of your trigger, the ergonomics of your rifle, and if it is ambidextrous or not.

The first step, before you acquire any of these tools is to get an 80 percent lower. If you decide to shop with us, we do offer nearly everything you need to finish your rifle, including uppers, lowers, and gunsmithing tools. Find the perfect 80 percent lower receiver for your next build here!

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