Staying Busy

First I must apologize for not posting more often. Most of my day to day happenings end up on social media. If you are not following me on Instagram then you are missing a lot.

https://www.instagram.com/bigrix/

Lets back up a week or two to my T91 Pistol brace project.

It started with inspiration from Red_McCloud on the retro AR forums. He designed and printed a retro pistol brace and I needed something similar for my shorty T91 clone build.

Red_McCloud version top T91 version bottom

Mine makes use of the butt stock parts available from T91Tactical.com

These two pistol braces are not compatible in case you were wondering. The tube diameter and bottom lug on the T91 stuff is larger in dimensions.

Next I started work on prototyping a straight 180B style charging handle for the BRN-180.

Made a quick one out of aluminum to check dimensions and function. Works fine with one exception. Charging the weapon with a traditional grip when the dust cover is closed causes the dust cover to hit your hand and somewhat inhibits a full stroke. A change in hand position will be required to eliminate this.

Based off some of my 3D printed tools I use in the shop I designed these Field Strip Stands for use with any AR180, AR180B, or AR18. I am going to offer these through AR180Parts.com soon.

Finally I have been strugling to locate fire control parts for some folks so I decided to try something radical and see if I could adapt a drop-in AR15 trigger into an AR180.

I got it physically located so it hit the firing pin at the right angle and cocks correctly when the bolt carrier cycles. I have no idea if it will actually have enough power to fire a primer. Range testing to follow. Ranges are closed in AZ right now. If it does fire I have to figure out how to get the safety to work.

If this doesn’t pan out I will still be able to use parts of this design to work up a set of anti walk pins for the AR180.

Finally I was able to get to the range last week before they closed to shoot my AR18 for the first time.

Experimental Sterling AR180

Reader Robert pointed me towards an interesting gunbroker auction for an Experimental Sterling AR180 with a fixed stock.

Click here

It has an interesting combination of features in addition to the stock. Black paint and a non-welded bolt catch pivot boss, both early features. Welded dovetail scope mount like the later blued model.

I have no information on this model and I am asking if any of you do?

I would be actively trying to buy this except the Corona Virus has hit my work and I will be home for the next 4 weeks without pay. I will be selling off guns and ammo to supplement my savings until we come out the other side. I hope someone in the family gets it as it is an interesting model to add to anyone’s collection.

Previously Unknown Howa Barrel Marking

I was doing some maintenance on my Early Howa AR-180, one of the first 1000, and found a barrel marking that I have never seen documented before.

It was hiding under the operating rod return spring and I never noticed it till I had it removed. What does it stand for? Howa Precision Rifles? I don’t know for sure.

Do you have any thoughts?

If you want to know more about these early Howa AR-180’s check out these older articles of mine.

Full Auto AR-180 Conversion on Gunbroker

I was alerted to this interesting full auto AR-180 conversion by a reader and I contacted the seller to get more information. I had assumed that all conversions used the same system as the AR-18 but my research shows that there are many different ways to get the job done.

Gunbroker

This particular gun also brings to light the crazy gun laws that we have to deal with and in particular those surrounding full auto guns in Connecticut.

First lets see how an AR-18 worked.

AR-18a

You can see in this picture that the upper receiver has two tabs that retain the auto sear. A link is attached to the sear that rides along the bottom of the upper and is tripped by the bolt carrier. The sear acts upon the rear of the hammer. The hammer is different than the one used on an AR-180 as is the disconnector, bolt carrier, and firing pin.

This conversion goes about it in a completely different way.

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This conversion is on a Howa AR-180 and it has a sear that acts on the front of the hammer. It appears to have a pivot added to the front of the fire control box and you can just make out the pin location in the picture above. The sear has a tail that is tripped by a piece that was welded on to the bolt carrier. It uses all the original 180 fire control parts with the exception of the disconnector and the safety. The 180 firing pin is also retained.

I wonder if this is how the Widowmaker conversions were done?

Now for the Connecticut twist on this story. It appears that those who drafted their assault weapons ban tried to get machine guns classified as assault weapons and in doing so, left the door open for guns that are full auto only. You can’t own a registered select fire weapon (one that fires Safe/Semi/Full) but you can have a papaered Full auto machine gun (Safe/Full). This gun is one such animal. For those that live in other states, it can be converted back to a select fire configuration.

Please feel free to comment about any conversions you have come across. I think this is a very cool part of the history of the AR-180.

AR-16 : Father of the AR-18

Some of you may not know but the AR-18 was not the first stamped steel rifle that Armalite made, that distinction goes to the AR-16.

This gun was also the last gun designed by Eugene Stoner before he left Armalite. That’s right, he was not one of the designers of the AR-18 as many have maintained.

First a little background.

Armalite never wanted to be in the business of building weapons but rather to design them and license the manufacturing to someone else. After selling the patents for the AR-10 and AR-15 outright to Colt’s, they quickly determined that they needed another design to license but it could not use the direct impingement system that they no longer held the rights to. They also decided to design a weapon that could be built on machines that required less skilled labor and fewer machining operations.

This lead to the AR-16 with only the bolt and trunion requiring complex and skilled machining operations.

Only three guns were reportedly built and only two known today. Both in the possession of Knights Armament.

Thanks to my good friend Chuck over at GunLab.net ,who actually took these photographs,  we can show you an up close look at these fine weapons.

I think it is easy to see the family resemblance to the AR-18.

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