A New AR-180S Upper is in the Works

A new AR-180S Upper

I just wanted to make a quick post to show you some pics of my progress today.

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This is the barrel I found at my local gun store after I stripped the front sight base and extension. It is unmarked but I think it might be an Olympic due to the.750″ cast front sight base. I cut it off right behind the gas port.

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After a bit of lathe work.

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Here it is between my first shorty and a full size 180B.

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Shown here with the original AR-18S lower hand guard.

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An finally, a shot from the front showing the barrel profile. I tried to imagine what it would look like if Armalite had released a 180B pistol or SBR version and emulate that.

Still to be done. New OP rod. Drill gas port then parkerize the barrel and flash hider. I also need to make another flash hider and end cap. Maybe I will work on doing these in CAD so they can be reproduced more easily.

AR-180 Lower Parts: Now Shipping

The first batch of parts are ready to go.

I’ve sent emails to all those who wanted to be put on the pre-buy list.

If you didn’t receive one, let me know.

Hit me up through the contact page and I have a few more kits in this batch that are ready to ship.

$125 shipped per kit in the CONUS, AK and HI slightly higher.

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AR-180B Shorty Project Pt. VIII: The New AR-180S

A quick update on the AR-180B Shorty Project or what I like to call it, the New AR-180S.

I had some time to attend a therapy session in my shop this past weekend and I have to say it was successful.

I have been bothered by the hand guards on this gun from the very beginning and I finally decided to do something about it.

I have tried and failed to make a retainer for the hand guards out of sheet steel like the originals. I’m good with my hands but I am no body man.

I have long thought about machining a retainer from aluminum but a figured in could only be done with CNC, which I don’t have.

I decided that I would throw caution to the wind and try to mill it manually on my mill. Whats the worst that could happen?

For reference, this is the method I am trying to emulate.

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My original, and always temporary method, was to take the end of the cut off piece and glue it inside the remaining piece. It has already broken once and was coming loose again.

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I started with a piece of 6061 and laid out the shape a needed.

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I squared up the sides then drilled out my holes and checked to see if I had my dimensions correct.

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I then moved my end mill down to the depth I wanted and followed my layout lines using both knobs at the same time. This is where the therapy came in. It took a lot of concentration but in the end I think I did a pretty good job, if I don’t say so myself.

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I made sure it actually fit the hand guards.

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I then flipped it over and shaved it down to .035″, the same thickness as the steel retainer.

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Then I trimmed up the sides on my porta-band.

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And finished up with some flap disc and file work.

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A final test fit.

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Since I have no way to anodize I shot it with my favorite substitute, Rust-Oleum Dark Grey Primer.

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And here she is an all her glory the New AR-180S!

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I can’t tell you how much better the hand guards feel. They have always moved a little and never felt secure.

Now they are rock solid.

Fingers crossed that I can get some time this weekend to go shooting. I hasn’t had a round through it since it was a pistol.

 

 

 

A Visit to the GunLab – AR-180 Parts

This past Saturday I  had the opportunity to visit Chuck at GunLab.net and it was an awesome and overwhelming experience. I wished I had taken the time to take more pictures but I think I was a little in shock at all the cool guns, parts, and equipment. By far the best part of the trip was the company, Chuck and Shirley are two of the nicest folks you could ever have the pleasure of meeting.

We chatted at length about his work on the AR-180 parts he is building. The lower parts that he is making to fit your AR-180B and Nodak NDS-18S lowers were at heat treating and should be back this week. Parkerization and final inspection along with one final operation on the springs will finish this phase. They should be ready to ship very soon.

Next up he is working on uppers. We are hoping to have them available in several configurations from flats to complete uppers with trunnions and rails. He sent me some pictures of his solid model of the stamping die he is building.

AR180 Complete Die1 AR180 Complete Die2 AR180 Complete Die3

Trunnions have also been modeled and those should be coming shortly after the upper sheet metal.

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I also gave him one of my original prototype AR-180C railed front sight bases and I am hoping that we can get a few of those made.

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The AR-180C flat top might become a reality after all!

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Finally yours truly with the only picture from my visit, holding an MP-44 for the very first time. I find it astonishing that they were able to crank these out in the numbers they did, with allied bombs dropping all around them, and that the complexity of manufacture I see in this gun was actually a time saver compared to older weapons.

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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.