Stormwerkz Charging Handle Install

Just finished installing one of Josh’s charging handles on my AR-180S Shorty and I’m really loving it.


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A quick couple passes with an 1/8″ endmill to open up a slot and she fits like a glove.

This unit is very well built and reminds me a lot of the early Howa charging handle.


Check out the charging handles here as well as many other cool AR-180 and AR-180B parts and accessories.

Early Howa AR-180 Part 2

One feature of early Howa AR-180 rifles that is unique is the flash hider, or recoil compensator as it is referred to in the factory documentation.

These were of a different design and had serial numbers stamped into them. What I did not realize was that the barrels were also different. As you can see in these two pictures, the contour of the barrels is not the same between this early Howa shown first, and the early Costa Mesa shown second. I plan to remove the flash hiders to see if the threaded sections are the same. I suspect the Howa will have shorter threads because a lock nut is not used. Late Howas also have the same contour (the step up at the muzzle end) so this may not be true as they use lock nuts.



The fact that no lock nut is used means that special care had to be taken to get the flash hiders to be timed properly. I believe that the flat washer behind the lock washer must have come in different thicknesses to accomplish this.

Finally, one of the fantastic guys over at the Retro Forums (isplice) reports that where the flats ended up and where the serial numbers were stamped was not consistent.


If viewed from the firing position my example has the flats at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock with the serial number stamped at 9 o’clock. On gun 96x, the flats are in the same orientation but the serial is stamped at 3 o’clock. Guns 34x and 82x, the flats are at 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock and the serial number is stamped at 6 o’clock.

Reader and AR-18 Guru, Pete points out that he has noticed a difference in the windage knobs on Howa guns and all the others. I looked through the picture I shot this weekend and sure enough, he was right.

Howa – Knurled


Costa Mesa – Lines


I have found the earliest incarnation of the extra cut out on the bolt carrier as seen in my last post.

This picture is of the very first AR-18 serial number X001. It was scanned from an early  AR-18 manual. If you look closely you can see that the cut out is along the full length of the bolt carrier.

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The first AR-18s did not have a dust cover, it was a later improvement after military testing found fault with the opening allowing dirt and debris to get into the action. When the dust cover was added the cut out was shortened so that the second cut could be made. This second cut is there to cam open the dust cover.

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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.


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.


After a bit of lathe work.


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


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


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.

What’s Been Happening at

What’s been happening at

Just busy as all get out.

Shipped out the first batch of AR180 Lower Parts Kits. I hope that leads to more AR-180 enthusiasm as more NoDak lowers get sold and more Stormwerkz adapters get sold, and finally uppers begin to come out of the GunLab. I’m sure that there will be a time soon that you will be able to build your own AR-180 from scratch.

Chuck has a few extra Bolt Hold Opens and I will be posting those up for sale individually after I get them in my hands.

Work has me traveling all over since one of our trainers left to teach at a community college and I am filling in for him in the Pacific Northwest. Hopefully we will get a new person to take over that territory and I can stay closer to home.

New AR-180S

I am looking to build a second shorty upper and I hope to bring you details as the build continues.

I have a 180B stripped upper and found an HBAR AR15 barrel as a starting point. This will allow me to turn the profile to exactly what I want and not have to sleeve the barrel under the gas block like my first one. I will also be extending the hand guards a fraction of an inch to match the original AR-18S lower hand guard that I have. This will become the standard length an will allow me to design an endcap and they won’t have to be custom made for each gun.

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You can see in this picture how the hand guard is long enough to retain the reinforcing rib.

I am also toying with the idea on an even shorter version with hand guards cut off at the first rib.

This matches the description of the AR-18K but I have never seen a picture of said weapon.

If anyone has any info about these short versions, please drop me a line. I would love to chat about it.

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