Reader Builds SA80

Reader James put together an Airsoft based SA80 and I thought you would like to see some pics of his process. He also wrote me the following in an email which helps explain a lot of the problems I had trying to put mine together.

James wrote quote;

This is a bitch to put together……

For the upper and the lower. I used a Star Airsoft cause the metal was
a bit thicker then the G&G. They all had issues with spacing.
Basically‚Ķ Here’s the deal.
You have to use an Airsoft body unless you have a massive press and dies.
But the airsoft guns all put the magazine too far forward and too far
apart from the trigger pack holes.
The airsoft guns are all too wide by about 2mm. And in some guns like
the G&G, the mag well is too short.
So basically… All uppers and lowers have to quartered and welded back
together. I have some images of how I did this and where I too material
out.
I used the STAR because its was 2mm too long all in the area between the
Magazine and the Trigger pack so I could just take out 2mm right down
the middle, and the mag well accepted AR15 mags without modification.
However, its probably the least like the real steel guns. The G&G and
Army bodies of which I have 2 or 3 each could work, but you’ll need 2
guns to make 1 gun cause the length of the airsoft gun is spot on, but
you need to remove 2mm from the length between the magazine well and the
trigger pack. This is all based on were the trigger is and having an
actual trigger rod and a trigger pack. You know the spring guide from
the back of the gun will locate the back of the Barrel extension block
or trunnion. And then the bolt in battery will basically just pass the
Auto sear location.

In AutoCAD i made blocks of the pieces that I had for the real gun.
Those I wanted to fit absolutely and I found that those told me where
things had to go to make things work. Key points. Spring guide rod.
Trigger Pack holes. Length of bolt hold open level to catch magazine
follower. HK magazine. Auto Sear location on Trigger pack. Auto sear
cam on bottom of bolt. Bolt face with lugs in battery will tell you
where the barrel extension goes.
Length of trigger bar from trigger to trigger pack. Those all all
fixed elements which when placed will show you that airsoft bodies need
a shitload of work to make things fit right.

The G&G and Army bodies although they’ll look better need to have 2
airsoft guns each cut into 4 pieces, 1 cross cut and one length wise
cut. Because they don’t have the extra length.

Hope this is helpfull to you.!

Enjoy the pictures, there are a lot of them!

Proof! Howa AR-180’s Made in 1966

I first talked about this in and article in 2015 http://ar180s.com/the-first-1000-howa-ar-180s/

It was speculated that the Early Howa AR-180’s actually started life as AR-18’s that were first produced prior to 1967. They were blocked from export to the US and that forced Armalite to step up and make them in Costa Mesa. Later this initial order of 1000 rifles were converted to semi auto and then imported in the early 70’s.

I was contacted by Jonathan Ferguson who is the “Keeper of Firearms & Artillery” at the Royal Armouries Museum ,UK. He is researching a book on the evolution of the British Bullpup rifles. One of the early concept rifles used an AR-18 that was converted to a Bullpup.

The best pictures of this converted AR-18 are on the Armament Research site. http://armamentresearch.com/british-enfield-sa80-part-1-mock-ups/

From these photos I could tell it was a Howa but it had been scrubbed of markings. Jonathan was able to find a serial number on the flash hider and my earlier article led him to some interesting documents.

Assuming the flash hider had not been changed he found the the rifle had been acquired for testing in January of 1967. It was only later converted to a bullpup after testing had concluded. This is the first definitive PROOF that these guns existed before 1967! Very exciting news. This is the kind of primary source documentation that prompted me to start this site. It is critically important that these sources be found and the dots connected.

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Jonathan has given permission to post this info but he will be going into much more depth on the subject in his book. I will certainly keep you abreast of any updates I get as to it’s release date.

Project SA80 L85A2: Update

Update

Lots of modeling in Fusion 360 and I got myself a 3D printer and started building my own stuff!

Here is the one I picked up Amazon Click Here

It is the Monoprice Maker Select Plus. I’m loving it.

Some stuff I have been playing with.

AR180C front sight base.

 

AR180B trunion.

SA80 L85A2 Airsoft bolt carrier

AR180S Hand Guard Retainer and fixture.

AR180B Upper Receiver

 

 

Project SA80 L85A2: Trunion Mock Up Part 4

SA80 L85A2 Trunion

Still making progress on the trunion and I am hopeful I can make it work.

Progress so far.

I even got the bolt carrier to sorta feed and eject. The green one is the latest version and I made a couple tweaks and I should have it printed by the time I get back in town.

Then a present showed up in the mail.

Two reasons I wanted to see this original AR180B trunion, first to actually measure the ID of the hole so I could find out the amount of press fit. Second I want to build some. Before I can do that I need to model it right?

How did I do?