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… 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.
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.
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.
Spent a full day in the shop just playing with stuff and it was very relaxing.
Started off with a new purchase that arrived while I was out of town.
The KGB Stinger47 pistol strut. It is designed for AK pistols and allows the use of a TailHook pistol brace. For those that haven’t heard the ATF now allows you to add a pistol brace without turning it into an SBR. I kept seeing Josh at Stormwerkz posting pics of his on different guns, including an AR180B. I had to snag one. Click here for info.
I have one of my pistol lowers that has been modified with two holes drilled and tapped so I didn’t need an adapter for mine.
I then decided to try out the folding mechanism I have. I was thinking I would fold it to the left like an original 180 but it blocked the safety so to the right it is.
I could not use the 180B charging handle so I swapped out the bolt carrier for one that I had modified back in the day. Stuck a Sterling charging handle in and Bob’s your uncle.
It then struck me that I have always wanted to add an original 180 ambi safety on a 180B so I fanally said “No more thinking about it, just do it.”
Took a spare safety that I sell as part of the Lower Completion Kit and broke out the tig welder. Stuck a big blob on the end then started turning and milling and filing and cutting a grove for the snap ring.
I then took it back apart and ran it through my table top park tank. The welded on section did not get as dark as I would have liked. Maybe I need to try a different filler metal next time.
I’m really happy with how it turned out even though it took me a long time.
A day in the shop is cheaper than therapy.
I also hand fitted and bagged up the last of the Lower Completion kits. If you are thinking about getting one or need the parts for spares just hit up the link at the top of the page. I am off next week and can get them shipped out right away.
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I often post pics of what I am up to when I don’t have time to do a full blown blog post.