What is an 80% Lower Receiver?

An 80% lower receiver is a partially completed piece of material made either from a solid piece of aluminum billet or forged aluminum. The 80% lower, commonly referred to as an 80 lower or simply a “receiver,” requires special tooling, called a jig kit to complete.

The piece is considered a firearm, however, unlike a firearm an 80 lower receiver is not required to be transferred through a Federal Firearms Licensed holder (FFL).

The beauty of the 80 lower, and the reason they’re so popular, is that they can be customized and personalized for all types of weapons. Not to mention, they’re great for the practicing gunsmith or the professional. The 80 lower can be custom painted, dipped, or engraved with virtually anything a person would want, as long as it can fit on the piece!

In addition, the 80 lower can be purchased in either the “Raw” form, meaning it has not been painted at all, so it can be completely customized for your AR build. Or, the popular “anodized” version which is essentially a coat of specialized paint with a protective oxide layer to protect the aluminum.

How do I choose the right 80% lower for me?

OK, so you’re proficient with your AR, you know your weapon inside and out, maybe you’ve even built a couple of kits. Now you want to step up your game and build your custom AR from the ground up. When you decide on your 80 lower, you’re deciding on the brains of your rifle, accuracy, durability, and longevity of your rifle depends on the 80 lower.

American Made Tactical sells two types of 80% lower receivers, billet and forged. The truth is, there is no “right” 80 lower for your custom build, personal preference will ultimately be the deciding factor. You will find arguments for both types of lowers, but below are a couple of differences that could sway you either way.

A billet 80% lower receiver is formed from a solid block of 7075 T6 aircraft-grade aluminum called ‘bar stock.’ One benefit of the billet 80 lower is that there is a built-in trigger guard. These solid blocks of aluminum are inserted into the CNC machine, then with a special program, they are milled to machine accuracy within +/-.001 thousandth of an inch.

Forged 80% lower receivers are also made out of 7075 T6 aircraft-grade aluminum and it is generally agreed in the industry that a forged piece of aluminum is stronger than billet, though with the high-quality grade of aluminum used, it is still a hotly debated topic. A forged lower is essentially “hammered” and compressed into a forging die to the shape of the lower receiver. After the aluminum lower is forged, the raw forging is then completed in the CNC machine to accuracy within +/-.001 thousandth of an inch.

If you have questions about any of our 80 lowers receivers, please feel free to contact us at contact@americanmadetactical.com. Let’s Keep America Working!

Milling an 80 Lowers

So how do you mill out your 80 lower? There are a variety of ways that you can finish your 80 lower. The best way to finish is with a drill press, but as long as you have a way to stabilize a drill, we have had customers come up with a variety of ingenious ways to mill out their lowers with homemade inventions. American Made Tactical provides directions with every lower purchased.