You Can Build Your Own Rifle
One of my mother’s uncles had a laconic response to a proposed gun ban in long-ago New Jersey. “Doesn’t matter. We’ll build our own.” His comment came back to me after my wife gifted our son (and me) a jig for completing an unfinished AR-15 lower receiver. Like my great uncle, we built our own.
Making personal firearms is legal under federal law, if that matters to you, although local rules vary. Finishing “80 percent” receivers is a popular way to take advantage of that leeway, since the roughed-out blocks of polymer or aluminum—shaped like the part of the AR-15 rifle that contains the hammer, safety, and trigger, but solid where those parts should fit—can be purchased without the paperwork required for buying a firearm. It’s a modern take on my great uncle’s hobby, eased by jigs that guide drill bits and end mills for finishing the project.
My wife gave us the 80% Arms Easy Jig, one of several competing products. Having done this just once, I can’t tell you which is best, but the Easy Jig got the job done, and it includes clear instructions to complement the online video.
First, we drilled the pilot hole needed to start milling the pocket for the fire control group (basically, the hammer and trigger). Despite plenty of oil, my drill press kept binding. I repeatedly had to use a corded hand drill to back out the bit, which came in a package of tools also purchased from 80% Arms, before resuming. Eventually, t
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