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Old 10-23-2016, 06:48 PM   #1
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Some serious AR-18/AR-180B questions.

Hi, folks.

Having seen the "Belfast Rifle Team" and "Classic Military Rifles" threads, and the look at the AR-18 in both, I had a bit of a flashback, to when I first heard about the AR-18, reading an old, weathered 1965 Gun Digest.

I have enclosed a Photo, the photo I remember, of a Colonel Miller inspecting a Cinder Block wall which he had tested an AR-18 on.

Fascinating, to see the AR-18 given such a launch to the shooting public, back in 1965. Anyway, that Digest was pretty old when I was looking at it the first time, and I took a picture of the page in question rather than risk putting that page into the scanner. The paper has become slightly more brittle than it was the first time I was reading it.

So, I was going to ask a couple questions about the AR-18/AR-180 series, and I am hoping some of you folks will be able to help me. (To be continued, in the next post in this thread.)
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Old 10-23-2016, 06:53 PM   #2
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My main questions are related to the article links I am posting below:

Are AR-18/AR-180B lower receivers capable of taking STANAG magazines? I have heard that the original AR-18 receivers cannot, but that the AR-180B ones can.

Can a new AR-180B receiver be used to build a gun with original AR-18 parts?

Are blueprints for AR-180B receivers, which can work with Armalite AR-15 or STANAG magazines available? Or is one limited to buying an all-up lower receiver?

(Given the choice, rolling one's own sounds like a very interesting option. As such. blueprints would be necessary.)

Here are the links to the articles I have seen around lately. Any and all advice is appreciated.

David

POTD: Modernized AR-180 - The Firearm Blog

NoDak Spud AR-180 receivers
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Old 10-24-2016, 08:33 AM   #3
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David,

The AR-180 & 180B are extremely similar, yet different rifles. I think the bolt will actually interchange but that's about it, most everything else is different, either slightly or radically.

The original 180's are built to a much higher build quality than the B's, so I personally would rather have an original AR-180. But the B offers the ability to really play with the configuration without messing up what is becoming an increasingly rare-ish rifle. From the factory I think the B is lacking in many ways, but I've seen some built up that are really well thought out.

Now as to the STANAG magazine thing. Yes and no. The STANAG magazine can be easily modified to work in the AR-180. It takes me about 10 minutes per magazine. You file or mill down the lump on the left sight AR-15 magazine catch, then you cut a slot for the 180 magazine catch on the other side. Next you lower the shelf on the follower that trips the last round hold open (this is optional, if you don't do it, it will lock open with one round left in the magazine, which is only a very minor annoyance). All this can be done with one file and a Dremel, and it's very easy. Did my first one when I was 19 years old and it worked perfectly.

Take a look at this photo.


So that's an original steel 40 round magazine sitting next to the rifle, and a modified 20 round M16 magazine in the rifle. Notice the magazine catch is on the right side. On the M16 the button is on the right side, but the magazine catch is on the left side. With the AR-180 both are on the right side as it's a very simplified mechanism, just a little rocker button. So notice the thin slot on the right side of the 40 rounder, that's the magazine catch, and that's what you cut with your Dremel; easy-peasy.


Can you build an AR-180 with a Nodak receiver and original AR-18 parts. I think that depends on the talent of the builder, but I personally wouldn't be afraid to take on that project, but there is one big catch. There really isn't a supply of AR-180 parts out there. There are some guys on GunLab.com who are making 180 parts, but they're mostly 180B parts for guys who are playing around with the Nodak receivers and the 180B rifles.
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Old 10-25-2016, 03:47 AM   #4
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As I recall the AR-180B from ArmaLite claimed the uppers were interchangable with the original 180s.

They stopped producing them allegedly after problems with the plastic lower receiver resulted in too many returns.

Geoff
Who considered one, but then the price of ARs dropped alarmingly.
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Old 10-25-2016, 09:09 AM   #5
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The AR-180 is a very good rifle, but it's not a perfected rifle. Still, in non-perfected form, it performs very well and has done very well in actual combat. For someone looking for a practical defensive rifle, it's not what I would really recommend; and AR-15 makes much more sense.

However, if your primary interest is in historical arms, the enjoyment of shooting something very unique and interesting...and want a rifle that can fill the role of defensive rifle in a pinch, then the 180 is excellent.
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Old 11-06-2016, 04:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GunGeek View Post
The AR-180 is a very good rifle, but it's not a perfected rifle. Still, in non-perfected form, it performs very well and has done very well in actual combat. For someone looking for a practical defensive rifle, it's not what I would really recommend; and AR-15 makes much more sense.

However, if your primary interest is in historical arms, the enjoyment of shooting something very unique and interesting...and want a rifle that can fill the role of defensive rifle in a pinch, then the 180 is excellent.
Thank you, Sir. I do dig that some of the features are ones that keep coming around in "Improving the AR" discussions, and that it was around at that time. I will keep my eyes open, as apparently they are pretty rare.

I did find some info on people trying to "bring back the AR-18," but it seems to be a pretty involved project.

October 2016 - AR180S.COM

Maybe one of the major makers will bring it back, the idea of a piston-equipped rifle might appeal today, and the blueprints are all drawn up out there. I really do wish that "All but a lower" parts kits were out there, though.

David
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Old 11-09-2016, 04:33 AM   #7
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Given the low price of a completed AR lower, I wonder if an AR lower, stamped steel upper on the AR-180 pattern might be possible.
A Palmetto State Lower usually runs $169.99 to $199.99, it should be cheaper without a buffer assembly.

Then again base model ARs are selling for $489.99 Academy for a DPMS stripper and that price was set before the election.

Geoff
Who is waiting for post election sales, my BAG day is 11 Nov for obvious reasons. There is a big gun show in Jacksonville, FL a week from Saturday.
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Old 11-11-2016, 10:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeptic49 View Post
Given the low price of a completed AR lower, I wonder if an AR lower, stamped steel upper on the AR-180 pattern might be possible.
A Palmetto State Lower usually runs $169.99 to $199.99, it should be cheaper without a buffer assembly.

Then again base model ARs are selling for $489.99 Academy for a DPMS stripper and that price was set before the election.

Geoff
Who is waiting for post election sales, my BAG day is 11 Nov for obvious reasons. There is a big gun show in Jacksonville, FL a week from Saturday.
That would make for a more folding stock friendly rifle, but there's no way they could keep the cost down to what an AR goes for these days. AR's are dirt cheap because of volume, and some new, un-proven rifle isn't going to move any volume for a long time.
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