The following arrived in my inbox from a dedicated, anonymous, unidentified, stealthy, unnamed, uncredited, unknown, mysterious reader:
Federal law allows individuals to manufacture their own firearms. Not only is it fun and rewarding, but you don’t need a serial number on the completed gun. No one in government need know about your firearm; a fact that gives the project tremendous appeal to gun enthusiasts worried about Katrina-style confiscation. (Where do you think the authorities got the info to go after the guns?) The only caveats . . .
The machine work must be done by the end-user—no contracting it out or having a friend do it. The finished firearm can not be transferred in ANY manner. No willing it to your kids. No giving it to a friend. If you no longer want it, after your inheritors pry it from your cold, dead hands, it MUST be destroyed.
There is a small, but burgeoning industry for people who want to start with partially machined parts. Components are available for ARs, AKs, 1911s and even some SIGs. The standard for this is set at the 80% completion point.
Once the receiver passes the 80% completion point, it is considered a firearm. If it is to be sold/transfered to the public, it must be taken past the 80% point only by a licensed, manufacturer and serialized upon completion. At, or before, the 80% completion point, selling or buying the partially completed lower is NOT considered buying a firearm and it is treated like buying a hunk of metal—no FFL required.
I purchased my 80% lower from www.utarms.com. An internet search will reveal several sources. Depending on where you purchase from, the punch list for completion may vary. My tasks included carving out the pockets for the hammer/trigger system, the slot for dissention of the trigger, and the holes for the selector, hammer pin and trigger pin.
A proper mill makes the job easy, but jigs are available for the job to be completed on a drill press as well. Having never previously touched a mill in my life, I broke my machining cherry at a friend’s machine shop. While an experienced machinist can probably complete the task in an hour, it took me almost a full day.
Most of the time was spent learning. I needed to understand the basic concepts of machining and get in some practice before taking on the job lest I ruin my lower. I also machined very slowly, taking only 50 thousands of metal off at a time, to limit damage of any potential mistakes. The slow process and often repeated steps helped reinforce the learning process.
The firearms’ finish must be done by the owner. Metal finishing companies can not take in a firearm without a serial number; all firearms must be logged in and out of their bound book. My finish was a simple bead blasting, but any do it yourself process will work.
The 80% solution works. The gun fires perfectly, looks awesome and, best of all, it’s mine. All mine. And no one knows about it except me. And 700k TTAG readers, some of whom may wish to follow my example Without the advertising.