Want to build your own AR lower receiver…without letting big brother know?
We hands-on review 80% Arms’ Easy Jig Gen 2 after several completed lowers across multiple people.
Now with a full video review of the actual process:
By the end you’ll know if an 80% project is for you, if the Easy Jig can help you out, and the tips/tricks we learned along the way.
Disclaimer: We’re not lawyers and you should check with your local, state, and federal laws regarding 80% receivers. Rule of thumb is if you can normally buy and own an AR-15, you can build one for personal use.
Table of Contents
Quick Overview of 80%
Hopefully you already know what an 80% receiver is…but this is a super fast refresher.
There’s got to be a point of a block of metal where it isn’t a firearm. The industry term “80% receiver” straddles this point.
Therefore you can buy these paperweights anywhere since they aren’t functional firearms.
BUT you will need to finish them yourself.
And that’s where 80% jigs come in that help you cut out the firing control group area and some trigger pin holes.
Old School Jigs
We cover a bunch of stuff in our Best 80% Receivers & Jigs, but many years ago you had some drill-press jigs.
First you needed a full-on drill press.
Then you had to make tons of little holes into the fire control group pocket before attempting to mill (cut in a horizontal manner) it out.
It sucked and took hours.
Enter the Easy Jig
Now…all you need is a power drill, wood router, some bits, and the jig!
Don’t worry, we’ll have a list of everything at the end.
And you avoid all the dozens of little drill holes by using the router to slowly mill the pocket immediately.
So how does it all work?
We’re not diving completely into the process since 80% Arms’ instructions are pretty nice.
And they have a full-on video that walks you through everything:
But this will give you the gist of what’s really necessary. Plus what are the hard bits.
There’s a big plate on top where you connect the two smaller shinier plates. One is for AR-15…
While flipping it will give you the AR-10 side plates.
Note we went with the Easy Jig Gen 2 multi-caliber version which lets you do the AR-15, AR-10, and AR-9.
Otherwise there’s the less versatile versions which omit the AR-10.
Connect it to the big plate and plop in the appropriate lower. Connect with pins and some screws.
We used 80% Arms’ version here but we’ve tried other brands and they are all good to go.
Then attach the buffer tube alignment part and shopvac attachment.
You’re ready to start the pilot hole with a regular power drill.
After that load up the router with the appropriate parts. Really make sure to tighten that milling bit!
The Ridgid R2401 Router we used needed two larger screws (included).
The old jigs made you measure your depth…but the top plate gives you super handy-dandy hashmarks.
My recommendation is to start off with the half-hashmarks. If you’re using 6061 aluminum (which is softer) you can go with full hashmarks.
But try to start with half first before you get the hang of everything.
Then you’re ready to get milling with the router!
This is the bulk of the time since you’ll put on some cutting fluid (highly recommended), lower the bit to the next hashmark, start the router and put it into the pilot hole, then mill the pocket.
Another pro tip is to have your router on the highest speed and to make sure you start milling each time from the pilot hole. Both these tips will prevent runaway chattering (yeup…learned it the hard way).
There’s going to be aluminum flakes everywhere…so make sure to have eye protection if not also hearing protection.
Remember that Shopvac attachment?
I highly recommend hooking one up…and use some tape to make a better vacuum.
Then boom…you’re done with all the three sections of milling.
Trigger Pin and Safety Holes
Flip it to the side and get your power drill ready to make the two trigger pin holes and safety hole.
Only do one side at a time!
You’re basically done!
You’ve just got a aluminum-flake covered lower!
Wipe that bad boy off…
And get your lower parts kit of choice.
We went with the CMMG kit from 80% Arms…but you can also see our Best LPKs List.
Check out our guide to Completing an AR-15 Lower if you need some help with that.
Add a nice upper (Best AR-15 Uppers) and you’ve got an un-serialized piece of American freedom.
Needed Parts & Tools
Nice to Have
- Shop Vac: If you don’t want aluminum chips everywhere
- Vice: Makes it much easier than trying to clamp it down by hand or quick clamps
Tips & Tricks
We went over several things already but here are our main takeaways…
- Read the instructions & watch the videos a couple times
- The router we used needed two larger screws to attach its parts (comes with them)
- Really clamp down the mill bit onto the router or else it might back in
- Go 100% on the speed with the router
- Try half-hashmarks first. Stay with them if you have 7075 aluminum, and you can try full-hasmarks if you have the softer 6061.
- Start each milling pass in the pilot hole
- The router can overheat and shutoff…give it a few minutes
- Use cutting fluid
- Use eye and ear protection!
There you have it…our review of the 80% Arms Easy Jig Gen 2.
If you’re decently handy and want an AR that you literally built yourself (without those pesky serials)…it could be the easiest way.
Again here’s the video review:
Are you going to attempt an 80% project now? Check out our Best 80% Receivers article as well as our Definitive AR Guide to get all the best parts for your future build.