An 80% lower cannot act as a firearm until you apply some machining to it. To accomplish that, you’ll need some gun-smithing tools.
First, you’ll need an ‘AR-18/ 80 percent lower router jig’ to make the receiver functional. Also, you’ll need a powerful cutting and drilling tool to finish the inner cavity of the receiver. This is where having the best router for 80 lower comes in handy!
Wait, what’s an 80% lower?
An 80% lower refers to an otherwise complete AR-308 or AR-15 lower receiver. For this reason, the ATF doesn’t consider it as a firearm.
Surprisingly, you can finish the lower receiver yourself with the help of a router. A router stable, powerful, and provides cleaner cuts.
There is still another problem though!
With so many routers out there, making a buying decision can be difficult. Well, worry not! In this guide, we’ve listed some of the best 80 lower available.
Here they are!
Top 6 Best Router for 80 Lower
1. Makita RT0701C Compact Router
Most 80% lower receivers out there are made up of aluminum materials. Therefore, you don’t necessarily need a heavy-duty router to cut through the lower. Instead, a compact and affordable tool like Makita RT0701C will be ideal for the task. Its interface is simple to understand, making it the perfect tool for beginners.
In terms of power, this 80 lower router is equipped with a 1.25 HP motor. Although this isn’t the most powerful motor in the market, it’s perfect for the job. It generates enough power to cut through various 80% lower materials. Another great thing about this motor is that it has a soft start system.
As a result, a small amount of torque reaches the router bit for 80% lower at first. However, the torque increases gradually until the device reaches the set speed. This prevents the router bit from damaging your lower and makes it safe to use.
Moving on to construction, the casing is made up of strong metal alloy. While the motor casing is crafted from lightweight aluminum, for efficient heat dissipation. Also, its motor is heavy-duty to ensure optimum performance and high durability. Its body is designed with double insulation brass to make the device scratch-resistant.
With this tool, you can easily and quickly bore through any type of aluminum lower. Thanks to its variable speed of 10,000 – 30,000 RPM. This allows you to easily change the speed, depending on the material you’re working on. Besides, changing between various speeds on this device is pretty simple.
The electronic speed control always provides a linear speed. This delivers a more professional finish and accuracy when cutting or performing trims. It comes with ¼” router bits’ collets, fixed base, plunge base, spanner wrench, and a 1-year warranty.
- Variable speed control
- Includes three different bases; tilt, plunge and offset
- Non-marring, durable base insert
- Quick release cam lock mechanism
- Smooth rack-&-pinion depth adjustment mechanism
2. Bosch 1617EVSPK Router Kit
Bosch has a reputation for producing high-quality power tools. Well, their 1617EVSPK router is no exception! You can use this device for all types of DIY projects. In our case, it’s ideal for cutting through 80% lowers from harder materials like steel and titanium.
We don’t recommend that you buy a product, solely based on the manufacturer’s reputation. Instead, you should mainly focus on its features. Luckily, this 80% lower router has tons of features to offer!
At a first glance, this device has a robust and durable design. This is seen in its base and motor housing, which are both made up of heavy-duty aluminum. Moreover, there’s a dust seal on its power switch. This increases the unit’s longevity further by protecting it from damage.
Another unique feature is that the fixed base has 2 wooden handles. While the plunge base is fitted with a soft-grip handle. Adding these features to the design provides improved control and comfort during operation. Plunge and fixed bases have a precision centering design to ensure accurate cutting.
The device runs on a 12A 2.25 HP motor to provide exceptional performance. Even better, the router has a micro-fine depth adjustment system. This enables you to set the depth to a precision of 1/64”, leading to clean and accurate cuts.
To adjust the motor speed, the unit comes with a variable speed dial. This allows you to change the speed from 8000 – 25,000 RPM with ease. Moreover, there is a consistent response circuitry system. This system maintains a constant speed throughout your project.
To enhance your experience, this kit comes with a collection of items. So, apart from the router, you’ll get a carrying case, collet chucks, and 2-bit changing wrenches.
- Delivers up to 25,000 RPM
- 12A motor with adjustable speed settings
- Durable motor and aluminum casing
- Works on harder materials like steel and titanium
- Ideal for various types of projects
3. DEWALT DWP611 Router
A router with a fixed base allows you to work on your 80% lower with preset depth. That way, you don’t need to control the depth manually during the operation. Also, this makes them the ideal 80% lower router for shaping the edges. If you’re looking for that type of 80 lower routers, this DEWALT DWP611 is a great option.
There is one issue you should note about this device though! It’s a bit pricey than the tools we have looked at so far. Nonetheless, it has several stand-out features, making it worth the price tag.
The most notable feature is that it has a D-shaped clear sub vase and dual LED lights. These lights illuminate your workspace, allowing you to work on delicate details. This property is quite useful, especially when working in low-light or poorly lit conditions.
Another unique feature is that it’s equipped with a powerful 7A motor. Best of all, this motor can generate up to 1.25 HP. Simply put, it produces enough power for all your milling tasks. The motor is designed to last long, so it will serve you in many projects to come.
You’ll also love the compact and sleek design of this device, making it easy to mount and use. Also, it has a variable speed control. This allows you to adjust the motor speed between 16000 and 27000 RPM. Better still, it has a full-time electronic and soft starting system. This guarantees accuracy, precision as well as consistency.
DEWALT DWP611 delivers good performances, especially with its adamant precision and sheer power. For this reason, it’s considered the best router for 80 lower.
- Dual LED lights
- Over-molded handles to provide a comfortable grip
- Durable aluminum base & motor housing construction
- Powerful 1.25 HP 7A motor
- 8 slot ¼” collet to provide a tighter grip
4. Bosch Colt PR20EVS Router Tool
If you want a router that has versatility, precision, and power, consider this unit from Bosch. On top of that, it’s affordable, easy to operate, and delivers outstanding performance.
To start with versatility, Bosch Colt PR20EVS routers can handle various tasks. If you perform other routing tasks apart from lower drilling, this tool will come in handy. With that in mind, let’s look at some of its features!
This unit includes a 5.6A 1HP motor. Although this isn’t overwhelming, it’s powerful enough to cut through various materials. Besides, it has variable speeds ranging between 16000 and 35000 RPM. You can use it to handle various applications that need consistency cuts with ease.
It is also fitted with a straight edge guide that extends up to 3-5/8” for the angled cord to the edge. This keeps your tool straight to help you cut with accuracy. Moreover, it prevents the cable from coming out of the way during operation.
You’ll also note that this trim has both a fixed and plunge base to ensure clean cuts. The plunge base allows you to work on tight corners at a safe angled routing. On the contrary, the fixed base maintains a constant depth during operation. Thanks to the included depth adjustment mechanism. It enables you to perform micro-and macro-adjustment with the wheel dial in the back. You’ll get a cutting depth of about 1.25mm deep, each time you turn the dial.
To ensure comfortable operation, the motor housing is fitted with a palm-shaped, over-molded grip. Better still, the base has a durable imprint to guide your thumb and provide a firm grip. These features, plus the angled cord exit will provide enhanced handling and maneuvering.
- Palm-shaped rubber-molder grip
- Strong and durable aluminum motor housing
- 7-step adjustable depth system
- Compatible with ¼” collets
- Ideal for heavy-duty routing projects
5. Makita XTR01Z Cordless Router
Makita was an electric motor repair & sales company when it was established in 1915. However, they’ve developed into the most reputable manufacturer of power tools. This includes their XTR01Z cordless router for easy jig gen 3. The model offers efficiency, convenience as well as portability.
Another thing you need to know about this compact router is that it’s reasonably priced. Yet it can handle many routing tasks, making it ideal for professional applications.
Now, let’s have a look at some of its properties and features!
To start, this device has an 18V brushless motor. Its ability to maintain speed under resistance and friction is outstanding. The motor is powered by a 5Ah LXT rechargeable Li-ion battery. This eliminates the risk of cutting off the power cable during operation. Moreover, it makes it easier to move it around during use.
Regardless of being battery-powered, this unit generates high torque. To be precise, the motor speed can range from 10000 to 30000 RPM. You can adjust the speed using the onboard dial with a scale of 1 – 5.
For safety reasons, the devices come with a separate 2-button on/ off button. This enhances your experience when using it and prevents accidental startup. As for construction, it’s crafted from heavy-duty aluminum. Therefore, it’s both durable and strong to handle various trimming applications.
Various features ensure this tool is simple to handle and operate. For instance, it’s fitted with dual LED lights to illuminate and improve the visibility of the workspace. While the electronic and variable speed controls enable you to customize the speed.
Also, it comes with quick release cam lock and rack-&-pinion depth adjustments systems. This, plus the easy-to-read scales improve the accuracy and precision of your cuts.
Apart from being the best router for 80 percent lower, the tool is ideal for cutting various materials. Best of all, it comes with a 3-year warranty, which is quite amazing.
- Separate on/ off buttons
- Long-lasting aluminum motor casing
- Ergonomic design for convenient handling
- 18V brushless motor
- Rechargeable 5Ah Li-ion battery
6. AVID POWER MW104 Compact Router
Cutting through 80% lower requires a tool that provides both power and precision. And this compact unit from AVID POWER seems to meet both requirements perfectly. Even though it’s not from a reputable brand like Makita or Bosch, it’s still the best router to use on 80% lower.
Here is why this model stands out from the rest!
First, this kit comes with every necessary tool you need to trim your lower efficiently. Some of these items are; ¼” collet, 5 router bits, an edge guide, and a roller guide. Also, you’ll get a dust hood, wrench, carbon brushes, and a tool bag for storing these accessories.
Putting that aside, this unit is equipped with a 5.6A 1.25HP speed motor. More notably, this motor can rotate at a speed of about 10000 – 32000 RPM. As you know, motors within this speed ranges are powerful enough to handle any heavy-duty task.
Still, on speed, the tool has a variable speed control dial. You can select the most appropriate motor speed, depending on the 80% Lower material. Also, this allows you to cut any design with ease and high precision.
Talking of precision, this device has a smooth rack-&-pinion depth adjustment system. This gives more control over the router, helping you cut with precise and accurate depth. Moreover, the inbuilt LEDs brighten up the working, which increases precision as well.
From a functional and pricing perspective, this palm router is an excellent option. It perfectly fits in your hand, allowing you to trim and route your 80% lower with comfort.
- Dual bright LEDs to improve visibility
- Rubber covered ergonomic handle
- Rack-&-pinion depth adjustment to increase precision
- Durable aluminum housing
- Lightweight & compact design
- Variable speed settings
Router for 80% Lower: Buying Guide
After going through our reviews, you’ve probably found the best router for 80 lower already. But, if you’re still finding it difficult to make a decision, you’re not alone. Considering the number of models available, choosing a milling tool isn’t simple.
That’s why you need to consider the following factors before you settle on any 80% lower router;
There are different types of 80% lower routers that you can choose from. They include; fixed base, plunge base, and combo routers
Fixed-based routers are ideal for beginners since they’ve got a secure mechanism. This allows you to fit them over any bench or router table. They’re suitable for projects that require accuracies when cutting straight lines.
With a fixed-based router, you cannot adjust the depth once you set it over. Therefore, it maintains the depth throughout the tool’s usage when handling a certain task. For this reason, you cannot use them for over-cutting or gouging tasks.
Plunge base routers can handle various tasks, making them ideal for professionals. With this type, you can change the depth settings while using the tool. Unlike fixed base routers, you’ll need some skills to use them. They’re an excellent option for making center cuts on various surfaces.
If you regularly change bases while working on your 80% lower, consider buying a combo router. As you may have guessed, this tool contains both plunge and fixed bases.
The best router for milling 80 lower should be powerful enough to drill or mill through the metal. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time when working on tough and resilient material. With that in mind, avoid choosing tools that have less than 1HP.
Speed is another important factor you should consider when selecting a lower router. In general, different tasks/ materials require different speeds. Therefore, you should choose a model that has a variable speed control function. That way, you can adjust the speed, depending on the project you’re working on.
Motor speed is rated in rotations per minute (RPM). This describes the number of turns or rotations the device can make per minute. That said, when choosing an 80 lower router, choose a tool with an RPM range of about 10,000 – 30,000.
Hopefully, you’ve now found the best router for 80 lower that’s ideal for your drilling and milling needs. All products on the list provide reliability, durability, as well as optimum performance. Also, they’re easy and comfortable to use, and most of them come from reputable manufacturers.
Remember, your lower may not function properly if you don’t finish it with precision. Thankfully, routers in this list can drill and mill through your lower effectively. So, don’t hesitate to choose the one that meets your project needs!
Frequently Asked Questions
#1. Can you mill an 80 lower without a jig?
Jigs make finishing an AR-15 lower faster and easier. However, you don’t necessarily need one when milling through the lower. Instead, you can memorize the dimensions you want to drill and mill them with a lot of precision. This may be a little difficult for beginners, but with enough practice, it’s achievable.
#2. Can I use a drill press to finish an 80% lower?
Yes. You can either use a router or a drill to finish an 80 lower. One drawback of using a drill press though is that it’s can be a difficult and tedious process. Also, it’s not ideal for milling, yet finishing the lower will involve some milling.
#3. What extra accessories does a compact 80 lower router comes with?
First, the router should be compatible or come with different base designs. Moreover, it should include guides, wrenches, router bits, and LED lights.
#4. Why do you need a jig when finishing an 80% lower receiver?
An AR-15 jig allows you to finish your 80% lower with accurately drilled pinholes. Also, it enables you to mill the fire control cavity for various components.
#5. Can I serialize my 80% lower?
Since an 80% lower isn’t a firearm, registration or serialization isn’t required. However, this may not apply in all states. For instance, in California, owners should serialize their lower receivers before drilling and cutting.