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View Full Version : AR 180 B , The Little Rifle that could've been ...


krisincolfax
May 23, 2017, 19:23
Why does it seem that some people put down the AR 180 B ? the only
problem with it is the poor design of the lower , other than that I think it
is a fantastic little lightweight rifle , I really like the one I have , and plan to
get a NODAK lower aluminium receiver for it , then it will be a sturdy little
dependable rifle , just my two cents ...

lysanderxiii
May 23, 2017, 22:07
Why does it seem that some people put down the AR 180 B ? the only problem with it is the poor design of the lower, other than that I think it is a fantastic little lightweight rifle , I really like the one I have, and plan to get a NODAK lower aluminium receiver for it , then it will be a sturdy little dependable rifle, just my two cents ...
The problem with the AR-180B is they tried to copy the exact shape of a stamped steel lower in plastic. The resulting plastic around the front pivot is only as thick as the original steel, which was kind'a weak in steel to begin with . . .

If they had molded the front pivot area in the shape of Stormwerkz's repair piece and continued the embedded aluminum side panels forward to the pivot holes, it would have been adequate.

Or, they could have gone in a completely different direction:

http://i1242.photobucket.com/albums/gg538/lysanderx/12B%20-%20Receiver%20Finished%20left%20side_zpsrarhbqpx.j pg

pistolero1911
May 23, 2017, 22:33
https://images.genius.com/1f0d87bac804b9690a6a7b77ecab3d09.600x626x1.jpg

Armalite rifle police and ira
Armalite rifle use it everyday
Breaks down easy fits into a pram
A child can carry it do it no harm
Armalite rifle and the holy trinity
It's used against you for irish jokes and the bbc
Armalite rifle please skew the aim
Armalite rifle use it everyday
The rifle does harm it shoots for miles
If a bullet gets you in the heart destroys your insides
Armalite rifle police duty eh?
Armalite rifle use it everyday
It'll do you damage it'll do you harm
Blow your legs off blow your guts out
I disapprove of it so does dave
It'll do you damage it'll do you damage
Damage damage damage damage damage

Gang Of Four - Armalite Rifle Lyrics

12v71
May 23, 2017, 23:35
https://images.genius.com/1f0d87bac804b9690a6a7b77ecab3d09.600x626x1.jpg

That is actually an original AR180, more than likely made by Sterling under license from Armalite. I have one of those with the typical broken BHO but I love it. Very light and easy to shoot, mine came with 4 twenty round mags and 2 forty round mags. Also have the scope mount but haven't tried scoping it.

I have often wondered what would be if this design came before the M-16.

Bubacus
May 24, 2017, 06:09
I have an old Sterling myself and picked it up in a divorce sale when I was in my early 20's for $450. As for the AR180B, it isn't that bad of a little rifle. It was a ban era gun that left few options for stocks at the time. You can still pick them up pretty cheap. This one is going for $650 with some accessories:

http://www.armslist.com/posts/329280/northern-ky-rifles-for-sale--armalite-ar-180b-ar180

https://s3.amazonaws.com/mgm-content/sites/armslist/uploads/posts/2012/03/07/329280_02_armalite_ar_180b_ar180_640.jpg

TenTea
May 24, 2017, 07:09
I bought one the first month they were released, from an ArmaLite distributor in IL, for $540.
I shot it a good deal and had an Armson OEG on it for awhile before the spot welds let go on the optic mounting plate.
I ended up selling it to my dad as an entry into AR type rifles, and we put a rail section on the upper so he could use an optic.
He shot groups with it for a couple years until the receiver broke, so I fixed it for him with the Stormwerkz repair plate.
He wanted a bench-type rifle so I put together a 14 lb. HBAR pig (1.2" diameter bull barrel) for him and he enjoys shooting groups at the age of 73.
Dad has developed a taste for *77 grain match ammo*...HAHA!

Anyway, ArmaLite biffed their chance to upgrade the AR180B by dragging their feet.
Now they are owned by SAC and blowing out all the repair parts for the *Bravo*
I enjoyed the rifle while I owned it and admired the gas piston design but have since moved on to other fields of endeavor.

lysanderxiii
May 24, 2017, 07:10
I have often wondered what would be if this design came before the M-16.

For military use they are a bit flimsy. The US Army did look at them extensively, but found the folding stock joint and the bolt holt open design totally inadequate and the front pivot point weak.

There were some durability issues with the stamped internals.

If it has come first, and been the "emergency buy" after the M14 production ended, it would have come out the other end has fairly different weapon to correct many of these deficiencies.

krisincolfax
May 24, 2017, 11:18
The problem with the AR-180B is they tried to copy the exact shape of a stamped steel lower in plastic. The resulting plastic around the front pivot is only as thick as the original steel, which was kind'a weak in steel to begin with . . .

If they had molded the front pivot area in the shape of Stormwerkz's repair piece and continued the embedded aluminum side panels forward to the pivot holes, it would have been adequate.

Or, they could have gone in a completely different direction:

http://i1242.photobucket.com/albums/gg538/lysanderx/12B%20-%20Receiver%20Finished%20left%20side_zpsrarhbqpx.j pg

Ok I'm stumped , who makes the receiver in the picture ?

pistolero1911
May 24, 2017, 11:29
Methinks NoDak Spud

http://nodakspud.com/NDS-18S.htm

krisincolfax
May 24, 2017, 11:40
Methinks NoDak Spud

http://nodakspud.com/NDS-18S.htm

Am I missing something here ? the link is indeed a NODAK NDS-18S ,
but it sure doesn't look like the one pictured above

pre1989
May 24, 2017, 12:58
The AR180B is nothing like the AR18 or AR180 ....Probley why

the 180b is a 94 ban era rifle that lost all the good stuff of the AR18/180 set up ie a side folding stock etc ..All it gained was it took AR15 mags ..Which frankly is not a big deal as it takes about 2 sec with basic tools to convert any AR15 mag to a AR18 mag ...And IMI at one point was selling AR/AR18 dual cuts for 9 bucks

The only place the b is popular is up north as it is not AR thus you can hunt and plink with it as it is not the more stric classed gun like a AR or handgun would be ..

And yeah the only weekness now of the set up is the fact the front hing can break if one slamed the gun open too hard ..But they are parts to fix it

Seeing just how many guns have copied the AR18 piston sytem it has lived on though ..Some good some very bad like the SA80 ..

I think if Armlight had a better factory and setup and more time it may have won over but Nam was happening and they allready wanted the M16

ftierson
May 24, 2017, 13:41
Am I missing something here ? the link is indeed a NODAK NDS-18S ,
but it sure doesn't look like the one pictured above

Ain't that the truth... :)

The problems with the AR-180B revolve around the manufacturer and their lack of support (and some design/quality problems too) for the rifle.

As lysanderxiii says above, the fatal flaw of the 180B was the non-reinforced pivot area in the plastic lower. Many of the rifles broke here and, from what I've heard, Armalite replaced a number of lowers because of this. The instruction book for the AR-180B specifically warned against letting the upper pivot upwards and hitting the lower when opening the rifle. Like that's a fix or something... a warning...

In addition, they used a pivot pin that was retained with a small e-clip, which was a pain in the ass to fiddle with and easily lost. If they had supplied a pivot pin that was easy to remove, like one of the KNS push-button pins, this problem would have been fixed, but Noooo, couldn't be bothered (I talked to them (Armalite) a number of times about this and, as far as I can tell, they just didn't care. If the pivot pin was easy to remove, then people wouldn't have tried to clean the gun with the upper and lower pinned together (which dramatically increased the chance of the upper swinging away from the lower and breaking the fragile, plastic pivot area in the lower) and would have simply removed the upper from the lower when cleaning.

I also talked to KNS at the time and asked of they'd be willing to produce the slightly longer (than an AR-15) push-button pivot pin for the AR-180B, but they weren't interested because the market was so small. Given Armalite's lack of support for the AR-180B and the small number sold before they dumped the gun completely, maybe the KNS people knew something I didn't... :) Owners of the 180B have tried all sorts of other 0.250 pins to replace the original, but most that I have seen look like ass.

In addition, the heat treat of the bolt carriers they supplied with the rifle was suspect, with several reports of severely peened bolt carriers from users, necessitating replacement...

As you might have figured out, I do have one of the AR-180Bs from early in their production. And my experience with it has led to avoiding any Armallite product like the plague ever since...

Having said all this, I have not had problems with mine but, then again, the round count is relatively low.

However, I have done several things to the one I have. First, I removed the integral muzzle brake by chucking the upper in a lathe, using a steady-rest on the gas block surface (after removing the gas block, of course) and cutting the brake off near the first (from the shooter's perspective) holes and then threading it like a standard AR for 1/2-28RH, leaving 1/8 inch of the muzzle brake swell for a surface for an A1 lock washer to seat against when using a standard A1 flash suppressor.

I thought that the original integral muzzle brake left something to be desired. However, having said that, I do think that Armalite did the right thing by including the brake on this ban-era gun. Then, when the ban went away in 2004, they could have immediately produced it with a threaded muzzle and with standard flash suppressor. Then again, we're talking about Armalite here, and they didn't (even though people were begging them to do so)...

More recently, I've done more...

When NoDak Spud came out with their aluminum AR-18S receiver, I bought one. It's a very neat design, well executed, to the point of including fake spot welds on the exterior of the receiver like the original sheet metal ones had.

The receiver sat in a safe until a few months ago, when I got around to finishing it. Since I didn't want to pull the parts out of my original AR-180B plastic receiver, I picked up a set of the ones different from AR-15 ones from Rick at AR180S.com. (And 12v71, you can get a replacement BHO from him in the set he sells). So I slapped his AR-180 specific parts (4 of them) into the NDS lower, completing with AR-15 parts. Standard AR hammer and trigger pins are slightly too short to reach quite all the way to the outside of the NDS receiver (NDS kept that dimension the same as the AR-180B lower so that you can use the pins from your AR-180B lower but, since I wanted to keep the original lower functional, I just used a set of Geissele hammer and trigger pins. They are still a little too short, but they have the same receiver contact area in the AR-18S receiver as in an AR-15 receiver since the internal dimensions of both hammer/trigger/selector 'compartments' are the same in the AR-18s and AR-15. (My point is only that, functionally, the pins work just fine, just like in the AR-15). Just recently, Rick at AR-180S.com offers the correct length hammer/trigger pins. I haven't picked any up yet, but will, just because...

I also picked up the Stormwerkz stock adapter for the AR-18S and folding stock module from Josh at Stormwerkz. I completed the stock with an ACE FAL type tubular stock that I had squirreled away years ago.

Then, I picked up the cranked charging handle that Rick (at AR180S.com) sells and, milling a 1/8 inch keyway, installed it on the AR-180B bolt carrier (replacing the straight (early type) CH of the original AR-180B).

The rifle looks more like it should now. It would be really nice to have the original spring-loaded dust cover too, but whatever...

And I do have an original Sterling AR-180. While it's a decent rifle, I'm sure that the folding stock on these would not hold up to military use. For a 'sporting' rifle, it works quite well... :)

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it... :)

Forrest

krisincolfax
May 24, 2017, 14:41
Nice write up Forrest , the 180B that I bought , Im sure it was near the
end of the production run ,from what I have read Armalite attempted to
fix the problem of the earlier ones by extending the steel reinforcement
in the lower , which did not solve the problem , had I been aware of the
problem from the get go I never would have bought the rifle , however
I really like it , so I decided to keep it , have only put 200 rounds through
it , and yes the instructions that came with it said it will break and to handle
with care , interesting side note my rifle ( new out of the box ) did not have
the E clip for the pivot pin . and when I clean it I always separate the upper
from the lower , I know that when I get a NODAK lower for it it will be a
really nice rifle , any idea who manufactured the receiver in the above
picture , Kris

lysanderxiii
May 24, 2017, 14:56
Ok I'm stumped , who makes the receiver in the picture ?
I did.

http://i1242.photobucket.com/albums/gg538/lysanderx/d6a3805b-6759-41ca-b66f-011cee6dbdc2_zpslfdrjdcj.jpg

C2A1
May 24, 2017, 15:40
I loved the original. Carried a Sterling as a truck rifle back when you could do such things in the USGS. Once got caught in a dust storm in a dune field and when I got back to camp it was buried along with my 180. To this day. I find sand in little nooks. Always worked and actually accurate. I have the sterling and Costa Mesa rifles with an ammo can of armalite magazines. The 180B was OK but that lower really turned me off, so it didn't stay long.
For the lass above:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8wgrZ6t5BA

ALL FAL
May 24, 2017, 16:28
You Sir made the rifle Look Just RIGHT!! Can you tell us more please? :)

krisincolfax
May 24, 2017, 17:03
You Sir made the rifle Look Just RIGHT!! Can you tell us more please? :)

Same goes for me too...

eternal24k
May 24, 2017, 18:34
I did.

http://i1242.photobucket.com/albums/gg538/lysanderx/d6a3805b-6759-41ca-b66f-011cee6dbdc2_zpslfdrjdcj.jpg

awesome. Please start a thread sometime with more info and pics :)