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Costa Mesa AR180, how hard are they to find

wolfsburgbob

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Bidders went back-and-forth to $3325.00, then as soon as bidder number one was locked in to buy that rifle, bidder number two went over to the other auction and bought the ''late" 180 degree safety rifle that had been recently listed for $2750.00 with a "Buy it Now".

;)
 

Icer

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There's about another $1000 to go, $2700 or possibly more has been the mark as of late for a nice clean lower 1/3 production 90 degree safety "Costa Mesa" without scope but nice park and TIG welds.
I'm watching too.
;)
As I mentioned above concerning the pricing on that clean Costa Mesa on GunBroker ... another nice one has been added that looks super clean. This one exhibits the 180° safety selector (Howa style) with modified lower markings of the last few hundred guns manufactured and/or assembled ... by ... Armalite in Costa Mesa.
The jury is still out on why these modified lower rifles are as such.
A good buy, given the current market, awaits someone.
;)
Bidders went back-and-forth to $3325.00, then as soon as bidder number one was locked in to buy that rifle, bidder number two went over to the other auction and bought the ''late" 180 degree safety rifle that had been recently listed for $2750.00 with a "Buy it Now".
;)
Looks like they went thru a bit of effort to weld up the SEMI markings and move the selector stop location on those later Costa Mesa built guns.
I'm interested in hearing your opinion for the design change and whether there were any other differences between the early and late rifles.
I've got an earlier model Costa Mesa that is similar to the first GB rifle that was posted and went for $3325.
It's a surprisingly soft shooting rifle with noticeably less felt recoil than many of my other 5.56 caliber collectibles. I've always wanted to shoot a full auto AR18 for this reason but have not had the chance to yet.
CostaMesaAR1802.jpg
 

falducky

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Looks like they went thru a bit of effort to weld up the SEMI markings and move the selector stop location on those later Costa Mesa built guns.
I'm interested in hearing your opinion for the design change and whether there were any other differences between the early and late rifles.

Currently working on a book on this. It is a subject that has shown a need to be addressed (along with some other mis-understandings on the timeline involved). I won't get into to much depth on this as it is very long but a short version is as follows

Cmesa made the 90 degree safety up until supplies of these early 180 lowers ran out (production shut down due the machinery transport to HOWA) as they were then moving to HOWA for full time sporting rifle construction (note the same machinery was utilized, it was not brand new machinery made at HOWA).

Till they could get that ramped up, with the lack of sales of the 18 and abundance of stock, they took the lower and simply scrubbed the markings and removed the FA safety "fin" and utilized them for semi builds for the last 413 (give or take, I have yet to find the exact crossover but I am within 48 on the serial numbers to having this crossover pinpointed (via rifles I actually own and verified rifles people have contributed pictures of)). ASSEMBLY then began at HOWA utilizing these same lowers until production utilizing 90 degree lowers (5 digit serials) began.

Howa did NOT produce them first

Cmesa did NOT "move" the safety stop, these were different lowers from the get go

There is a very clear set of construction "quinks" that show up in the first construction Cmesa's, which then progress to production Cmesa, then AR18 lower CMesa, then AR18 lower Howa, then full production again lowers based on production Cmesa lowers.

The statement made by some that they thought the Howa's were first because of



"The first piece of the puzzle is an article in the January 31. 1966 issue of U.S. News & World Report. It states that a provisional agreement was reached and Howa would undertake the first mass production of this rifle."

followed with

" Howa would not have started production of a rifle they could not export so it makes sense that they were built sometime between Jan ’66 and the passing of the law in 1967 (due the three principles). "

In direct conversation with Howa, they NEVER produced ANY Ar18s.

The contract simple went un fullfilled.

But. As the AR180 was NOT a military rifle, it was considered a SPORTING RIFLE, there were no restricitons against its production alongside all the other sporting rifles HOWA constructed.

To assume otherwise is faulty. The very first 50 (give or take a couple) Cmesas were very distinct rifles with what we will call a pattern 1 receiver

Second run of production (or actual run) is pattern 2 (90 safety)

Leftover altered 18 is pattern 3 (180 safety, scrubbed markings)

To assume HOWA went first one would have to assume the following

Started with Patern 3 sourced from Cmesa which would involve magic as they (in that proposed scenario) are not even making them yet

Go to pattern 2

Switch to Costa Mesa plant and retro the rifles to the pre improvements and make 50 odd rifles via pattern 1

Upgrade to pattern 2 again

Then switch to pattern 3

then move back to Howa again for the mid 70's run

Lotta mental gynastics involved in that one

Should also touch on the scopes

Howa didn't make any scopes. Howa does not make optics.

Howa / Cmesa / Sterling all sourced these scopes from HAKKO who also manufactured the scopes for Colt (3x20)

The very first batch from HAKKO was UNMARKED. Won't get into the whole scope time line thing here but it will be in the book

To postulate that Howa
 

wolfsburgbob

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Edited:

Howa would not have started production of a rifle they could not export so it makes sense that they were built sometime between Jan ’66 and the passing of the law in 1967 (due the three principles). "

In direct conversation with Howa, they NEVER produced ANY Ar18s.

The contract simple went un fulfilled.

Howa did NOT produce them first


The statement made by some that they thought the Howa's were first because of ....


Well, maybe because of ... THIS ?




















And there she is!

Howa of Japan produced for ArmaLite Costa Mesa AR-18 #S00159 in all her glory in January of 1967 as a virgin, then later "scrubbed of roll marked evidence of manufacture and serial number" with only her Howa distinctive 5.56 mm caliber roll markings remaining in Franken-drag as a British bullpup prototype. The serial was also missed and not scrubbed by Enfield Lock's version of "Pulp Fiction's" clean-up specialist Winston Wolf and can still be seen on the underside of the former AR-18's flash hider, just as was found on all of the first 1000 Howa produced AR-18 that two years later were reconfigured into AR-180 rifles.

Also note the distinctive Howa of Japan 'resistance welds'. They match in these photos like the teeth of a decayed human corpse match the old dental records of a long missing person.

Pardon the photographic quality of my evidence, but "pristine bullets" are rarely found 60 years after the fact.


;)
 
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wolfsburgbob

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Troops,

First 1000 Howa AR-18 turned AR-180 in the #200 serial number range is in our marketplace as we speak. A nice example.

Beautiful shot of the left side of the receiver showing indications that it is fraternal twin to Howa #159 given its 'birthmark' welds.

;)

 
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wolfsburgbob

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Troops,

Been studying the AR-180 family of rifles in depth lately, I have had a thing for 180s since I first acquired a second Howa run example in 1974 at age 21 .... here is my 'righting' of the commonly accepted but flawed timeline ship ... as I see it.


;)


 

HHollow

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OK, I gotta ask, as long as their are a bunch of AR180 wise folk here.

Last year I bought an sterling AR180 at SAR/phoenix. I was from the estate of an NFA collector who may have modified the bolt head.

Anybody ever seen anything like it?
Nicely rounded lugs. Rifle functions just fine this way. The rfile appears to be low mileage and it is possible the bolt was swapped from another. The owner was reputed to have many of everything.

 
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