AR-180b upper receiver

Here At Gun Lab we actually have a number of projects going on. While we are waiting for our heat treating to come back for the VG1-5 and AR-180b parts we started on the AR-180B upper receiver. This receiver is design to fit on the Nodak-Spud lower as well as the AR-180B lower and the original AR-180.

The project was started July 20th when a friend sent me a original flat for the AR-180. That evening I sat down and started the solid model drawing for the upper receiver. It was not a priority project here and was put on the back burner until the projects on the mill were completed. However, by July 30th I had completed the solid model and had completed the first set of basic modelling for the stamping die.

This first picture is of an original AR-18 flat that has had ribs pressed in.


This picture shows what it would look like after the next stamping. The basic shape is cut out.

DSC_2475sThe next step that was performed was to bend the bottom tabs.

DSC_2485sThe next step was then to punch out the ejector port and cocking handle opening.

DSC_2482sWith the advent of technology we have made a few changes to the process in which this part will be made.

In looking at an original AR-180b upper you can see a few of the manufacturing changes. Looking at these pictures and at the actual part you can see that a laser cutter was used versus stamping them out. The cost difference is huge.


DSC_6267csWhat we have done is drawn up the receiver then changed it into a flat design then had that laser cut out of the proper material and thickness of sheet metal

DSC_6263ccsNext we started working on the stamping design.

AR180 Complete Die3

AR180 Complete Die2

AR180 Complete Die1

AR180 Complete Die

Once the basic design is completed we start working on each component of the design and changing the parts and assembly as we go along. Finally we come up with a working model.

AR180 Complete Die1Then every part and component is accurately located and attached.

AR180 Complete DieDown to the pins and screws.

AR180 Complete Die2Once this is done we start making each of the individual pieces. Starting with the basic stock.


To the final products.



DSC_6259sThe next step and post will be the assembly then off to testing.

This is were we stand now on 8-17 and starting from 7-20. Less then 30 days from concept through design and modeling to programming and machining.

Not bad.



20 comments to AR-180b upper receiver

  • Excellent work as always and the speed with which you get this stuff done is amazing. I look forward to seeing these parts in person.

  • Dan E

    the laser cut looks cleaner than stamp cut. thanks for the die pics, stamping is interesting

  • Rick Saunders

    Will this be available for sale soon?


    Awesome work. Anxiously waiting for you to start selling a replacement upper. You don’t need to add any rear sights as I plan on putting a Picatinny rail on the upper.

    Any idea on when these will be available?

  • Matthew Vanitas

    Also very interested in buying an AR180 upper; any update on when these may be offered for sale?

  • Very Awesome! I would love to buy one or two new AR-180 uppers.

  • Rennie

    Want one of these as well

  • Uber

    And me too – 1 or 2 of the compete uppers … anyone there?

  • Joseph Marian

    Dear Gun Lab,

    Would it be possible for you to contact President Phil Cashin at Masterpiece Arms and arrange for the production of an AR-180 upper using Masterpiece’s existing MPAR-556 reconfigured to look like an AR-180 upper? All that Masterpiece would have to do is provide a barreled upper using their existing 3-lug bolt, carrier, and trunnion, and you and/or Stormwerkz could manufacture the rear sight, front sight/gas block, charging handle, and a re-designed handguard assembly to permit screw-on attachment of the upper and lower handguards. This would fix both the reliability issue the original AR-18’s had with the AR-type star-chamber and bolt, as well as provide for easily removeable handguards that could be stamped from steel and coated with a special covering that mimics plastic (you’ll have to contact me about this since it’s proprietary). Combined with Nodak Spud’s lower you’d be in business. I’d buy several of these suckers without batting an eyelash. JOE

  • corey

    Hi there, i actually have a 180-b lower receiver just begging for an upper. Is there any way you could help me out? Thanks in advance

  • Jack

    wonder if these would work with the SAR-80 kits?? if so I am in for one


  • Joseph Marian

    Sorry Corey,

    But you’ll have to contact Masterpiece Arms to request an MPAR-556 upper to modify for your lower.
    Just request that they provide a barreled complete upper (with bolt and carrier assembly) minus the rail and side charging handle.
    A gunsmith can then machine the bolt carrier for an AR-180 charging handle, and mill a reciprocal slot in the upper receiver. You will have to have custom handguards made however, since original AR-180 handguards will not fit the front trunnion. That’s what I’m dying to do anyway, but money is in short supply for such things these days. JOE


    Any idea when you will be making the AR-180 upper receivers available for sale? Still waiting anxiously for a new upper to install a picatinny rail versus modifying my original Sterling upper receiver.

  • I would most certainly purchase an upper should these become available

  • John

    I’d like to buy one as well.

  • Rico

    Put me down for one as well, maybe even two.


    I need a complete AR-180B assembly i Have a AR-180B Stripper lower

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