Advanced 80% Receiver Jigs
There are many jigs to aid you in completing an 80% AR-15 (or AR-10/AR-308) receiver. One of the better examples of this style used to be the Easy Jig by 80percentarms.com. Then a step forward in jig technology became available from 5D tactical. This system offered much less drilling, more convenient depth setting slots, more accurate positioning of the jig with respect to the receiver, a larger diameter, better supported end mill bit, less swapping of jig parts during the milling process and a “touch free” guide system. All in all it was a significant step forward in 80% jig technology, and a similarly advanced Generation 2 of the Easy Jig became available not long afterwards. As far as I know, these two are the state of the art in jigs at this instant in time (August 2017).
So which one is better? Ask and you’ll likely get one of three answers: 5D tactical, Easy Jig Gen 2, or “If you do only AR-15s then 5D else Gen 2”, and in many cases, the person responding has only used one of them, so their answer is suspect. I imagine that you can count the number of people who have used both on the thumbs of one hand, since neither one is inexpensive. I got the 5D tactical because at that instant in time it was the only one available, but upon finding out about the Gen 2, I thought it might address a couple of things I didn’t like about the 5D jig, but they were not significant enough to justify getting yet another jig. But it annoys me when people say one or the other is better unless they have actually used both of them. So I contacted 80percentarms to see if they were interested in me doing a head to head comparison, and they agreed. For full disclosure, they did offer a discount so I could afford the additional jig.
I’m a fan of the Tennessee Arms brass reinforced polymer receivers but to give the jigs a real test, I’ll get billet receivers in assorted colors from 80% arms. This is because they are about the only place I found which has lowers (and uppers) in one of the colors I am trying to match and although the other colors are “universal”, I want all the test receivers to be as identical as practical to ensure the most accurate comparison. I am quite competent mechanically and have done a few 80% AR receivers using a drill press jig, an Easy Jig Gen 1 and the 5D tactical jig, so can be considered quite familiar with the process. Since the 5D bit will have been used on one polymer and one 7075 forged receiver previously, I will do a AR-308 receiver and an AR-15 billet receiver on the 80% Arms jig first, so the two bits will have approximately the same amount of use before starting the actual test. Of course, it would have been better to get a new 5D bit for the test, but if I end up liking the 80% arms jig better it would be money “wasted” and even if I end up liking the 5D better, I object to paying $8 shipping on the bit.
The actual test will be a billet receiver in the 5D jig immediately followed by one in the 80% Arms jig. As a final step, I have a friend who wants an AR in that non-standard color, and has not only never done an 80% before, but is completely unpracticed with anything mechanical, so I’ll have her use the “better” (in my opinion) jig to see how “idiot proof” it is. I won’t be doing an AR-308 receiver in the 5D jig for comparison because that jig can’t do it without a fairly expensive conversion kit. Plus, it’ll be quite a while, if ever, before I’m ready to do anything with one AR-308 receiver and don’t have any idea what I would use a second one for. For that matter, I don’t really have any use for any more AR-15 receivers at this point in time, but this it is an excuse to get them as backups for my polymer ones in case the people who claim they “don’t hold up” aren’t wrong.
We use the Dewalt DWP611 trim router, as in my opinion (as well as many others); it is the best router for this task.
To Be Continued