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Thread: 80% frames

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    29th May 2004
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    80% frames

    There has been a discussion lately here, about these things, 80% frames. These can be sold without an FFL transfer and even without serial numbers. They are suppposed to be used by the buyer to make his own pistol. There are some strict legal requirements about what consists an "80% frame" as well as how you are supposed to make your pistol from one.

    If I remember correctly, the last place we knew selling those items was long gone from the internet, but today, I spotted another shop which has these.

    Please note that M1911.ORG has no relation to this shop, and of course, has no responsibility if you decide to buy one of these frames, what's so ever.

    Here is the site: aresarmor.com

    And here is the page which describes the frames: http://aresarmor.com/store/Item/rudius1911
    John Caradimas SV1CEC
    The M1911 Pistols Organization
    http://www.m1911.org
    Last edited by John; 25th December 2012 at 06:39.


  2. #2
    I see KT Ordnance is now only offering 60% frames instead of the 80% units.

    http://www.ktordnance.com/kto/products.php
    MFWIC
    DILLIGAF
    Stercus Accidit
    WTFDTSG

  3. #3
    With a half-steel, half-plastic frame??

    And they do 'build parties' too? I thought there were some arguments against the legality of these...
    Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold.
    M. Setter

  4. #4
    I am not aware of any formal guidelines for the definition of percent complete. The BATFE generally likes to keep its options open so as to keep to their motto, "Always Think Forfeiture*."

    Regards,

    Walt
    *The ATF actually had trinkets made up with this motto for one of their "meetings." So much for "Presumed Innocent."
    Author, The M1911 Complete Assembly Guide,
    The M1911 Complete Owner's Guide,
    The M14
    and M1 Garand Complete Assembly Guides
    and The AR-15 Complete Assembly and Owner's Guides

  5. #5
    Join Date
    2nd June 2004
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    19,179
    Quote Originally Posted by Spyros
    With a half-steel, half-plastic frame??

    And they do 'build parties' too? I thought there were some arguments against the legality of these...
    Where does it say half-plastic?

    The legal requirements pertaining to these unfinished receivers is the simple fact that it is NOT illegal in the United States for an individual to make (fabricate) his or her own firearm for his or her own, personal use. It has somehow been determined that buying a partially-completed receiver and doing the remaining work yourself still qualifies as making your own firearm. The threshold is that, in order for a receiver to be sold as other than a finished firearm (requiring a serial number and transfer through an FFL), not more than 80 percent of the work can be done.

    Obviously, how one determines how much work contributes 80 percent is almost impossible to quantify. Spyros is correct that, a few years ago, a company (and I think it may have been KT Ordnance) got in BIG trouble with the BATFE for selling "80 percent" AR-15 receivers and then hosting "build" parties. The BATFE's issue was that the buyers weren't actually doing the remaining work themselves -- whoever the company was had CNC machines, and the "build" parties amounted to mounting the receivers on the CNC machine, pressing the START button, and drinking coffee while the machine finished the receiver.

    There have been spurts of interest in these so-called 80 percent receivers here on the forum. What used to be available as "80%" receivers in the past typically had a bit more of the machining completed than these things. Reading the list of what the BATFE has now declared must be left unfinished, under this directive the old 80% receivers would not have been allowed. That may be why some vendors who previously offered them have dropped them.

    So the bottom line is, these things are attractive only to someone who is a skilled machinist or someone who knows a skilled machinist, with a shop, who is willing to spend a weekend with you walking you through the steps to complete the work.

    IF YOU HAND IT TO YOUR BUDDY AND HE DOES THE WORK FOR YOU, YOU HAVE BOTH BROKEN FEDERAL LAW.

    Our M1911 Home Page site has links to original Ordnance Department blueprints. Typically, the tolerances for the M1911 were nominal+.005 or nominal-.005. (Machinists will note that this is NOT the same thing as nominal+/-.0025.) Some of the tolerances are as small as .002". If you aren't prepared and equipped to work to those kinds of tolerances, then clearly an "80 percent" receiver is not for you.

    You won't save any money buying an 80 percent receiver. KT Ordnance wants $300 for an unfinished frame, after which you have to complete the machine work, and then you have to finish the frame. When they are available, you can buy a 100 percent complete, and finished, 1911 Armscor receiver from Sarco for around $100.
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside
    Last edited by Hawkmoon; 26th December 2012 at 15:44.


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkmoon
    Some of the tolerances are as small as .002".
    The tolerance for the horizontal and vertical coordinates for almost all frame holes is 0.002". However, for the MSH pin hole(s) and the separation between the plunger tube mounting holes it's 0.001".

    Cheers
    When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind. [Lord Kelvin]

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkmoon
    Where does it say half-plastic?
    Here it is:



    Below the main description, there's a 'Specs' tab, with the following extra information:

    Intended for use with 1911 standard series 70 parts
    Steel upper half
    Proprietary polymer lower half
    It's actually very similar to the 1911s that RRA announced they would launch a few months ago, but still haven't (as far as I know).

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkmoon
    Spyros is correct that, a few years ago, a company (and I think it may have been KT Ordnance) got in BIG trouble with the BATFE for selling "80 percent" AR-15 receivers and then hosting "build" parties. The BATFE's issue was that the buyers weren't actually doing the remaining work themselves -- whoever the company was had CNC machines, and the "build" parties amounted to mounting the receivers on the CNC machine, pressing the START button, and drinking coffee while the machine finished the receiver.
    If you check the FAQ section in their site, this company describes their build parties as exactly that. They even state that the CNC machine takes only about 8 minutes to do the job (although it's not clear if this refers to 1911s or AR lowers):
    http://aresarmor.com/store/FAQ
    Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold.
    M. Setter
    Last edited by Spyros; 26th December 2012 at 06:06.


  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Hawkmoon, check your copy of the magazine you sent me and Spyros, page 77. You can see a bigger picture of the frame/pistol. Also, in the picture posted by Spyros above, you can see the screw securing the lower half to the upper half, at the front top edge of the trigger guard. I haven't noticed these things until Spyros brought the issue up.
    John Caradimas SV1CEC
    The M1911 Pistols Organization
    http://www.m1911.org

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