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Discussion Starter #1
The original Armalite, Howa or Sterling.

I was lucky to find one of the early Howas made on an AR-18 blank.

What do you folks have, and do you shoot it. Value/price finally going up on these.
 

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Yep. Got one of each, Costa Mesa, Howa, and Sterling back when they were much less expensive! The only problem I have had was with the bolt hold-open which is kind of fragile. Replacing lower handguards is a PITA, too. But, they aren't easy to damage, so it's not really a problem.
Much easier to maintain and clean than the M-16/AR-15. Just as accurate in spite of the stamped-steel rear sight.
The only dislike I have is the magazine catch. Original AR-18/180 magazines are too valuable to use. Fortunately, 5 minutes with the Dremel will convert any M-16 magazine to use in the AR-18/180. I used some PMAGs, but my favorites are the Korean and E-Lander steel 30rd mags.

For those considering one, there are a few things to check. Early Sterlings had some parts brazed on and those parts can be missing or repaired. Look at the scope mount, stock stud on the left side, and charging handle key. Costa Mesa and Howa welded those parts and I have not heard of problems. Is the bolt-hold-open working (all makers)? Did some idiot replace the original flash-hider, grind off the bayonet lug, or shorten the barrel?

Spare parts to find: Bolt hold-open, firing pins and spring, bolt handle and bolt cam pin. The last two in case they fall off your bench and hide somewhere (BTDT).

These are excellent rifles! British SAS and SBS used them for some years until parts were unavailable. They were used by some small countries, too.

Brownells has the BRN-180 upper for the Ar-15 lower. It appears that the interior parts (bolt carrier, bolt, etc) might be usable for AR-180 spares. But I have not confirmed this.
 

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I've thought about adding one to a collection, maybe as part of a Gene-tribute with it's big brother/grandpappy, an AR 10. This would involve paying-up for an original AR 18.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
IIRC Gene didn't have much to do with the 18/180, he was gone by then. Most, if not all How a made rifles do not have a bayonet lug. As for mags, some of the plastic fantastic Sig Sauer AR mags have the mag release cut. Not made anymore, but can still be found. Trying to get Magpul to add a AR180 slot to their mags. If you want cheap good mags, email them that suggestion.

Sent from my LM-G820 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Also, on AR180.com, I believe they have replacement bolt stops

Sent from my LM-G820 using Tapatalk
 

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sold a pile of them over the years, and never kept one, my brother did claim the last 180 (costa mesa) we had thru the shop,

I picked up a AR-18 back in the 90's, with original Armalite scope to scratc my itch


mags are easy to convert (use AR-15 mags),
I did a dozen or so for my 18
 

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I have a early Sterling 180 a late Sterling blued upper with a home made lower and a Sterling SAR-80 brought back from the death of a dozen torch cuts... I like the SAR-80 the best even though it's ugly as sin...

 

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Could you expand on the 'home made' lower? Sounds interesting!
 

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Could you expand on the 'home made' lower? Sounds interesting!
Years back I found a Sterling AR-180 upper for sale and bought it with the intentions of parting it out to make some cash for other projects... I had a of couple of the Flatspot puzzle piece AR-15 lower kits and starting thinking I could adapt it to work with the 180 upper... So went to town with the welder the kit and some scrap lawn mower blades and came up with this... It uses standard AR mags and most of the FCG... I had to reprofile the hammer so it would strike the firing pin at the correct angle...




Here are a few pictures of the SAR-80 rebuilding process... I sat on my kit for a year until I could figure out the best way to rebuild it... Fashioned up a jig to hold it all nice and straight while I welded peened my welds to reduce shrinkage... John Thomas at Retro Arms Works took the pieces of the cut barrel and made me a new one.... It turned out real good compared to what I started with... Best part is it shoots very well...







 

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very good job,

I have heard nothing but good about John Thomas' work
 
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