Guns are complex weapons made up of different components. Each of the components has its own importance and serves a distinct purpose. However, the most significant one of them is undoubtedly the ‘Receiver’, because as per the US Federal law, the receiver constitutes the ‘firearm’. And this is why it becomes important to choose one which is strong, durable, and affordable. 

In this article, we will brief you about the difference in cast, forged, and billet AR-15 lower receiver. But first, let’s get to know what ‘Receivers’ are, and the difference between ‘Upper’ and ‘Lower’ receivers. So let’s dive right in!

What are Receivers?

  • A gun is a compact weapon wherein all the parts are tightly assembled. Several parts such as the hammer, bolt, breechblock, firing pin, extractor, among others need to be housed somewhere. And this is what a receiver does; it technically provides a housing space for such components.
  • What we mentioned above were just internal components, in addition to them, a receiver also provides a threaded interface for externally attaching components such as the barrelstocktrigger mechanism, and iron/optical sights.
  • In various guns, the receiver constitutes the major part of the body, while in others it’s just one another separate part which could be detached from the body and easily swapped out.
  • It should be noted that even if you buy the receiver and not the whole firearm, you’ll have to undergo a background check. This is why some people buy a partially completed receiver known as ‘80% receiver’ to bypass the formalities. 
  • People buy such receivers and privately assemble guns using tools. The guns made after the whole process are known as ‘Ghost Guns’.
  • Though legal in most states, we advise you to check the relevant laws and rules regarding ’80% receiver’ and ‘Ghost Guns’ before opting for one.

What are Upper and Lower Receivers

Now several firearms have multiple receiver parts. AR-15 is one of those guns which have an ‘upper’ and a ‘lower’ receiver. As per US laws, the receiver which contains the serial number is the legally controllable part. 

When it comes to the AR-15 rifle, the lower receiver assembly is considered to be the controlled part for legal purposes in the US. 

Difference between Cast, Billet and Forged receivers

When shopping for receivers, you’ll come across the term ‘Cast, forged, billet’. Here are the specifications and differences among the three. We have also listed the pros and cons of each one of them.

Cast Receiver

The process of pouring molten metal into a mold to get the desired shape is known as Casting. To ‘cast’ the lower receiver for an AR-15 rifle, the molten aluminum is poured into the mold. After the whole process is done, the finishing is done on a CNC machine. 

Pros of Cast Receiver

  • It is the most economical from the manufacturing point of view, and consequently the cheapest among the three available options.
  • Casting provides the best synthesis of mechanical properties, especially if metal such as Aluminium A380 is used. 
  • The A380 also provides a good balance of strength and resistance to heat which makes it easy to operate.

Cons of Cast Receiver

  • Casting practice in receiver making has received a fair share of criticism due to poor casting and inattention to detail. The finished product may contain cracks or hollow cavities which can be dangerous while operating the gun. 
  • More technological advanced techniques such as Billet and forging have almost entirely replaced casting. 

Billet Receiver

Casting and billet are related in a way. While casting involves putting molten aluminum into a mold, billet involves carving out the desired part from a large block of aluminum. The size of the block depends on the size of the intended part; the bigger the desired part, the larger the billet. 

Pros of Billet receiver

  • CNC machines can better shape the billets, which gives the finished product a more aesthetically appealing look. 
  • If the material used is 7075-T6 plate aluminum, the quality of the product would be much better as compared to other forms of materials. 
  • The concerns about durability are almost negligible owing to the high-quality material such as 7075-T6 aluminum used during the process of billet.

Cons of Billet receiver

  • As technically advanced machines are used in the process, the end product becomes expensive. In fact, it is more costly than forged or cast receivers.
  • As billet provides more artistic leeway to the manufacturers, it also adds a significant cost with it.
  • Some of the billet receivers are not guaranteed to be compatible with military standard components. This bottlenecks its integration with most of the AR components which make up the bulk of the market.

Forged Receiver

Forging is equivalent to compressing, or in other words, the aluminum is hammered to turn it into the desired shape of a receiver. Just like the above two receivers, the finishing in this process is also done using a CNC machine. 

Pros of Forged receiver

  • There is a consensus among metallurgists about the supremacy of forged receivers to billet or cast.
  • Forged receivers are stronger as when the material is being shaped, its ‘grain’ follows the same shape as the part.
  • The vast majority of forged lower receivers are made to adhere to the latest military specifications. 

Cons of Forged receivers

  • Generally, they are not as aesthetically appealing as billet receivers.
  • They may not come up with upgrades such as trigger guards or thread fittings which may be a turn off for some gun enthusiasts.

Parting Notes

Overall, Forged receivers seem better than the other two counterparts. Still, there is a close competition between Forged and Billet receivers. 

Now if you wish to buy Forged AR-15 lower receivers or Billet AR-15 lower receivers, you can have a look at our website. In addition to the above, at Tactical Link we also deal in upper receivers, and other gun parts such as barrels, sights, magazines, among other things. 

Have a glance over our website; we assure it would be a delightful experience.