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We are a national retailer of individual components and not all products depicted on this website are legal in every state. Shipping of various products found on this website are prohibited to some states (such as California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington). The information, pictures, text or products presented on this website are not a representation by us, and should not be understood by you, that any product or completed firearm is legal to assemble or own in your state of residence. We encourage each and every builder to perform their own research about the state and federal laws that apply to them. It is your responsibility to understand the law and we encourage you to consult with an attorney or your local ATF representative.

Picking the Right Router for Your 80 Percent Lower Jig

Posted by 80 Lower Jig, Co. on Aug 10th 2020

When you build your AR-15 at home, you have to pick the right tools. Two of the most important tools are your 80 percent lower jig, and the handheld router you'll use with that jig to machine your lower receiver. But every 80 percent lower jig and router are different. You need to consider the pros and cons of your router. Is it easy to swap out bits? How fine are the depth adjustments? How much torque does the motor have? Does the router use variable speed, or is it constant? We'll be reviewing the most popular routers, and we'll tell you which ones to avoid and why (based on customer feedback).

You can only use a router that's compatible with the jig you choose. So, let's look at all the 80 percent lower jig options, and what routers are compatible with each one:

80 Percent Lower Jig and Router Compatibility

Below are all the 80 percent lower jigs that require special router plates, adjustments, or modifications for certain routers to operate. Let's look at all the compatibility choices, then break down the top routers you should pick from, based on what works best.

Top 80 percent lower jig router picks

Now that we know which routers are compatible with the most popular jigs, we can start picking the top options and comparing them. Jig makers recommend the DeWalt DWP611, and this is a popular choice among builders and community discussions. We can also recommend the Porter Cable 450 - an incredibly simple, reliable, compact router that we've also personally tested with great results.

The DeWalt DWP611 Handheld Router

The DeWalt DWP611 is a 1.25-HP router. It features a variable-speed motor with soft-start, to prevent your end mill bit from "jumping" when you start milling. Adjustment rings allow for depth changes of 1/64", and multiple shaft-lock detents allow for quick bit changes.

DeWalt DWP611 Specs

  • Amps: 7.0
  • Collect diameter: 0.25"
  • No-load speed: 16k to 27k RPM
  • Base diameter: 4"
  • Plunge stroke: 1.5"
  • MSRP: $139.00

The DWP611 is perfect for machining an 80 percent lower. It's simple, compact, offers easy speed and depth adjustment, and locks in securely with little worry of tool run-out or deflection. That means you're getting precise cuts where you want them, with no margin of error. At around $140, the DWP611 is also one of the more expensive router options available for doing 80 lower work.

The Porter Cable 450 Handheld Router

The Porter Cable 450 is also a 1.25-HP router. In fact, it's essentially a DeWalt DWP611 that costs a few bucks less and operates a little differently. This is the router we recommend based on price, quality, power, and overall simplicity. The Porter Cable 450 doesn't feature variable speed control. Instead, it uses full-time electronic feedback to maintain router speed through your cut. This is a nice feature because (unlike the DWP611) it eliminates the guess work of picking "the perfect speed".

Instead, you can adjust the 450's speed and cutting power by adjusting your cutting depth to a lesser or greater extreme. We know, some of you seasoned machinists might cry foul over this lack of variable speed control being presented as a benefit, but we've found the Porter Cable operates at an optimal cutting speed for 6061 billet and 7075 forged aluminum out of the box. If you want a tool that's easier to use because it does more of the work for you, this is the router to pick.

  • Amps: 7.0
  • Collect diameter: 0.25"
  • No-load speed: 27k RPM
  • Base diameter: 4"
  • Plunge stroke: 1.5"
  • MSRP: $129.00

Routers we don't recommend

There are some routers we recommend  against using to complete an 80 percent lower. Take note, some of these routers are found in the Router Jig PRO's compatibility charts:

  • Harbor Freight 2.4-Amp Router: This router lacks sufficient power and causes frequent run-out.
  • Bosch PR20EVSK 5.6-Amp Router: Many builders report this router's depth control mechanism slips while in use.
  • Bosch PR10E 5.6-Amp Router: Builders report this router's depth control mechanism loosens and slips frequently.
  • Black & Decker RP250 10-Amp Router: Many builders report inaccurate cutting and a lack of control with this overly-powerful router.

Conclusion

You should now be well-equipped to pick out the perfect handheld router for your 80 percent lower jig! We recommend the Porter Cable 450, or the DeWalt DWP611. The Makita RT0701C is anothr popular choice among AR builders. Still have questions about picking out the right tools? Just give us a call or email us!

DISCLAIMER: If you are new to the world of DIY gun building, you likely have a lot of questions and rightfully so. It’s an area that has a lot of questions that, without the correct answers, could have some serious implications. At 80-lower.com, we are by no means providing this content on our website to serve as legal advice or legal counsel. We encourage each and every builder to perform their own research around their respective State laws as well as educating themselves on the Federal laws. When performing your own research, please be sure that you are getting your information from a reliable source.

We are a national retailer of individual components and not all products depicted on this website are legal in every state. Shipping of various products found on this website are prohibited to some states (such as California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington). The information, pictures, text or products presented on this website are not a representation by us, and should not be understood by you, that any product or completed firearm is legal to assemble or own in your state of residence. We encourage each and every builder to perform their own research about the state and federal laws that apply to them. It is your responsibility to understand the law and we encourage you to consult with an attorney or your local ATF representative.