Armalite AR-180B


June 19, 2007, 11:55 AM
This is one rifle that seems to have dropped off the radar somewhat after a lot of early hype. I was browsing Armalite's online catalog and it's still listed as an available product, although I don't know anyone who owns one.

Examined one at a gunshow several years ago. Handguards seemed paper thin and the polymer lower had a real "cheap" feel to it, but it seems to have gotten generally favorable reviews from a lot of folks.

Anyone have any positive/negative experiences with this particular rifle?

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June 19, 2007, 11:59 AM
The plastic lower can wear out or break around the upper/lower pins from what I hear. I've never met anyone who had one, let alone someone who broke one. I think it's a pretty cool gun from handling it in shops.

June 19, 2007, 02:29 PM
The early versions can break at the pivot pin if they are dropped forward too fast and too hard.
It is my understanding that Armalite is reenforcing the pivot pin holes with molded in steel inserts now.

My employer has not had an order for one of these rifles in some time but the ones we have sold have been decent enough in appearance and function.
They don't come back once out the door and that is a pretty good indication the purchasers are satisfied.

Tip: stick with USGI aluminum magazines.
Polymer and steel magazines do not fit well at all, we checked this.

June 19, 2007, 03:19 PM
I love mine.
I had to, (go ahead laugh) make liners for the handguars out of aluminum, the handguards are crap. They aren't designed for a lot of fire. (sustained or rapid)
I get about the same accuracy out of mine as i did my bushmaster AR, all the fire group parts, sights and mag release are compatible with AR, so you can't go wrong there.
The only problem i has was when i let some of the old lacquered wolf ammo sit in a hot chamber, and then tried to ejest it, the lacquer combined with a hot, (and .223 non chrome) chamber locked that little guy in there.
i don't see this as a major problem, though, as i tried to replicate it, and the round fired and ejected properly after having been "locked in"

All in all, i'd recommend it, a WAY better choice than the mini14, but not QUITE as nice as an AR, but worth the money ( paid 650.00 for mine,around 400 to 500.00 less than a good AR).
All in all, a good compromise.
it's a LOT easier to clean, and functions 100%

June 19, 2007, 03:28 PM
Seems like they're fairly scarce. I've handled/seen more Robinson XCRs and FN FS2000s than AR-180Bs (actually don't think I've ever seen one in a store or at a show).

I think part of the problem is that it's a one-off kind of design, lacking the mountain of aftermarket stuff available for ARs or AKs. I think whatever market niche there may have been for gas-piston operated alternatives to the AR have been filled by better supported AKs and other options.

June 19, 2007, 05:27 PM
I enjoy mine. Had it for 3 years now and it's still going strong.

Couple minor things to note.

The stock trigger is crap. Heavy and gritty. Bought a Bushmaster AR15 match trigger kit and no more problem. You have to keep some of the stock parts when swapping, but enough are the same that the pull is sorted right out. Some would say that spending $100 on a trigger kit for a $600 rifle is overkill, but I'm anal about my triggers.

The light contour barrel heats up RAPIDLY as noted above, and the handguards push all the heat right to you. Don't plan on putting 500 rounds down range in a session unless you've got all day.

Cleaning is an absolute breeze compared to an AR15.

The quick detach scope mount is proprietary, but I have not found another system that goes back to zero as well as the one on the 180B without shelling out significantly more money. I bought 2 mounts and have a red dot on one and a Weaker K series 4X on the other. I frequently switch between both during a range session, and point of impact has always been back where it was zeroed.

June 19, 2007, 07:27 PM
I put the RRA 2-stage match trigger in mine. You do have to figure the cost of a new trigger group into the price if you are thinking about getting one. The front lower pin will definitely break out if opened hard. It is a design flaw. I like the aluminum 20-rounders for their lower weight (had only a few problems in the first 500 or so rounds, even with Wolf). For me, the weight of the rifle is what sealed it. An AR feels crazy heavy to me now.

Downside is that it can be a bit top heavy with a scope. I put an Eotech on mine (with the Stormwerks base) and the added weight threw the balance off and kind of ruined it for me. I got mine on Gunbroker new with the factory scope mount, but didn't use it because I read some stories on the internet about it crushing scope tubes. I'm kind of thinking about putting a 2.5 Leupold (much lighter, I think) in it and buying a 44mag lever to use the Eotech on.

In my opinion the 180B is on the way out. Armalight could have had a good go with these, but priced them too high and didn't market them right in the very beginning. I guess they had to choose between selling 180s or ARs, and saw (correctly) that the AR was going to be the next 1911.

June 19, 2007, 09:02 PM
I've had mine for 3 years and it has been reliable, reasonably accurate and easy to maintain. The trigger on mine is fairly smooth and it is easy to shoot well but does string a bit as the thin barrel heats up rapidly. I have treated mine a bit rough and nothing has broke so I assume it is tough enough for a non-milspec gun.

There are some parts (scope mounts, rails, trigger kits, folding stock) made for it now so even if it isn't as well fitted out as an AR-15 it can be tarted up. I paid $585 new for mine and it has been well worth it.

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