Andy Greenburg tried making his own completely-unregistered AR-15 lower receiver (the part that the BATF counts as the gun) in a backroom of WIRED’s San Francisco offices.
He found that making one using a drill press and one of those 80% receiver kits out there was beyond his own slender mechanical abilities.
He also tried the 3-D Printing approach, winding up with another receiver rejected by his gunsmith as needing several more hours of clean-up work.
Defense Distributed‘s software and Ghost Gunner $1500 CNC mill worked much better. And with roughly $700 of added mail-order parts, Greenburg had a working unregistered AR-15.
Naturally, as soon as he assembled it, fired it to prove that it worked, and wrote up his feature, breathing heavily with excitement all the way, he went right over to a San Francisco police station and turned in all three (two duds, one working) lower receivers.
The moral? Unregistered AR-15s are awfully expensive. Greenburg’s three efforts cost: $1334 for the failed drill press kit version, $3604 for the 3-D printed version (including printer), and a mere $2272 for the Ghost Gunner version. You can go out and buy a more powerful, more accurate used bolt action sporter for $400-500. You can buy a Ruger Ranch Rifle semi-auto in the same .223 caliber for $650-750.
So why do you need an unregistered AR-15 anyway? Only goofy metrosexual libtards think that the crucial essence of firearms ownership and usage has to do with the ability of the authorities to identify some particular firearm and to trace its ownership.
In reality, after a crime has been committed, it is frequently perfectly obvious that the firearm that was used is that one there, the one lying on the ground. And the provenance of a particular firearm after it has already been used criminally is generally not all that interesting. Commonly, the perp just bought it legally.
Liberals all seem to be living in some odd old-fashioned Agatha Christie mystery in which the identity of the criminal and his motives are completely bound up with the chain of possession of the weapon he used. If Inspector Poirot can find out exactly which pistol was used to dispatch Colonel Mannering in the library, only thus can it be demonstrated that the butler did it, it being the butler’s gun!
Myself, I was over at my local gunsmith’s shop recently, and on the counter were several piles of AR-15 lower receivers. The prettier ones (much nicer than Greenberg’s) were selling for $49. There were less attractive ones for $39. (They would have been registered at the time of sale, of course.)
I thought of buying one, but reflected that I would then need to buy the better part of a thousand bucks worth of barrel, stock, upper receiver, sight, handguard, and trigger group, and came right back to my senses and concluded that I did not need any $49 paperweight.