Battle Arms Development Lightweight Receiver

Battle Arms Development

More than a year ago, Battle Arms Development (BAD) began working on a project to develop a sub-4 pound AR rifle. From that effort comes the BAD556-LW receiver set.

Battle Arms Development

This upper/lower receiver set will be officially introduced at the 2015 SHOT Show. Right now, it appears that the set will weigh about 13 ounces, though the final production weight may change slightly. The receivers are CNC machined from billet 7075-T6 aluminum with the sharp edges de-burred.

Battle Arms Development

Among the features of this receiver set:

  • MIL-A-8625F, Type III, Class 2, Hard Anodized Flat Black Finish
  • Flared, Deep Beveled Magwell
  • Captured Takedown Pin Detent Spring (Set Screw Included)
  • Easy in Install Set Screw Bolt Catch Pin (Pin Included)
  • M4 Feed Ramp
  • Pictograph Selector Markings Properly Marked for 90° Safety or BAD-ASS-ST / BAD-CASS-ST Short Throw Ambidextrous Safety Selectors
  • Reciever Safety Selector Hole Machined with Relief Cut for Battle Arms Development “SHORT THROW” Ambidextrous Safety Selectors

Battle Arms Development

The MSRP will be $549. The company will offer a limited time introductory price of $499.



Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


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  • JumpIf NotZero

    Look good. I mean, I typically don’t go weight-crazy on AR’s because I like my carbine to be about 8-9lbs.

    But these do look nicely drawn and machined. I wish they didn’t scoop the magwell out so much, I don’t like the angles, but otherwise it’s a nice design I think.

    • andrey kireev

      My LWRC M6a2 weights right around that point…right now im in the process of building a carbine under 7lb with an optic on it =P

  • iksnilol

    How much does a regular AR-15 receiver weigh? And do they have plans og making an AR-10 version? Preferably taking common mags (G3, M14 or Armalite mags).

    • quelth

      Spike’s lists the shipping weight for their stripped lower / upper combo as 1.2 lbs (~19 oz). There is a thread on ARFCOM where some people weighed their DPMS stripped lower at 8.7oz, and a stripped ST Lower at 8.3 oz. Looks like the weight savings is coming from the cuts in the upper, I think

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Oh, I’m 100% certain that’s the claim; to improve mag changes.

    Still don’t like it.

    • Well I designed the “V” magwell based on my own experience (and my own thumb length lol). At first BAD was also reluctant about it, but I told them to try it, as it will not only save weight but it will also improve mag changes, so in the end you would actually kill two birds with one stone.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Yea, I’m not sold. But perhaps I’ll pick a set up to try.

  • Grindstone50k

    Well, it certainly will make your wallet lighter.

  • me ohmy

    too high a price point with a 50.00 anderson out now… the surge for these has slowed markedly…

    • Grindstone50k

      There’s a shop near me that sells Andersons for under $40.

      • me ohmy

        my point exactly, light is awesome.. but like a ferrari.. yeah drives great.. but how much is enough?

        • Grindstone50k

          I’m holding out for a nearly fully carbon fiber receiver.

  • Zachary marrs

    How exactly does this speed up magazine changes?

    • Ethan

      Easier visual/tactile indexing I would imagine – i’m guessing the extended corners of the magwell work to funnel the corners of the mag into alignment. I’d like to play with it – it might just work.

  • iksnilol

    Doesn’t magnesium burn?

    • gunslinger

      everything burns

    • Paul Epstein

      Magnesium is a potentially flammable metal, but so are aluminum and titanium. Steel in fine enough wires (i.e. steel wool) can be lit with a lighter or electrical current and is useful for starting campfires when it’s wet. The polymer of much of the furniture on the average person’s AR probably ignites more easily than aluminum will.

      • iksnilol

        I know that everything is flammable but aren’t firestarters usually made from magnesium? That’s why I was a bit puzzled by magnesium as a choice.

        • Paul Epstein

          Magnesium IS included in a firestarting kit, but I suppose I’m going to have to explain in detail. If you’ve used one, you know that you have to shave off very thin slivers from the block, and then you have to use a reasonably hot flame like a butane lighter to get them to ignite easily. Like aluminum and titanium, it naturally forms an oxidized layer on the surface which, since combustion is just a different form of oxidizing that occurs more rapidly, means that magnesium which has been exposed to the elements isn’t easily flammable. By using small enough pieces that they can’t radiate the heat away, and removing the protective oxidation, you can now lower the necessary temperature to the point that your lighter can set it off. And the reason for all that effort is that magnesium burns extremely hot- if you have dry kindling, it would be easier to just light that instead, but if all you have is wet wood, the magnesium will burn hot enough to still start a fire.

          As a lower, the magnesium wouldn’t just have it’s natural oxidation, it would be anodized the way aluminum is to form a completely noncombustible outer surface, and even without that it’s thick enough that you would need to expose the entire surface to a hot flame in order to cause any of it to combust.

          Finally, magnesium is commonly found on the INSIDE of high end jet engines. Using it as a lower is extremely light duty in comparison.

          • iksnilol

            I am aware of it needing to be in thin pieces to be able to burn. Just hadn’t heard about magnesium used for receivers.

          • Adam aka eddie d.

            Chemistry class, my good Sir! 🙂
            It’s not pure magnesium.
            Pure magnesium is very reactive (when powdered or in small pieces or shavings), it reacts with oxygen easily
            and burns away in a violent and rapid manner.
            It’s used for pyrotechnics, both civilian and military (flas grenades etc.)
            Also, heavily alloyed magnesium alloys can throw sparks on some surfaces when scratched or heated (e.g. firesteels).

            The comment referred to aluminium microalloyed with magnesium, and it is perfectly fine for firearms use.
            Check out the BCM KMR handguard for example.

            Magnesium-aluminium alloys have been common in industrial use
            for good quality, sturdy but light parts for a long time now.
            Motorbike and bicycle forks, premium laptop frames or sun glasses for example, but there are many other uses of magn. alloys too.
            They also use it in pure form for alloying steels of different grades, a good many of them you may already used in your pocket knives.

            It’s not a new thing, though gun companies like to picture it as unobtainium really. 🙂

  • schizuki

    General design rule: “You can have it strong, cheap and light – pick two.”

  • CarltonBale

    I 100% agree that this should be made out of a magnesium-aluminum alloy. At this price point, Battle Arms should be doing everything possible to reduce the weight, including using a lighter weight alloy.

    The perfect example of using a lighter-weight material (and also the perfect rail for this receiver set) is the Battle Creek BCM KMR rail. The description from the Battle Creek website:

    Manufactured from an exclusive blended aluminum and magnesium alloy, the
    BCM KMR KeyMod Rail weighs 30-40% less than pure aluminum with the same strength
    properties.”

    If Battle Arms were able to take an additional 30-40% off the 13 oz. weight listed here, this would be a more compelling product. Otherwise, $549 is a lot to pay for a 4 oz. weight reduction vs. significantly less expensive alternatives.