Damascus AR receiver

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A company by the name of Dahmer Arms has announced on their webpage that they will be making a limited lot of 10 AR lower receivers out of Damascus Steel. Each receiver will be billed at 5,000 dollars, a hefty toll for a one of a kind production item. They say that they will be ready in the Fall this year. The company is mostly centered around producing Damascus Steel 1911 grips, in addition to various other configurations of metal 1911 grips. This will be their first attempt at producing a Damascus Steel lower receiver.

There are a number of myths about Damascus Steel within the firearms community. I’m not a gunsmith, but as I understand it, there are about five different ways of manufacturing using the process, and one of them has been deemed unsafe, as it involves wrapping layers of steel around a solid core to produce a shotgun barrel. Later on, after a number of shots and years went by, these barrels had a chance of bursting when fired, and were thus deemed unsafe to fire. However, this particular process is only one type of barrel manufacture that was widely used in a particular time period previous to the 1900s. The other processes of Damascus Steel are perfectly fine to shoot from, if a firearm is made from that. Again, I’m no metal expert so if any of our readers want to point out exactly what these processes are, by all means.

Limited run of 10 lower receivers will be made. contact directly gary@dahmerarms.com for availability. to our knowledge nobody has ever made a lower receiver out of damascus. we hope to have these ready to ship by early Fall 2015.



Miles V

Former Infantry Marine, and currently studying at Indiana University. I’ve written for Small Arms Review and Small Arms Defense Journal, and have had a teenie tiny photo that appeared in GQ. Specifically, I’m very interested in small arms history, development, and Military/LE usage within the Middle East, and Central Asia.

If you want to reach out, let me know about an error I’ve made, something I can add to the post, or just talk guns and how much Grunts love naps, hit me up at miles@tfb.tv


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  • Some Guy

    How about just a regular stainless steel AR lower and upper? Anybody make any of those?

    • Paladin

      Why would you want that? SS would not provide any significant benefit over aluminum and would have significant cost and weight penalties.

      • Some Guy

        Because this is America and I like steel, that’s why! đŸ™‚

        It wouldn’t be any more useless than this “Damascus” lower, and it would probably be a lot cheaper.

        Weight isn’t always a penalty either. I have plenty of cheap aluminum lowers available if I’m worried about weight.

        • sgt fish

          its been done in the past. some registered M16 lowers were made out of a block of stainless. I dont know of anyone doing it now though

        • Paladin

          I understand the draw of something like a Damascus lower or a blued steel Turnbull, they’re unique and visually interesting, the sort of thing that makes a good collector/display piece. What I don’t get is what’s so special about SS.

          • Some Guy

            I’ve just always wanted one.

            I don’t need a justification.

            That is all.

          • Paladin

            Whatever floats your boat, I’m just curious as to what would make such a thing desirable.

          • Some Guy

            Things made of steel just appeal to me on a completely subjective level. It probably has something to do with my experience as a blacksmith’s apprentice back in high school. It’s the material itself that appeals to me regardless of what it’s made into. Just like some people like to make gun miniatures or replicas from blocks of wood, my imagination is captured by reproductions of items in steel that are normally made of something else.

            Perhaps someone else has an objective reason, but I won’t pretend I think a steel lower would be “better” in and substantive way. Maybe the FCG pin holes would be less likely to wear out? I doubt it, I’ve never seen an AR lower worn out.

          • Paladin

            I suppose I can understand that. It’s not really something I’d spend money on, but that’s just me.

    • Laserbait

      I’d love one too, in a nice brushed finish to match my Ruger Revolvers. I love that look.

  • Reef Blastbody

    Honestly, the particular process used to pattern weld the iron/steel to achieve the traditional Damascus pattern isn’t a big deal where an AR lower receiver is concerned. It’s a low stress piece, as the feasible use of polymer to make lowers demonstrates.

    I’d be more worried about rust and corrosion from fingerprints than any mechanical strength issue from shooting it.

    • Giolli Joker

      It’s likely to be stainless damascus from Damasteel, Sweden.
      It holds up as a wedding band on my hand, it should survive corrosion and fingerprints.
      On these modern examples there are no concerns on mechanical strenght as well. (and the populary of pattern welded steel, other than its beauty, in the past was due to its superior mechanical properties compared to iron or low grade steel)

  • anonymous

    I don’t care what the receiver is made out of.

    What I want are bullets made from Valyrian steel or dragon glass, for use against the White Walkers. Because Winter is coming.

  • AnEngineer

    One of the ways knife makers make Damascus steel is to layer
    strips or bundle up wires of an alloy like 4140 or 4340 with a high carbon
    steel like 1080 and then fore weld them together by heating the block and them
    hammering and folding it over and over. The final piece is treated with an acid
    that etches the two steel alloys at different rates giving it the light and
    dark patterns.

  • Wingbert

    I love my Damascus Steel knives but I’ll pass on having a lower receiver made of anything but 7075.

  • Lars Thorsen

    I dig the pattern illustrated in the above image, I’m just wondering if any of our laser engraving friends here could replicate the ‘same effect’ to a regular aluminum lower?

  • Edeco

    Would have blown my mind in the 90’s. Now; meh. How about beryllium? Might be a little horribly toxic…

  • Tom

    Not helped by the fact we now call historic Damascus steel Wotz steel. So modern Damascus steel is trading off the rep of Wotz steel which was vastly superior for making swords.

    Of course with modern production methods we can make steel just as good, not as pretty certainly.

    • Sianmink

      Superior to pattern-welded, bloomery steel and common crucible steel (which Wootz was a type of) but not as good as modern homogeneous steel, if you pick the right steel and heat-treat it properly.
      The ‘watered’ patterns in true wootz is exceptional though.

  • Tierlieb

    TTAK should stop copying pseudo-scientific articles.

    Those “secrets” have never been forgotten. There have been fascinating stories about that, from Ken Follett’s crucible steel story in “Pillars of the Earth” to damascus steel being a secret rediscovered by Denig or Sachse after World War II. Stuff like that fills the pages of pseudo-scientific magazines, but that’s the only thing it is good for.

    Whether it is Wootz, Bulat or one of the several variants of pattern welding, they have been continuously used since their invention, because forge-welding and smelting are basics. Sometimes they had different names, mainly because their purposes changed (European pattern welding was used to deal with the rarity of high carbon steel, Japanese pattern welding did the opposite – both became uninteresting after we managed to properly alloy steels to our specifications).

    Nowadays, we do not use Wootz on an industrial level, because it does not offer any benefits, its inhomogeneity is a liability. Hobbyists still make Wootz, because smelting is a bigger challenge than forge-welding or forging and the product is special.

    We still use pattern welded steel in the industry, not because it is stronger, but because it looks pretty. The best pattern welded steels have qualities similar to mono steels, they do not exceed them.