Unlike the standard AR-15 lower receivers which are primarily made of forgings, the majority of custom receivers are machined from solid blocks of aluminum. This was the case with the Sharps Bros Livewire lower receiver too, however, the company has announced that from now on they will be making these receivers from custom 7075 aluminum forgings made by Anchor Harvey. Let’s take a look at Sharps Bros forged Livewire lower receiver’s features and see what are the benefits of this transition for the end user.
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One of the primary advantages of making a metal part from a forging over machining it from a solid block is the stronger construction of the final product because the forging process pretty much bends the grain of the material to the shape of the part. In the case of machining from bar stock, the grain of the cut material is open, thus the part is relatively weaker. Below you can see the differences in the grain structure of cast, milled and forged metal parts.
Other advantages of making parts from forgings are the material cost and machine time savings because way less material is used in the forging and less material must be removed from that forging to make a final part compared to machining from solid blocks. The result is not only a stronger but also a cheaper part. The price of the Sharps Bros Livewire lower receiver dropped from $199.99 for the initial billet machined version to $136.79 ($129.95 MAP) for the new forged one.
Sharps Bros forged Livewire lower receivers are black hard coat anodized and feature an ambidextrous bolt release, threaded bolt catch pin, threaded rear takedown pin recess, ambi safety markings, flared magazine well and integrated oversized trigger guard. These lower receivers are compatible with mil-spec upper receivers as well as GI and Magpul magazines. The overall weight of the forged Livewire lower receiver is about 8.7 oz.
What do you think about the forged Livewire lower receiver? How does it compare to other non-standard forged lower receivers on the market? If there are metallurgists among our readers, please tell us in the comments section what other advantages (or disadvantages) forgings have.
Pictures by Sharps Bros, www.sharpsbros.com