What’s All the Billet About?

Billet versus Forged and Injection Molded    


Is billet really worth all the fuss?  What difference does it make whether a receiver is cut from a block of aluminum instead of a lump of pounded metal or poured and molded instead?  Why is it so important to know?  That’s what we’re going to find out.


There are specific benefits for billet-cut parts, but in order to understand them better, it is profitable to understand the different types of manufacturing methods.  We will look at them in more detail.


Let’s start with injection molding, otherwise known as casting.  This method of making parts is creating a part mold and pouring hot, liquid metal into it.  When the part is dry, there can be minor finishing touches done to them on a mill.  Because the part is mostly finished when it comes out of the mold, there is not as much one can do to it artistically.  The part molds tend to be expensive, so it is more profitable for a manufacturer to use this method if they will produce enough volume to make the investment in the injection mold worthwhile.  Once a mold is made, cast parts can be produced very economically compared to other methods of production and business owners can pass on that cost savings to their customers.  Although casting parts has improved tremendously, quality can vary depending on the vendor, and it is important for a buyer to source reputable companies for molded product.


Forged metal is hammered into a forging die and comes out of that process in the general shape of the part.  Then, a little exterior material is milled away to finish it.  In this process, part customization is really limited because most of it is completed in the forging, and it might not finish up as beautifully as a billet-cut one, but it is very structurally sound.


The process of making billet-cut parts is simply taking a rectangular block of metal called a billet and machining it into a part on the mill.  What is so beneficial about that?  Because the first time the machinist gets the part material, it is still in block form (and not a mostly completed part), it enables the machinist to use the CNC machine to make just about anything he wants within the block’s measurements.  The results can be artistic and beautiful with well-defined lines, 90-degree angles, and variations in sizing of particular features.  The structure of billet-cut parts is, also, quite sound and dependable.


Now that you understand the different manufacturing methods of metal parts, you can use the information to help you define what you are looking for in your gun product.  Billet-cut parts offer more than just good quality and performance, they offer beauty and one-of-a-kind design.  If you purchase them from SOTA Arms, you can, also get similar prices to injection molded ones.  That is a part that can’t be beat!

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