HI Guys. I just got this in today and figured that maybe someone out there might be interested in an initial reaction to this intersting rifle.
Initial Review of the DPMS Panther LR 308 B
with an 18” bull barrel and in A2 configuration with flat top.
I was fortunate. Like so many of their competitors, DMPS is still under a phenomenal backlog with their .308 / 7.62 x 51 rifle orders, many many months into the future. However, when I decided to purchase one of their rifles, I was extremely fortunate to find a supplier that had three on hand and, more extraordinary, the model I wanted! Now they have two because I bought one immediately on the 15th of October. After all the paperwork, I now have it in my hands on the 27th of October (A paltry 12 days!) and I didn’t pay a premium for it, either. The all-up price shipped in a hardcase, two mags, sling, and cleaning kit was $1091 plus $19.95 shipping to my FFL and then my local FFL $20 xfer. DPMS makes other models of course, some for double that amount but this is the model I was looking for.
I initially decided to build one as I’d built numerous AR15s. The process is virtually identical. However, unlike the AR15, finding the pieces were impossible and the price would have easily been about $200 more for the same rifle. Not only that, parts compatibility was an issue. So, I abandoned that idea and began looking for one to purchase.
I thought I’d take a few minutes detailing my initial impressions with this rifle before I take it to the range and maybe answer some questions some of you may have had.
First of all, this is NOT and AR-10 although, like the AR10, it is built on the AR-15/M16 type platform. Looking at the rifle it does looks like an overgrown, bulked out AR15. It’s only when you go to grab it that you realize that there’s a lot more going on since it weighs in at about 11 pounds. The only manufacturer that can use the AR-10 designation is Armalite. Therefore DPMS and RRA and the other .308 AR platform models all have their own designations. And, just as an aside, interchangeable parts between the manufacturers is minimal. Most of these rifles have proprietary pieces and will NOT interchange other than the ones that do use AR15 parts like lower receiver guts and possibly the stocks.
First, the initial impression when I opened the black, formed case, was to ooh and awww. You only get to meet a new rifle once and I wanted to savor the moment I’ve been anticipating. It’s a beautiful rifle and really gives an exclamation mark to the term EBR. Along side an AR15 it looks absolutely intimidating especially since it has that bull barrel in black phosphate color compared to my AR15’s pencil barrel. Size does matter, btw. Regarding size, however, notice that the 18” barreled DPMS is identical in length to the 20” AR15 yet there is quite a difference in heft!
As soon as I picked it up, I could tell it was something to be reckoned with. It was Immediately apparent that the fit and finish was flawless. The first thing I noticed was the fit between the upper and lower which was nicely done. I could not fit a piece of paper in the seam it was that close. The photo appears to show a space behind the upper receiver but there is none. That’s just a shadow. The upper on the DPMS is carved nicely into lower.
The rear pin popped out easily and the two pieces hinged away from each other perfectly. The view inside looked as it should in any AR15 with an A2 stock. AR15 on the left. Those "spots" are not holes but drops of oil reflecting dark on the DPMS lower.
Then I removed the charging handle and removed the bolt. This is a bit different. The bolt is beefier and much larger as the photo shows.
Tolerances between it and the upper receiver were also a very close. One of the issues I’ve read with the DPMS rifles is that the bolts and charging handles are very tightly machined. Therefore, I will have to work that action with the proper lubrication for some time to get it to loose up to where it’s more comfortable to work. I may even take a bit of emery paper to it to make it nice and smooth. The action is identical to its little cousin but requires more “umph” to yank the handle. The bolt, itself, looks well done. The gas impingement cup is held onto the bolt with two allen head screws that are, in fact, swedged into place to keep them from ever loosening up. The rest of the bolt is just a larger version of the AR bolt and doesn’t pose any new challenges. Again, disassembling it was just as an AR would disassemble and it all goes right back together and the two receiver married tightly back together with no issues at all.
The buttstock on the DPMS is longer as you can see and while similar to the A2 AR15 appears to have a different length buffertube. The safety switch is identical as is the pistol grip to the smaller cousin.
The trigger has been a “complaint” by a lot of fellas. This one is no target trigger either but with some time and some shooting it should feel a lot better soon enough. While a bit “gritty” it doesn’t have much more than, say, a 6 pound feel to it with only a tiny bit of take up in it. If I were to improve anything I might go with an RRA drop-in match trigger in the future. For now, however, it’s more an adequate.
Shake the rifle and nothing rattles except for the front sling swivel. I’m going to be using a tactical sling on this one, however, and I’m going to remove the front sling swivel. However, removing the sling swivel exposes the perfect mounting stud for the Harris bi-pod should I want one. The rounded handguards allow for a good grip but leaves plenty of space for a hot barrel to cool quickly, I think.
This is a flattop model and I have an Aimpoint Comp ML2 red-dot for this rifle which has a quick-release on it. This is the military red-dot and it popped right on and with a few quick twists, it was solid as a rock. Eye relief was perfect although if I go to put a BUIS on it I would either have to remove the scope or retro in a taller mount for it which is something to work on in the future. Since it has a flat top there is no front sight installed, either. There is plenty of room for it, however, and if it folds down it won’t be an issue with the low scope.
Magazines have also been frustrating for some, also. First of all, I slid in one of the two mags that came with the rifle. It slid in nicely and locked up tight with a perfect fit, just like an FAL. And, when I push the release, the mag fell away without an issue just like my AR-15. Then I tried that with the three additional C-Products mags that I’d received the other day. Same thing. I also noticed that the followers in both mags are plastic and I have not experienced any interference at all as I loaded or unloaded rounds. All five mags appear to be hold rounds perfectly against the feed lips and at the right angle and shouldn’t have an issue with the bolt over-ride as some guys have had. Again, the range time will attest to that.
That’s pretty much what I have to contribute for now. I’ll provide a range report in the near future, just to highlight any mechanical issues or accuracy issues. I’m not working toward fine accuracy yet. That’ll come in the near future. Right now if I’m on paper at 100 yards I’ll be happy.
I'm very pleased, indeed, and I’d do this all over again at this point. The DPMS rifle is a very nicely done piece of firearm machinery. I suspect a bit more felt recoil but nothing unusual and quick follow-up shots should not be an issue even though it launches as formidable round. That remains to be seen, however.
Feel free to ask any questions. I’d be happy to reply and I’d also love to hear more from any other LR308 owners out there as well.