Thanks cabinetman, great report! I have not had a chance to actually handle one and you have covered any questions i might have.
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.
Last edited by Cabinetman; 10-27-2009 at 10:20 PM.
Thanks cabinetman, great report! I have not had a chance to actually handle one and you have covered any questions i might have.
"The beauty of the 2nd Amendment is that it will not be needed untill they try to take it." ......Thomas Jefferson
Glad to have contributed.
I have spent more time with the rifle today. It was a deluge of rain here, however, and the range would be pretty messy, even covered. Tomorrow (Thursday) however looks good.
I did tear down a cartridge and removed the powder (obviously) just to see how the brass would handle the chamber. It dropped right in and I did drop the bolt and pop the primer. It fired nicely with a stong detent. When I manually removed it, however, I did notice some very thin scratches parallel to each other on the brass. Tomorrow I will pay more close attention to my ejects for the same scratches. Maybe the chamber needs to be buffed.
I also spent some time carefully checking the bolt action and lubing up the action with my lube of choice: Militec-1. What better time to infuse a super-quality "dry lube' into new metal than before it's shot. I even ran a patch through the bore as instructed. No other lub will do that, for sure!
Anyway, we're ready for live fire so tomorrow I'll try to at least get a couple of mags through the new rifle.
Took five new magazines, new rifle, new Aimpoint and assembled everything at the range. Ran a couple of rounds through the action one at a time to test for function, then loaded five rounds into each of two mags, put the rifle on a rest, and shot this at 50 yards, swapping mags.
Needless to say that out-of-the-box this rifle is capable of some fine shooting and, with some work, will handle long shots without a hitch
I shot South AFrican surplus (147 grain bullet) through the 1/10 twist barrel without a hitch. Notice that there is no tumbling or shattering of the rounds. At 100 yards the same was true.
After that I ran the rest of the mags and ended with a relatively rapid shooting of 19 rounds through one mag. The recoil is robust but no more than an FAL or M1a. Still the rifle comes back to target aquistion quickly and is very accurate, even brand new. No FTF or overrides or any mag issues or extraction problems at all. DPMS did themselves proud on this one.
Last entry. Just thought I'd share. The fellas in the desert would do well with this rifle, I think.
i got the same dpms lr308 but mine has the 24 inch stainless bull barrel have not shot it yet saveing up for a scope thinking of getting a super sniper for it. quality looks very good
That looks like a really nice optic and even has the parallax knob on it. With a 24" barrel and that scope, you'll be recuited to take 2000 yard shots! Good luck with it.
I wouldn't wait for the scope. Borrow one and get to the range with that beauty!
I just bought a LR308 and wanted to know how to switch the safety selector to the other side?
You can find any ambidextrous safety that is advertised for any AR-15 and swap it into your rifle. Simple as pie.
I saw those. I fired 3 boxes today and being left handed the safety selector rubs my hand when its on fire. So I wanted to know if im able to switch the oem selector to the other side.
Oh! Don't know about that although in my mind, I can't see why you might not be able to create a "lefty model" using an ambidextrous one. I can't recall ever seeing a dedicated "left hand" safety but I'll bet there's one out there.
I just got the exact same rifle as yours and topped mine with a Nikon 4-16x42SF optic.
DPMS has a lengthy recommended break in/cleaning/ammo usage regimen and wonder if you followed their instructions.
They don't like the SA 147 milsurp ammo.
Fired a total 40 rnds, in two range sessions, using PRVI 168gr and 175gr match ammo. At 100yds, after dialing the scope in, was getting 1-1 1/2" grps from a rest at the bench.
However I've had several FTEs with severly deformed case necks.
I sprayed the action throughly with CLP and worked charging handle many times.
Hope the FTEs will go away as the parts wear in.
Got somne 168gr MatchKings BTHP on order and hope they will result in tighter groups.
Deformed case necks? That's interesting. I have NOT experienced anything like that. My surplus brass is just fine with no issues at all. Have you tried any surplus in your rifle?
Rifemanone, since day one, I've only shot 147 grain surplus ammo through my .308win marked rifle with only excellent results. I have no doubt that running heavier bullets through the 1/10 twist barrel would work fine and improve accuracy even more but I, too, am actually getting very tight groups off a bench rest. When I was sighting in the scope, I actually ended up putting a couple of rounds through the same hole. No kidding.
When I first got the rifle, I was unaware that DPMS frowned on the use of the surplus ammo but I the only reason I bought it was to be able to shoot up my stash that I had worked so hard to accumulate. I checked both commercial and surplus rounds in it at the range, however, and both chambered and ejected just fine. However I have not shot any commercial stuff at all. I did have one initial "sticky" brass at the very beginning but that problem disappeared after about three mags worth of shooting. I also vigoursly cleaned the chamber using a 12 gauge brass brush and some good cleaner. Since then I've never had an issue.
As for scoping, I originally had my Aimpoint CompML2 red dot on there. Drop the dot on the target and pop the trigger and you'll hit your target every time. But that's only for relatively close 100-125 yd targets. I decided that I wanted to be more accurate further out so I intalled a Barska 3.5-10x40 IR SWAT Tactical Rifle Scope held on by ARMs lever quick mounts. The scope is rock solid and has held it's accuracy for well into 500 rounds. The more I shoot this rifle the better it gets. I also installed a Geissele trigger which, my friend, is probably the best thing you can do for this rifle. You don't need a Geissele but any good adjustable trigger will improve accuracy especially off hand. I use a 2 point tactical sling on it and off hand can rapid fire 20 rounds at a 12" gong at 100 yards and hit it 17 or 18 times easily. To me, that's the performance I wanted from this rifle. It wasn't supposed to be a target rifle but an all-around zombie killer that I can use well out to 400 yards if needed. It will do that all day long.
I would not hesitate to shoot your surplus through it. Aside from the supposed inconsequential, miniscule size difference between .308 and 7.62 x 51, the pressures and bullets are well below commercial ammo, anyway. So, as long as they chamber properly that won't be a problem. I also own Forster gauges (go, no-go, and field reject) used by our military. The rifle headspaces perfectly.
I had read and have discovered that this rifle likes to be lubricated. I use militec1 in all my firearms with excellent results. If you get a sticky round, chances are good you just have to do a good chamber scrubbing and be on your way. Other than that one initial sticky brass, I have not had ANY issues with ejection, the claw, or the brass even one time. After you shoot this for a bit you'll be fine. Finally, I have C-Product mags. They all work perfectly. I have two DPMS mags that came with the rifle. One shot fine the other is just a tad loose upon lockup and the bolt will override a round from time to time. I just don't use that mag anymore.
Finally, there's another forum that is dedicated just to this rifle here: http://308ar.com/forum/index.php I love Gunboards but also enjoy reading in detail specifics about my rifles. There's a plethora of info there. Check it out.
Hope this helps. What a wonderful platform. The only thing I think I may do in the future is rebarrel to a more standard weight barrel just to loose a pound or two, not that's a major issue. But, that's way on the back burner for now.
Tnx for your input.
I have not yet tried any surplus ammo in the rifle. However, I also have a stash of SA, as well as POF, Indian and DAG.
I'll will, as you suggested, vigorously clean the chamber with a 20 ga brass brush and some good cleaner.
I installed a JP adjustable tactical trigger set at around 3.5#. It's sweet.
I have never used Miltec 1, but will get some on next Brownell's order.
Use the standard DPMS 10 rnd mags as NY hi cap laws are totally unrealistic. We can own 10rndrs but 20 rndrs are verboten. Wouldn't the output of two 10 rndrs = one 20 rndr?
Use the standard black canvas sling that came with the rifle. Fine for my range needs.
Tnx for the link to the .308ar forum.
Too friggen cold, here in western NY, to visit the range.
Regarding your surplus, stick with the DAG, SA, and POF initially unless you're confident that your Indian ammo is the good stuff. I'd start with the DAG. I'm shooting a lot of it right now exclusively, saving my Port and Hirt for future use. If you compare any of that surplus to commercial, you'll see no difference. Some of that surplus you've got is even has staked primers. Very nice stuff indeed.
Regarding mags that's a tough one. My son lives in Kalifornia and has to deal with that, too. FYI, the DPMS and other brands of mags only hold 19 rounds for some reason. There's spectulation as to why but it all has to do with politics. STill, the C-product mags work fine.
I've been seeing that the NY weather hasn't been all that great, primarily near the lakes. We even got a couple of inches of your "lake effect" snow on the western part of CT this morning. Caused all kinds of issues.
Good luck. You'll love that rifle.
"We thought about it for a long time, 'Endeavor to persevere.' And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union." Lone Watie
Guess my Indian ammo is OK.
I have put more than 500 rnds downrange through an LE2A and Rem 700P without any issues.
I, too, suffered from the opinion that the Indian ammo (like the Turk stuff) was sub-bar. I've since learned that that's not the case. I even sold 385 rounds I had to someone who said he was going to tear it down. Turns out the stuff is non-corrosive and boxer primed. Go figure. He said that another reloader had pulled down 2000 rounds only to find two that had defective (low weight) bullets but the powder they used was fine. That's why I hesitate not to use it. Of course we have to be careful because some stuff, like the Turk, can be very destructive to semi-autos. But, I'd shoot the Indian myself at this point.
Most of my Indian, "7.62 M 80 OFV 86" has been shot through an LE 2A, that was sold. At least 100 rnds have been fired through a Remy 700P with no issues. It grps almost MOA through this rifle. Go figure.