advice for my first AR-15 Bushmaster vs. DPMS


January 5, 2012, 12:57 AM
Hi, i was about to buy a kel-tec plr 15 and was talked out of it, and now I have my eye on an AR. I have narrowed it down to two possibilities, and maybe you will know of others. I am looking to spend 700 dollars tops. The first option is the dpms oracle and the second is the bushmaster carbon 15. The oracle is 105 dollars less and made of metal, the bushmaster is a polymer which i have no problem with unless there is a reason I should. The Bushmaster comes with a red dot and 6 position stock, the dpms does not. The red dot will be replaced right away if I get the bushmaster, and if I get the dpms I will likely replace the stock soon after i buy the gun. What do you all think I should do?

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January 5, 2012, 01:10 AM
Get this instead.

January 5, 2012, 01:39 AM
it says it is a compliant ten round gun, does that mean anything other than the mags they supply are ten round mags?

Al Thompson
January 5, 2012, 06:12 AM
ms6852 posted the neutered rifle. This is the full package:

The two brands you mention are not well regarded for many reasons. S&W on the other hand is doing good things. :)

January 5, 2012, 06:35 AM
The best choice in your price range is the PSA 16'' M4 Chrome-lined Carbine. PSA is temporarily out of stock but it would be worth waiting for. $600 buys a mil-spec carbine.

Cecil Sharps
January 5, 2012, 09:36 AM
bushmaster and dpms are owned by the same group of evil capitalist.

January 5, 2012, 10:18 AM
Either one will foot the bill IMO it sounds like your going to have to accessorize either one and they are both about the same quality. Buy the cheapest one and hang on it what ever you want. BTW I have seen those S&W's selling very reasonably right now.

January 5, 2012, 10:20 AM
Neither one is worth the money they want for them.
Do yourself a favor and so a bit more research. If you are dead set on getting a cheap AR at least look at the S&W Sporter.

January 5, 2012, 11:11 AM
We have 4 DPMS's in the family and they all work great, don't believe all the internet BS....

January 5, 2012, 11:16 AM
I wouldn't touch either one. I second the S&W Sport as a better option in that price range. Others that I would choose ahead of those are the DS Arms and the Del-Ton. The Palmetto is probably a good deal also but I'm having some issues with them right now regarding a defective part and I can't really recommend them until I get that resolved. Apart from that issue I have a complete upper from them that has worked perfectly.

For another $100 a lot of options open up.

January 5, 2012, 02:43 PM
My mutt AR has a DPMS lower and a Bushmaster upper. Oly barrel. =)

January 5, 2012, 03:37 PM
Have a DPMS oracle, was in the same boat as you, dont need a top of the line AR just something to take to the range and play or pop a coyote. Have around 1000 rounds through mine with no issues, and it shoots black hills HP in about 1.5 inch groups at 100 yards.

marine 97-03
January 5, 2012, 04:00 PM
Neither ...psa or s&w mp15 sport

January 5, 2012, 04:03 PM
I've been looking around, and while there are mixed reviews for a lot of brands in this price range, S&W seems to have a good rep. A S&W M&P15 Sport will be my first AR, once I have the funds for it.

January 5, 2012, 05:13 PM
Listen to the folks on here. It's not that Bushmaster & DPMS make terrible rifles, but if this is your first AR, then you might want to get the most VALUE for the same money spent. Right now prices are good on a lot of higher end hardware. Think "milspec" for less!

Better barrel on the Smith outlined above.

Also, look for an M16 bolt carrier group if you can, versus commercial version BCG on the dpms and others. Milspec diameter buffer tube, heavy buffer, crane spec, etc. All can be had for good prices right now. Who knows about later this year.

You may not NEED any of those things to have a good rifle, but if they can be had for the money, why not try.

January 5, 2012, 06:06 PM
Buy a PSA rifle. You'll thank me when you see the guys with DPMS/Bushmaster/RRA guns fumbling with the broken parts at the range.

You may not run the gun hard enough to notice the difference now, but you'll find they're fun to shoot, fun enough that down the road, you may consider a carbine class for self-defense and preparedness, as well as competition/fun reasons. So, better safe than sorry, so to speak. God forbid you ever have to bet your life on a firearm, the AR is one that you want to be built right and ready to go, guaranteed.

January 5, 2012, 07:48 PM
As others have said....

Check out Palmetto State Armory. It is a mil-spec carbine that is within the price range you want. I bought the Psa lower for 49.95 and bought a Hammer forged MOE M4A1 rifle kit for 589.99, after shipping it was 660.00 total. Not bad for a hammer forged, chromelined, mil-spec, MOE equipped AR. If you know how to use a hammer, punch, needle nose pliers, tape, and can build a quality AR for cheap. This was my first and took a total of 20 minutes to build. Here's the link for the kits ...

The price of the stripped lowers goes up on the 8th.

January 5, 2012, 08:35 PM
You'll thank me when you see the guys with DPMS/Bushmaster/RRA guns fumbling with the broken parts at the range.

Oh My!
How many instances of any of that have you seen?

I swore off AR threads...

January 5, 2012, 09:34 PM
You'll thank me when you see the guys with DPMS/Bushmaster/RRA guns fumbling with the broken parts at the range.


just, lol.

Al Thompson
January 5, 2012, 09:39 PM
Several. :) Go to an intense carbine course and your prospective will change. :D

January 5, 2012, 09:53 PM
Why do people do this? Someone wants to buy an entry level gun to go have fun with and it turns into, "If you're going to bet your life on it..."
I've got a folder full of gun failure pictures, and it includes Colt's, Daniel Defense, BCM, Bushmaster, ect.
Guns will fail. The main thing you have to worry about is the gas key screws being staked.

January 5, 2012, 10:29 PM
Go to an intense carbine course and your prospective will change.

maybe sometimes, but dont bet your lunch money on that.

ive got 2 identical models that are sternly frowned upon by sunday morning tactical operators they have been abused lately and ran harder than any carbine course can even come close to.

i will concede that the quality of the brand i own may have slipped from when mine were built 8-10 years ago. (from what ive read on internet gun forums)

January 5, 2012, 10:35 PM
Palmetto State Armory is the way to go. You won't regret your decision.

bob barker
January 5, 2012, 10:48 PM
Don't believe the Internet crap. DPMS and Bushmaster make great rifles. I have 6 Ar's. I have 2 Daniel Defense that I paid top dollar for as well as the cheaper DPMS and Bushmaster versions. The DPMS and the Busmasters are great. I also have an Olympic arms that has been a great rifle. I have a S&W M&P 15 OR Magpul that I like as well.
The people that bash DPMS, bushmaster and Olympic Arms are guys that have never had them and are looking to establish their higher priced rifles as superior. Unless you are shooting bad guys in the desert, you can't go wrong with any of the above listed.

January 5, 2012, 10:54 PM
This is the best read about internet hype and the people who push it. Don't drink the Kool-Aid... Pages 4 & 5 are the best information out there.

January 5, 2012, 11:28 PM
This is the best read about internet hype and the people who push it. Don't drink the Kool-Aid... Pages 4 & 5 are the best information out there.
Chad, that thread primarily dealt with claims about Spikes tactical. DPMS & Bushmaster don't even build to the same quality level as Spikes. They don't even claim to HPT/MPI their bolts at all. Bushmaster even admits that they only batch test their barrels.

While S&W doesn't test their barrels they do individually test their bolts which is much more critical. Companies like BCM, PSA, Daniel Defense, Spikes, LMT, and Colt actually individually HPT/MPI both their barrels & their bolts.

Kwelz has posted pictures in other threads of cracked DPMS lowers, where the lowers were anodized & shipped out despite being cracked. I've personally looked at hundreds of DPMS & Bushmaster rifles while I was working in a high volume gun shop. I've seen Bushmaster's inconsistent carrier key staking - ranging from good (very rarely), to poor (most common), to not at all (frequently). I've never seen a DPMS with proper carrier staking from the factory; instead it varied from poor to non existent. I've seen the tight chambers on both of those brands too. I've held their uppers on delrin bench blocks while the gunsmith drove out the gas tube pins so could take out the barrels, and run a finish reamer in the chambers like the factory should have done. I've seen one Bushmaster with a chamber so tight the finish reamer was useless so it had be sent back to the factory for replacement. That's not to say they don't screw up and put out a decent rifle from time to time.

Call it kool-aid drinking if you want, but it doesn't change what I've seen.

S&W may cut a few corners in non-critical areas, but at least their assembly is top notch, and they maintain quality in the critical areas. Companies like LMT, Colt, BCM, Noveske, and DD are quality in every way. The PSA lower build kits I used late last year were top quality, but I can't comment on anything else they make from first hand experience. The Spikes uppers & rifles I've handled all passed the visual inspection for build quality, but my experience with them is otherwise limited.

ETA: Sorry for the rant. My experience just shows that S&W and some others are much better rifles than DPMS & Bushmaster for the same or slightly more money.

January 6, 2012, 12:10 AM
wford,I have experience with quite a few ar brands. My dad currently owns the exact two you are looking at. I handled them both this weekend. I would prefer the dpms because it has the front gas block that has a rail. The carbon 15 has no back up iron sights which for me is a turn off. I own a stock bushmaster carbine and know one out there could convince me that it is a poor gun. It is my "cold dead hands" gun. I also had an earlier version of the carbon 15 and it was not that good, it had fte problems with all types of ammo. My suggestion would be Dpms if between the two. Now that said all my current ar's are franken builds. I buy the parts I want at the price I want and put it together myself. DO NOT believe these guys on here talking crap on certain brands and claiming other brands are supperior. Bushmaster was king a few years ago, then Stag was all the rage and then Spikes tactical, now it seems Pal. State Armory is the must have. They do have lower right now for 60 bucks....any way I would suggest and do some reading over there.:)

January 6, 2012, 12:16 AM
My experience just shows that S&W and some others are much better rifles than DPMS & Bushmaster for the same or slightly more money.

dont you own a dpms rifle, but the model you own they build properly?

EDIT: I do not own a dpms.

January 6, 2012, 12:29 AM
dont you own a dpms rifle, but the model you own they build properly?
Bryan, you're correct, I do own a DPMS LR-308. As I've stated before the difference in build quality between DPMS LR (AR-10 type) line, and their AR-15 type line is so great it's like two different companies build them.

I should have clarified that it's DPMS AR-15 line which I've seen so many issues with. In the context of the thread title asking about a first AR-15 I assumed that would be clear. You know what they say about assuming - sorry I wasn't clear about in my previous post. :D

January 6, 2012, 12:54 AM
thats what i thought i remembered.

i also have rifles (actually these are ar15's) that are built above their companies reputation for whatever reason. (i.e. well staked carriers, staked castle nuts, 3.63oz buffers, etc etc) ive also recently checked the headspace on both with a set of actual g.i. armorers gages owned by a bud that wont say where he gottum (he gottum in okinawa). i was suprised that both still reject the field and the nogo gages and will still just snick closed on the go and a .0004 foil stock.

folks tell me that rifles made by the company that made my 2 do not do the above things that mine have and they definitely came from the factory that way. my son bought them for me, brand new still in the cardboard.

January 6, 2012, 01:07 AM
Bryan, my DPMS LR isn't anomaly. I've handled dozens, and shot a couple other than mine. The build quality on the LR line is consistently good. It's a very weird contrast.

January 6, 2012, 01:16 AM
my DPMS LR isn't anomaly.

i'm currently advised that my 2 are. ya, its hilarious.

i am smitten by the .308 ar system, and the odds on favorites to end up in my safe are the dpms rifles, so its good to know.

i dont know how anyone can not want a .308 ar rifle. high capacity, semi auto, tamed recoil,,, accuracy on par with the finest bolt guns that are reasonably available to the civvy public..... whats not to like!!!!

January 6, 2012, 06:30 AM
ugaarguy, I guess I posted that thread so people can understand that not everything they read on forums are correct or even close to truthful (READ THIS: I AM NOT CALLING YOU A LIAR). I understand that DPMS (I don't own one) has problem in the QC, but how many rifles have they sold? How many are still running? How many owners are very satisfied with their rifles that they shoot maybe a couple hundred rounds through a year? How many predator hunters own and have great results with their .223/5.56 DPMS ARs?

January 6, 2012, 11:06 AM
Chad1043 - I'm currently in the market for an AR too so this thread has grabbed my interest. To date I have owned exactly 1 AR - an old Olympic carbine I picked up and played around with a few years ago then sold.
Anyhow, from my point of view I'm not looking for what will hold up to just a couple hundred rounds a year for awhile. That might be all I end up using it for or it might not. What I want is the best, most reliable, most durable rifle I can get within my budget. I'm looking into Spikes, PSA, and BCM mid-lengths (which is a step above entry-level) and I don't want to get this thread sidetracked, but I'd think the OP would also want as much rifle as possible for his money. So he asked for the comparison between DPMS and Bushmaster and was told to heavily consider the M&P Sport over both. The guys telling him that feel that they're doing him a favor.

January 6, 2012, 11:17 AM
Like I stated above, we have 4 DPMS's in the family and they are all very good rifles to shoot and all of them are properly staked, I just laugh when I see some of the postings going on about DPMS. They are very accurate, in fact one of mine is my coyote and prairie dog rifle. I wouldn't own one if they didn't work like all the rest of my collection...

January 6, 2012, 11:26 AM
Without reading through all this (been there done that) I will just say that a BM or DPMS will probably serve you just fine, but for the same price and for even less you can do better. Do some research.

January 6, 2012, 11:30 AM
Goon, I hear you and I see you. My point is to ask the question of what are the REAL numbers. How many DPMS rifles were sold last year? How many failed? How many M&P rifles were sold last year? How may failed? It is internet Voodoo... Go to and ask how many guys love their DMPS rifles?

January 7, 2012, 08:30 AM
Thank you everybody for the input. I am looking at the PSA kits and basically have my mind made up that's the way I want to go. I am nervous about putting it together though. Is all I need the upper, bolt n carrier, and stripped lower then?

January 7, 2012, 08:48 AM
Wford, post up what "kit" you are looking at?

January 7, 2012, 08:56 AM
PSA is the best rifle for the money...and I have owned both Shrubmaster and DPMS.

Just my .02,

January 7, 2012, 08:59 AM
This is Palmetto's site. I've been looking at their stuff hard lately but am also thinking hard on Spikes and Bravo Company. I'd like to try BCM I think but at the prices Palmetto has and with the specs they list, they're very tempting.

January 7, 2012, 09:45 AM
Hmm... I just bought a Rock River Arms .458 SOCOM plus a .223 upper. I opted for RRA because I read on the forums that they're one of the best. Did I err?:)

January 7, 2012, 09:47 AM
Shoot it! Don't worry about Internet Voodoo...

January 7, 2012, 10:18 AM
^^^ :D ^^^

Al Thompson
January 8, 2012, 09:21 PM
It is internet Voodoo

Nope. :)

It's about personal experience and the desire to pass on information. Look, every manufacturer occasionally builds a lemon. What some of us older posters are pointing out, is that some manufacturers hit the mark more than others. DPMS and Bushmaster are not in that category. I'm pleased that your sample of one or four work for you. But having spent several years in a LGS, my sample size is a bit larger. ;)

Add in the fact that the OP has a budget (like we all do), he can do better than those two for the same money.

Please note that nobody said anything like "Cowboy up and spend more money!", but instead, for the same amount of cash, get a better brand. :)

January 8, 2012, 09:27 PM
Hey, Al...

What about the RRA .458 SOCOM I bought just 2 months ago? Is it a POS?

January 8, 2012, 09:29 PM
Al, I understand you are very knowledgeable. I have no idea what a LGS is. But in your vast database, how many DPMS rifles have been made? How many have failed? How many Colts have been made? How many have failed?

Buck Kramer
January 8, 2012, 09:43 PM
These threads are ridiculous. I heard from my brother's, dog walker's, cousin once removed, that DPMS rifles blow up after the 547th round, and that's definitely the truth.

January 8, 2012, 09:51 PM
^^^ No-o-o-o-o-o... the truth is my RRA blew up before I even loaded a mag. IT'S TOAST!! :uhoh::D

Al Thompson
January 9, 2012, 08:32 AM
Well, lets take the analogy to a different place. Automobiles. :)

The higher end AR-15 makers are like higher end automobile makers. Cost a bit more and have fewer reliability problems over all.

But, I get along just fine with my mid level CMMG uppers. Lots of rounds down range, couple of classes, no issues.

Several friends own high end automobiles that run and run. I get along just fine with my mid level truck. Runs and runs, no issues.

Place I used to work had three SUVs from the same crappy company that broke down routinely. One right after another.

That would be a clue. ;)

Large gun store (LGS) I worked at for several years stocked Bushmaster, S&W and recently LMT.

DPMS rifles I saw at the local range.

No experience on RRA.

A majority of the time, rifles not working were Bushmasters, DPMS or parts guns. Problems were too tight chambers, gas issues and crappy magazines.

That would be a clue. ;)

And the rifle you have might be great. All I'm saying, is that for recommendations, it's about selecting companies with a history of success rather that companies with a history of producing crappy products. :D

January 9, 2012, 10:14 AM
After resisting for about forty years I bought an almost new Bushmaster (looks just like our old Viet Nam collapsible stock, etc). $650 cash. First load with some nice Sierra 55 grain soft points and starting load of Varget in some new LC cases gave me, in order, 1 3/4", 1 1/4", and finally 3/4" at 100 yards. Never had a rifle "out of the box" with no load workup do anything near that. (3-9X scope).
I'm happy with my Bushie.

January 9, 2012, 03:15 PM
As someone who is just starting to consider an AR-15, I find this thread very helpful. It seems like I always have a lot of projects going on so when I do buy, it will be a complete gun and most likely new. No knock against anybody who builds their own; I just don't have the time. Thank you all for the specific mention of complete guns. From a newbie's view, the S&W Al referenced is very appealing. (It would be my third S&W. #1 has performed flawlessly. #2 had a hex screw that stripped and their customer service was great.) I would hope it's resale would be pretty good with the S&W name on it. The Palmetto State looks good too. I just hope they have some available when it's my time to spend $$. Thanks again.

January 9, 2012, 08:14 PM
95XL883 - my hope is to eventually find a used M&P sport at a decent price. Even new I don't think they're going much over $600. I'm hoping to stumble on to one for $450-$475 eventually on the used market and snatch it up.
And I'm hoping the BCM I midlength I want so much turns out to be as much rifle as I hope it will be.

January 9, 2012, 08:46 PM
I've owned numerous 308 DPMS rifles over the years. Never had a problem with them. Just my 2 cents.

Hell we are using one for our big project.

January 9, 2012, 09:07 PM
The M&P Sport can be had for $550 if you look around. The PSA for $599 is also a lot of rifle for the money. I've seen too many improperly staked carrier keys on Bushmasters to buy one. I've got one of the original M&P15s that has been flawless (except when I swapped the bolt/carrier with a CMMG but that's another story) for over five thousand rounds, most of them suppressed and therefore very dirty.

The bottom line is that for the same money you can get either a PSA or a S&W, both of which are higher quality rifles than the Bushmaster. I've never shot a DPMS so I won't comment on them.

January 9, 2012, 09:25 PM
I can't comment on DPMS, but before I got into the AR15 M4 platform I looked into it becaue of the low cost. I ended up buying a slightly used Bushmaster M4A3 Carbine for an excellent deal. From my experience and research on AR's, the Bushy rifle I got was within acceptable standards (M4 feed ramps, properly staked gas key, mil-spec buffer and tubes, etc).

I hear a lot of good things about the PSA rifle right now esp because of the cost (if you can find one in stock). Currently I have a Spikes lower with a RR upper and have no issues with it so far.

To the OP, try to get a PSA/Spikes/Bushmaster and steer clear of DPMS for now.

January 9, 2012, 09:26 PM
The bottom line is that for the same money you can get either a PSA or a S&W, both of which are higher quality rifles than the Bushmaster

This is the point. It doesn't matter that people are happy with their BMs and DPMSs. The fact is better quality can be had for less money.

Also, the guy who say's he's satisfied with his whatever rifle and shoots less than 1000rds a year thru it should not be considered a reliable source.

January 9, 2012, 09:42 PM
Also, the guy who say's he's satisfied with his whatever rifle and shoots less than 1000rds a year thru it should not be considered a reliable source.

we shot ours 2060 rounds on our last shooting day only. over 20000 total to date.

i'm in my fourth decade of buying and shooting ar15's. i consider myself a reliable source for my own information and subsequent decisions.
(when i bought my first there was only 1 brand)

January 9, 2012, 09:56 PM
Pat Rogers has good things to say about the M&P and he probably sees more rounds go down range every year than just about anyone else.

January 9, 2012, 10:01 PM
I own the DPMS Panther Lite and Daniel Defense V2. For target shooting the DPMS is fine. But for home defense, security, professional use, hard class use- I only use my DD. It s the only AR I own that I trust my life with.

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