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DPMS Panther Arms - Anyone familiar?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Cygnus, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. Cygnus

    Cygnus Member

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    I’m looking for insight on the DPMS Panther Arms AR style with Trinity Force upgrades/parts. This is a completed rifle. I don’t have time for a build right now. Does anyone have any experience with this brand/company? Any insight or help is appreciated.
     
  2. Mosin Bubba

    Mosin Bubba Member

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    DPMS basically makes plinker-grade rifles, and looking them up on Amazon, Trinity Force looks like plinker-grade gear. So basically, it's only worth it if you're paying used plinker-grade prices for it. DPMSs aren't necessarily bad rifles, but they are very cheap ones to buy new.

    I'm guessing it's a 16" carbine? DPMS Oracles (or similar 16" factory ARs) can be found anywhere for $500 or less brand new, and I wouldn't give a seller anything extra for aftermarket grips or stocks. Maybe I'd pay a bit more for a scope/red dot or a free-float rail.

    The price all depends on the details, but I'll go with the most likely scenario and say it's just an Oracle with an aftermarket grip and rail. For $300, I'd snap it up and make it a poor-mans-tacticool rifle, kind of like going Tapco Bubba mode on an SKS. For $500, I'd take a hard pass. For $400, I might be interested, but would probably use that money on a different gun.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
  3. BigBore44

    BigBore44 Member

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    I’m betting if you don’t know anything about DPMS, you’re very new to the AR world.

    Plenty of other options out there. And while it’s not installing all parts necessary, and individually, you could buy a lower, upper, push two pins, and have a complete rifle.
     
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  4. Cygnus

    Cygnus Member

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    Thank you for the input.
     
  5. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    DPMS rifles work fine. As said, they're inespensive rifles and some are very basic; no sights, cheap forend with no heat shield, standard pistol grip. These you can build on.
    There are better ones and they cost more but you will get more.
    If you're new to AR-15s they are a good start.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
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  6. Cygnus

    Cygnus Member

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    Actually not new, I’ve just never come across them before. Got an ad from a subscription I have and it’s the first I’ve seen from them. And I meant don’t have time for stripped lower/upper..., build right now. So picking up another at the price advertised I at least thought I’d take a look. Thank you for the input. Based on Mosin Bubba’s feedback, I’ll be passing on it.
     
  7. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Says someone who obviously has never touched a DPMS rifle, nor perused their catalog of offerings.
     
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  8. Mosin Bubba

    Mosin Bubba Member

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    You'd be wrong about that assumption.

    I'm aware that DPMS makes target/benchrest type rifles, but I'd bet for every 24" target rifle they sell, DPMS moves 10 to 20 Oracles and Sporticals on blowout deals at Academy and Cabelas. That's their stock in trade right now. And there's no way I'm can call a gun company that can't even put heat shields inside a fat M4 handguard anything but plinker grade.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  9. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    What specific rifle are you looking at? DPMS makes everything from bare bones entry level rifles to some fairly good quality and accurate rifles. I know a couple people with there higher end AR15's and one with an AR10 that all shoot really well.

    As for trinity force, they are bargain priced Chinese made stuff. I used one of their stocks and a grip on a rifle I built for someone and I have a set of their iron sights. Pretty cheap stuff but its functional, at least for a range toy.
     
  10. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    Seems quite a few companies have been skipping the heat shields in their M4 and CAR style handguards. Probably because it saves them a few cents on each set and the added cost is a wash when you consider 99% of those receiving a bone stock mil spec rifle will be at least swapping them out anyway....
     
  11. rayatphonix

    rayatphonix Member

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    I have a heavy barreled DPMS in 204 Ruger that’s always shot very, very well. A friend has a DPMS Oracle that doesn’t. I did change the trigger, but other than that, everything is stock. As a poster above mentioned quality seems to vary depending on the model.
     
  12. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    I'll bet its more like 10% that will swap them out. Most people buy guns and leave them the way they came, we are the exception not the norm. Probably the reason they leave them out is that it costs $5 extra dollars and 95% of people won't ever shoot it enough to make any difference if it has heat shields or not.
     
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  13. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    If I’m shooting my AR fast enough that heat shields are needed then I’m having a very bad day indeed. Getting a barrel that hot isn’t good for it.

    I used to own a DPMS rifle that was essentially an A2 clone. It was a decent enough gun accuracy-wise, and just as reliable as any other AR. I traded it for an HBAR but would have been happy to keep it.

    I actually think Colt was onto something when they were selling their Expanse rifles without furniture. Why buy parts you know you are going to trash anyway?
     
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  14. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    DPMS has a reputation of producing exceptionally accurate barrels. They’ve made a living for decades by offering low-cost model options, largely just mil-spec carbines like the bulk of what any other manufacturer offers, but they’ve kept themselves in business through decades where competition have floundered or even failed. In the ban era, Del-ton was pumping out parts in surges here and there, offering the bargain bin prices guys drool over still today, Colt and Armalite were over priced, Bushmaster was making the “Cadillac models” for civilians, and DPMS was making the working man’s rifle - which did everything any Colt or Bushmaster or Armalite could or would do. Those of us shooting Colts and Bushmasters at the time were begrudged to eventually admit the DPMS rifles contained most of the same parts, and certainly the same quality of parts as any of the rest. Something nobody wanted to admit when their more expensive rifles were getting out-performed by inexpensive DPMS’s, whether in 3 gun or Glassed Gas Gun bench competition.

    I personally was in that class - my tolerance ended at Bushmasters, but I sold a lot of DPMS rifles, and in a business specializing in building and rebuilding AR’s, the REAL differences between different brands was clear.

    I expect @Mosin Bubba is referring to the DPMS Glacier handguard with the term “fat handguard without heat shield.” Lots of mil-spec monkeys have whined about the lack of heat shield in these rifles/handguards, but anyone who has fired one has felt the effect of these finned handguards, and equally, anyone who has shot AR’s much realize standard pencil barrels will heat up a handguard even with embedded shields. They’re fat and lack aesthetic appeal, especially so in an era ruled by slimline handguards and rifles with enhanced aesthetics, but they’re solid, and don’t get any hotter than a common shielded M4 type.

    Anyone selling a line that DPMS is sub-grade to anything like a Ruger AR-556, S&W Sport II, PSA PA-15, or these other $300-500 commercial mil-spec clones is just barking more Internet bull crap.
     
  15. Mosin Bubba

    Mosin Bubba Member

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    I never said that DPMS is below a Ruger/S&W/PSA; all of those guns are on the exact same level. Frankly, 90% of their parts are the same across manufacturers.

    There's nothing wrong with a cheap DPMS as a range gun, but in a commodified AR market, the important thing is to make sure you pay range-gun prices for it. I've had a couple friends new to ARs hit me with the exact same line as the OP, saying they paid $600 for a used DPMS or Double Star AR with the UTG type doodads, and alI could do is hold my tongue and not mention the exact same gun sold brand new for $450 at Walmart...

    Exactly, although I am unaware of any brand that's eliminated head shields besides DPMS. It's a sensible corner to cut from a manufacturing perspective, but it's definitely a cutting-corners gun.

    I'm not a Chart-thumping ARF guy, I like my low end ARs, but they're plinkers. We can call a spade a spade.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  16. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    If i wanted a heavy barrel bench rest type rile DPMS would be in the running. They do seem to make very good barrels.

    I'd probably shop else where for a carbine however.
     
  17. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    I'm just curious, what exactly do people need to see an AR 15 do to rise to the level of HD/SD worthy? I've seen, and not specifically this thread alone but it seems alot of people are quick to dismiss any sub -$600 AR as merely a "plinker" or "range toy", etc...

    I fully encourage people to pursue the highest quality weapon they can afford but in terms of self defense I own guns in the lower cost bracket and they have all been 100% reliable and are made of quality materials so why would I relegate them to "plinker" status when they have proven to perform just as reliable as any other Colt, DD, BCM, etc...?

    If we are talking about the distinction between a budget option and a precision target rifle I would have to agree with most in terms of paying more will result in better accuracy, etc... but for defense, I would bet an M&P Sport and a 6920 would go round for round with each other.... just a thought. I dont speak with any authority other than I have a relatively high round count with an M&P and in many thousands of rounds I have experienced 0 failures of any kind so if someone came in and brought nastiness into my home I wouldnt hesitate to use it in that role, I don't feel that I need to "level up" and get a dancing pony before I can adequately defend myself....
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  18. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    I have a DPMS A2 Classic. Bought it about two weeks before Sandy Hook. I knew very little about AR’s then and still know probably less about them than most people on this website. It had a seriously atrocious trigger. Did some research and found out this was the norm. I immediately put a Timney in it. I wanted an A2 stock and 20” barrel. The rifle has been shot very little but is very very accurate with 65 grain Gamekings. Maybe if I knew more about AR’s I wouldn’t like it as much, but I’ve been happy with it.
     
  19. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    DPMS isn't what it used to be. They were a small manufacturing company That made Mil-spec quality rifles and very basic but quality AR's and parts. They have been bought out by a large holding company and the original factory and local suppliers closed or make parts for others. Current DPMS rifles are the same rifle as a couple other brands now. I don't recall for sure but it could be freedom group that makes Remington and others. Probably still decent rifle.
     
  20. kenboyles72

    kenboyles72 Member

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    I have the DPMS Sportical. Yes the stock hand guard is fat and lacks heat shield, but I put a lot of rounds through it before I bought a quad rail and had no issues with heat. Most aftermarket rails don't have heat shields either and lots of folk sing praises over them. The budget line of DPMS rifles do have some pretty cheap furniture on them, but not so much that really affects the rifle's ability. I have changed the pistol grip, the hand guard and put in a reduced power trigger spring kit (only changed trigger spring) and this rifle shoots pretty good. If I take my time, I can get some descent groups, prolly 1.5-2 MOA groups with Monarch steel cased ammo at 100yrds. The trigger was a bit gritty at first, but after about 200 rnds, it smoothed out. With the reduced power trigger spring, it has a smooth, crisp trigger pull. My brother-in-law, which is a FFL, has a lot of the higher end AR's and he has shot my DPMS. He has stated my rifle shoots just as well as his. Maybe i got lucky and got a very good rifle, maybe not and it's not as bad as most people think it is.
     
  21. Mosin Bubba

    Mosin Bubba Member

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    To be honest, I think a DPMS/Ruger/PSA/what have you is absolutely fine for HD use.

    Let me clarify my thoughts on plinker-grade ARs: I don't see that term as derogatory. It seems that people have made it out to be I think of them as "toy guns", only fit for making noise unlike the heaven-sent Colt 6920. A lot of internet gun guys are like that, so I get where the derision comes from. I'm not that guy. I pinky-swear.

    The fact is, most AR shooters are plinkers; from my experience, I'd guess the number is around 90%. They go to the range once a month, they shoot 100 rounds at paper, then they pack up and go home. I personally shoot that way myself; it's fun. And if you just need a rifle to get some range time in, a DPMS is perfect. The distant screaming you hear from ARF.com is "they're not fit for DUTY!", but if you're not going to do repeated mag dumps or use your rifle as a crowbar, then who cares? Those cut corners save you up to half the cost of a Colt or BCM and you'll never notice the difference in performance.

    HD, if anything, is even less demanding than range use. Your gun just sits in a corner of an air-conditioned room or a safe. It's not getting wear-and-tear, it's not getting dirty, it's just sitting there hanging around. Any gun you trust to feed reliably will work for HD. If I had a DPMS that would feed past say a 200 shot break in period (and most will), I'd be absolutely fine trusting it to HD duty. Heck, I'd be fine trusting a $150 Hi Point to nightstand duty if I was confident it would feed.

    So the problem isn't that DPMSs are a bad gun. The problem is that ARs in that class are really, really cheap to buy.

    Like you said, if you need bug-eye precision or anvil-esque durability, that will cost you some money. But if you're don't need those things (and the majority of shooters are fine without them), then $500 will buy you an essentially identical AR carbine from one of a dozen different manufacturers. If all dozen threw their 16" M4 models in a pile, you probably couldn't figure out which one was which without a roll mark. If you shot 100 rounds out of all dozen of them, you still probably couldn't figure out which one was which without a roll mark.

    So for a used gun out of that lot, cost is pretty much the only determinant you have. If the price tag is anything close to a new Smith/Ruger/PSA/whatever, then I'd personally rather just get a new rifle instead. Your run-of-the-mill DPMS carbine isn't a bad gun, it's just that cheap ARs are super fungible.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
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  22. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    Good thought. Yeah I will trust most guns after a good while shooting them without problems. I used to not like AR's and wasn't doing alot of independant thinking and went based off of what other people told me which was that AR's were finicky and prone to failure, when I wanted a semi auto carbine I was steered toward a ruger mini 30 and it gave me nothing but problems.

    I eventually decided on an AR after looking into things on my own and my first was about 10 years ago picked up a DPMS sportical and it functioned great, especially since before I knew any better I always ran it almost totally dry. I eventually sold it because I was convinced I needed a true mil spec rifle with a "dust cover and Forward assist".

    If I'd known then what I know now I probably would have kept that carbine, it was a perfectly good 5.56 carbine.

    But as mosin bubba has pointed out, dont buy used for what you can buy for new. If you consider paying $400 for a used DPMS then you may as well consider spending $50-$100 more for something new with a twist rate, bbl finish, stock+handguard of your choosing.
     
  23. TikkaShooter

    TikkaShooter Member

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    I have an older DPMS 16" heavy barrel; it is accurate which was easily improved with a Geissele trigger. All in all a decent rifle. IMO, its weakness is the lack of a Wylde chamber..
     
  24. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    That “change” happened long ago enough that it was already in place before DPMS really even made its name. Even 20 years ago, DPMS (Panther Arms) was held by the same folks who owned Bushmaster. Still are. Remington came into the picture over a decade ago, Freedom/Cerberus picked up the whole lump a long time ago, and has been trying to shuffle it around ever since. Bushmaster went after the ACR, the Windham guys broke off and started their own thing, and a thousand little AR boutiques cropped up, but when I hold a DPMS lower today beside one from 20yrs ago, I’m holding the same parts. During at least one period of time, you could nearly buy the same rifle, with a few modest tweaks, with any of the 3 labels - but at very different price points, commensurate with the relative prices of the upgrades (notwithstanding the actual value created in function by the $150-200 mark up for the Remington Camo coat).

    There was a point in time where when I called Bushmaster to order 50 lowers, I could request in the same phone call to have some branded as DPMS and some as Bushmaster - even the supply chain logistics were intermingled - and that would have been ‘roundabouts 2002-4.
     
  25. mcb

    mcb Member

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    How would you guys compare a new DPMS to a new Bushmaster?
     
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