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DPMS Panther Arms AR-15, any good?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by bang_bang, Jul 14, 2006.

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  1. bang_bang

    bang_bang Member

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    I'm interested in purchasing an AR in either .223 or .308 and not going broke in the process. The Panther Arms series of .223 and .308 AR rifles are considerably cheaper than Bushmasters, but I was wondering if they are better, or is the name Bushmaster hyped up more than they are worth. Panther Arms ranked third in the amount of AR's produced, but they were behind Colt and Bushmaster. Anyone's opinions on these rifles would be appreciated and considered.

    Here you can compare the MSRP of both model rifles.http://www.dmpsinc.com
    http://www.bushmaster.com
     
  2. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    I had a Bushmaster a while back and I dont think it was hyped up at all. It was a very good rifle and it never had a malfunction....though I never put it through any real abuse.

    A friend of mine has the Panther and it looks like a good rifle. I never fired it but he says it is very accurate and reliable. Just looking at it and handling it, it appears to have a good fit and finish.
     
  3. Jackal

    Jackal Member

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    The difference between Panther and Bushmaster lies in the use they are both meant for. Bushmaster generally makes rifles as Mil-Spec( with chrome lined barrel/chamber) intended for law enforcement/shtf . Panther is more of a sporting rifle geared towards hunters and target shooters. I personally own a Bushmaster mil spec 16" bbl carbine, and have been happy with tis performance. Both are good, if your not intending to go 500 rds. without cleaning, then dont worry about the chrome lined barrel. I would say: Hunting/targets-buy a Panther. Home defense/rough handling-buy Bushmaster.
     
  4. jem375

    jem375 Member

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    I have 2 DPMS's and they are very good rifles and they also are not only for target or hunting, these are good rifles for anything including SHTF....
     
  5. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    dpms is def a top five type ar producer, also they are one of the few that make them in piston drive, and not just gas blowback, which will make your ar last about 1000 times longer.
     
  6. Beren

    Beren Moderator Emeritus

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    Have a source to cite for that claim?

    A local SOT builds most of his AR-15 style rifles out of DPMS parts. They're inexpensive and they work. I'd personally consider them a "second tier" manufacturer, but wouldn't turn my nose up at one for an acceptable price.

    If you buy one, it will go bang and hit paper.
     
  7. mc223

    mc223 Member

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    I'm not going down the Ford vs. chevy road with this. IMO DPMS will NOT give you the life or pure shooting pleasure that some of the others will. And to top it all off, DPMS uses a 223 chamber which means that when cheaper than Anybody puts MIL- surplus ammo on super sale, you'll be thinking &^%$(* 223 chamber! well off to wally world and more of that wonderful $9.98 55g blue light specials.
    But Hey it's your hard earned buck, Do what you want.
     
  8. jem375

    jem375 Member

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    That's funny, my son and I both have DPMS 20" 5.56MM, of course they make 5.56MM uppers for the ar15's....I have a 20" SS bull barrel 223 and a 20" 5.56MM.....they also make other calibers....308 and etc..
     
  9. lurkersince03

    lurkersince03 Member

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    What? You mean to tell me that my all-factory DPMS M4-type AR can't be used for self/home defense or situations of anarchy and that I should trade it in for a Bushmaster/Colt because they're mil-spec?

    With that said, get the DPMS if you can afford $700/$800 but can't afford $900/$1000 now. Then replace the upper reciever or any other part in the gun with something else later on at your own convenience. Just because you bought a gun doesn't mean it all has to stay as one single from-the-factory cohesive element. That's what aftermarket parts are for.
     
  10. P0832177

    P0832177 member

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    There are snobs out there that will dismiss your choice of DPMS, they are just jealous because they are too uninformed! DPMS does a great deal to show their support of the shooting sports! Their customer service is pretty darn good, all guns will have their nay sayers! Buy with confidence!

    DPMS has suggest using only good non-surplus ammo in their guns, but then every mfg of any guns says not to use reloads and look what happens!

    Buy the gun you want with your money! DPMS will serve you well! The best thing about AR's is that there are many options! I like the mix and match idea so to speak, sort of the best of all mfg. offerings!

    I have DPMS SS 24 in heavy bbl upper (factory assembled) mated to RRA lower with WOA tuned RRA NM Trigger. Bastardized, perhaps yeah! But she sure does shoot well! TAC, 75gr Hornady OTM, CCI 450, and WW brass make nice combo!

    Getting down to brass tacks, pardon the pun, is the only real practical difference between 223 and 5.56 is operating pressures! But, then you are not going to war are you? And, if you were going to war the agency you work for would be buying the guns not you! Is a Chrome lined bore a good idea? You bet! Does it make the gun? Hell no!
     
  11. bang_bang

    bang_bang Member

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    Now with the .223 and 5.56 bores, could you shoot both calibers out of one bore or have to use the specified caliber. I'm looking more for a hunting rifle with some attitude. I'm really interested in a .308, but with the ammo situation I don't know how often I would be able to shoot it. Home defense in this situation is not a worry, I already have a SKS and a Dan Wesson plus a rather scary looking dog.
     
  12. mc223

    mc223 Member

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    P0832177
    "DPMS has suggest using only good non-surplus ammo in their guns".
    Duh

    "Getting down to brass tacks, pardon the pun, is the only real practical difference between 223 and 5.56 is operating pressures!"

    There are some fine articles out there in hyperspace, please educate yourself.
    bang_bang Just get what you can afford, but don"t lose DPMS customer service number, you will be calling it. And don't forget the spare parts kit.
     
  13. bang_bang

    bang_bang Member

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    From what I can find on random googled sites, the 5.56 bore will accept .223 rounds. But when the 5.56 round is fired from the .223 bore, your gun could more or less blow up. The reasons are: 1) 5.56 round is .002 longer than the .223 2) 5.56 round has a slightly steeper shoulder angle. This is a little more helpful, speaking that the modle of DPMS rilfe I'm the most interested in is chambered in 5.56.
     
  14. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    The differences between 5.56 NATO spec, and .223 spec are silly, since .223 IS the same round. It was marketed in conjunction with the invention of the AR-15. Why NATO and SAAMI specs aren't identical has always perplexed me. (Thereis a similar dilemma between 7.62 NATO and .308.) I have no idea what practical purpose it has ever served to make them different from one another.

    I was an assistant armorer. Remember a couple of things. One of Murphy's laws of combat reads: "Never forget that every piece of equipment you have was made by the cheapest bidder." When I was a kid, I was under the impression that anything made to mil-spec was the best you could get. WRONG. I promise you, you will have less trouble with a Busmaster OR a DPMS than you would have with any actual issue rifle. In building a great rifle, you should not aspire to building something "just as good as what our troops carry". This is not at all a high standard.

    Having said that, a chrome-plated chamber and barrel is the single-most effective feature you can have in an autoloading rifle. Note that ALL AK's (unless there is a new lower-spec import I'm not aware of) are chrome plated. The Russians understood that, if you stamp receivers, and use corrosive ammo loaded by prisoners in the gulag, (That is a joke, for those of you you who will jump on me for technical correctness,) then you must do all you can to make the rifle work consistently. Stoner's original spec for the AR used a chrome-plated chamber, and the army ignored this when they produced the rifles, and wondered why they jammed.
     
  15. LoadedDrum

    LoadedDrum Member

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    DPMS makes quality AR's. I know, I have two of them. As for the chamber thing, currently the bull barrels are 223 and the HBar's are 5.56.
     
  16. P0832177

    P0832177 member

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    Hey MC223 if you have proof that DPMS is such a poor choice then prove it! Otherwise do not berate the choice! Gun Snobs abound! Till you can prove it, with pictures and communication failures on the DPMS etc. Your opinion ranks the same as any one's! Call Dustin at DPMS, he will correct any problem it you bring it to his attention! I say prove it! And, if you can not then do not make such stink!

    People do shoot crappy cheap ammo, and it can be the cause of problems. For the record, I have shot 3 2700 rd tubs of SA surplus thru one DPMS upper! No problems! It all went bang, and shot pretty darn good! Ah the good ole days of 11 cent ammo!

    Hey MC223 what about BM shipping guns with visibly canted FSB? Come one no one is perfect, and neither are any of us!

    DPMS is good solid choice! There 308 LR is great choice for semi auto 308, and now with the 260 a really nice option! They have a good product!
     
  17. Drakejake

    Drakejake Member

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    I have been happy with my DPMS Lite. I have been firing Wolf exclusively. I had one case stuck in the chamber, probably an ammo problem, not the fault of the rifle. I suspect that current DPMS rifles are about as good as any and certainly one of the better values. I paid $639 for mine.

    Drakejake
     
  18. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Member

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    Folks that chuck thousands upon thousands of rounds per year out of their AR might be able to tell the difference between a Colt and a DPMS. I hear that's true from some quarters, and I hear others say that Colt QA/QC is the pits.

    I have had three (3) DPMS rifles. None were shot until they glowed, and none were shot with anything other than M193 surplus or handloads. They worked just fine. Nothing broke. None has/had more than 5000 rounds thru 'em, but 5000 rounds with no breakage isn't a bad record in my book for how I use 'em.

    I can't say that Bushy or RRA or Armalite or Colt will be any better or worse. Most of my experieces have been with DPMS stuff. My local gunsmith likes 'em because he can build on them and they generally don't come back. I was a bit disappointed to note the MIM parts in the DPMS lower kits, until I noted that the Bushy and RRA stuff had the same MIM telltale markings. Seems to be the way it's done, these days.

    As with any other product, there will always be some lemons and some that work like a house afire. I don't have any issue with DPMS at all.
     
  19. mc223

    mc223 Member

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    IMO IMO IMO IMO IMO IMO IMO IMO IMO

    My OPINION is based on my personel experiences. I have seen new bull barrels from DPMS shoot 3 shots of 5 at 100 yds scoped within an inch and then blow the other 2 out to 3 or 4 inches. I have seen others that group well and some that just do not shoot. It is this inconsistancy that is The basis of my opinion. Even when barrels are made at the same facility the finished product is manufactured to the end customers specifications. These end customer specs vary greatly. One customer may only levy the requirement of cost, so the attention to detail(such as bore straightness and concentricity of the bore to the major)will not be a part of the finished product.All products have tolerances the manufacturer should hold. If you have even a very tight tolerance of say plus or minus .0002 there is a built in product variable. Materials are fairly consistent, but once again there are tolerances, so here comes another variable to your finished product. Frankly people are people and these people who make barrels in the factory environment are just like you and I. We all have bad days. Some barrel makers are not as prone to these behaviors. Working conditions,wage paid to the grunts that are doing the work and the OH CRAP I forgot to do whatever are all factors in the end product you the consumer receives. I have opinions about DPMS,Model 1 and the Dozen or more no name slam together products that are readily available to the consumer.Most people who have these products may very well be having problems of various degrees. Honestly would you tell your buddy that the upper you just bought for 450 bucks will not shoot? You will brag about that 400yd prarie dog or A 1in. group at 200yds. You are the final step in the manufacturers food chain. I work in one of the factories in the world that makes gun parts for military applications. I do know a little about tolerancing and materials. And the variables introduced to the finished product. These are my opinions. Learn all you need to make your right choice.
    Buyer Beware
    I also own a White Oak Armament upper assy. When in the finalization of the ordering process, I was told by the owner that they do not use parts from DPMS because they(the parts) are junk. John Holligers opinion carries a lot of weight with me.
    My bushmaster has about 1200 rounds on its 2nd barrel. 24000 rounds down the first barrel. The throat was 5/8th in. down the barrel and still grouped under 1/2in on its last outing before retirement. There is no significant wear in the upper or the lower. I can see no reason why it should not handle another 24000. Oh i forgot to mention IT HAS NEVER HAD A JAM OR A DOUBLE or any reason that i might need cutomer service.

    In all of the pro DPMS threads I have not seen anything but that you have no problems. Is your DPMS really that good. Have you won a local, regional or national match. Are you poppin 300yd P-Dogs.
    Yes I use a diffrent brand, but my other brand WILL outshoot your DPMS. Every time with any ammo in any weather and you can even use your best, I'll use my worst.




    P0832177
    DPMS is going to fix your problem. Why have a problem to fix?

    Take off the rose colored glasses an do some research of your own
     
  20. lurkersince03

    lurkersince03 Member

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    So you're basically preaching to this dude that he should spend more money and break the bank to get a Bushmaster or Colt because of (IMO) negligable differences in what makes a functional rifle?

    Yeah, I've had no problems with my DPMS. But then again I don't shoot it often. I clean it and take good care of it. I've made consistant shots at 100 yards, which is the max range I ever plan on shooting with any sort of armed interdiction (with this weapon). With a 16" barrel, it isn't what I would define as a reliable sniper rifle (even scoped). With a 20" or 24" barrel, that could change. But if you're going to hunt at over 100 yards anyway, then get a good bolt action with a good scope. My DPMS will put a man down at any range within 100 yards, and that's all the comfort I need. The same could be said for sporting/hunting purposes, but I'm not a hunter nor do I compete.

    mc223, you're obviously biased here, as are we, but since he asked about DPMS in particular, I think DPMS owners are simply more qualified to comment about the product rather than a guy who took the advice of a gunsmith (no doubt influenced by prices and corporate politics like any other gunsmith out there who buys parts). And I don't mean any personal offense intended, either. Just merely perpetuating the vicious cycle of internet debating by commenting on what I see.

    bang_bang, for your purposes, and for your budget, I recommend going with the DPMS. Like I said before, you can always put in aftermarket parts at your own leisure later on if you need to. I've run stock all this time without a single hitch/jam/malfunction, but as I said, I don't shoot it often and I clean my weapon after each session.
     
  21. DMK

    DMK Member

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    I like what mljdeckard said. Get a chrome lined barrel, unless you are looking for the absolute best accuracy, then get an SS HBAR or Bull.

    I don't think DPMS makes a chrome lined barrel though (could be wrong). If it were me, I'd buy a DPMS or RRA lower, bolt/carrier and charging handle, then get a Bushmaster upper for the better barrel (chrome lining and 5.56 chamber). If you buy a flat top, save a buck or two on an RRA or DPMS carry handle. Pop the carrier and charging handle in the upper, pop the upper on the lower, push two pins, attach the carry handle,and you're ready to rock.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2006
  22. copaup

    copaup Member

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    I've got two DPMS rifles. One is about 5 years old and the other is a year old. The older rifle did not like SB green tip ammo, but fed everything else well. The fit and finish was rough but acceptable and the only real flaw was a slightly canted front sight base that meant I had to adjust the windage on the rear sight all the way to the left to compensate. It is an easy fix, but I just havn't ever gotten around to it. My newer rifle looks much better, is fit tighter, has thus far fed everything I have fed it without a bobble, and is suprisingly accurate. My only gripe with it is that the trigger has a noticable catch in it during reset. Again, an easy enough fix, but I havn't ever gotten around to it yet. I think the newer rifles are generally much nicer than the older ones. I wouldn't hesitate to reccomend DPMS to anyone.
     
  23. wally

    wally Member

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    According to the History Channel's "Tales Of The Gun" series. The Army wanted a chrome chamber and bore, but McNamera's "wizz-kids" saw it as an extra expense arguing that "If it needed a chrome plated chamber Stoner would have designed it with a chrome chamber, and since he didn't design it with one, it didn't need one!". The Army's contribution to the problem was to switch from the original stick powder to ball powder for a little extra muzzle velocity. The dirtier bunring ball powder combined with the lack of a chrome plated chamber was the root of the problems. They quietly started chrome plating the chambers and switched to cleaner burning powders and now the AR has an enviable reliability record, pretty much exceeded only by the AK.

    The fact that the guns were issued without cleaing kits and the initial troops recieved the guns with virturally no training for them exacerabated the problem.

    --wally.
     
  24. enfield

    enfield Member

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    My DPMS 16" carbine in 5.56 is just dandy. I'm probably going to replace the trigger (because I've been spoiled by a Swedish Mauser), but it's a fine gun overall.
     
  25. mc223

    mc223 Member

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    Now we get to the honesty part with fit and finish, triggers and feeding problems and canted FSBs.
    If you really want a knock around rifle that may or may not go bang when you want it to, Buy the DPMS. I'm sure that if you look you will find that all mfgs have had problems. Some just seem to have more. So when someone talks about great customer service you really should ask, WHY?
    If you really want the 308 all the above are multiplied due to the increased length of the upper and lower to accomadate the longer and diametrically larger 308 cartridge. Aluminum is how strong?
     
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