In this Article:
In this post, we’ll have the DPMS LR-308 review. Now, let’s begin.
The MSR nowadays is to be found not only in law enforcement or military environments (in its select-fire guise). Many civilians are looking for a semi-automatic rifle capable of at least MOA accuracy and versatility that is available in different calibers. One of those is the DPMS LR-308.
The DPMS LR-308 is an AR-15-style rifle that was introduced in 2010. It has become one of the most popular semi-automatic rifles in the U.S., used by a wide range of shooters and hunters alike.
DPMS stands for DPMS Panther Arms/ Defense Procurement Manufacturing Services, which manufactures this AR-15-style rifle. DPMS LR-308 is usually used in competitions and is becoming increasingly popular among avid shooters.
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Advantages of the MSR
I have not always been a fan of the MSR. It wasn’t until I owned one of my own that I started to see them in a new light. I was not in the military, so I don’t have the experience with the M16/M4 and variants as many of you do, so I did it on my own
I have a Del-Ton 5.56 rifle on which I leave iron sights for quick access. I discovered a few things after owning and shooting my rifle a decent amount.
It is really very easy to change calibers on the AR platform, given the fact that the lower receiver, most of the time, stays the same and you only need to change out the upper. This gives you the bolt/bolt face, barrel, and chamber for the second cartridge.
A good example — I would like to obtain an upper in .350 Legend and stick it on my existing lower. With a new magazine, I’d be good to go in the deer woods in my state.
All I need to buy would be the upper, magazine (usually supplied with the upper), and optic. The modularity of the system makes it easy to experiment with different calibers.
Ease Of Mounting Accessories
It is easy to add, say, a red dot to your MSR. Most have a rail section at least at the 12-o’clock (top) position. Get the mount for whatever rail system your rifle uses and add the optic.
It works just as well for red dots, scopes, or other sighting aids. Back-up iron sights usually mount directly to the rail.
Another advantage of having a long rail on top of your upper is placing the sight exactly where you need to on the rifle. The older I get, the more my eyes change.
I generally put sights a notch or two closer to my eyes than I might have a few years ago. With my upper and its rail, this is possible.
Utilitarian Stock And Ergos
The MSR is nothing if not functional in terms of stock fit. Most of them use a collapsible rear stock that allows you to push it all the way in. Very handy for times when you need a short rifle (transporting it, for example).
You can snap it out to achieve a full-length-of-pull rifle stock for shooting off a bench or similar activity.
Another feature of the MSR is its pistol grip. I know that some states do not allow any long gun to be sold that has a pistol grip, but that grip is another great aid to the ergonomic factor of the rifle. It allows you to hold the gun higher on your shoulder.
This gets your eye closer to the line of sight of whatever optic system you have mounted. It also can help you pull in the gun to your shoulder very tightly.
Put a one-point sling on the rifle, and you have a very-quick-into-action weapon at your disposal. The stock, pistol grip, and handguard were designed to help the rifle be brought to bear very quickly in a military setting. This quick handling aspect is also not lost in a hunting situation.
Wear and Tear
The final thing I want to mention about the advantages of the MSR has to do with wear and tear. Those who own an expensive rifle or shotgun sometimes hesitate to carry it afield because you don’t want it to get scratched or worse.
With the matte black/FDE/other finish on your MSR, you tend not to worry so much about it getting beaten up in the woods or field. For one thing, it’d be pretty hard to put a noticeable ding on it. For another, a touch-up would be easy.
I see more of these guns out than ever before. More guys realize that the MSR is a good match for the woods or wherever they hunt.
Downsides of the MSR
So, we’ve seen some advantages that the MSR offers. Are there any disadvantages? Of course — everything has its pluses and minuses.
Low Butt Stock
There tends to be one slight downside to the minimal stock that MSRs tend to use: they can put the optic too low for your eyes to pick up. You can solve this by using a raised comb. This will put your eye closer to the same plane as whatever sight you’re using.
Non-Traditional Appearance & Materials
Another possible downside (for a few folks) concerns a very subjective topic — “feel.” To some, rifles should always have a smooth, checkered-in-places walnut stock wrapped around a brightly polished blued receiver and barrel.
You can’t fix this with an MSR — you’d have difficulty getting your MSR to exhibit those features. At any rate, the MSR was never intended to be walnut-and-blued steel.
Everyone is different, and that guy at the club that only owns older Weatherbys probably won’t want to shoot your LR-308. That doesn’t prove anything other than that guy likes wood-and-metal guns and you happen to own a plastic-and-metal rifle. Also, there is no right answer.
When he comes at you with the observation that the first M16s had stocks made by Mattel, you probably won’t move him any closer to your side with any argument, even given that MSRs are found in all rifle shooting events nowadays. Some folks just like certain types of guns, period.
Other AR-Pattern Rifle Reviews
If you want to explore the AR platform in detail, check out some of my other reviews on this site. I have written a few reviews of other MSRs — one of the most complete was my Buyer’s Guide to the AR-15-style rifle.
At some length, I wrote about the different operating systems types (direct-impingement vs. piston rod), the history of the rifle, how it works, and other good stuff. It has a lot of background information in it that you might find interesting.
Another AR-15 type of rifle I reviewed was the Rock River Arms LAR-15. There’s some good information there. And, if you are possibly interested in an AR format but in 9mm, check out my Troy Arms Other Firearm review. These reviews might help you understand the platform better or learn something new about it.
DPMS Panther Arms LR-308 Review
A good friend offered me the chance to review a DPMS LR-308. When he put his rifle in my hands, I instantly wanted to shoot it. The LR-308 is a basic AR-style rifle. It uses standard, minimal controls. It is also built to be very strong, given its basic style.
It’s also interesting to note (and you will read this in the above-linked review) that the AR-15 did not start as the AR-15 but was, in fact, the AR-10 — in 7.62×51, or .308.
The original Eugene Stoner model was in .308, but the military wanted a smaller caliber so those who carried the rifle could carry more ammo. Another plus at that time was that the 5.56 recoiled much less than the 7.62.
Here is a cartridge comparison. The .308 is on the right.
Now, let’s look at the rifle. Here are the specs of the rifle I shot.
|Capacity:||One 20-round magazine included; will accept any standard AR magazine|
|Barrel:||Heavy Barrel, 16", HBAR Chrome-Moly 4140, 1:10 twist. Models with an 18" or 24" barrel|
|Stock:||Pardus 6-position collapsible|
|Upper receiver:||Extruded 7129 T6 A3 flat top|
|Lower receiver:||Billet 6061 T6|
|Trigger:||5 pounds, 2 ounces (measured)|
|Flash Hider:||A2 Birdcage|
|Sights:||None; Railed gas block, optics-ready|
|Fire Control:||Standard AR-15|
|Overall Length:||32.5" - 36.5"|
If you glance directly above, you will see the weight given as 8.3 pounds. When you hoist this rifle, you will feel every ounce of that weight. It is not a light gun, but (given its caliber), the weight helps when you shoot it.
DPMS LR-308 Review: Photos
Note the forward assist and dustcover, two items that some makers are omitting to save money. This rifle uses a one-piece trigger guard and standard mag release.
Another interesting point is that the bolt’s forward-assist notches are hidden above the exposed part. I don’t see this very often.
Notice the absence of markings.
Note finger-grooved release to lengthen or shorten the stock. Also included is a sling mount (below).
The magazine, above and below.
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DPMS LR-308 Review: Shooting Performance
In my part of the country, it is winter. The forecast calls for a winter weather advisory for today and tomorrow, so I thought I’d better try to shoot this thing before sloppy moisture falls from on high. I went to my backyard range and put a few rounds through it.
It was a bit cold that day, so I did not try many different types or ammo brands. (I hear all you younger supermen out there — what can I say? I’m old, and the cold tends to bother me more than it used to.
Plus, to be honest, I’m not a larger-caliber rifle shooter. My shooting hobby started with handguns and, with some notable exceptions, has remained with that style of a firearm over the years.
Do I own rifles? Sure. I am not used to shooting, with any regularity, calibers much above the 5.56/.243. I said I had a blast (literally) shooting my friend Marty’s AR-50 in .50 BMG. However, that .50-caliber rifle did not recoil as much as this .308 did, believe that or not.
I also find I’m getting more recoil-sensitive the older I get. I don’t have anything to prove anymore, not that I ever did.
So, all this is to say I shot one type of ammo through the LR-308. It was enough to learn a thing or two.
Here’s the target (or at least the best one). Notice one ragged hole. This rifle is an accurate one. The rifle does not come with sights, so you will have to take that into account if you buy one.
Set a few hundred more aside to get a decent scope, red dot, or some-such sight. The rifle exhibits traits that would lead me to believe it would make a decent long-range shooter.
DPMS LR-308 Review: Shooting Impressions
I like this firearm. Does it kick? Sure. It’s going to, shooting a 150-grain bullet at 2820 fps — that adds up to about 18.6 ft/ lbs of recoil energy.
Here is one area where the minimalist AR stock doesn’t help: soaking up recoil. It just doesn’t do much where that’s concerned. Considering that my synthetic-stocked Savage .243 kicks me with only about 9 ft/ lbs of recoil energy, you might begin to see why I tend to be a bit recoil-shy.
Recoil is generally harmless. How we cope (or not cope) with it allows it to affect our shooting. I’m sure this particular rifle has no more recoil than any other in its class. It’s just that I’ve been more of a handgun type ever since I was young.
DPMS LR-308 Review: About the DPMS Company
Randy Luth founded the Defense Procurement Manufacturing Services (DPMS) company in Minnesota in 1985 as a means by which to manufacture parts for military contract firearms. They eventually began manufacturing complete AR-15-pattern rifles and moved to St. Cloud in 2004.
It was an efficiently-run and successful company because it doubled its revenue between 2004 – 2007 and employed 65 people in 2008. The Freedom Group acquired the DPMS company (along with Marlin) in 2007 with Remington being the company’s immediate parent company in organization.
I found out that DPMS rifles have won awards: Shooting Illustrated’s 2005 “Golden Bullseye” winner (as mentioned at the top of this review) for the LR-308, and American Rifleman’s 2006 “Golden Bullseye” winner with their Panther LR-308AP4 rifle.
Remington has been trying to consolidate firearm production, moving newly acquired factories’ product lines to its Huntsville, Alabama site. DPMS’s St. Cloud facility was included in that effort to consolidate, which now places DPMS production in Alabama. The company still makes a large number of AR-pattern rifles and related parts.
DPMS LR-308 Review Wrap Up: Is the DPMS LR-308 Any Good?
If you are looking for a .308 rifle to use in the deer woods, to compete with, or to simply have to shoot whenever you might want to give the DPMS LR-308 a look.
It is an award-winning gun, and seems to be built very well. I had no issues with it in the short time I had to shoot it. The rifle is accurate, handles well, and was fun to shoot.
When you ask most experienced rifle shooters who have hunted deer to describe their favorite .308, they most likely will describe a bolt-action of some brand or other. They may not even think about a semi-auto in that caliber.
I’m here to say that the AR-pattern MSR is one viable alternative to that bolt gun. Modern black rifles can be less-than-MOA-accurate and very effective in the field. We are seeing more hunters utilizing these rifles in the deer woods.
Capacity is important to some folks, as well — as long as you have ten or fewer cartridges with you, you’re legal here. That equates to one 10-round magazine here in my state, which would be legal. Most bolt guns hold three or four in the magazine, so the advantage would go to the MSR.
Whether you’re a hunter or not, check out the LR-308. You might be pleasantly surprised if you’re in the market for a nice .308 in an AR-style package. Please tell us below if you’ve had experience with one of these. As always, shoot straight and be safe.