DPMS Panther .308 Semi-Auto Rifle
by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

October 13th, 2003

 

 

 

One of the premier builders of quality AR-15 type rifles is DPMS Panther Arms. They make a variety of different 5.56mm rifle configurations, several of which we have tested here at Gunblast.com.

Recently, DPMS has entered the 7.62x51mm (.308 Winchester) rifle market with the introduction of their Panther 308. The basic design of the 308 follows the proven AR10/AR15 system design. The Panther 308 shares several operational parts with the AR15, but the majority of its components are scaled up to accommodate the larger .308 Winchester cartridge.

The purpose of the Panther 308 is to deliver more power to the target, and at longer range, than is possible with the 5.56mm cartridge. The .308 Winchester is the cartridge of choice for most military and police precision marksmen in the free world today. For many years the weapon of choice was the bolt action rifle, chosen for its reliability and accuracy, but many agencies are now choosing the semi-automatic .308 AR10 style rifle to fill the sniper/counter-sniper role. It is in this role that the Panther 308 rifle excels.

The Panther 308 is a gas operated semi-auto that locks with a rotating bolt. It comes supplied with two ten-round detachable magazines, a black nylon sling, and a cleaning kit. It wears a heavy twenty-four inch free-floated barrel and a hard anodized hand guard. The receiver is a heavy cast and milled unit, with the upper and lower halves attached in the traditional AR style. The upper receiver has a built-in high rise Picatinny rail sight platform, eliminating the need for special scope risers. The buttstock is of the A2 design with a storage compartment that is accessed through the checkered butt plate. The test rifle weighed in at just over ten and one-half pounds, and the trigger pull measured seven pounds and nine ounces. Anyone familiar with the AR15 rifle will be right at home with the Panther 308.

Shooting was done for accuracy and function at a range of 110 yards. I mounted a Bausch & Lomb six to twenty-four power Elite scope atop the Panther 308 in Simmons rings. There were no failures to feed, fire, extract, or eject during the testing of this weapon. Functioning was smooth and flawless with all ammo tested. The empty cases were thrown gently to the right of the weapon, about three feet. The fired cases were undamaged, which is good for those of us who reload. Groups at 110 yards were under one inch, with  Remington's 150 grain Core-Lokt ammo grouping an even three-quarters of an inch, and Federal's Gold Match grouping fifteen-sixteenths of an inch. This is good bolt-action accuracy from this semi-auto, and could most likely be further improved with careful hand loading.

The Panther 308 is a fine weapon for those desiring a quality long range precision rifle. It allows accurate placement of shots and a higher sustained rate of fire than a comparable bolt action rifle, and is priced well below most other AR10 type rifles on the market.

Check out the extensive line of rifles and components available from DPMS at:   www.dpmsinc.com.

To order DPMS rifles online, go to www.lowpriceguns.com.

Jeff Quinn





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The DPMS Panther .308 is an excellent choice for shooters seeking the finest in a higher-powered AR-style rifle.

 

 

The heavy receiver is very well-crafted and engineered to very tight tolerances to handle the additional energy of the 7.62x51mm (.308 Winchester) cartridge.

 

 

The heavy stainless steel barrel is free-floated and features a target-crowned muzzle for accuracy.

 

 

The DPMS Panther .308 features a 10-round magazine and a recessed magazine release.

 

 

For maximum reliability and precise let-off, an AR-15 trigger is used.

 

 

The precision-engineered bolt assures positive lock-up.

 

 

Fired cases are ejected positively and are undamaged, which is good news for shooters who reload.

 

 

The DPMS Panther .308 proved very accurate, easily achieving sub-MOA groups with a wide variety of ammunition. The top factory-load performers included Remington's 150 grain Core-Lokt and Federal's Gold Match ammo.

 

 

Both Greg and the Author were very impressed with the Panther .308. DPMS' entry into the AR-style .308 market was conceived as a precision tool for police & military marksmen, but its craftsmanship, superb accuracy and reasonable price make it a fine choice for hunters who prefer a semi-auto rifle. DPMS has another winner with the Panther .308!