Gun Review: Custom DPMS LR-308

LR308 with muzzle brake.

LR308 with muzzle brake.

The DPMS LR-308 is not a new rifle by any means.  In 2005 the original LR-308 was named “Gun of the Year” by the NRA publication, American Rifleman.  Since 2005 DPMS has released 8 different rifles built on the same receiver in various in different configurations.  The rifle I am working with is from my personal collection, and is for competition shooting in practical and precision rifle matches.  This is was the first time I was able to shoot this rifle since receiving it back from my gunsmith.  The rifle for review is a custom built original, slick-sided LR-308 built for long range precision.   It was built from a stock LR-308 that had a 24” stainless steel bull barrel and A2 stock out of the box.

I opened up the Pelican case and the first impression of the rifle that just looked like something that was built for precision. Also in the case were two Magpul LR20 Pmags and 60rds of HSM Match 168gr BTHP ammo.  There is a Leupold Mark4 LR/T 6.5-20×50 sitting on top of the rail, a Magpul PRS stock, palm shelf grip, monopod, bipod and muzzle brake.  Taking the rifle out of the case, the first thing I noticed is that it is very heavy, probably not something that I would want to carry for several hours at a time. But for simply going to the range, or even competitions, the weight is a non-issue to me.  With all of the upgrades and parts on the rifle it weighs just over 15lbs, which is 3lbs over its bare bones weight from the factory.  But the weight feels manageable and well balanced.  Having the barrel shortened to a more manageable 20” gives the rifle a much needed shift in the center of balance making it feel less muzzle heavy.  It also does not affect muzzle velocity as 20” is considered the point of diminishing return, so there was very little velocity loss.

Taking out the takedown pins, and removing the upper reveals a Timney 3lb skeletonized trigger installed in the lower, a stock bolt carrier group and JP Enterprises bolt.  The buffer tube is missing the normal spring retainer because it has a JP Enterprises silent capture spring installed, which significantly reduces the noise heard during firing and makes the action run more smoothly.  Cycling the action confirms the feeling that the entire fire control group is smooth and less likely to cause any jump in the rifle when fired.  The smoothness in the action affirms the feeling of a precision instrument, and feels very well made.

LR308 with optics, including Leupold LR/T 6.5-20x50 and Burris FastFireII on offset rail.

LR308 with optics, including Leupold LR/T 6.5-20×50 and Burris FastFireII on offset rail.

Taking the rifle out to the range I was able to get a sense of just how all of the components on the rifle work together to make the weapon system a dream to shoot.  The Magpul PRS stock allowed me to adjust the height and length of pull for a more fitted feeling to the rifle.  The palm shelf grip on the rifle is not only ergonomic, but it also gives the hand the ability to rest and not be squeezing to hold onto the grip. The shelf on the grip also allows for better trigger control and a more consistent trigger pull.  The bipod and monopod on the rifle allow for a rock steady platform on a bench, the ground or anywhere you place the rifle.  Accushot monopods are made so that there is very fine adjustments to the elevation just by turning the monopod with you non-firing hand.  The threads are fine enough that even making adjustments on the 800yd target was still very precise.  There was no feeling of over travel, or that the adjustment resolution of the monopod was too course for shooting longer distances.

Finally adjusted and getting to shoot the rifle was just as smooth as one can make a semi-automatic precision rifle.  The trigger breaks clean like a glass rod, which is to be expected for a high end trigger like a Timney.  The one positive to the trigger on this rifle is that it is a single stage trigger.  Having shot two stage triggers in the past, I have never been able to get used to the take up before the break, especially when shooting in competition.  The action of the rifle cycles smoothly with the silent capture spring installed, eliminating the “cheese grater” noise that is typical in the AR platform rifles.  The last part of the package that was astonishing was the JP Enterprises muzzle brake.   While shooting the rifle, there was little to no jump to the rifle.  It also allowed me, as the shooter, to spot my own vapor trails and splashes down range.  With the significant reduction in recoil and muzzle flip, there was very little adjustment that was needed after a shot was fired, allowing for a quick and still very precise follow up shot on target.

There is a Burris FastFire II installed on an offset rail for engaging close in targets.  I was able to fire a few rounds using the Burris and found it to be accurate, but awkward to fire such a large, heavy rifle shouldered in the offset position.  This would most definitely not be something that you would want to do on a regular basis, but works in a pinch.  It was installed because the rifle is for precision competition, and the local organizers like to cover a wide range of targets at different ranges and set up realistic scenarios, like engaging a single target at 10-20yds.

LR308 10RD target.  200yds maintains .522MOA.

LR308 10RD target. 200yds group is .522MOA.

After getting a feel for the entire system, I wanted to see just what kind of accuracy I would be able to squeeze from the rifle.  Shooting an initial 3 shot group at 100yds, then two 5 shot groups at 200 I was able to maintain 1/2MOA accuracy over the entire course of fire.  I chose to put all 10 rounds in on the same target just to check the consistency over a 10 round group.  Shooting out to 400 and 800 yards I was able to not only put every round on 1MOA gongs without any problems.  The 1:10 twist barrel stabilizes the 168gr round very well, and would also do well with heavier rounds such as the 175gr Sierra Match King bullets (SMK) or even up to the 210 SMK bullet.

This rifle overall was one of the best rifles I have ever shot.  While not a top of the line rifle like a new Knights Armament M110 that the military is using, it still is very accurate and very smooth to shoot.  It allows a shooter to get into the semi-automatic precision rifle for a decent price tag, and with some modifications be able to shoot just as accurately as a bolt action rifle.  The DPMS LR-308 is still very accurate and a very worthy rifle for anyone looking at getting into a precision semi-automatic system.

Pros:

  • Very accurate
  • Fairly inexpensive
  • Customizable
  • Very smooth action
  • Fast/precise follow up shots

Cons:

  • Heavy (15lbs)
  • Unbalanced before barrel cut down and heavier stock
  • Stock rifle needs work to live up to full potential
  • DPMS made variants of the same rifle; some aftermarket parts will only fit certain variants. Use caution.

 

Rifle Equipment List:

  • Leupold MK4 6.5-20×56, 4″ Sunshade and alumina caps.
  • Leupold MK4 AR Base
  • Leupold MK4 single piece rings.
  • Timney single stage skeletonized 3lb trigger
  • Magpul PRS 308 Stock
  • Accushot monopod 4.75-5.65”
  • Harris BRM 9-13″ Bipod
  • Ergo DLX palm shelf grip
  • Ambidextrous charging handle latch
  • JP large profile muzzle brake
  • Magpul 308 P-mags
  • JP 308 silent capture spring
  • Burris FastFire II on Larue Tactical 45 degree offset rail.

 

Related

Sam Cadle

Sam Cadle is a prior service member from the US Coast Guard, and has extensive firearms training from the military. He spent many years working counter narcotics in Central America and working maritime law enforcement and anti-terrorism stateside. He has also written articles as guest writer that are published on The Truth About Guns, and other firearms related blogs. He is currently a successful writer for Examiner.com, specializing in gun rights a politics in Washington State, as well as across the United States. His passions are long range precision shooting, coyote hunting and keeping up with the firearms community.

To get a hold of Sam you can email him at [email protected], or via Facebook here.



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  • ClintTorres

    In the cons section, you forgot “costs more than my car”.

    • Nicks87

      Right on, he says “inexpensive” a couple of times in the article but after all the mods he has listed it puts the price at over $3500. That same price buys a nice bolt action and a very nice scope/rings or a M1A and a nice optic+mount. Both of which will offer great accuracy/reliabilty/durability and could easily be carried all day in the field without the fatigue that an excessively heavy rifle bears on the body.

  • Nicks87

    Wouldn’t an M1A-A1 Scout rifle with a long eye relief optic be a much better overall package than this? I guess if you wanted the familiarity of an AR-15 this might be a better choice but, for me, the weight and price of the rifle+ mods would turn me away.
    It seems to me that this rifle build is someone’s attempt at replacing two separate rifles: a bolt-action heavy barreled long range rifle and a battle-rifle. The DPMS will do the job of both of those rifles but probably not as good as using one of those other rifles to do the job it was built for.

    • MICHAEL

      have both and would say the scout would not.

      first off, the m1a platform is not known for great accuracy without significant modification. Secondly, the cost of the writers rifle is in the accessories, stock you can get this rifle (and accuracy) for 1600. My DPMS is more accurate than my noveske

      • Nicks87

        Ok thats fine but without those accessories the same level of accuracy is probably more difficult to achieve (shootability?) and what about the weight? 15 lbs is a lot to lug around out in the field or in a competition. The only reason I’ve commented about this is because Ive been down this same road and I still have yet to find a decent 308 semi auto rifle that I have been totally satisfied with. Maybe I’m just too picky.

        • Sam Cadle (TFB)

          Actually this rifle is shooting that accurately with a stock barrel… I shot 20 rounds out of this rifle before any work was done to it with a cheap $70 Walmart center point scope. While it was uncomfortable, and the glass sucked… It was shooting .75-1moa all day long… All the money I added to it, and cut off of it got me down to 1/2MOA. So for ~$1600 you can get a DPMS rifle that will shoot .75MOA with a cheap scope. As a precision shooter, you find that once you get under 1MOA, things get more expensive, and get exponentially more expensive the more accuracy you build into the rifle. I could probably make this a 1/4MOA rifle for another $1000, but where it is at now is fine for me. Where does prohibitively expensive meet accuracy? For me right at 1/2MOA…

          Yes everything added to the rifle makes the shootablity much better, but none of it is really necessary to achieve decent results, it just helps you get there.

  • Alex C.

    Nice rifle and nice shooting Sam. Feel free to send it my way for additional testing :)

    • Sam Cadle (TFB)

      Thanks! She shoots better than I would have imagined she would.

      • derek817

        Sam besides the DPMS LR 308 and the Armalite AR-10T what other rifle would you recommend in this category I am looking for sub .5 MOA without $1,700+ price stock config of course.

        • http://thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Sam Cadle (Staff Writer, TFB)

          Honestly you are not really going to get 1/2MOA out of anything for that price range. You glass alone will end up costing you that much just to give you the ability to shoot 1/2MOA. As for a rifle, you are going to be in the 2000-2500 range for something that is going to be in the accuracy range. Unfortunately the more accuracy you want the more expensive it gets.

          • derek817

            I already have nice glass but as far as just money for rifle pure substance minimal accessories that do not add performance what rifles compare at the $1500-$2000 range used of course. You guys test out quite I bit of firearms so I would think you would be the gentlemen to ask.

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