Well I’m back from the range and here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.

First the good.
It’s a shooter! The thing simply shoots great groups with factory ammo. I put Federal XM193 5.56, PMC Bronze .223, and cheap Russian Tula down the pipe and it all grouped well within an inch. Recoil was very light and the rifle felt “right”. It handled well and it was well balanced. The JP trigger breaks cleanly but is much heavier than I expected but probably just needs an adjustment.

Now the bad.
The gun runs very poorly. It had several fail to feeds per magazine at best. The Tula wouldn’t cycle a second round at all and had several failures to extract. Even the good ammo ran extremely bad. It also wouldn’t lock the bolt back after the last round and I tried both of the magazine it came with as well as a Pmag. The more “warmed up” the gun got the worse it performed. I had one double feed that I had to lock the bolt back and strip the mag to clear. The ironic thing is that after I cleared that it cycled properly for a handful of rounds. I just can’t believe how poorly this gun runs.

The ugly.
Hopefully there won’t be an ugly and DPMS will just trade me out for a working rifle that has all of the parts on it that I expected. I know with anything manufactured there are going to be occasional lemons and this rifle is in high demand which probably exacerbated the quality control issues, but I really hope I didn’t make a mistake buying a DPMS. Fingers crossed they make this right.
Just an update on the discrepancy with the rifle’s configuration. DPMS said it doesn’t come with the Tac latch or the ambi safety. When I mentioned that the reviews that I had seen (like Bikedoctor’s review) and the Frontsight article mention it coming with those features DPMS said those rifles must have been special ordered that way.

Anyway, I shipped it back to them today so hopefully I’ll have a functioning rifle soon. I’ll keep you all posted.

UPDATE:

I spoke with DPMS today and thought I’d give you guys an update. I spoke with Amber and Mike who informed me of the status of my 3G1 and told me about all of the testing they did with it as well as what steps they took to remedy the issues I was having with it. Both were super nice to deal with and took the time to answer all of my questions and concerns. I did ask Mike why there was no TAC latch on my charging handle and he let me know that there where lots of complaints about them because they stick out and can catch on things so they stopped outfitting the 3G1 with them. I asked him if I could pay for one and have them put one on while they had it since I need the larger changing handle because my TR24 makes it difficult to charge. He said he would put it on at no charge for the trouble of having to send in my rifle. Thanks, Mike! So I assume it’ll ship out soon and I hope to have it next week. If it runs as good as DPMS’ customer service it should be great rifle. Fingers crossed.

Range Report – DPMS Panther 3G1
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3 thoughts on “Range Report – DPMS Panther 3G1

  • March 7, 2012 at 5:58 pm
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    any updates on how the rifle is working after sending it in. I really want to buy this rifle but not if it is still having problems such as you stated.

  • March 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm
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    Joey-
    It’s running great now, but it did take me a little bit of time to learn a few of it’s idiosyncrasies. It REALLY likes to have a clean chamber. It’s a very tight chamber which plays to its accuracy, but if I don’t take a chamber brush to it before each match it starts to short stroke. I have a nice nylon brush that I put on a couple segments of GI cleaning rod, pop open the rear of the receiver and just work it in and out a dozen or so times and it’s good to go. I don’t have to do much to the rest of it, just scrub the chamber and it’s never let me down.
    The one other trait of its personality is getting the mag in with a closed bolt. I’ve never had an AR the took so much effort to get it inserted, even with 28 rounds in a PMAG. Slamming it from below doesn’t lock it in. I’ve found that a firm rotating motion (like casting a fishing pole) gets it in pretty easily. I just have to remember to do it.
    My biggest complaint is that it’s too heavy and that weight is out front. The balance it pretty bad. I want to get my hands on one of Stag’s new 3Gun rifles or the new Colt 3Gun rifle and see if they’re better. I may just swap the barrel out with one of the JP Supermatch barrels since they are much lighter.

    So overall I’m pretty happy with it. I love the handguard and the trigger is very nice. I’d give it a 8 out of 10 stars, dinging it mostly for balance/weight. Lighter and/or fluted barrel, it would be darn near perfect.

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