Crosman DPMS Panther
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- Last updated: 23/12/2019
If fast-fire fun is what you are after and when it comes to back garden tin can bashing, you really don’t need to look any further than the DPMS SBR or Short Barrelled Rifle from Crossman! Now I’m a big AR-15 fan as you may well know and as soon as I seen this little beauty, I really had to get my hands on one to test it out!
So, what exactly have we got here then? Well, the DPMS is a Panther Arms copy and is a CO2 powered .177 steel BB firing rifle that is not only semi-automatic but also blow back too! Okay, when I say semi-automatic, I actually mean self-indexing as a true semi-automatic is only that if it actually loads a round be it a BB, pellet or live round into the chamber. this gun however does not because the BBs are actually fired out of the magazine and into the barrel with each pull of the trigger. Let’s take a look at the magazine as this is where all of that magic happens. The mag itself is really quite heavy and this is due to the fact that the CO2 cartridge housing is contained in it and when you open the one side of the magazine by taking the plastic cover off see where you have to load not one but two 12g CO2 bulbs. This is easily done by placing the CO2 cartridges into the magazine facing upwards and then using the Allen wrench that is supplied and stored at the bottom of the magazine to tighten up the grub screws to pierce the CO2 bulbs and charge the magazine. Worth noting too that when you tighten up these grub screws, you have to pierce the bulbs in order, hence why the first grub screw is clearly marked first! If you do this in the wrong order (and what twit would!?) all of the CO2 leaks out! How do I know this? Ahem, moving on!
Once you have done this you can then place the plastic side panel of the magazine back on and then it’s just a case of loading up all 25 BBs. The gun is actually supplied with a plunger type speed loader like the ones that you use with airsoft guns, but I found this a little troublesome as it jammed up quite easily. To use it you open the top hatch on it and fill it up with BBs and then place the bottom tab on the magazine follower and then draw it all the way back until the speed loader is located in the BB well and the follower spring is compressed. Like I said though, it did jam up somewhat, so what I did that seemed to work well was pull the follower on the magazine all the way back and hold it back and then just place several BBs along the groove of the magazine and then gently just push them all along so that they fill up the mag until it is full so I can then let go of the tab that is under spring tension. Once you have done that it is then time for some action! But before we get to that, I need to show you around the rest of the rifle!
Taking it from the stock then, the AR-15 style has a six position adjustment for length of pull and can be adjusted by pulling on a trigger-like button underneath the cheekpiece. The pistol grip is all polymer with a typical AR-15 profile and has stippled panels on either side. In fact, the whole gun is made from tough polymer yet feels heavier than my Smith and Wesson 1522 Rimfire! Now this is where it gets really interesting because all of the controls on this gun work just like the real thing except the forward assist. You can even break open this gun by pushing the pinout below the fake forward assist and opening the upper from the lower! Not only is this really cool as it gives some realism to the DPMS but it is also really quite handy for maintenance if needed. As far as the other controls go, a typical AR safety catch is located on the left-hand side of the lower, a magazine release button is on the right-hand side in the usual AR location but not only that, there is a T-bar cocking handle and working dust cover! So, realism is really taken care of with this little Crossman. Along the top is a full-length picatinny rail and some pretty good pop up iron (well, plastic) sights are already fitted straight out of the box but there is loads of room to throw on an optic if you wish just to really add to the fun of this gun. The forend boasts a full-length quad rail and there is actually a forward grip already supplied and fitted on the bottom rail. No, it’s not Magpul furniture but it does do exactly what it says on the tin! Looking at the muzzle end, the fake muzzle brake really does look cool and makes this little SBR look proper mean!
So, back to that loaded up magazine then. Simply load the magazine into the magazine well as you would on any AR platform. Once it is in position you simply pull back and release the T-bar cocking handle and this will pull the bolt back and open the dust cover if it’s already closed and cock the rifle. It is now ready for action! I had some pop cans set up on my little back garden range at 20-yards and was shooting off a bench. I changed my usual back stop from hard steel angled plate for stopping lead pellets to several layers of old carpet to safely catch those steel BBs. Squeezing the trigger made me instantly smile as the blow back action gave the Crossman almost rimfire like felt recoil! Wow! What a seriously fun gun to shoot!
The trigger is a little heavy but you hardly notice it. Accuracy is okay but don’t forget it is a BB firing smooth bore gun but that said, at 20-yards, once I knew where it was shooting, I could not miss tin cans and the BBs were shredding those cans too after leaving the barrel at over 400fps!
So, all in all the DPMS is a great back garden plinker that has great realism in both looks and function. It’s not cheap at over £250 but it’s quite economical to run as you can get around 200 shots out of the two 12g CO2 bulbs in the mag. Safe shooting! Rack.