Although DPMS Panther Arms has only been around since the 80’s, they have already established themselves as a premier manufacturer of top-shelf modern sporting rifles (MSR’s). I recently got to spend some time getting to know the budding Alabama-based gunmaker and I was nothing short of amazed. Between their impressive collection of hunting, long range, competition, and tactical rifles, the up-and-coming arms producers has some of the best AR’s on the market.

In fact, when it comes to personal defense weapons, tactical carbines, law enforcement firearms, and sporting rifles, it would be a mistake to overlook DPMS. However, even with all of these special guns, I was curious why the Oracle was one of their top-selling. I don’t mean to say that the Oracle isn’t exciting in its own right, but it definitely didn’t stand out in the DPMS catalog.

Nevertheless, the Oracle is a great choice whether you’re searching for a new, reliable rifle to add to your collection or if you’re looking for a good starter weapon. It’s no coincidence that DPMS has quickly become the 2nd largest producer of AR-15 platform rifles – So let’s get down to it and examine the Oracle and see if it’s all that it’s cracked up to be.   

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DPMS Oracle 223

  • Model: Oracle RFA3-OC
  • Caliber: .223 Rem (5.56 NATO)
  • Capacity: 30+1
  • Barrel Length: 16”
  • Overall Length: 32.5” – 36.5”
  • Weight: 6.4 lbs.
  • Finish: Matte Black, Hard-Coat Anodized
  • Sights: N/A
  • MSRP: $669.94

DPMS Oracle 308

  • Model: Oracle RFLR-OC
  • Caliber: .308 Winchester (7.62 NATO)
  • Capacity: 20+1
  • Barrel Length: 16”
  • Overall Length: 32.5” – 36.4”
  • Weight: 8.3 lbs.
  • Finish: Matte Black, Hard-Coat Anodized
  • Sights: N/A
  • MSRP: $1,099

DPMS Oracle Build

At first glance, I could tell that the Oracle was hiding some very special features and components just waiting to be uncovered. As I started to handle the semi-auto and field strip it, I could barely contain my smile. At every step of the process, I kept finding more and more things to love about it. Nevertheless, I kept in mind that I still hadn’t shot the Oracle at that point, so I held back my excitement just a little bit.

Starting with the rear, I was happy with the Pardus AR-15 carbine stock especially considering it’s 6-position adjustable. While it’s definitely not the nicest DPMS stock, it’s nothing to complain about. To make the Pardus stand out, DPMS outfitted the proprietary stock with cool features like four slots for sling attachment and a Monte Carlo-style cheek rest.

DPMS Stock
DPMS Pardus Adjustable Stock

The next thing I noticed was that they opted for the classic A2 pistol grip and I was a little disappointed they didn’t go for a Hogue grip, but nothing is perfect. That being said, I quickly got over the letdown once I studied the receivers more closely.

DPMS Panther Arms did NOT cut any corners with these components. In fact, they ultimately decided on ultra-durable forged 7029 T6 aluminum alloy and even polished them off with a hard-coat anodized finish. Likewise, the Alabama-based arms producer utilized several other features to boost the Oracle’s overall toughness. For instance, DPMS outfitted the popular semi-auto with a lightweight, 4140 chrome-moly barrel.

GlacierGuard
DPMS GlacierGuard

Moving forward, one of the most underrated parts of the 5.56 Oracle is its trigger area and I found the Oracle’s to be surprisingly sweet. In addition to its integrated trigger guard and aluminum mag release, DPMS threw on a stainless steel match grade trigger and hammer.

While the DPMS’ build was already more than impressive at this point, I was excited to get my hands on their patented GlacierGuard handguard. By mixing age-old cooling techniques with modern components, the AP4-style GlacierGuard uses a combination of internal fins, fiber-reinforced polymers, and grip-boosting ribs.

Sights for the DPMS Oracle

Because DPMS wanted to keep the Oracle as versatile as possible they outfitted it with a MIL-STD A3 flat-top upper receiver and railed gas block. By utilizing this plain design, they’ve essentially enabled Oracle shooters to choose any combo of optics and sights they want.

DPMS Oracle Magazines

There wasn’t much that stood out about the magazines for the Oracle. Nonetheless, I was pretty happy to see that DPMS Panther manufacturers 10, 20, and 30 round mags for 5.56 all under $25!

Accessories for the Oracle

As accurate as the DPMS Oracle is, the up-and-coming weapons developer knew that shooters would certainly want to outfit their MSR with all kinds of accessories. So much so that they incorporated an accessory rail on their military-standard upper receivers.

Whether you opt for an ACOGEOTechAimpoint, or whathaveyou, there are nearly endless aftermarket options to hook up to your rotating-bolt semi-auto tactical rifle. All things considered, I gotta say I like the Aimpoint PRO (Patrol Rifle Optic) or the CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope 2.5-10x40e for the Oracle.  

While you’re here, check out our picks for the top suppressors & top shooting world records.

DPMS Oracle Performance & Operation

If all of the high-grade components and remarkable features didn’t give it away, the DPMS Oracle performs beautifully. The first thing I noticed when firing the powerful rifle was the surprisingly comfortable feel as the stock rested at my shoulder. Plus, the intuitive controls and ergonomic design provide a simply pleasurable shooting experience. 

While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the Oracle’s dependable performance stems from, there are several obvious contributors. For starters, firing the DPMS rifle is surprisingly simple and easy thanks to its carbine length, direct impingement gas system and effective A2 flash hider. Furthermore, much of the Oracle’s reliable operation is due to their spring-loaded action dust door, 8620 steel bolt carrier, and convenient shell deflector and right-hand ejection slot. 

flash hider
A2 Birdcage Flash Hider

If all of the high-grade components and remarkable features didn’t give it away, the DPMS Oracle performs beautifully. The first thing I noticed when firing the powerful rifle was the surprisingly comfortable feel as the stock rested at my shoulder. Plus, the intuitive controls and ergonomic design provide a simply pleasurable shooting experience. When DPMS Panther Arms manufactured their successful Oracle MSR, they craftily engineered it to give owners the best bang for their buck.

Overall, these semi-autos offer remarkable long-range performances and close range, tactical defense shooting too. While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the Oracle’s dependable performance stems from, there are several obvious contributors. For starters, firing the DPMS rifle is surprisingly simple and easy thanks to its carbine length, direct impingement gas system and effective A2 flash hider.

Furthermore, much of the Oracle’s reliable operation is due to their spring-loaded action dust door, 8620 steel bolt carrier, and convenient shell deflector and right-hand ejection slot.

DPMS Sportical

Upon seeing the success of their popular Oracle, DPMS Panther Arms went on to release the Sportical, chambering in .308 (7.62 NATO). Like the original model, the Sportical features highly-durable components and several performance-boosting features. However, in addition to its heavier build, these .308 economical semi-autos have slightly different barrels, uppers, lowers, and rates of twist.

  • Model: Sportical RFLR-OC
  • Caliber: .308 Winchester (7.62 NATO)
  • Capacity: 20+1
  • Barrel Length: 16”
  • Overall Length: 32.5” – 36.5”
  • Weight: 8.3 lbs.
  • Finish: Matte Black, Hard-Coat Anodized
  • Sights: N/A
  • MSRP: $849.99
sportical
DPMS Sportical

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Sam M

Sam is an avid firearms enthusiast who loves sharing his knowledge and experience with fellow gunivores.

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6 Comments

  1. I’ve had an Oracle since the first year of manufacture in Huntsville. I outfitted with Troy Industries tritium BUIS and a Cabelas branded red dot. I’ve put 500 rounds in a single sitting at the range with no appreciable deterioration of accuracy and no heat problems at the fore stock. Maybe if I was in a firefight running 1000 rounds per hour……
    Over 2500 rounds through it and not a single FTF or ejection problem. Not sure why anyone would say “ I love this gun” when he’s replaced everything but the barrel… I love this gun and I’m running it with factory original components plus furniture for around $900. The only drawback I’ve had is the gas block doesn’t have a sling attachment point so I have to use a single point sling at the butt stock. I knew I was getting a better-than-good gun at a budget price. It goes bang every time I pull the trigger. If I’d wanted a different, higher-end gun, I’d have bought a Daniel Defense and might still. But the Oracle is a really good gun for the money.

  2. I have a orcale get ride of every thing except the barrall and stripped recevers have a bcm bcg a mag pole stock a free float quad rail a timney trigger a bcm mod 3 charging handle of course a nice muzzle break back up irons and a sight mark m spec and now i love this gun so much worth the money to swap your guts out and have a rifle built for any scenario

  3. Let me start by saying I’m not being critical, and I’m trying my best to be objective. I happen to currently own two ARS, a Bushmaster A2 heavy barrel carbine and an Oracle.

    One of the (many) knocks on the Oracle is the lack of heat shield on the handguard, and it’s typically one of the first things people replace. That handguard is a stinker.

    The stock is lower end and uses a commercial buffer tube, and I’ve replaced mine with a 7075 T6 millspec buffer tube and a Magpul stock. DPMS’s commercial tube is made of 6061 aluminum, which has half the tensile strength of the 7075.

    Yes, the flattop receiver is very nice, the finish of the receiver is really nice. It’s better than I’ve seen on other higher end ARa I’ve owned in the past. However, most shooters, even ones using an Aimpoint PRO like myself (good recommendation) insist on having BUIS, or back-up iron sights in the event Mr Murphy rears his head and the optic fails. The has block rail sits significantly lower than the rail on the receiver, requiring a special front raised sight, or the iron sights will not align.

    Speaking of the gas block, it is made of aluminum, while the barrel is steel. Metals get hot from shooting and expand and contract. Having two different types of metal in something that is supposed to work together is not an ideal combination. I bought a low profile steel gas block and a free floated handguard to optimize accuracy and eliminate issues created by mismatched metals. That was an additional $250.

    The bolt carrier group is not top of the line and my gas key was not entirely correctly starked, but will work as a “shooter” gun. Have your readers look into why the BCG is less than ideal.

    I found the M4 feed ramps on my Oracle to be perfect, and while people complain that DPMS doesn’t use chrome lined barrels like the military or the to of the line manufacturers, non-lined steel barrels like the DPMS are known to be more accurate….just be sure to maintain the barrel and keep it clean. I don’t feel the lack of lining is a negative. I see it as a plus.

    Lastly, and I’m not being a jerk, but the summary made it seem less than well-informed. The “spring loaded dust door, convenient shell deflector, the right hand ejection port and all the ergonomics are pretty much the same on ALL ARs, and do nothing to distinguish the DPMS Oracle.

    The Oracle is a “shooter”. A lower end of the scale AR that the recreational shooter can get years of enjoyment out of four a reasonable price. I wouldn’t attempt to portray it as anywhere near the top tiers in ARs, but that’s OK. It isn’t meant to be.

    If you happen to have a DPMS Oracle, like I do, you can use it as a shooter, or upgrade the BCG, change the gas block and get a quality free floated handguard, change the buffer tube and stock…..but that’s going to cost you an extra $650-750….more than the original gun cost. Since I got the gun as a gift, that’s what I’m going to do / have done. And I’m going to replace the trigger one day soon. More money. Oh well

  4. I just purchased an Oracle 5.56 in August. I changed the forward grip to a Magpul MOE 424, had a Vortex Crossfire 3-9×40 scope installed and a nice Magpul flip up adjustable bipod. Add 2 magazines and I was out the door for a little over $900.00. It is one nice rifle. I have no problem with the butt stock despite all of the online critics. There’s nothing wrong with it!

  5. hi, looking at these as a Black Friday special 399.00 seems great even if I need to add my own optical. anyhow is the flash hider threaded on?

    thanks
    M

    1. Hi Spiker, the Oracle does have a threaded barrel.

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