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The DPMS GII AP4, Part 1

Taking The Tactical .308 Beyond!

By: Gary Paul Johnston

From Down Range TV

This is Part I of II articles on the DPMS GII AP4

If you thought you’d seen everything in a semi-automatic 7.62x51mm Tactical Carbine, well, don’t feel bad, as I was in the same boat. Then I attended a pre-SHOT Show look at new firearms from Freedom Group at Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona, in December 2013, and everything changed.

Among a host of new firearms for 2014 was a DPMS 7.62x51mm (.308 caliber) AR platform rifle, which stood out from the rest. Called the GII AP4, this model amounts to a highly refined M4 type carbine designed around the .308 Winchester cartridge. Since that description is just as highly simplified, let’s take a close look at this unique rifle.

The pre-production GII AP4 introduced at Gunsite rests hot and dirty on a table at Gunsite’s Shot Quad Range. It never malfunctioned.
The pre-production GII AP4 introduced at Gunsite rests hot and dirty on
a table at Gunsite’s Shot Quad Range. It never malfunctioned.

Based closely on an AR-15 size platform, the GII AP4 uses the same 25.4mm diameter bolt carrier rather than the larger LR-10 size carrier found in DPMS and other .308 caliber rifles of this type. The reduction in weight of this carrier translates to less weight bottoming out when the carrier group stops against the rear of the rifle, transmitting that force the shoulder. The 25.4mm carrier also helps to reduce the overall weight of the GII AP4 to just 3.3 kg. Being of monolithic design, the bolt carrier uses an integral gas key tower and a removable gas key extension for easy maintenance.

Featuring contoured lugs and dual ejectors, the GII’s .308 size bolt also has a new extractor and enhanced gas rings.
Featuring contoured lugs and dual ejectors, the GII’s .308
size bolt also has a new extractor and enhanced gas rings.

The GII’s 7.62x51mm bolt is larger than that for a 5.56x45mm cartridge, but is geometrically designed to allow a smaller diameter barrel extension for added weight reduction. Using seven radiused locking lugs, the bolt face contains not one, but two ejectors. The rifle’s extractor design is also optimized for strength and Instead of a coil spring, uses a synthetic piece, which DPMS calls an “elastomer,” which has proven to last much longer without fatigue.

With changes in the GII’s bolt group obvious, the monolithic gas key stands out.
With changes in the GII’s bolt group obvious,
the monolithic gas key stands out.

While the upper and lower receivers of the GII are generally the same size and are close to the same weight of those used in 5.56x45mm AR platforms, they are 12.7mm longer. This added length accommodates the .308 length magazine well and the upper receiver’s longer ejection port and bolt group travel. Being necessarily wider, the magazine well also has an unusually large flared mouth for fast magazine insertion, as well as a handy platform for those who like to hold the front of the magazine well with the support hand. Additionally, the GII’s case deflector has been completely redesigned around the 7.62x51mm casing, but the receiver groups are otherwise AR-15 size, even accepting all the same fire control parts, A2 pistol grip, recoil spring tube and etc.

The pre-production GII AP4 DPMS brought to Gunsite was equipped with a simple “issue” sliding buttstock, and A2 pistol grip and an M4 type “Glacier” handguard, which was slightly larger than that found on 5.56x45mm carbines. The rifle also comes with Magpul MBUS flip-up sights. Standard 20-shot DPMS LR-308 magazines were furnished with the sample rifle. These magazines are interchangeable with SR-25 magazines, as well as Magpul 10- and 20- shot Pmag’s.

Go to Part II

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