The AR – 15 has rapidly become “America’s rifle.” Since it’s parent, the M-16, first saw use in the rice paddies and mountains of Southeast Asia the love affair with the incredibly modular rifle has only grown. Now with the myriad of after market parts, chamberings, optics, shooting courses, magazines, grips, bipods, carrying bags – Name it and I’ll guarantee someone is making it for the AR 15 – “America’s rifle” is poised to serve the country for another 50 years.
Inspite of it’s popularity the rise of the AR 15 was slowed for a decade during the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act (a name George Orwell could have used in his dystopian classic 1984) which was popularly known as the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB). Luckily for America the AWB had a sunset provision and in 2004 the AR-15 platform, CNC machining, modern metallurgy and refinements made by creative end users who cut their teeth on Somalia, the Middle East, Afghanistan and Central America all coalesced and America’s rifle was unleashed.
During the AWB the price of a “pre-ban” AR skyrocketed. An AR that now-a-days would sell for $500 or less regularly sold for $1,500 or more. 30 round magazines were selling for $150.00 a piece! After the 2004 “sunset” the market began to respond to the increase in affordable AR-15’s. Soon after the aftermarket parts and accessories market jumped into full swing.
Soon, virtually all gun manufacturing companies in America got on the AR bandwagon. It didn’t take long for the accessory companies to follow with increased production and development of new mounting systems and gadgets to mount. If you haven’t figured it out yet the AR rifle system has as many combinations as a Rubik’s cube.
As the modularity of the AR system increased daily manufacturers like Daniel Defense began offering fully loaded rifles to consumers. These rifles are fine guns which sell for $1,400 to over $2,000 and therefore out of most people’s price range. As the prices increased the market shifted to home builds where you buy a receiver set, a parts kit and barrel and try to build your own rifle with all the latest gadgets.
This increased the price of the average AR until the gun rushes of 2008, 2012 and the post Sandyhook buying rush sucked all available rifles and ammunition from the market. A similar buying rush occurred in 2017 following a school shooting in Florida. These post event buying frenzies caused many panicked buyers to buy whatever they could find as fear took over. Fear of a gun ban, fear of civil unrest, fear of manufacturer shortages, fear of a massive price increase. Once the dust settled many of these fear driven buyers realized they paid far too much for their AR’s. Now they are stuck with a $600 rifle they paid $1,800 for.
Enter a small Minnesota firm called Defense Procurement Manufacturing Services – better known as DPMS. The company had been around since 1985 making parts for US military contracts. In the late 90’s the company moved to Becker, Minnesota and began producing AR platform rifles. Nothing illustrates the explosive growth in the AR market more than the fact that between 2004 and 2007 DPMS doubled it’s revenue and increased the number of employees from around 30 to 65. DMPS did this by manufacturing affordable and dependable AR-15’s and their associated parts in huge numbers.
The DMPS Oracle is a gas operated, air cooled, magazine fed, semi-automatic rifle. The gas operation is called the Direct Gas Impingement System which simply put means when the cartridge is fired and the bullet travels through the barrel expanding gasses push the bullet through the bore. As the gasses expand a portion of the gas is siphoned through a small orifice in the barrel and redirected back towards the action. The gas then travels through the gas block and into the Bolt Carrier Group which pushes the BCG and the bolt to the rear working the action, cocking the hammer and loading the next round.
The Oracle is lightweight and compact. With the stock fully collapsed the overall length of the gun is 32.5 inches and fully extended 36.5 inches. The rifle weighs 6.4 pounds out of the box so you can add optics and other gear without turning it into a brick. And, yes, you read that right 6.4 pounds!
But don’t let the light weight fool you, the Oracle is solid as a rock! DPMS built the receivers from forged 7075 T6 Aircraft grade aluminum which makes this receiver set as sturdy, as tight and as dependable as those found on AR’s in much higher price ranges. Don’t forget, DPMS has been building AR rifles and parts since 1985! The material, the machinery, the manpower are all top notch.
The heart of any rifle is the barrel. You can have the best of everything else but if your barrel is junk – your rifle is too. Once again, after 30 years of building parts for the US military and AR for civilians, DPMS knows what works and what doesn’t so they start off with 4140 Chromemoly steel with is top grade ordnance steel. Then the steel is cold hammer forged.
Hammer forging is the process used by many military arms builders to change the molecular structure of the metal by compressing it over and over with hydraulic hammers and heat. This is how the rifling inside the bore is created, then it is chrome lined.
A common question is “why does chrome lining matter?” There are a number of reasons. Dependability, corrosion resistance, extend barrel life, ease of cleaning. This is a feature usually found in more expensive rifles – and – is a requirement for all U.S. Military issue rifles. One of the biggest benefits for those who like discount ammunition the chrome lining makes this rifle more likely to function well with steel and aluminum cased ammunition.
The Oracle is also “optics ready” which means it has no carrying handle, like a standard M-16. It also has a low profile gas block to keep the Military style A2 sight post from obscuring the view through optics. In place of the traditional carrying handle the Oracle has a mounting/interface system built in. This rail is in the 1913 or Picatinny rail which is popularly called a “pic rail.” The Picatinny rail is basically a military standardized version of the legendary Weaver rail.
This rifle is perfect for any number of optics, lights, lasers, back up sights, a carrying handle … when it comes to AR’s if you think of it someone probably has one in production already.
Because of this when choosing optics make sure to consider what you plan to do with your new rifle. If you plan to use it for home defense or other short range fast shooting (hog hunting, coyote, bad people) red dot optics like the Vortex Strikefire, Sig Romeo5, Aim Point PRO, Burris Fast fire 1, 2 or 3 – just to name a few – are perfect. They range in price from around 160 for the Vortex to close to 500 for the Aim Point. These red dot optics can be made to “co witness” with your Back Up Iron Sights (BUIS) for extended distance shooting.
If you aren’t in need of a red dot most traditional scopes mount to the Oracle without a problem. Standard hunting and target scopes like Vortex, Leupold, Burris, Simmons will mount on this rifle as well as Nikon scopes with 223 Ballistic Drop Compensator (BDC).
Next are the low power variable scopes like the Trijicon ACOG, the Burris XTR 1-5 or the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8. For the most part all these scopes can be used on 1x as a red dot style optic then it can be increased to whatever the highest power. This type of scope is popular with three gun shooters, hunters, Law Enforcement and Military.
Another feature of the Oracle is the Pardus 6 position adjustable stock. The buffer tube is commercial size – not milspec – so if you change the furniture on the gun be sure and take the buffer tube size into account. The six positions allows the shooter to fully adjust the gun to their personal needs without the need for gunsmithing and when fully collapsed the rifle is only 32.5 inches long making it perfect for the smaller tactical bags.
Even with all these features DMPS has managed to keep the Oracle’s MSRP price tag under $750.00 and some retailers have the rifle selling for the amazing price of $399.99 – an AR for less than 400 bucks! But, there’s a catch…because a good things never last. Recently DMPS announced that 2018 would be the last year the Oracle will be produced so now is the time to add this powerful, modular and affordable Modern Sporting Rifle to your personal collection.