I have wanted to review my DM4 308 rifle for a while now. Even though I sold it about a year ago, I decided to gather some old notes, pictures, and videos and do the review anyway. (Especially since I regret selling it)
Before I jump into this review, I want to make known that I am in no way affiliated with the manufacturer of the DM4 308 Rifle. I bought the rifle with my very own ice cream money that I saved up for decades, and even though I had some issues with it, I have no hard feelings because I absolutely loved it. So rest assured this review is going to be 100% unbiased. I have nothing to lose or to gain from this review.
THE RIFLE RECEIVER AND BARREL
The rifle is an Armalite AR-10b receiver, with a locally manufactured 18″ stainless steel barrel with a 1:10 twist rate by Musgrave Rifles in Ermelo. The barrel is a heavy profile, and yes, it makes the rifle pretty damn heavy. Still, that heavy profile makes all the difference in barrel rigidity. If you understand barrel harmonics, you will know that it helps a crapload with accuracy.
Rapid firing will cause a rifle’s barrel to heat up quickly, and the slight warping will cause a shift in the point of impact. The heavy barrel of the DM4 308 does well in reducing this effect.
The manufacturer is Diplopoint Pty Limited. I gather that they are contracted out by Dave Sheer Guns to build the DM4 range of rifles.
Correction, 13 May 2020 – according to this article at Magnum.com, Gareth de Nysschen is the managing director of both Diplopoint and Dave Sheer Guns, and the rifle is assembled by Diplopoint, not manufactured.
The rifle came with a UTG Slim free float keymod rail. I must say, the keymod was a bit of a pain in the ass to get specific mounts for. However, it was worth the weight savings after all was said and done.
THE MUZZLE BRAKE
At the end of the barrel was a very nicely built muzzle break which did a great job at reducing the recoil. Still, a word of warning – the shock wave it produces will make bystanders crap themselves, sometimes literally. I also found it problematic while shooting off the ground because the muzzle brake would kick up dirt into everyone’s faces. This dust cloud could easily give away your position, which could be a problem if you are of those tactically minded keyboard commandos.
This, along with the loudness of the rifle, is the main reason I decided to go with a sound suppressor.
UPDATE: On posting this article, I went onto the Dave Sheer and noticed that the muzzle brake doesn’t seem to be included anymore. According to the specs on their website, the muzzle device is now a standard M4 type birdcage flash eliminator.
DM4 308 Rifle Tecnhical Specifications
I am not sure what the specifications are at the time of writing this article, but There are the specs of the rifle that I received.
|Barrel Twist Rate
|1:10 (Ideal for 168gr)
|EN19 button rifle
|Carbine Length Gas Tube / Direct Gas Impingement
|Proprietary Muzzle Break
|Muzzle Thread Pitch
|5/8-24 (Standard for most 7.62 calibers)
|Armalite AR10b upper and lower receivers.
|UTG 15″ KeyMod Free Float Handguard.
|Black Synthetic Collapsible (Standard M4 Type)
|A2 Type old-style grip.
|Proprietary Armalite Steel Magazines – Does not accept Magpul Magazines
|Commercial Spec Buffer Tube.
DM4 308 Rifle Problems
Before we start bashing the DM4 308, I want you guys to know that I absolutely loved the rifle, but it didn’t come without problems, and I want to discuss some of them in this review.
- The DM4 308 rifle does not accept Magpul magazines.
- The rifle was over-gassed, causing it to run unreliably.
- The buffer tube was loose out of the box.
- Support from the manufacturer was less than satisfactory.
I managed to get all these problems fixed in time, and once all the teething issues were out of the way, the DM4 308 was an absolute dream to shoot! Let’s look at each of the problems I had and how I fixed them.
1. The DM4 308 does not accept Magpul Magazines.
I was disappointed when I found out that the DM4 308 does not accept Magpul 308 magazines. When I asked the salesperson (I won’t mention any names) at the time of purchase, they assured me it takes Magpul magazines. This goes to show that there is a lack of information released about the specs of the rifle.
They can only take the steel Armalite magazines, and the cheapest I could find them was around R900 a pop and were usually out of stock wherever I looked. The rifle did come with 4 magazines, which helped a lot, and to be fair, there was nothing wrong with them other than the price.
Side note, these magazines rust easily, so it was essential to clean them often.
2. The rifle was over-gassed, causing it to run unreliably.
The rifle was completely over-gassed from day one, and the over-gassing was especially pronounced when I added a silencer to the rifle.
In fact, Even before the suppressor, it was so over-gassed that the bolt was knocking up against the receiver, leaving gouges on the inside. The bolt cycle was so severe that I was worried that it would break the receiver into pieces.
Because the rifle was over-gassed and the bolt would cycle violently fast, it would often fail to pick up a round from the magazine and chamber it. I also had a lot of failures to extract as the brass would get trapped on the closing bolt.
I eventually sent the rifle back (I had to pay for the shipping from Durban To Johannesburg) so that the manufacturer could take a look at it. They “fixed” the rifle and sent it back, with very little information about what was wrong and how they fixed it. I was again very disappointed when I took the rifle out shooting, and the rifle had the same problem. Nothing changed.
After a lot of research online, I found the only real way to fix the problem properly was to install an adjustable gas block.
I couldn’t find anyone to install an adjustable gas block, so I took it upon myself to do the installation, which was pretty easy to do. I ordered an Ergo adjustable gas block from Hailstorm and searched through youtube for an installation walkthrough.
I followed the walkthrough to the tee, and voila! DIY’d that bad boy.
3. The buffer tube was loose out of the box.
4. Support from the manufacturer was less than satisfactory.
There was no user manual for the rifle at all and minimal information online.
I struggled to find out what spec the buffer tube was. Commercial Spec or Milspec.
There were no specs given about the thread used on the barrel.
Other things that I didn’t like about the rifle.
The spring for the 308 is a lot heavier than a standard 223 AR. So the standard charging handle made it quite awkward to charge, especially when manipulating the rifle in a prone position. Technically speaking, there is nothing wrong with the standard charging handle. Still, I fixed this by changing it out for a Radian Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle. The Radian Raptor has a much larger charging lever, and it made all the difference.
How I set up my DM4 308 Rifle
Right at the outset, I was after a DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle) type setup. After many chopping and changing parts and accessories, I am glad to say that the finished product certainly fulfilled that role. Let me go through what I used and how I got the rifle to the point that I was satisfied with its function.
THE RIFLESCOPE AND SCOPE MOUNTS
The scope I bought with the rifle was the Vortex PST Gen-1 2.5-10×44, perfect for the setup. It was the one piece of equipment that I didn’t have to change once, and it stayed with the rifle until I sold it 3 years later. The Gen-1 range of scopes is no longer available. However, the Gen-2 scopes are well worth the upgrade. I currently run a Vortex Viper PST Gen-2 5-25×50 on my bolt rifle, and I love it.
I did change the scope mounts a couple of times, though. I tried three different scope attachments, to be exact. I first mounted the rifle scope with a Burris PEPR quick detach mount, which worked well. However, I found it was unnecessarily high, and I couldn’t get a good view through the optic while maintaining a decent cheek weld.
I then decided to get rid of the Burris and go for Vortex Viper scope rings in the high mount. They were great! They were lightweight and brought the scope’s objective lens lower, giving me a much better cheek weld.
Everything was fine and dandy until one day, I started pushing the rifle further and further, only to realize I ran out of vertical adjustment on the scope turrets. I needed more elevation!
I looked high and low at many different options, including one-piece scope mounts with built-in 20MOA. Still, none of them brought my scope low enough to get that perfect cheek weld I worked so hard to achieve before. Until one day, it hit me…
I found these Weaver 20MOA flat-mount Picatinny risers. This beautiful life-saving piece of metal, coupled with a set of the lowest Warne scope rings I could find, was just a match made in heaven. I had to order the riser from the UK, so I did a little AutoCAD drawing using the specs I found online to make sure everything fits correctly before ordering.
SOUND SUPPRESSOR ON THE DM4 308
Because I wanted to keep the rifle fairly maneuverable, I went with a Warrior Reflex Sound Suppressor. This reflex design threads on the barrel, while the blast chamber of the suppressor actually fits around the barrel, making the full length of the suppressor shorter than traditional designs. As a matter of fact, a reflex suppressor 20cm long only adds around 120cm to the overall length. Sure, you are sacrificing some sound suppression with this design. Still, for me, it was a balancing act between sound suppression and maneuverability. The warrior suppressor did it beautifully.
OFFSET RED DOT SIGHT
I also found adding a Vortex Viper Ret Dot on a 45 degree offset mount useful for rapid short distance engagements. I initially used a Bushnell First Strike red dot sight, but I was unhappy with it. (Actually, it was a total piece of crap)
I wanted to replace the standard grip that came with the DM4 308. It had sharp edges, a steep grip angle, and felt cheap, none of which I liked.
I really liked the look of the Magpul MIAD Grip, but it was pricey, and at the time was not available in South Africa. I looked online for a few days and eventually came across the IMI Defense CG1 AR15/M16 Pistol Grip which had a pronounced “Tang”, a more vertical grip angle, and a large palm swell, similar to the Magpul MIAD. I ordered the grip from their website (They are in Isreal, I believe), and it was here in South Africa within a few weeks.
I started off with upgrading the standard stock with a Magpul CTR stock, which after some use, I realized was a bit short. I shortly changed over to the Magpul ACS stock, which gave me a much better length of pull. It’s important to mention that the buffer tube is commercial-spec before ordering a new stock because they need to match. A mil-spec stock will not fit this rifle.
If you really want to turn this rifle into an excellent DMR setup, I would highly recommend you go for the Magpul PRS Gen-3 stock. They are expensive, but they are specifically designed for long-range shooting and come with an adjustable length of pull and cheekpiece comb height. You can also adjust the cant of the butt pad.
What Did I Love About the DM4 308 Rifle?
The DM4 Is really, really, super accurate.
I’m sure you’re wondering how far I could reach out with this rifle. To get there, we should first talk about its accuracy.
Out of the box, with standard over-the-counter .308 ammunition, I managed to group the rifle at a little over 1 MOA. Which is not bad.
With a bit of extra work, I eventually developed a load using 167gr Lapua Scenar Bullets, in Lapua cases that grouped under 15mm quite consistently, which is just over half an MOA.
The trigger was as good as any high-quality professional trigger system.
I absolutely loved this trigger. I hope they are still building these rifles with the same trigger as they did when I bought them. I have had many experienced shooters compliment the rifle’s trigger, some even suggesting it is one of the best triggers they have ever used.
The trigger had little to no creep, short takeup, and a consistently clean break.
What is the Purpose of the DM4 308 Rifle?
The way I had this rifle set up was what most people would consider a DMR or a dedicated marksman rifle. I could quite easily reach out to 950m, and using a red dot, I could engage targets as close as 10m quite quickly. It really is a multi-purpose rifle.
A rifle that bridges the gap between your AR15 and a long-range bolt action rifle.
That’s about all from me about the DM4 308 Rifle. I’ll leave you with a short video montage of our good times with this rifle. Enjoy!