Sometimes, when you’re wrong, it’s easy to simply stick to your guns and not change your mind. Or, you could do as I have and wait a few years until no one remembers. There was a time about twenty years ago when I ranted and raved about striker fired pistols and AR-15s. I simply say no real use for either and told everybody I knew. Now, I think enough time has passed that I can safely say what I need to. In fact, I’d look like an idiot if I continued my rant. I now own multiple striker fired pistols and like them. I now have almost as many AR-15s as I do bolt action rifles.

AR-15 work as combat rifles as they were designed, but they also make better target rifles than the M14s I spent my shooting career with. I could have never imagined a modified M14 or M1A winning the National High Power Championship but an AR-15 in Carl Bernoski’s capable hands won last year, only dropping seven points in the process. The AR-15 platform is the most successful design since the 1911 and deservedly so.

In recent times, there have been multiple AR-15s chambered in .22 rimfire to allow low priced training and fun. I recently tested the most versatile and desirable one so far, the DPMS. Sold at this time as an upper only, DPMS ads proclaim, “A $30 day on the range is just two pins away,” and they are right.

It comes with a forged 7075-T6 A3 upper, a flat-top Picatinny rail for mounting optics, a 16″ chrome moly M4 contour barrel, a functional ejection port door, A2 front sight assembly with bayonet lug, A2 flash hider, charging handle and one 10 round Black Dog magazine.

Black Dog magazines offer several magazine capacity choices. At $419, it’s a substantial package that feels like the real thing. The upper’s bolt is held back by the magazine on the last shot and upon removal of the magazine, it closes. The operator can lock it back in a partially open position by using the bolt stop on the left side of the receiver but it doesn’t stop far enough back to strip off a round when a new magazine is inserted and the release is dropped. The operator must cycle the charging handle to load.

With Federal Gold Medal ammunition, the DPMS produced ten shot groups just over an inch at 50 yards, almost half the size of most AR rimfire clones I’ve tested. Group sizes with the white box Remington were consistently under two inches. The DPMS ran flawlessly with every ammunition I loaded in it at a recent event where several AR clones were available. While you have to already own an AR-15 lower to take advantage of this gun, it is truly a great practice and plinking addition for an AR owner.

Image copyright Dick Jones

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  • Penland

    I have an old Colt SP1. Would this upper fit?

    • Joemac

      I too am looking to use it on a Colt SP1. Any idea if it’ll work?

  • Tony

    I have a Bushmaster Carbon 15 .22 LR upper that I can’t find magazines for, will these fit?

  • I have an DPMS Oracle, would love one of these… They available yet?