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Light As A Feather
Picking up the GII AP4 in the Gunsite classroom was almost shocking, knowing I was holding a 7.62x51mm AR type rifle. Contributing much to the rifle’s ultra lightweight is its 1-in-254mm 406.4mm barrel. Unique in several ways, this already slim barrel is even slimmer forward of the gas block where it becomes truly a “pensile” barrel. At the muzzle is an equally unique combination flash hider/muzzle brake. Called the Cancellation brake, this device amounts to a cylinder into which the gas temporarily is collected after leaving the muzzle. Restricted on the front end, the brake (and gun) is pushed forward, as some of the gas vents through eight small holes, two at 12-, 3-, 6- and 9 o’clock.
Inserting the first 20-shot magazine of Remington (10.8-gram) 7.62x51mm Match ammunition into the GII AP4 carbine on Gunsite’s Shot Quad Range added only about a pound to the weapon. At the first shot I hesitated, as the lack of expected felt recoil was that surprising. Unleashing the remaining nineteen rounds rapid fire, I was just as surprised at the ease with which the carbine’s sights stayed close to the target. Although the rifle stayed on my shoulder throughout the rapid fire, a non-slip butt would have been appreciated.
Firing three more 20-shot magazines brought me to magazine #5, which I decided to shoot for point of aim/point of impact. Since we didn’t have any bullseye targets, I decided to shoot at the silver dollar size rocks in the dirt bank 25m away. I either hit these, causing them to disintegrate, or moved them a foot or so. Magazine #6 was used to make head shots on the camouflaged torso targets we were using. These were also done rapid fire and these twenty rounds went into abut 4 inches and a tiny bit left. It was time to let another on the rifle.
A GII Family
As I watched several others shoot this GII AP4 I was aware that I barely felt as if I’d fired a rifle at all. After some five hundred rounds downrange, I saw no malfunctions and did not hear of any with this rifle. I was impressed with the package, but I soon learned that this is just one of a family of GII 7.62x51mm rifles from DPMS.
Consisting of six models, in addition to the AP4, the GII list includes the MOE, Recon, SASS, Hunter and Bull Barrel, but the GII MOE is the only other member that is basically identical to the ultra lightweight GII AP4. The difference is that the GII MOE comes standard with a Magpul MOE Handguard, MOE pistol grip and an MOE butt stock. The GII MOE is the same weight as the AP4, but has an MSRP of $100.00 more.
Since the DPMS GII welcomes many aftermarket free-float handguard systems, the AP4 model might appeal to those who want to upgrade it with the buttstock, handguard and pistol grip of their choice. For example, I like the MOE buttstock, but would probably opt for a free-float handguard on which a wide variety of rail choices were available, and I would definitely replace the MOE pistol grip.
You see, as good as the standard Magpul MOE pistol grip is, it cannot (in my opinion) compare with the MOE+ pistol grip with its sure grip surface. Otherwise identical to the more Spartan MOE grip, the MOE+ is the best AR pistol grip I have ever used! However, for one who is satisfied with the Magpul Original Equipment furnished GII MOE, he or she will get great value for the additional hundred bucks.
For those desiring a light, accurate self-loading carbine to handle the more efficient 7.62x51mm cartridge without spending a few thousand “custom” dollars, the new DPMS GII AP4 is a bargain at $1,400.00 MSRP.
Specifications: DPMS GII AP4
Muzzle Velocity: 822 m/s.
Operation: Direct gas, semi-automatic.
Barrel Length: 406.4mm.
Overall Length: 870mm to 895mm,
Rate of Twist: 1-in-254mm RHT.
Weight: (gun alone) 3.3 kg.
Magazine: 10- or 20-shot SR-25 or Pmag.
Safety: Positive selector safety.
Sights: Magpul MBUS.
Stock Furniture: Black synthetic.
Finish: Hard anodize and phosphate.
Fore more information, visit: dpms-gii.com
About the author:
Having fired his first shot at the age of 5 by killing a pig his uncle was going to butcher, Gary Paul Johnston began a lifelong interest in firearms, hunting and shooting. Beginning a 28-year in law enforcement in 1963, Gary worked every division, always favoring uniformed patrol where the action was. He began writing in 1976 with nearly 2,000 articles on firearms published to date, along with two books, Custer’s Horses and co-authoring The World’s Assault Rifles. Having attended more schools on shooting and tactics than he can count, Gary is still learning, He says that if he can pass on even a little to others of what he has learned he will have achieved a worthy goal. Gary and his wife, Nancy, also a retired police officer, live in Colorado, are both Life Members of the NRA and strong 2nd Amendment advocates. Gary is also featured on MidwayUSA’s Gun Stories.