We frequently get questions about building a quick takedown AR-15…specifically using the Pantheon Arms Dolos System. To learn a bit more about the Dolos, which is advertised as a “Rapid Takedown and Deployment System” that “enables discreet, concealed carry and rapid deployment”, we reached out to Pantheon Arms CEO Steve Roddel…
Q: Steve, can you tell us about how this Pantheon Arms Dolos System concept came about for the AR?
Steve Roddel, Pantheon Arms: I was the founder of Huntertown Arms, which was a silencer manufacturer. We had been operating for about 5 or 6 years, and the ATF got really, really slow on processing forms. So, we needed to look for another revenue source, so I came up with this idea. Well, It’s not so much that I came up with the idea, but rather I came up with the implementation.
I say that because the very first rifle that was ever made was a take-down rifle. It broke down from 15 feet to two 7-foot pieces. So, the idea is not new, but the implementation was new. We made some until the ATF started processing forms in a timely manner again, and then we went back to making silencers because that was our bread and butter.
“Cut the Length in Half”
My then partner and I spilt up…and I took the Dolos technology and I decided to further develop it. The idea was that it was just a device that allows you to break an AR-15 down into it’s two smallest components…taking the barrel off and removing it from the receiver and stock. Effectively, you cut the length in half…to the extent that I take take a 16” barreled rifle with a muzzle break on it, and I can store those two parts in a laptop bag.
Pantheon Arms Dolos System – Multi-Caliber Capability
Another benefit of the Dolos is you can switch from any barrel to any barrel, from any caliber to any caliber. One of my favorite builds right now a 6.8 build I have that has three barrels…one is 10” with a silencer, one is 12” without a silencer and the other is a 16”. So I could could swap between any of those just knowing the dope change on that particular barrel.
Q: Can you talk about why someone might want to use something like this?
Steve Roddel, Pantheon Arms: Our philosophy is that longer barrels are more effective, and the Dolos divides the rifle in half for storage, carry and concealment. There are other great solutions for making an AR even shorter …Law Tactical for example. We see a lot of builds using 7-8” barrels. And with that, and in combination with the Law Tactical folder, you’re able to divide by three, making an even smaller package. Your longest component ends up being between 8-12”.
Q: My first thought is reliability…can you talk about how reliable a setup like this is?
Steve Roddel, Pantheon Arms: As far as reliability, ARs are incredibly finicky. It comes down to ammo, gas flow and a whole lot of physics. When I designed the Dolos, my first design tenet was that I would do absolutely nothing different with the takedown system that was done with the basic AR installation. Meaning the Dolos would absolutely mimic installing a fixed barrel.
We don’t change any of the interfaces…so the barrel extension mates up to the upper receiver, the pin goes into the notch, the gas tube goes down to its same location in the upper receiver. What we’ve effectively done is we’ve created a two-piece barrel nut.
Q: Is the Pantheon Arms Dolos System totally “plug and play” or are there any restrictions we should be aware of?
Steve Roddel, Pantheon Arms: Some of the restrictions that we have are based on our requirement that the Dolos absolutely mimic the assembly of a standard rifle, with the sole exception of that two-piece barrel nut. In a way, the hand guard becomes a nut, your hand becomes a wrench…we’ve shortened the turn to less than 90 degrees.
Since the hand guard turns over the top the gas tube, and the gas tube measures roughly an inch and three quarters over the centerline of the bore, the internal diameter has a restriction of an inch and three quarters. When you add in the thickness of the handguard, then the OD of the hand guard is nominally two inches. We make a hand guard that is roughly 1.96” OD.
We get a lot of questions about why can’t I use (insert your favorite hand guard here)…and the reason is we need to keep the hand guard over top of the gas tube…Our installation is an absolute replication of the assembly process. The way that we apply force to the barrel extension is it is drawn into the upper receiver. We’re the only solution that provides a constant force around that diameter. This is how we’re able to absolutely guarantee a return to zero.
Q: To be clear, if someone is going to purchase the Dolos, they should first make sure the handguard they want to use is compatible, correct?
Steve Roddel, Pantheon Arms: That’s correct. You need a handguard that is supported with our system…Anything that uses a Yankee Hill thread pitch. That’s typically Yankee Hill, some of the DPMS, there’s a couple of Midwest Industries…Brigand, Rock River, Unique-ARs, and then we have a few offerings ourselves…
Q: How long does the installation process of the Pantheon Arms Dolos System take?
Steve Roddel, Pantheon Arms: If you’re starting with a stripped receiver and a stripped barrel so that everything is laying in front of you, it takes eight minutes if you know the difference between a hammer and mallet and 15 minutes if you don’t. It’s a non-destructive install, so we’re not asking you to drill holes in barrels or cut rings or anything like that. You can install it and twenty minutes later you can decide to take it off.
Back to mimicking the installation, we don’t do anything that changes any of the interfaces between the barrel and the receiver. The gas tube still goes to where the gas tube would have gone before…the way the barrel extension mates to the upper receiver, everything remains exactly the same. That’s how we can make sure the gun will be as reliable with the Dolos on as it was without the Dolos on. There’s only two exceptions to that.
Q: Can you explain those exceptions?
Steve Roddel, Pantheon Arms: One is that there is a spec for cutting the upper receiver. The front face of an upper receiver is supposed to be at 90 degrees to the bore. Most quality upper receiver manufacturers are able to achieve that angle. There are a number of lesser cost manufacturers that will be at 89 or 88 and half degrees…so that the upper receiver isn’t necessarily square. The majority of people who can’t get the Dolos put together correctly or it won’t stay locked up…that ends up being the issue, so we recommend that people use quality parts, which they should do anyway.
The other issue is making sure the barrel times back up to where it was the last time you shot it…meaning you’ve applied the same amount of pressure to the barrel from removal back to deployment. The spec, I believe, is somewhere between 35 and 80 foot-pounds of torque for a standard barrel nut. Most of that is necessary…the high end of that torque is necessary because there is a torque lock holding that barrel nut onto the upper receiver. So, you’re crushing two threads together and that’s how you’re locking the parts up.
With the Dolos, you only need about 25 foot pounds of torque to lock the barrel to the upper receiver. Then there is a secondary anti-rotation lock on the Dolos that prevents it from backing off unless you want to remove the barrel.
Q: So, if any of our readers want more information on the Pantheon Arms Dolos System, where should they go?
Steve Roddel, Pantheon Arms: They can visit us on our website at https://www.pantheonarms.com/.
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