Daniel Defence Delta 5
- By Chris Parkin
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 10/12/2020
It’s always nice to see a new name come along in the rifle world and the Daniel Defence certainly seems to have a few differences that warrant its appearance. Looking at the metallics first, Daniel guarantees 0.75 M.O.A. capability with match ammunition from their stainless-steel, cold hammer forged barrel that is user interchangeable on the action using a barrel nut system. This is paired alongside a replaceable floating bolt head with three lugs for a 60° lift within the 102.3mm stroke length of the action and 73.7mm ejection port. The barrel shows a neat rebated crown and is screwcut 5/8x24 for a moderator or brake. It shows the neat spiral profile left visible from the forging directly into the heavy Palma profile. It has a 19.7mm diameter at the muzzle that tapers into the 28.6mm reinforce at the barrel nut to complete its 20” overall length.
The nut appears to sandwich a recoil lug but it’s actually machined into the cylindrical stainless-steel action’s underside. Opposing facets are shown to the left and right side, the latter of which is opened into the ejection port with the left side showing a discreet engraving of the company name and serial number. Similar discreet data is shown on the barrel including the 1:12 twist rate.
A 20 MOA scope rail with correct Picatinny dimensions and company branding is located with four bolts and I liked the fact this its custom made by Daniel to extend over the broader barrel nut’s profile. A bolt removal catch fits flush on the left side of the rear action bridge, not one you will snag anything on but likewise, not the easiest to locate or use wearing gloves.
The bolt shows a removable knob with a complex double-radius shape of which I’m not a huge fan, a simple teardrop seems the simplest form but this is removable and any other 5/16x24 threaded unit can be fitted. I’m glad they didn’t specify a long bolt handle as the slim 11.7mm diameter shaft isn’t a particularly snug fit, so excessive leverage tempts things to jam more easily when driven forward too fast without care over applied force angle.
An adjustable single-stage Timney Elite Hunter trigger is fitted with two-position safety to the upper right side with FORWARD – for fire and Rear for SAFE, it doesn’t lock the bolt. The pull weight was 3.3 lbs with a delightfully crisp break on the 9.5mm wide, curved and serrated trigger blade. It’s user-adjustable (1.5 – 4 lbs) once removed from the stock and is a very high-quality unit with engraved details (very unusual) as to which screw controls sear engagement, pull weight and overtravel, excellent!
Bolt operation showed smooth feed and primary extraction from the push feed bolt face with plentiful power from the single plunger ejector. AICS magazine compatibility is assured with a 5-round polymer P-Mag unit supplied. The changeovers are clean with an ambidextrous paddle-type lever on the lower front edge of the trigger guard and new mags locate into the mag well, clicking positively in position without any fiddling required.
The bottom metal incorporates bedding pillars and a barricade stop for the more PRS oriented shooters who may also desire the additional weight mounting points on the forend. All the metalwork is impeccably finished in a deep matt black coating to match the stock and small details like the multi-facetted bolt shroud clearly differentiate the rifle from a large-scale producer. Standards and price look well justified alongside the accuracy guarantee and barrel change capability.
The stock’s interface is of particular interest, showing concepts rarely encountered by myself in the past. The receiver is released from the stock after slackening twin T30 Torx action screws either end of the floorplate. As the fully floating barrel draws clear along with the receiver, there is a sandwiched aluminium skeleton that beds the action shape to the stock and locks the recoil lug in position. This is all precision machined and logo’d up for the Daniel Defence stock. It gives a stress-free solid fit within the relatively open, but heavily webbed and reinforced inlet of the short fibre composite reinforced polymer stock. There is an M-Lok rail embedded the full length of the beavertail forend with additional locating points on the left and right side of the tip, with a single adjustable QR sling stud anchor included.
The complex modular shape shows multiple internal TORX fasteners joining interlocking segments of the stock which is rigid with no intermittent barrel contact. This stock’s unique shape and mould costs are significant and it cannot be considered a cheap component; in use, it certainly distances itself from such competing items.
A vertical pistol grip is shown behind the branded bottom metal with light serrations for grip on its face. It has quite an angular neck but still comfortably allowing a thumb up or wrapped hold. There is a lip at the base to reassure hand position but it’s spacious and shows little likelihood of your pinky finger drooping off the bottom and floating free anyway. This continues rearward into a lightly scalloped region, just enough space for your non-shooting hand to manipulate a soft rear bag under the bag rider/hand stop. This has been left sufficiently long so that you aren’t feeling overstretched reaching backwards to pin the gun’s recoil pad into your shoulder and I liked the shape, well profiled with good ergonomics.
The flat walls of the butt are stark but certainly stiff with no hollow resonance when handled or firing, they carry a light stippled texture like the rest of the stock with a ‘medium’ width adjustable comb at the top. Steering clear of being too bulky is always nice but the Delta is doubly smart, it offers lateral, yaw and vertical adjustment, the twin top-mounted TORX screws enabling finetuning without removal from the rifle. The underside pillars show indicator grooves within their massive 45mm extension range to record position.
Finishing up, an ambidextrous QR socket is located behind the comb enabling the underside bag rider’s surface to remain clear of studs, it’s also M-Lok compatible for further accessories like a monopod, but I’d stick with just a soft bag personally. The recoil pad shows a spacer system and is cleverly slotted giving access to the vertical adjustment screws. Standard length of pull (LOP) is 14 ¼” which suits me perfectly. I appreciate factors like the ambidextrous nature of the stock and its fittings as well as minor but appealing details like the flat knob to tighten the cheekpiece, requiring less deliberate exertion to lock securely in position compared to a round dial.
I shot the rifle with a selection of Hornady ammunition and the 1:12 twist rate preferred the intermediate 165-grain SST loading, meeting the accuracy guarantee with ease. That’s not to say the 150-grain SST or 178-grain ELD-X were weak performers, both were sub-MOA. The gun was a pleasure to shoot with no concussive resonance from the stock material. The cheekpiece shape was easily adapted for well-supported scope alignment with better optical and point of impact visibility remaining through the recoil impulse.
Shorter 20” barrels show a velocity loss and this also lessens recoil which, with a heavy 560-gram sound moderator fitted, was incredibly soft. I had a few shots with this dampening weight removed and still found the gun a gentle shooter. With muzzle velocities for the 165-grain bullet at 2630 fps and energy at 2535 ft/lbs, there was great capability on target and for live game. The rifle’s inherent 8.9lb mass will always be a great recoil suppressant but with .308’s often seeming a little jumpy with short barrels, I thought the handling with minimal muzzle lift was excellent through the stock. Especially with stable bag rider support and a tuned vertical recoil pad position for more linear recoil path into the shoulder. I extended the firing out to 390m on steel in some windy conditions where changes easily blew the bullets off target. It was great to enjoy the bulkier simplicity of a 308’s flight, (creating more trace to see with it’s relative lesser ballistic silkiness than the oh-sopopular high B.C. 6.5’s), a little more recoil but a lot more ‘splash’ visible down range.
I was impressed by the Delta 5, as so many rifles choose to be different and fail to do anything other than offer good looks. Daniel Defence has clearly paid attention to the real needs of functional marksmen, not just safe queens.