September 26, 2022
Daniel Defense turned a lot of heads when the AR-pattern rifle and parts company launched the Delta 5 in 2019, its foray into the bolt-action rifle world. The company’s first bolt gun was well-received, but there were immediate calls for a rifle with more features optimized for competitions such as the Precision Rifle Series (PRS). Those expectations were addressed in the Delta 5 Pro. The Delta 5 Pro has been in production since 2020, and it is a rifle that promised PRS features with half-MOA (or better) accuracy — guaranteed. It has delivered so far and at a price point that stands apart from the customs. It’s still expensive, yes, but it was purposely priced to slide into the PRS Production Division, which makes it appealing to new competitors and veterans alike. Even as most hard-to-please warriors look for reasons to dismiss it, the Daniel Defense response points to its accuracy results.
Working front to back, the Delta 5 Pro includes an Area 419 Hellfire muzzlebrake, a popular option for many long-range enthusiasts, and it’s attached to Daniel Defense’s cold-hammer-forged barrel made in-house. Along with its half-MOA accuracy guarantee, the Delta 5 Pro offers easy barrel swaps with three available chamberings: 6.5 Creedmoor, 6mm Creedmoor (tested) and .308 Winchester. It should be noted that there is not a 6mm Creedmoor aftermarket barrel currently available on the company’s website, but “expect options in the future,” according to Daniel Defense representatives.
One of the first details that stands out about the barrel is its heavy contour. The diameter measures .910 inch! Daniel Defense hasn’t made promises about barrel life, but it’s safe to expect life to be better than average, even if you’re shooting the hot 6mm Creedmoor.
During the cold-hammer-forging process, the contour, bore, and chamber are made at the same time. This translates to superior accuracy and shootability. Talking to several end-users and scanning online reviews, I found accuracy is consistently praised across the board, which holds true for this review as well. Shooting from the bench, prone, and on barricade ends produced the same results: Hits on target.
Moving to the chassis, we see Area 419 again in the Universal ARCALOCK Rail, which is practically a standard for serious PRS shooters. Despite its similar appearance to the MDT chassis, Daniel Defense’s chassis is a true in-house design. It boasts extensive M-LOK attachments and quick-detach (QD) points along its Arca-Swiss rail. The V-block design immobilizes the forend against movement for supreme stability, and it is scalloped to allow plenty of room for large scope objectives and sunshades. Thinking about the shoot-and-move style that makes PRS fun, a barricade stop is built-in forward of the AICS-pattern magazine well.
The adjustability of the buttstock is what makes the chassis stand out. The comb height is fully adjustable up and down and can also be moved left or right for a tailored cheekweld. The comb’s set-screw is also spring loaded to make it easier to adjust the comb height without having to hold it in place. Length of pull is adjusted in and out with a thumbwheel, and the buttpad can move up and down and be adjusted for cant as well as cast-on and cast-off, too.
Final touches to the chassis design that illustrate excellent attention to detail include the adjustable thumb rest and modular grip. The thumb rest is ambidextrous and has some forward and back adjustability for enduser preference. The grip is Daniel Defense’s own DDM4 pistol grip. There are extensive aftermarket grip options available, and it’s one of the easiest changes if you have a particular preference for another.
Like the chassis, the action is all Daniel Defense. The action is mechanically bedded with an integral recoil lug. When it was engineered, the company decided on a three-lug action to give it a 60-degree bolt throw. It’s not too stiff, either. The action moves smoothly, and the short throw means that you can quickly run the bolt without concern for jamming your finger between the throw lever and a scope’s ocular housing. Another pleasant feature is the bolt release design. It’s not a button that sticks out from the action. Rather, it is built into the receiver. This doesn’t affect accuracy or performance, but it improves the aesthetics of the gun and reiterates the attention to detail.
The Delta 5 Pro comes standard with an adjustable Timney Elite Hunter trigger with a two-position safety. It has a crisp let-off, no obvious creep, and clearly works with the action. The push-feed bolt runs well, too. Between Hornady, Federal, and Norma ammunition, there were no misfeeds or issues of any kind across approximately 250 rounds throughout Guns & Ammo’s tests. The magazine release is an ambidextrous “wing-style” that is easily accessible for the index finger, which enabled speedy reloads.
The Delta 5 Pro was a pleasure to shoot. The Area 419 muzzlebrake and 13-pound weight of the rifle soak up recoil. This was noticeable when shooting from barricades and unconventional shooting positions. From the bench, it was easy to stay on target and watch for bullet trace.
As I mentioned, accuracy was exemplary for an off-the-shelf production rifle. Daniel Defense claims a half-MOA or better three-shot group at 100 yards using match-grade ammunition. This held true, and it seemed consistent for every evaluator on G&A’s editorial staff. Beyond 100 yards, half MOA requires work, but sub-MOA accuracy is achieved with good ammunition. This is no rifle to keep inside 100 yards, though. It proved fun to shoot out to a grand.
Shooting to 500 yards was a breeze. It was hard to miss the 5-inch square plate once the scope was dialed in, and the hits were all in the center, too. Some of the best performance was observed at an 800-yard know-your-limits setup. Six targets, ranging from a full-size IPSC target to a 6-inch circular plate, were each hit twice in a row. Wind was the biggest factor for hits beyond 700 yards, of course. Reading the wind is the biggest hurdle to overcome for new long-range shooters, but it simply becomes another variable with experience. G& A&rsquo's Delta 5 Pro in 6mm Creedmoor didn’t mind the wind at all once it was dialed in; it’s too bad that our range limitations stopped at 1,000 yards.
If there is anything to gripe about, it’s the case. The Delta 5 Pro ships in a basic polymer case that’s too small with the Area 419 muzzlebrake attached. Most of us would put the Delta 5 Pro in a travel-quality hard case with cut foam anyway. Since the case will likely be tossed, a simple cardboard box would be preferred if it could save a few dollars off of the MSRP.
Daniel Defense clearly built this rifle to compete in the Production Division of PRS — their own marketing says as much. In 2021, it was the “Official Bolt Gun of the PRS.” Marketing aside, that’s not a sponsorship you can buy with just any rifle. The Delta 5 Pro brings the necessary features to perform in serious competitions. While its price tag is still up there for many shooters, it’s a great option for those who want to explore long-range competition. For the rest of us who simply want a great-shooting rifle to impress others with at the range, it’s going to be hard to find a bolt gun that’s more capable and fun to shoot.
Delta 5 Pro Specifications
- Type: Bolt-action repeater
- Cartridge: 6mm Creedmoor (tested), 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester
- Capacity: 5 or 10 rds.
- Barrel: 26 in., 1:7.5-in. twist
- Overall Length: 46.25 in.
- Weight: 13 lbs., 5 oz.
- Grip: Daniel Defense DDM4; AR-15 compatible
- Finish: Cerakote
- Trigger: Timney Triggers Hunter Elite; 3 lbs., 8 oz. (tested); adj.
- Length of Pull: 13.75 in. to 15.5 in.
- Sights: None
- MSRP: $2,499
- Manufacturer: Daniel Defense, danieldefense.com
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