Daniel Defense Delta 5 Pro Review

by Warrior Poet Society

The Delta 5 Pro offers the advantages of a high-dollar custom long-range rifle at a fraction of the cost. I'm not a long-range competition guru, and I don't have a harem of custom-built long guns to compare it to, but I have done my homework. And as, you might say, a very motivated long-range hobbyist with a lot of very knowledgeable friends, I thought I’d give my take on this affordable long-range offering from Daniel Defense. Let me start with the pros.

Beautiful Design

It’s a beautifully designed gun, created by one of the best long-range shooters around and with Daniel Defense it’s hard to go wrong. While $2,500 is typically more than I would normally pay for a rifle, that’s a fairly good price tag for long range. 

In fact, the optics I put on this gun—Vortex Razor HD 4.5 - 27 magnification 56 mm objective lens—carry an equally hefty price tag. But that’s not surprising. This is a beautiful piece of glass. I’ve been told by my friend Ryan Cleckner that if I have to choose, buy the best glass I can afford and a cheaper rifle. It’s easier to upgrade the rifle than it is the optics.


The Delta 5 Pro has an interchangeable barrel that allows you to chamber the gun in .308, 6.5 Creedmor, and in 6mm.

The barrel is the gun. As you might know, Daniel Defense didn’t skimp on the barrel. This gun has the thicker cold hammer forged varmint barrel. The thicker barrel increases accuracy and absorbs heat a little more to avoid thermal drift. This is where Daniel Defense picks up a huge competitive advantage over others. 

Now I'm thinking back to visiting Daniel Defense's factory a few years ago and when I did, just amazing machinery. I saw their cold hammer forge process—forging the bore, the chamber and the contouring all at the same time. This creates a barrel that's extremely concentric and, therefore, very accurate. And it’s one of the reasons they can confidently provide their MOA guarantee. (All Daniel Defense DELTA 5 rifles are guaranteed to shoot . 75 MOA or less at 100 yards when used with quality factory match-grade ammunition.) 

Muzzle brake for accuracy. The built-in Area 419 Hellfire muzzle brake is a feature that might amplify muzzle flash, so not exactly desirable in a combat scenario. But when accuracy and recoil management are of primary concern (for hobbyists and competition shooters), the muzzle brake is a game changer for staying on target. 

Fully adjustable stock. The stock has multiple points of adjustment so its fully customizable for a variety of body types to adjust for comfort, which leads to greater effectiveness as a shooter. The bottom of the stock has an added lip that provides greater purchase on bag or other platform when shooting prone. 

The Grip, Bolt and other Features. The rifle has AR-15 pistol grips (that took some getting used to seeing on a long-range gun) that’s easy to switch out for a more standard grip. It also has an ambidextrous thumb rest for ease of operating the bolt between shots. And speaking of the bolt-- knob is removable (i.e. customizable), and it sits at a 60-degree angle for quick operation between shots. Ambidextrous Mag Release The mag release has a paddle design and the magazine well is designed to receive magazines without sitting at an angle and risking a jam.

A Magical Handrail

Daniel Defense has really thought through this handrail. First, the bridge on top can accommodate thermal or night vision devices you might clip on to accommodate long range shooting in low light. And the scalloped cutout on top is so designed to accommodate larger scope diameters for your optics. 

It allows your optics to sit lower (always a plus) and with the built-in 20 MOA base, the customizations and adjustments on your elevation can be made with ease. Also included on the hand rail are M-LOK slots to accommodate a variety of other accessories, such as the MAGPUL bipod I’ve decided to run on my rifle. 

The M-LOK slots allow me to move the bipod further out or in on my rifle depending on the situation and what obstructions I’m dealing with. There’s also plenty of option for QD points for additional equipment/accessory mounts. And here are a couple of cons.

Had Trouble with the Bolt

Con #1. It didn’t come perfect. Weak extractor spring. I had to ding them for something and this was it. My bolt came with a weak extractor spring, which meant problems with feeding rounds between shots. But it was a very short-lived problem. I called Daniel Defense immediately and they immediately corrected the problem. They also corrected the problem on future production. 

Con #2. Not really a con. Bolt wiggle. I didn’t like it. But many long-range shooters do. Basically, when I pull the bolt back, I have a little bit of trouble pushing it in again if it doesn’t align absolutely perfectly. I can’t really say this is an actual con, because it was actually designed to behave that way as a preference for real long-range shooters. I just personally found it hard to get used to. when I come back and really run that bolt, sometimes it just kind of gets hung up.

Learn About Guns from a Long-Range Master

If you’re trying to get into long-range precision shooting, go check out our long-range class on WPSN with Ryan Cleckner. Ryan is a sniper from Ranger Battalion (my old alma mater) a combat veteran and he literally wrote the book on long-range shooting. 

This class is one of the many classes included when you subscribe to the network. He can take you from knowing nothing to grasping some of the fundamental principles and processes practiced by the serious precision shooters. It’s an amazing class. 

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