Del-Ton DT Sport 5.56x45mm Semi-Automatic AR-15 Carbine

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

September 3rd, 2012

 

Click pictures for a larger version.

 

 

 

 

Six-position telescoping buttstock.

 

 

 

 


Case deflector (top), forward assist (center). ejection port dust cover (bottom).

 

 

 

 


Bayonet lug (top), flash suppressor (bottom).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in January of this year, we reviewed the then-new Del-Ton TRX rifle. That rifle had many desirable features, and was tricked out with Troy Industries furniture and accessories. The TRX was an excellent rifle, but with all of the upgraded features, was priced above what many are able to put into an AR-15. There is a large market for a basic AR-15 that has all of the features that most shooters deem necessary, such as a flat-top upper receiver, forward assist, ejection port dust cover, and case deflector. The carbine shown here is the Del-Ton DT Sport, and it has those features, plus a flash suppressor, six-position buttstock, and a bayonet lug, all at a price nearly half that of the TRX.

The DT Sport is built using the same high quality forged hard-coated upper and lower receivers, but instead of the more-expensive Troy furniture, it uses a standard M-4 style buttstock and standard carbine (CAR) style hand guards. The barrel of the DT Sport is a lightweight profile, which I prefer. The only reason to have an M-4 profile barrel is to mount a grenade launcher. Most of us do not have ready access to a grenade launcher, and the machining for the M-4 profile adds to the cost of the barrel. The straight tube of the DT Sport eliminates that machining process. The barrel wears a closed-bottom A-2 style flash suppressor at the muzzle. The DT Sport barrel has a one-in-nine-inch right-hand twist, and is sixteen inches in length. The barrel measures .598 inch forward of the gas block. The trigger is mil-spec, and the pull measured six and one-quarters pounds on my Lyman scale.

The hand guard of the DT-Sport is the short CAR style, with internal heat shield. Some shooters prefer a railed hand guard to mount a lot of accessories. I do not. I prefer the comfort of a round or oval hand guard, and am not a fan of hanging a lot of gear onto the rifle. The buttstock of the DT Sport is adjustable, with six positions, to allow for various shooter sizes and needs. Such a buttstock works very well for young shooters, and allows the rifle to grow with the shooter. It is also handy when wearing an equipment vest or heavy clothing, and allows the carbine to be stored in a tighter space than does a standard A-2 buttstock.

The DT Sport carbine is not available in New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, or California. Good. That means that it is a real AR-15 which has not been neutered in any way. The DT Sport comes with one thirty-round magazine, and will accept any AR-15/M-16/M-4 compatible magazine available. There is a bullet-button version available for California residents.

Some modern versions of the AR-15 are too heavy. The DT Sport is not. Staying with the original concept of the AR-15/M-16, the DT Sport is light and handy. Weighing in at slightly over six pounds (6 lbs. 1.1 oz.) on my scale, the Sport balances well, and comes to the shoulder quickly. It is also short enough to handle well in tight quarters, without sacrificing reliability.

Besides saving weight, the DT Sport saves the purchaser some real money, compared to the cost of many AR-15 carbines on the market. One does not have to spend in excess of a thousand dollars to get a good rifle. It is just not necessary. In fact, if I had no AR, I would rather have two of these instead of one higher-priced piston gun with rails and fancy furniture. That way, I could hand one off to a partner if needed. Lots of folks are all into piston-operated AR-15 rifles these days. There is nothing at all wrong with a piston gun, but the direct-impingement (DI) gas system of the AR has been working very well for many decades. The piston is just a different way of slapping the bolt carrier to move it rearward. The DI system is simpler, lighter weight, less expensive, and works very well.

Saving several hundred dollars of the cost of a high-end AR, the Sport sacrifices nothing. It still uses the Del-Ton forged receivers of the more expensive rifles, and it still has a flattop upper, to accommodate Picatinny and Weaver compatible optical mounts. The Sport has an A-2 style post front sight, which is compatible with many folding and fixed-position detachable rear sights. Most shooters these days prefer to mount an optical sight, as do I, and there are many great choices available.

I fitted this DT Sport with one of my favorite close to medium range optics; the Leupold HAMR. I have reviewed the HAMR in depth, and refer the reader to that review for details, but will just note that it is a rugged, reliable, optically-clear sight with a dedicated reticle for shooting the 5.56mm NATO cartridge out to several hundred meters, with the addition of the Leupold DeltaPoint dot mounted on top for close-range work. The HAMR is a high-end, no compromises sight, and it mated perfectly in keeping with the light, handy style of this DT Sport. However, it is not inexpensive, and buyers of this carbine will likely be looking for an less-expensive alternative. I often get requests to recommend an affordable optical sight for an AR-15 for use by folks who are on a budget. Many of those buyers choose an imported knock-off of a modern high-quality battle optic, and are disappointed. There is nothing at all wrong with mounting a good sporting scope on an AR, and a quality Leupold Rifleman or Redfield Revolution, even the lower-priced ones from a discount seller, are still made in the USA, and guaranteed forever.

For accuracy testing, I mounted my mule, the Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power target scope using an ArmaLite one-piece mount. I try to use this same scope for all accuracy testing of AR-15 rifles, to reliably evaluate the accuracy of the rifle, with as little human error as possible. Velocity testing was done with the chronograph set out twelve feet from the muzzle at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, approximately. Temperatures hovered around the eighty-five degree Fahrenheit mark during all testing, with eighty-eight percent humidity. Velocity readings are the average of several shots fired, and the results are listed in the chart below. Velocity readings are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains. FMJ is a full metal jacket bullet. HP is hollowpoint. V-Max is a polymer-tipped varmint bullet. TSX is a Barnes Triple Shock homogenous copper hollowpoint bullet. The handload listed uses the TSX bullet with 24.5 grains of Ramshot TAC powder, a Remington small rifle primer, and Winchester commercial .223 Remington cases. Accuracy testing was done at a distance of one hundred yards, firing from a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 500 rifle rest. Accuracy listed is the average of five, three-shot groups fired at that distance. The averages are listed below, with the best groups fired shown in the pictures.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity Accuracy
Stryker V-Max 55 2821 1.10"
Lake City SS109 62 2993 1.75"
Hand Load TSX 62 2746 1.25"
Winchester USA FMJ 62 2812 2.10"
Buffalo Bore HP 77 2689 1.40"
Buffalo Bore HP 69 2772 1.25"
Black Hills HP 69 2536 1.17"
Wolf Gold HP 75 2420 0.95"

The DT Sport proved to be one hundred percent reliable, as expected. The carbine fed, fired, and ejected every cartridge perfectly. Accuracy was excellent, especially considering the mil-spec trigger. I do much better work with a match trigger, such as the Alexander or Timney, but this carbine is built for fighting, and the trigger is well-suited to that task. The AR-15 is a wonderful concept, and Del-Ton executes it very well. The Del-Ton rifles are built very well, and just because the DT Sport is one of the most affordable AR-15 carbines available, does not mean that it sacrifices on quality. The DT Sport has everything that you need, and nothing that you donít. It performs as well as rifles costing three times the price, and buying a basic rifle such as this leaves a lot more cash to purchase a good optic, plenty of extra magazines, and ammunition. You canít have too much ammunition. The stuff keeps well, needs no refrigeration, and several thousand rounds will fit neatly under your bed. Buy it while you still can.

The Del-Ton DT Sport carbine currently has a suggested retail price of only $699 US, as of the date of this review.

Del-Ton is also a good source for AR accessories, optics, and magazines.

Check out the DT Sport and other Del-Ton rifles and accessories online at www.del-ton.com.

To order Del-Ton rifles online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.

To order quality 223 and 5.56x45mm ammo, go to www.buffalobore.com, www.theamericanmarksman.com and www.luckygunner.com

Del-Ton rifles are built in North Carolina, and have a lifetime warranty. With an ever-expanding line of quality rifles, and for those who prefer a rifle with no front sight post, Del-Ton will be introducing an optics-ready version of the Sport in 2013.

Jeff Quinn

NOTE: All load data posted on this web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor GunBlast.com assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data. The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the potential user of this data.  Always use data from respected loading manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated in the source manual.

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leupold HAMR sight with DeltaPoint.

 

 

 

 


Best groups fired at 100 yards.

 

 

CTK Precision Universal Brass Catcher.