Del-Ton DTI Evolution 5.56x45mm NATO Semi-Automatic Rifle with Redfield Counterstrike Electronic Dot/Laser Sight

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

March 20th, 2013


Click pictures for a larger version.







Samson folding battle sights.













I have handled, fired, and reviewed several Del-Ton AR-15 style rifles over the past couple of years, and have been impressed with the reliability, quality, and accuracy of each one. Del-Ton makes some very affordable rifles, priced competitively with any AR-15 on the market, but they also offer rifles that feature premium components, such as the DTI Evolution featured here. Many shooters buy an entry level AR-15, and then immediately start adding upgraded components, and doing so, it doesn’t take long to put a lot of money into an AR. Some are satisfied to leave a basic AR as is, and that is okay, because even a stripped-down mil-spec AR is a dandy rifle. However, most want to upgrade, so more and more AR-15 manufacturers are offering tricked-out rifles direct from the factory. Such is the case with the DTI Evolution.

The Evolution is built upon Del-Ton’s forged upper and lower receivers, with the upper being the flattop Picatinny-railed style. The upper is equipped with a standard forward assist and case deflector, as well as an ejection port dust cover. I list these details because many times, those of us who play with many AR-15 rifles tend to forget that there are still lots of shooters just now getting into ARs, and knowing about those features is important to them, as it should be. Writing several AR reviews over the course of a year, I sometimes have to remind myself that even after a half-century of production, more and more shooters are discovering the excellent qualities of the AR design every day.

Back to the Evolution rifle, the hand guard is a Samson Evolution free-float railed hand guard, measuring three-eighths of an inch over one foot in length. The top of the hand guard wears a full-length rail, with short sections of rail on the sides and bottom. These short sections of rail can be moved as desired to numerous positions around the hand guard, removed, or more sections added, depending upon the user’s preference.

The sixteen inch barrel has a one-in-nine-inch rifling twist, and is chrome-lined. The muzzle is fitted with an A2 style flash suppressor. The gas block is also a Samson unit, being low-profile to fit inside the hand guard. The folding sights are also by Samson, with the rear being an adjustable dual-aperture type.

The Buttstock is a telescoping Magpul CTR, sliding on a mil-spec buffer tube. The pistol grip is a Magpul MOE+, which is very comfortable to use, filling the hand better than a mil-spec pistol grip.

For accuracy testing, I mounted my mule, the Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power target scope using an ArmaLite one-piece mount. This is my “go to” 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 approximately 541 feet above sea level. Temperatures hovered around the fifty-five degree Fahrenheit mark during all testing, with fifty-two 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.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Buffalo Bore HP 77 2692
Buffalo Bore HP 69 2769
Stryker V-Max 55 2801
Lake City SS109 62 2970
Hand Load TSX 62 2727
Winchester USA FMJ 62 2831
Black Hills HP 69 2531
Wolf Gold HP 75 2444

Function and reliability was perfect with the Del-Ton rifle, as expected. I tried a wide variety of ammunition on the rifle, using the included thirty-round magazine, as well as twenty-round Colt mags from the Vietnam War era. Every round fed, fired, and ejected perfectly. Accuracy varied from very good to superb, depending upon the ammunition used. Practical accuracy was greatly aided by the rifle’s excellent trigger, which released crisply at three and one-half pounds, as measured on my Lyman digital trigger gauge. When it is time to see how accurate an AR can be with factory ammo, I always reach for a box of my Buffalo Bore Sniper ammunition. This ammo uses the excellent Sierra Match King bullets, and never fails to give good results. Black Hills also has some very accurate ammunition, and it too performed very well in this rifle. The one-hundred yard accuracy ranged from just over two inches for three shots using the Stryker ammunition, to the best group of the day of one-half inch for five shots using the Buffalo Bore 69 grain load. The 69 grain load was more accurate than was the 77 grain load in this one-in-nine twist rifle. Every group fired with that 69 grain Buffalo Bore load measured under three-quarters of an inch.

I am often asked to recommend a low-priced dot scope for an AR-15, and until now, I could not do so. I just knew of none that were reliable and low-priced at the same time. I like Trijicon and Leupold optics, and trust them on my rifles, but I recently received the new Redfield Counterstrike optical sight/laser shown here, and I do recommend this sight for use on AR rifles. It comes with a Weaver/Picatinny compatible mount, and has a 4 MOA dot that is selectable from red to green, depending upon the user’s preference. The intensity of the dot is adjustable to allow for differing light conditions, and there is a 5 MW laser sight built into the base. This is a non-magnifying optic, so it is very useful from close to medium range. The best part is that it is backed by Redfield’s excellent warranty. The sight is priced at only $179.95 US, as of the date of this review, and is the only sight of this type in this price range that I recommend. Just the dot sight at this price is a bargain, but getting the laser as a bonus really sweetens the deal. Redfield lists run time on the supplied CR123 battery from between 500 and 5000 hours, depending upon the dot intensity setting. This does not include running the laser at the same time. The CR123 batteries are readily available most anywhere that has a good supply of batteries.

The Del-Ton Evolution is a rifle that has a lot of upgraded features, right out of the box. The hand guard, buttstock, and especially the trigger make this one of the best rifles from Del-Ton yet. It weighs in at six and three-quarters pounds, and is a great-shooting, great-handling, reliable AR.

Besides the rifle shown here and other DTI rifles, Del-Ton is also a good source for AR accessories, optics, and magazines.

Check out the DTI Evolution and other Del-Ton rifles and accessories online at

To order Del-Ton rifles online, go to

For a closer look at quality Redfield optics, go to

To order quality 223 and 5.56x45mm ammo, go to,, and

Jeff Quinn

NOTE: All load data posted on this web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor 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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Redfield Counterstrike Red/Green electronic dot sight with laser.