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
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
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.
|Buffalo Bore HP
|Buffalo Bore HP
|Lake City SS109
|Hand Load TSX
|Winchester USA FMJ
|Black Hills HP
|Wolf Gold HP
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 www.del-ton.com.
To order Del-Ton rifles online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.
For a closer look at quality Redfield optics,
go to www.redfield.com.
To order quality 223 and 5.56x45mm ammo, go
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.
Redfield Counterstrike Red/Green electronic dot sight