A New Breed of Bolt Action: Daniel Defense Delta5

What happens when a custom-quality company like Daniel Defense, known for their semi-automatic modern sporting rifles merges that technology with the bolt action hunting and precision shooting space. The Delta 5, that’s what.

Meet the Daniel Defense Delta5

The Daniel Defense Delta5 comes ready for hunting seasons and long-range competition. With the pedigree of Daniel Defense’s history in the modern sporting rifle market, the company’s first bolt action rifle is a winner right out of the box. There’s a user-interchangeable cold hammer-forged barrel and a stainless-steel action that is mechanically bedded and uses an integral recoil lug. The three-lug bolt has a 60-degree throw, floating bolt head and the bolt knob itself is removable for easy alteration. The action is mechanically bedded, with the mini chassis and metalwork done in 6061 hard coat anodized aluminum.

The trigger shines with a single-stage, adjustable Timney Elite Hunter, with settings from one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half pounds. The two-position safety moves quietly in the field, while the ambidextrous magazine release is easily accessible. The included Picatinny scope base has 20 MOA of elevation, meaning less adjustment for longer-range shooting. The muzzle is threaded at 5/8 x24 TPI with a thread protector and a recessed crown for additional protection.

Delta5 rifle

The Hunter Elite Trigger from Timney is ready to go right out of the box (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Daniel Defense initially offers the Delta5 in either .308 Win or 6.5 Creedmoor, with more chamberings likely coming down the line. While the .308 Win uses a 20-inch barrel, the 6.5 Creedmoor has a 24-inch Heavy Palma weight barrel. With an MSRP of $2,199, the gun is not cheap, but it targets a specialty market with more than enough features to entice long-range target shooters and hunters alike.

Field Impressions

Our test rifle came in the incredibly popular 6.5 Creedmoor with 1:8-inch twist rifling and is loaded with custom features all in a factory production rifle. The ergonomic stock screams customization and modularity and is built of carbon-reinforced polymer for an exceptionally solid feel. Both the comb height and yaw can both be adjusted with the ambidextrous knob.

Similarly, length of pull can be adjusted to allow for full comfort behind the rifle, and the rifle ships with both 0.25-inch and 0.5-inch spacers for LOP adjustment. If accessorizing is your thing, the stock allows a total of 14 M-LOK points at both the forend and buttstock. Quick detach M-LOK QD sling points come standard. Commonly found on bench guns, the rear bag hook at the base of the buttstock makes shooting from soft rests a treat.

The Delta5 ships with a single PMAG magazine capable of holding five rounds, though the rifle will accept any AICS pattern magazines. Everything ships in a Daniel Defense branded hard plastic case. Our test 6.5 Creedmoor rifle tipped the scales at 9.5-pounds bare and pushing 12-pounds when dressed with a 4-16×44 Vortex Viper HS LR optic, rings, and full magazine. That’s a weighty piece, but the recoil was one of softest 6.5s ever to hit our bench.

Our rifle came in 6.5 Creedmoor, but regardless of your caliber it’ll come with a 5-round PMAG (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Range Time

The company takes the highest pride in their barrel build and quality, which ultimately is the heart and soul of a long-range bolt action rifle. The Delta5 uses what the company considers an H-Palma Contour barrel, which they claim retains 95-percent of the accuracy of the hefty bull Palma but with only 64-percent of the weight.

Our Timney trigger came out of the box just a hair under 4-pounds, and we found no adjustment needed, though it could easily be regulated by the shooter. The trigger is a true gem of smoothness and crisp precision, made even sweeter with that slick bolt action. The threaded muzzle would be a welcome home for a suppressor or brake, though we were quite pleased with the rifle as-is.


Our time with the Delta5 was in late Fall and early Winter—cold and windy. Yet the rifle kept cutting hole after hole on the range. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

For accuracy testing, we shot a nice mix of factory 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition with both match and hunting-style projectiles: Hornady MATCH 140-grain ELD-Match, Sig Sauer 130-grain Elite Hunter, Federal Premium 135-grain Berger Hybrid Hunter and Norma Professional Hunter 130-grain Scirocco II. The rifle shot every brand with sub-MOA results at 100-yards, but it loved the Hornady MATCH. Three shot groups with all of that ammo easily shot sub-3/4 MOA, with the majority of the groups hovering around ½ MOA.

Our best three-shot group measured only 0.21-inch with the Hornady MATCH ammunition. We expected superior accuracy from a hyped Daniel Defense rifle, but this performance went above and beyond.


Though the rifle would be too hefty for all but the most physically fit mobile hunters to carry on extended hunts, especially at elevation, the rifle would be excellent from a stand or more stationary hunting style. Those willing to brave the poundage would be paid back dividends in accuracy.

The Delta5 from Daniel Defense may seem like it hits a limited market, though, in fact, that’s far from the truth. Modern sporting rifle fanatics will find familiar features with even greater accuracy. Bench shooters and long-range competitors should embrace the Delta5 for several reasons, including capability and functionality.

The long and short of the story is that the Delta5 is a shooter’s rifle—sweet features, soft-recoiling, and right on target.


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