Gun test: Daystate Delta Wolf

Dave Barham shooting the Daystate Delta Wolf air rifle in a test review

The compact design makes for easy standing shots - Credit: Archant

Dave Barham tests the revolutionary, computer-controlled rifle from Daystate - the Daystate Delta Wolf is a pre-charged multi-shot rifle with a host of exciting features...

I’ve been waiting eagerly for this moment since Christmas – I’ve finally been able to get acquainted with the legendary Delta Wolf from Daystate – and boy, was it worth the wait!

The in-built chronograph on the Daystate Delta Wolf air rifle

Instant chronograph readouts from every single shot - Credit: Archant

The micro-computer Delta Wolf
British manufacturer, Daystate, has been developing various electronic rifle components for the past two decades, so it was only right that the company has been the first to create an all singing, all dancing electronic air rifle. Now then, before we get started, don’t let the fact that this rifle is basically a micro-computer put you off, if you’re not that technically minded! I didn’t really know what to expect after reading all the hype and people’s opinions online, but let me tell you it’s really not that complicated to understand or operate, especially for us sub-12 ft.lbs. users.

This rifle was designed primarily for FAC users in order to provide a multi-function platform where barrels and calibres can be changed by the user in an instant, with velocities up to 95 ft.lbs. However, it has also found a very niche home amongst UK sub-12 airgunners and is rapidly becoming one of the ‘must haves’ for those who can afford it.

The key to the Delta Wolf is the Advanced Velocity Technology (AVT), which is basically the computerised brain held within the butt of the stock. That’s where all the magic happens, thanks to yet more circuitry and sensors around the body of the rifle. The AVT brain is controlled via a small LCD display moulded into the butt, and it features pre-set, calibre-specific power levels, which are also linked to an integral chronograph. Every single shot you take is monitored and recorded, with the data available at the touch of the screen. You can see exactly how the pellets you’re using are performing, with instant data available after every shot giving you the speed in fps. The unit is even Bluetooth enabled for future upgrades!

As you would expect, a rifle of this technical quality requires the very best regulator, and just like their other PCP rifles, Daystate has installed a HUMA, which can be adjusted to take advantage of the large secondary chamber to achieve specific velocities. Again, it’s something for us sub-12’ers to play with, but the real benefits will only be reaped by those shooting FAC.

Daystate has also upgraded the valve system, with a fast-flow valve that improves both shot count and efficiency from the 480cc carbon air reservoir.

The sidelever on the Daystate Delta Wolf air rifle

The sidelever is one of the best I have used - Credit: Archant

Daystate Delta Wolf sidelever
If you like your sidelevers then you’re going to love this one. It has a very short stroke and requires absolutely no effort at all to cock the rifle. There’s absolutely no point in trying to measure the weight of pull required to cock it – I doubt it would even register on my scales! Even pushing the lever forward barely registers, and that’s testament to the quality of design and nanometre tolerance of the pellet probe, which glides the pellet from the mag’ into the breech a single, fluid motion.

The other great thing about this particular sidelever is that it can be changed from left to right in a matter of minutes by the user, so all you ‘lefties’ out there can buy a Delta Wolf with confidence. The cheek riser is adjustable too, and the new self-indexing mag’s can be loaded from either the left or right-hand-side. This truly is an ambidextrous rifle, straight out of the box – no need for visits to your local gunsmith to change stuff.

Talking of changing bits around, the Delta Wolf has been engineered in such a way that you can swap the barrel and pellet probe in a few minutes, even out in the field, and in doing so, you simply tap into the onboard computer to select the pre-programmed power and barrel configuration and the Delta Wolf does everything else for you. Swap from .22 to .177 safe in the knowledge that you’re still legal – all in a matter of minutes.

Close up of the multi-shot magazine on the Daystate Delta Wolf air rifle

The new Daystate mag's are superb - Credit: Archant

Daystate Delta Wolf magazine and filling
Daystate’s new self-indexing mag’s are superb, and the Delta Wolf has been designed in such a way that loading port can accommodate two mag’s at the same time, in order  effectively to double the shot count.

Each mag’ features a powerful magnet on one side of the base, with a metal disk on the other. When the first mag’ is inserted it automatically locks in place with a satisfying ‘click. If you then go round to the opposite side of the rifle you can push another mag’ into the loading port which ‘locks’ onto the already-loaded mag’, thanks to the magnets latching onto the opposite mag’s metal disks. It’s all very clever stuff. You shoot your 11 shots (.22), from the loaded mag’, then cock the rifle and push the new mag into place, which in turn pushes the empty mag’ out of the way whilst  holding on to it via the magnets, and you’re good to go for another 11 shots. This means you can rattle off 22 shots in .22 and 26 shots in .177 before you have to reload!

The carbon air cylinder sits directly underneath the barrel and can be filled to 240 bar. It utilises Daystate’s quick-fill probe, and the fill port is cleverly housed underneath a magnetic shroud immediately in front of the trigger guard. This magnetic cover sits flush with the base of the stock and is like a ‘secret’ compartment – unless you know it’s there, you’d struggle to work out where the fill port is.

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Yet another clever piece of engineering from the boffins at Daystate HQ – and, unlike some other magnetic fill port covers, I have absolutely no doubt that this one is going to stay put, even during the rough and tumble of a hectic scramble through the woods whilst hunting – the magnets used are extremely strong and the flush design means it cannot be knocked off by a twig or a misplaced rest against a tree.

The fill port on the Daystate Delta Wolf air rifle

I love how this fill port has been covered - very clever design - Credit: Archant

Daystate Delta Wolf trigger & safety
It goes without saying that Daystate has incorporated their electronic trigger unit into this rifle, which is adjustable for both weight of pull and stage length. Then there’s the AR15-type safety lever, which is basically an electronic isolation switch. When set to the ‘Safe’ position the circuit is broken so the trigger won’t work, whereas when it’s moved to the ‘Fire’ position the circuit is reconnected and everything is ‘live’.
Again, the safety lever is connected on both sides of the rifle, with a lever each side for those who shoot left-handed.

So, on to my only criticism of the mighty Delta Wolf, and it’s something that anyone who has ever shot a real AR15 will relate to – the position of said safety lever. When in the ‘Safe’ position it sits neatly parallel to the stock out of the way, but when you flip it down to ‘Fire’, the blade of the lever is directly where the knuckle of your thumb sits at the top of the pistol grip, and on the opposite side it sits underneath your trigger finger.

Okay, it’s not really a problem for us airgunners, but if you’re rattling off 20-30 rounds from a real AR15 on full auto without gloves, you lose a lot of skin! If it were to operate the other way around it would be perfect. Just an observation and the tiniest of niggles on what is otherwise the best rifle I have reviewed to date.

Dave Barham shooting the Daystate Delta Wolf air rifle from kneeling position during the gun test review

It's the ideal hunting tool for tight spots - Credit: Archant

Testing the Daystate Delta Wolf
This rifle has definitely been worth the wait for me. The combination of advanced technology coupled with its user-friendly operation and capacity for customisation thanks to the interchangeable barrels, mountains of Picatinny rails and of course the onboard computer, makes it one of the most interesting rifles I have ever had the pleasure to shoot. 

As a hunter, I absolutely love the sleek, lightweight design. It’s so compact and easy to wield in tight spaces, and the ease of cocking coupled with the electronic trigger unit makes it a formidable hunting tool. Out on the range it performs exactly as you would expect – super accurate and very easy to shoot. 

When braced by a shooting support on a bench rest, this rifle is virtually effortless to shoot to an extremely high standard. At normal, sub-12 airgun ranges, with Daystate Sovereign pellets, single-hole groups are the norm, and when those ranges are extended beyond 40 metres or so, the shooter really does become the weakest link. I’m confident in stating that the Delta Wolf far outperforms my abilities, as I expect it will yours, too! 

Consistency is just as impressive, too, with single-figure variation from both of my 50-shot sample tests. 
Next month, I’ll be looking at how easy it is to change the Delta Wolf’s barrel and settings, so make sure you look out for that one. 

Close up of the action on the Daystate Delta Wolf air rifle

The only thing I could find wrong with the rifle, I wonder if it's an easy fix? - Credit: Archant

TECH SPECS
Model: Delta Wolf
Manufacturer: Daystate
Type: Pre-charged, multi-shot, electronic
Cylinder Capacity: 480cc
Max Fill Pressure: 240 bar
Stock Material: Alloy, black anodised or bronze cerakote
Stock Type: Ambidextrous
Cocking: Sidelever, reversible
Trigger: Electronic, adjustable
Calibres: .177 and .22 (.25 and .30 FAC)
Safety: Manual, electronic isolation lever
Overall Length: 722mm (28.4in)
Barrel Length: 430mm (17in)
Magazine Capacity: 13, .177 and 11, .22
Weight: 7.4lbs (3.35kg)
Shot Capacity: 450+ .22, 400+ .177
Variation (10 shots): 5fps
Average Energy: 11.2 ft.lbs.
Website: www.daystate.com  
Price: £2,450 (on test), from £2,700 FAC