Daystate Delta Wolf - test & review
- Credit: Archant
Terry Doe gets better acquainted with Daystate’s most ambitious project to date - the Daystate Delta Wolf - and comes away from the test thoroughly impressed!
After last month’s overview of the development of the Daystate Delta Wolf, the natural follow-up is to thoroughly explore what it does and how it shoots. In normal times, that would be a review and field test, but of course, these are not normal times and even if I were able to leave the house and test a new rifle over a chrono’ down at the range and out in the field – which I am not – Daystate are not able to get a gun to me because they have been closed down under quarantine restrictions.
Staff are working or furloughed safely at home and so are unable to manufacture and send out a sample, but in the spirit of whetting the appetite for what will be hitting the market shortly after the manufacturing and assembly factories reopen, Daystate has been sharing details of pre-production test guns and data projections. This is something they absolutely would not normally do because it shows the rifle in an unfinished state, but I have assured them that our readers will understand that conditions are unprecedented and that they’d appreciate the update on this exciting new rifle, which has to be one of the most significant airguns launched in 2020, even if it is a few months later than planned.
NO-WAIT WISH LIST
The Delta Wolf brings a whole wish list of technologies that Daystate wanted to incorporate, some of which go back years. A more cautious company might have introduced each piece one by one, but after 12 years of highly successful electronic rifles, the team at Daystate really felt they knew what to do and how to do it, so in the end just got on with it.
Just about everyone at Daystate shoots airguns as a hobby, and even the few that don’t are so immersed in the subject that you wouldn’t be able to tell. It’s a necessary background to the company. This is a key reason why a careful approach is not possible; everybody in the company wants to see in the new rifle, everything they would want to have for themselves, as shooters.
CHANGE IN FORM
The form factor of the rifle is AR15 ‘black rifle’ bullpup, which is away from most of Daystate’s more conservative styling, but this was intentional. It is a style that is massively favoured by the USA market, which is key for Daystate, especially high-end, high-powered airguns, and it was necessary to use a bullpup-style rifle to fit all that technology into a reasonably compact package.
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One of the key requirements for a high-powered airgun is a large air capacity, and long barrel, but the USA shooter is also in love with carbines. Just to make design choices harder, their air rifles commonly shot in gardens (or yards), which insists on super-quietness. If you are not careful in design, the rifle can become dauntingly lengthy with the addition of an effective silencer, and Daystate was determined to avoid that.
At the heart of the new rifle is a revolutionary new type of firing valve, described as a ‘Positive Pressure Valve’, and it’s completely new. Daystate has designed the rifle around this new technology which, in turn, has allowed a completely new way of doing things. Up to now, all valves had to be matched to a certain sized transfer port – the bigger the porting, the higher the power – but one of the main features of the Delta Wolf is the ability to have a multi-powered and/or a multi-calibre gun, so the valve has to work with all combinations without the need for difficult engineering changes.
MAPPING THE FUTURE
The ability to change calibres is not something invented for the Delta Wolf, of course, although it isn’t that common because the difficulty on modern airguns to get the power set-up correct after switching calibres. Daystate wanted to use its electronic technology to address this issue, so on the Delta Wolf there are pre-set electronic ‘maps’ that allow the shooter to follow on-screen instructions whilst sensors in the rifle monitor which settings are being used, to correct for optimal results.
WHAT’S THE DAYSTATE DELTA WOLF LIKE TO SHOOT?
As stated, I have yet to shoot the rifle and until I do, here is a report from Daystate’s Tony Belas, who has shot the reactivated IWA rifle on the outdoor 100m range, and various test guns on the indoor 25m factory ranges. Yes, Tony’s from Daystate, so he’s not impartial, but I’ve known him for over 30 years and he’s a straight-talking chap with great experience of bullpups, so his take on the Delta Wolf is definitely worth listening to.
‘It feels solid and rugged, true to its assault rifle styling, and has a bullpup layout with which I am very familiar, having shot virtually every type of military and airgun bullpup in my career. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea because not everyone likes this style, but the Delta Wolf manages not to look too much like a bullpup. Handling is neutral and although it’s not especially light at 3kg, it has a neutral balance – sort of like a Steyr AUG, if you have ever held such a thing.
Controls are in the right place and it’s good to be able to choose which side you load the magazine into the rifle, a decision you can make on the fly – I prefer the left. The cocking lever is very short throw, positive and actually has a magnetic stop in the back position making cocking a positive back, stop, then forward. It locks on the lever linkage and is definitely in the right place for fast use.
Safety is AR-style which will please American shooters because it will be so familiar to them. For me, it was in the right position and clearly marked. The Delta Wolf doesn’t move at all on firing in the lighter calibres, and only a slight push in the FAC-rated .30 – far less than any other .30 cal airgun I have shot, although the Delta Wolf I shot in .30 was not set to the maximum power.
Shot count is enormous and consequently seemed to go on for ages, so much so that it wasn’t until shots started to drop off on the chrono’ that I noticed I was running out of air. Did I mention it has a built-in chrono? One thing that caught me out was the display pressure on the screen, which is regulator pressure; it has an analogue gauge for tank pressure. The digital display is tied into the regulator adjustment and is needed when calibre changes are made.
The adjustable scope rail was something I didn’t know I needed until I had one. It takes away all of the pain of fitting different types of scopes.
Of course, the main development is the electronics, and it’s here that many months of effort and investment has taken place. The complexity in design here is enormous, but ironically for the end user, it is all designed to be user friendly and should just make it all happen with a minimum of fuss – just like the electronic support systems in the best of modern cars.’
From this most unusual of rifle tests, and even without shooting the Delta Wolf, it’s obvious that this is something extremely special. Personally, I’m absolutely champing at the bit to get my hands on one, take it to Bisley, and shoot the hell out of it. As this issue of the magazine closes, things are changing on the lockdown front, and with a bit of luck and some sensible conduct all round, I may have a Delta Wolf in my hands very soon.
With the preamble well and truly covered, the next feature on this rifle will be dedicated purely to how it performs, and as we already know, that’s an extensive subject.
Let’s hope it all comes together as soon as possible - or I’ll be howling at the moon!