Review: Del Ton AR-10 — Affordable and Accurate With a .308 Punch

Del Ton DT 10 AR-10 rifle with scope and sling on a dirt background

I have used Del Ton rifles over the years and found they have good build quality, good reliability, and more than acceptable accuracy. When I was looking for a quality AR-10-type rifle in .308 Winchester, I looked to the DTI rifle. While I was eager to jump into the .308 AR, I was well aware of the lack of standardization with the rifle.

Del Ton DT 10 AR-10 rifle with scope and sling on a white background
As a go-anywhere, do-anything rifle, the DT 10 gets top ratings.

The AR-15 is most often MIL-SPEC and interchangeable with other rifles, not so with the AR-10. However, the Del Ton DTI is standardized with Magpul magazines. The DTI rifle will accept buffer tubes, triggers, grips, and stocks that are designed for the AR-15. As for the .308 Winchester cartridge, it has are many advantages over the .223 Remington. A rifle with greater power, but the same superb handling, would be attractive.

I am familiar with the M1A rifle and own several. I wished to see how the AR-10 compared. The DTI is relatively compact and makes for a great hunting rifle. The fast handling and excellent human engineering also make for a good tactical rifle.

.308 Win. handloads in a Ziplock plastic bag
A variety of .308 handloads were tried. All performed well. The rifle is reliable with a wide range of ammunition.

The DTI .308 is a carbine-length rifle with a 16-inch barrel and the standard AR-type gas impingement operating mechanism. The barrel features a 1 in 10-inch twist, which seems ideal for handling a wide spectrum of bullet weights. The rifle features a credible flash suppressor, and the receiver is a flat top type.

An A2-type front sight is standard. The barrel is free floated. I especially like the handguard. Rather than going with a bulky type, the DTI rifle uses a circular aluminum handguard with a nicely knurled texture that makes for good abrasion and adhesion.

The stock, handguard, grip, and operating rod are all MIL-SPEC and will be familiar to those using the AR-15 rifle. They are basic but easily upgraded. The bolt is manufactured from quality steel and properly heat-treated. The bolt is well finished, and the carrier keys are properly staked in place. There are quite a few aftermarket AR-15 triggers that will fit the DTI rifle easily.

I mention this because the trigger, as issued, breaks 5.5 pounds. There was a bit of take up. While I was able to manage good results with the rifle, I feel that a superior trigger would provide even better results. The rifle broke the scales at just under eight pounds. Recoil was heavier than the 5.56mm rifle. The DTI has more felt recoil than the Springfield M1A, but then, it is a lighter rifle.

I mounted the TruGlo Eminus scope for this evaluation. After the initial outing, I see no reason to change the scope. The Eminus (Eminus means from a distance) features an illuminated TacPlex reticle and improved accuracy without unsure hold over. The rifle features 3×9 magnification and a 42mm objective lens.

Del Ton DTI

  • Multi-coated lenses for enhanced clarity and contrast
  • 30mm tube for increased turret adjustment range and increased brightness
  • 1/4-MOA locking target turrets and MOA based reticle for simplified adjustments, tracking, and holdover.
  • Included APTUS-M1 mount for a strong hold and ideal mounting position on modern sporting rifles
  • Illuminated TacPlex Reticle (T.P.R.) for precision measurement (in MOA) without a crowded sight picture
  • Hardcoat anodized matte finish
  • Nitrogen gas-filled, fog-proof construction
  • Water-resistant and shock-resistant
  • Leaf-spring turret control for positive and responsive click adjustments.
  • Generous eye relief
  • Side focus dial, 20yds – ∞ (TG8541TLR)
  • Fixed focus (TG8539TLR)
  • Lifetime Limited Warranty

Ammunition selection wasn’t difficult. I had on hand a good stash of handloads, some put up for economy and some carefully developed as tack drivers in other rifles. Most used the Hornady 168-grain A Max bullet, a proven accurate and reliable combination. Varget, IMR 3031 and H4895 powders are among the mainstays I have used. I began initial firing at the 25-yard line to sight the Eminus scope properly.

Getting the scope two inches high and dead on horizontally was accomplished with a minimum of rounds expended. I moved to the 100-yard line and sighted the rifle properly for my preferred zero with the bullet impacting 1.5 inches above the point of aim. In firing a number of loads the rifle demonstrated good accuracy.

Once I was sighted in, I fired at small targets on the berm such as plastic bottles and even small sticks and dirt clods. Firing at targets at known and unknown ranges from a standing, braced firing position gives the shooter more meaningful practice than firing from the benchrest. Results were good, very good in fact, and I fired several magazines of ammunition. Setting the rifle aside to cool, I loaded the magazines with factory ammunition to test absolute accuracy.

I fired several three-shot groups with the Hornady Black loads. Newly introduced, they are quite accurate. This is a combination that has given excellent results in other .308 Winchester rifles. I took my time, carefully lining the sights and pressing the trigger straight to the rear. This type of shooting has no correlation to field shooting, but it is a good test of the rifle and ammunition.

.308 Win. cartridge left and .223 Rem right
The .308, left, compared to the .223, right. The .308 hits hard!

I was rewarded with several groups of 1.25 inch, with a larger group when I did not properly attend to the basics. Switching to a hunting load, I loaded the Hornady 168-grain ELD. The relatively new bullet has earned a reputation for good accuracy and long-range potential. Firing from a solid bench rest firing position results were excellent, on the order of 1.2 to 1.5 inches on demand.

Firing off hand from a standing position is a harsh test of the rifleman. Firing the DTI wasn’t difficult due to the rifle’s excellent balance and human engineering. I feel that I am able to retain more of the rifle’s benchrest accuracy with the AR type than others when firing off hand. Personal experience may vary.

I was able to fire several 3- to 4-inch groups off hand with the DTI .308 at 100 yards. Some were larger. The accuracy potential of the rifle clearly is greater than the shooter’s skill. I like the DTI rifle very much. This is an accurate rifle, and perhaps, I will fire it more accurately with practice. As a hunting, tactical, or practical defense rifle, it is a good option at a fair price.

Do you have a favorite AR-10 rifle? What is your opinion of the .308 Win. versus .223 Rem. cartridges? Share your answers in the comment section.

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (8)

  1. Good review Bob. The fact that some AR15 parts will interchange and it uses Magpul magazines is desirable. I bought a RRA LAR8 Elite Operator several years ago and was happy with everything except having to use RRA magazines or try to find nonexistent FAL surplus mags. Then, I bought a Century Arms C308 and found the stock and buffer were junk and caused the bolt to bind. After replacing the CA stock and buffer with surplus HK parts the gun ran great, but I still had to buy surplus mags. Had I had the chance to look at the Delton 10 I quite possibly might have gone with it. Thanks, Bob

  2. I have too agree with the other comment…if your article starts out with “affordable” and ends with “far price”, it ends up a very incomplete article…you missed covering one of the points in the short title…why not just have a ‘blip statement’…”Del Ton AR10, go search and read about it!”

  3. I have a DPMS Oracle AR-10 that I bought second hand (but still in the original box — never fired) for $800. Basically saved the sales tax. I added a Vortex Viper PST scope, Luth modular buttstock, OdinWorks KMod 12.5″ free-floating handguard with two accessory rails that accommodate a Magpul AFG2 angled foregrip and a Caldwell bi-pod. After reading this article and viewing this Youtube comnparison:

    I probably would have opted for the Del-Ton, but I’m not unhappy with the Oracle.

  4. You can’t get a more versatile weapon than the AR-10 !
    I just wished that the U.S. Military would adopt it instead of the 29 lbs M-60 that takes 2 soldiers to carry the weapon & & enough ammo to combat effective.

    The AR-10 is more accurate & is easily converted to full auto & uses the same parts as the M-16.

    The main advantage of the AR-10 over the M-16 & AK47 as a combat rifle is listed as follows . . .

    Pros *
    #1. AR-10 is Harder hitting !
    #2. AR-10 Has a Longer Range without losing accuracy !
    #3. A person shooting a M-16 or AK-47 has to be inside the AR-10’s kill box by 200yds to be able to even touch you ! Unlike the M-16 you have to be well inside of the AK 47’s kill box to even make a kill ! ! !
    #4. The AR-10 is 4 times more accurate than the AK
    #5. Unlike the AK47 the AR-10 can be in converted minutes into many configuration’s to suit the mission’s needs without needing a gunsmith allowing you to easily add night or thermal vision or day scope or laser range finder or hard iron sights !
    #6. Compatibility of AR-10 / SR-25 interchanging parts among different manufacture’s I have found that there all pretty much interchangeable with another except Armalite which requires Armalite only parts & mags.

    #1. So far I have not found any except the occasional double feed or failure to extract which can be easily corrected with the addition of a standard 1/8″ ID x 1/4″ OD x 1/16″ Cross Diameter rubber o’ring & place it around the bolt extractor spring for trouble free operation.

    After trying out all the different manufacture’s of the AR-10 / SR25’s my favorite for overall fit & finish & operating flawlessly & compatibility of parts is the DPMS AR-10 & over the past few years it has only gotten better.

    As for ammo 145 gr. to 180 gr.
    are the best to use & the most accurate being the Hornady #30502 Amax 168gn. boat tail & the 2nd best Sierra # 2275 175 gn. HPBT

    To eliminate future malfunctions & equipment failures I wouldn’t recommend using anything over a 180 gn. in a semi / full auto due to the beating it gives the bolt carrier group which causes premature damage ! ! !

    Sincerely, S.NA.F.U

    1. I forgot to mention the only other major upgrade that needs to be preformed on all out of the box AR-10’s & AR-15’s / M-16’s” Besides installing a 25 cent rubber O’ring on the bolt extractor spring, Is to replace the 3 piece gas ring set with a 1 piece ring kit this will cost you around $12.00! Which is insanely cheap compared to losing your life over a jammed gun in a fire fight !
      So for less than $15.00 w/ S&H your AR will be combat ready & these 2 simple upgrades will most likely save your life !
      And with proper cleaning & lube you should never have another mis fire other than a very rare F.T.E. caused by improper gas tube staking . . .
      or F.T.E.caused by a broken extractor & or spring . . . or a F.T.F. caused by a broken firing pin . . .
      With a watchful eye for details while cleaning in most cases F.T.E.’s & F.T.F.’s can be prevented all together

  5. So, what was a fair price? I looked and looked but saw no mention of what this rifle costs anywhere in the article.

  6. What was a “fair price”? You can pick up a PSA PA-10 on sale for $699…I did…feel like I stole it. PSA builds quality AR-15s and AR-10s, components or whole setup…I’m a fan of their products. .223 vs .308?…no question…I’d go with .308. Shooting .308 only at 100yards is like doing 55 in a Ferrari…you’re not getting the most enjoyment out of it. I use to compete 300meter rifle 3-position in the military/CISM matches. The .308 168gr Match BT was winning among the ranks…even beating the Russians and their 6mm. Big caliber over the pew pew anytime…something that can reach out and touch someone, I use to say.

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