Daystate Alpha Wolf Test Review .22 Caliber

Overview

Testers: Stephen Archer

Caliber: 0.22 cal.

Model Number: Alpha Wolf FAC 17-Inch

Test Date: Sept 22, 2023

Serial Numbers: AL 0595

Source of Supply: Supplied by Airguns of Arizona

Condition: New.

We Like

It’s beautiful!

Huge flexibility with digital control.

Superb accuracy.

We Don't Like

The price!

Learning the software takes time.

That low rent buttpad.

HAM RATING

  • Value for Money
    90%
  • Speed and Accuracy
    100%
  • Trigger and Cocking Effort
    100%
  • Comparison to Makers Claims:
    100%
  • Consistency
    100%
  • Noise Level
    100%
  • Sights
    100%
  • Shootability
    100%
  • Appearance and Finish
    100%
  • Buying and Owning
    100%

99%

HARD AIR MAGAZINE TEST CONCLUSIONS

The Daystate Alpha Wolf PCP is a beautiful and supremely-capable PCP air rifle.

The electronic control provides unprecedented tuning capabilities. Once the touch screen has beenmastered, managing the gun becomes simplicity itself. Yes, there’s a definite learning curve, but the Delta Wolf repays making the effort to understand it.

The results are power, accuracy, flexibility and consistency, yet simplicity. This is an expensive air rifle, but – as this review shows – there’s a huge amount of value in this gun.

Like its Delta Wolf cousin, the Alpha Wolf is a HAM Gold Award winner. With a 99% score, it can’t get much better than this!

Editor’s note: Please be aware that – very unusually – this HAM test review of the Daystate Alpha Wolf is based on two guns. Most of the photography was undertaken with the first gun. All of the performance testing on the second.

Why? It’s because the peak time and effort required to create the new HAM Community took place after the photographs for this review were taken but before the gun could be comprehensively tested. So the original went back to AoA and they sent me another of the same specification when I could devote the appropriate time to testing the gun properly.

Also, this review refers to the “non HP” version of the Alpha Wolf. The HP version is substantially similar but more powerful.


VALUE FOR MONEY

As with all the British manufacturer’s products, the Daystate Alpha Wolf is a premium-priced air rifle. It’s currently selling at $3,495.00 on the Airguns of Arizona website.

So we have to ask the question: ”Can an air rifle costing three and a half grand be good value for money?”

It’s clear that the Alpha Wolf offers superb finish and design, combined with power and excellent accuracy. But what’s more important is the way it achieves these things…

Without doubt it’s the sophisticated electronic command and control capabilities of this air rifle that separate it from all other offerings in the market today.

The Alpha Wolf’s electronic brain offers simple, predictable and precise control over a wide range of shooting characteristics. At a time when all-mechanical PCPs are becoming ever more complex, the “one stop shop” side panel is a simple and easy way to control the gun: and to change the way it performs if required.

In addition, digital control of the gun’s settings is inherently more precise than analog manual control. It’s also more repeatable – easier to “dial back” to a previous setting, for example. That’s just the way it is, with just about anything digital, including airguns.

Sure, you need to adapt to the way the User Interface works. But haven’t we all managed to do this to use our cellphones? And don’t we now we do that as second nature?

So it’s this combination of extreme control with simplicity that defines Daystate’s Alpha Wolf PCP air rifle.

If you have the budget and desire to accompany this approach to airguns, there’s no doubt about it. You’re sure to be impressed with everything about the Daystate Alpha Wolf and will continue to enjoy the pleasures of ownership long after memory of the cost has gone.

That’s what will make it great value for you…

Daystate Alpha Wolf Test Review .22 Caliber

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Daystate Alpha Wolf

SPEED AND ACCURACY

Because the Daystate Alpha Wolf PCP air rifle works in a completely different way to any mechanical air rifle, we had to make a different type of shooting test.

Instead of testing with our standard range of test pellets – according to the normal HAM test protocol – we had to accept that the gun is designed to perform with specific settings of pellet weight and “requested” Muzzle Velocity.

We know from previously testing the Daystate Delta Wolf (which uses the same electronics), that these guns shoot very well in “Factory Mode”, yet even more consistently in “Advanced Mode”.

So in this review, we’re looking at the Daystate Alpha Wolf in “Advanced Mode”.

What does that mean? Well it means that you set the gun up exactly as you want. For example, the Daystate factory will shoot these guns at close to full power settings.

But most owners of the short, “non HP” version Alpha Wolf we are reviewing have other requirements than raw power (together with it’s associated) lower shot count. So for this test review, we have the gun set-up to shoot 18.1 Grain pellets at a velocity “sweet spot” of 880 FPS.

Below we see the actual shot FPS and settings as displayed on the side touchscreen.

That’s 31 Ft/Lbs of Muzzle Energy and a more common performance profile for users of the “short, non-HP” guns, AoA tells me. (After all, if customers want maximum power, the appropriate course is to choose the HP version of the Daystate Alpha Wolf with the long – 23-Inch – barrel and heavier pellets).

As for accuracy, the Alpha Wolf achieved the best 25-Yard, 10-shot group accuracy that I have ever recorded!

First I tested the 18.13 Grain H&N Baracuda 18s. Wow!

Daystate Alpha Wolf Test Review .22 Caliber

Then 18.13 Grain JSB Jumbo Heavies. Wow again!

Daystate Alpha Wolf Test Review .22 Caliber

After that – and just for fun – I changed the “pellet weight” setting to 20 Grains and shot a 10-shot group of 20.3 Grain Daystate Howler slugs. Wow a third time!

Daystate Alpha Wolf Test Review .22 Caliber

Obviously, many of these pellets – and slugs – were stacking-up pellet-on-pellet in “one hole” groups.

Being realistic, it would be fair to say that the accuracy performance of all three types of ammo was identical. The size of the groups was so small that it would be unfair to claim one as repeatably or definitively better than the others.

What these targets do demonstrate is the consistent accuracy potential of the Daystate Alpha Wolf, particularly when set-up in Advanced Mode for a specific weight of ammunition and Muzzle Velocity. It’s also a clear indicator of how easy the gun is to shoot well.

 

TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT

Both trigger and cocking lever are a key components of the Daystate Alpha Wolf “feel” and user appeal. Both are – so far as I can tell – identical to those of the Daystate Delta Wolf (and Red Wolf for that matter). That’s a great thing!

The fact is that both trigger and cocking action are simply on a different planet compared to any other “non-Daystate” airgun HAM has ever tested. The trigger pull weight of the Alpha Wolf tested by HAM averages just 6.3 Oz as received from the factory. Yes, that’s 0 Lbs 6.3 Oz.

Apart from being incredibly light, the trigger has the most exquisite, “glass break” feel for the second stage. It feels like a perfect trigger yet – underneath – we’re really operating an electronic micro-switch through an extremely refined human interface.

That’s how the trigger can be so perfect, yet also be mounted amidships in this bullpup air rifle.

Daystate provides setscrew adjustment for the first stage weight and travel. There’s similar adjustability for the second stage weight and contact. (Although the factory advises against adjusting the second stage contact setting).

The HAM Team cannot imagine needing to adjust any of these trigger settings. However dedicated owners will probably take advantage of the built-in capability to move the trigger post back or forward.

In addition, the trigger blade itself can be raised, lowered or rotated (canted) on the trigger post to accommodate the physique of the owner’s trigger finger.

Daystate Alpha Wolf Test Review .22 Caliber

The side lever cocking handle is again a complete delight to use. As there’s no conventional hammer spring to be compressed when operating the side lever, it has an amazingly light and crisp action.

The cocking handle itself is a work of art and provides exemplary grip in use. Again it really feels like operating a sophisticated electronic switch. However, this time it is a purely mechanical system.

Operating the side lever shifts the bolt back and forth, allowing the magazine to rotate to its next position and pushing a pellet into battery in the rear of the barrel. The large perforated knob is easy to grasp and the mechanical travel feels like butter.

The cocking lever can also be changed from right- to left-handed operation. It’s easy to do following the illustrated instructions in the comprehensive, illustrated Official Handbook that’s available online the Alpha Wolf.

The safety is located just above and to the rear of the trigger. It’s truly ambidextrous and is ideally placed to be operated by the shooter’s thumb. Function is clean, positive and crisp. Again, this has to be one of the best-feeling safeties out there.

If it feels like an electronic switch, that’s because it also is!

In fact the safety not only blocks trigger operation, it’s the on/off switch for the Daystate Alpha Wolf’s touchscreen display.

 

COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS

With around 160 – 170 Bar set on the regulator and other settings dialed-in to suit, the factory test document will show that the “non HP” Alpha Wolf in .22 caliber and with the short – 17-Inch – barrel develops 46 Ft/Lbs of Muzzle Energy when shooting 25.4 Grain pellets at 910 FPS.

That matches or exceeds the manufacturer’s power claims, as we can see here from the factory test data.

However, we shot it with different settings, hence the different power level and  – undoubtedly – different shot count per fill.

 

CONSISTENCY

AS the following chart shows, the Daystate Alpha Wolf tested by HAM produced exceptional consistency of Muzzle Velocity.

With the “Active Set” appropriate for 18.13 Grain pellets, the gun tested by HAM achieved 83 consistent shots at an average of 865.5 FPS before hitting the regulator set pressure. That’s 30.16 Ft/Lbs per shot.

The excellent Standard Deviation was just 5.07 FPS across those 83 shots. It’s a credit to the gun, but also to the unsorted H&N Baracuda 18 pellets that we used for this test.

Daystate Alpha Wolf Test Review .22 Caliber

When testing trigger pull weights, the average for our Alpha Wolf was 0 Lbs 6.3 Oz. The greatest variation from that average was a miniscule 0.5 Oz! In other words, just about perfect consistency.

Daystate Alpha Wolf Test Review .22 Caliber

 

NOISE LEVEL

In HAM’s subjective testing for this review, we found the sound level to be very well-controlled, even without a separate moderator.

It’s true that the Daystate Alpha Wolf is fitted with a shrouded barrel. However, not all of the shroud is available for sound-suppression purposes. This is due to the space taken by the gun’s built-in chronograph.

So the quiet report is quite an achievement!

However, as you would expect, it’s possible to mount an external silencer on the Alpha Wolf using the  1/2-Inch UNF-threaded muzzle.

For example, this OdB Silencer fits well to the Alpha Wolf and reduces the report yet further. It’s a dedicated airgun silencer and so cannot be used with firearms.

Of course, the beauty of the 17-Inch barrelled version of the Daystate Alpha Wolf that we are testing is it’s compactness. But – even with the OdB silencer attached, the gun is still compact and handy for freehand shooting.

Daystate Alpha Wolf Test Review .22 Caliber

But – be aware – setting the gun to “WARP” mode (full power with all settings maxed out) will have you reaching for the ear defenders if you want to go all-out for power at the expense of shot count and noise level.

 

SIGHTS AND SCOPE

For this HAM test review, we mounted a Copperhead 4-16×44 F2 (second focal plane) scope from MTC Optics. We chose this riflescope as it’s just 10.75 Inches long and weighs less than 24.5 Oz. That seemed appropriate to balance the compact size of the Daystate Alpha Wolf. It did!

Daystate Alpha Wolf Test Review .22 Caliber

The Copperhead scope was mounted to the Alpha Wolf’s Picatinny rail using a set of UTG PRO rings. The combination worked well and looked good, with the finishes matching well, as you can see below.

Also visible in the photograph below (although a little washed-out here) is a small “bubble level”.

Located just below the scope, this ideally-placed for a quick glance before firing, just to ensure that you have the gun held level. That’s a simple, but good, little feature that we found of use when shooting the Alpha Wolf.

This would be a good point to mention the SIMPLY ENORMOUS range of adjustability available for scope mounting on the Daystate Alpha Wolf. The Picatinny rail is clamped to a dovetail machined into the full length of the gun’s receiver assembly.

Combined with the “forward overhang” design of the rail itself, there’s really no practical  limit to the length of scope or personal eye relief required for comfortable shooting.

The cheekpiece also rides on the same rail and allows for a similarly wide range of positioning to achieve a comfortable shooting hold. It is simple but very adjustable and can be positioned to suit the shooter by sliding along the Alpha Wolf’s top dovetail rail, then locking in place with two setscrews.

It’s ambidextrous, too, and can easily be swapped over for use by left-handers.

 

SHOOTABILITY

Overall, we loved shooting the Daystate Alpha Wolf! The feeling of quality just oozes from the gun whenever you handle it. The overall effect is that it seems carved from the solid.

With the MTC Copperhead scope mounted and a full magazine, the all-up weight was 10 Lbs 0 Oz.

While, perhaps heavier than you might expect from such a compact air rifle, the weight is distributed so that the Alpha Wolf balances superbly for off-hand shooting. We found it easy to hold on target when kneeling and even standing.

The sheer pleasure of operating the bolt and trigger is difficult to overstate. This made the whole experience of shooting the Daystate Alpha Wolf a real sensual experience of great enjoyment.

Yes I know that may not be a very objective statement, but it’s true! After all, we buy airguns to shoot and if the act of shooting becomes somehow special for tactile and operational reasons, then that’s a great benefit that can’t be ignored.

You just have to try it to experience it…

Daystate Alpha Wolf Test Review .22 Caliber

The buttpad can be locked in place for maximum comfort and can accommodate both right- and left-handed shooters. However, it’s really not up to the standard of the rest of the gun and I’m sure everyone will want to replace it with an aftermarket buttplate from PRS, or a similar vendor.

Daystate Alpha Wolf Test Review .22 Caliber

Then there’s the question of magazine capacity. It’s relatively low by current standards.

Magazine capacity in .22 caliber is 11 shots. You can double that by using Daystate’s innovative magnetic system to join two magazines together. The mags are slid across after the first one becomes empty. That gives 22 shots which is reasonable in this caliber, although it needs some practice to do this naturally.

Would a single, large-capacity magazine be better? Yes and no!

Yes, because more shots onboard in the mag would be good. But no as such high capacity magazines become very large and unwieldy. At least Daystate’s magnetic magazine system keeps the gun manageable and compact. And the magazines are very easy to load.

The magazine loading plate/cover is held in place by a small, high-strength magnet. The magazine itself is retained in its correct position in the breech by a a small, spring ball bearing.

High capacity aftermarket magazines are available if you REALLY need more shots onboard, however.

Then, of course, there’s the Alpha Wolf’s electronic control and that touchscreen! First we should say that this can be as simple or complex as you with to make it.

Basically, you have a choice of “Factory Mode” and “Advanced Mode”. With Factory Mode you can just turn on the gun and shoot it “as is”. It’s for those of us who want to shoot without complexity. And that’s OK!!!

Alternatively, Advanced Mode gives you access to a seemingly-endless combination of choices for how you want YOUR Daystate Alpha Wolf to be set-up for shooting. Here you electronically tune the gun to pretty-well any parameter you want: pellet weight, shot count, power. Or the best balance between them…

HAM has previously reviewed this capability in great depth for the Delta Wolf. The Alpha Wolf uses the same electronic control capability. So rather than simply repeat everything, again we refer you to this previous part of our Delta Wolf review.

 

APPEARANCE AND FINISH

If we could award the Daystate Alpha Wolf more than 100% in this category, we would!

As is expected from the company, finish was flawless in all respects. All metal parts were perfectly machined, polished and finished. Everything shows a level of perfection that symbolizes the craftsmanship that is self-evidently applied throughout the gun.

The same was true for the Minelli laminated stock. This too was beautifully finished, as you can see from the reflections in the photograph below.

The carbon fiber shroud is flawless – there’s that word again! – too. The (few) synthetic – ballistic nylon – parts have almost-imperceptible mold lines.

The carbon fiber, 480cc HPA bottle is a standard part bought-in from a specialist supplier. It’s a common fitment on many high-end PCPs, but the finish is probably best described as “workmanlike”, rather than beautiful. At least it does not compromise the Alpha Wolf’s overall beauty.

 

BUYING AND OWNING

As a product firmly positioned in the luxury end of the air rifle market, you’ll need to contact a specialist retailer to buy a Daystate Alpha Wolf. But it’s readily available from Airguns of Arizona and many Precision Airgun Distribution dealers across the USA.

The Alpha Wolf has a 5-year warranty that’s transferable to a second owner, should you sell the gun. US warranty coverage is provided by Precision Airgun Distribution in Arizona.

The gun itself is supplied in a high quality, clamshell-type hard case, together with factory test sheet, an AoA test target and high quality, beautifully-illustrated documentation in English only. But note that there’s now a “quick start guide” packaged with the gun. You’ll need to go online for the comprehensive user guide.

There’s also a USB charging cable and a number of other useful parts, including the extra-long female quick disconnect that’s necessary for connecting to the deeply-recessed male quick disconnect for filling with High Pressure Air. Ingress of junk into the quick disconnect is prevented by a clever cap that snaps into place using magnets.

The whole presentation shouts quality and gives an outstanding first impression when the gun arrives with you.

In addition, if you order a scope and rings at the same time as the gun, AoA will mount and sight-in the scope for you at no extra charge. Just ask them for this free service when you place your order.

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Daystate Alpha Wolf