Daystate Delta Wolf Review Part Three
For Part Three of this Daystate Delta Wolf Review, we’ll move on to cover scope mounting, noise level and the LCD “nerve center” of the gun. Yes, we’re still working on the “human interface” aspects of this revolutionary air rifle.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
In its publicity photographs of the Delta Wolf, Daystate often shows the gun combines with a compact, short eye relief, prismatic scope attached.
Of course this is a perfectly viable combination – particularly for the hunter who’s attracted by the wide FoV offered by prismatic scopes. However, this prompted the HAM Team to take the polar opposite and mount a very large scope for this Delta Wolf review. One more suited for benchrest and long range shooting.
So we installed a Sightron SIII PLR 10-50 x 60 scope. After all, a top quality air rifle needs a top quality scope to go with it!
At 17.4 Inches long, this scope is approximately 50% as long as the bullpup air rifle itself…
Perhaps surprisingly, the HAM testers found that big Sightron scope mounted easily on the Delta Wolf. We were able to achieve the correct amount of eye relief for our eyes with no issues.
Handling and balance of the rig was good, too, in spite of the all-up weight of 10 Lbs 8 Ozs. Even for freehand shooting.
In fact, the scope is mounted on a Picatinny rail that itself is mounted onto a dovetail rail that runs the full length of the Delta Wolf’s receiver. This rail can be un-clamped and removed, as we see in the photograph below.
This gives the obvious possibility that Daystate, or aftermarket accessory specialists, will produce alternative scope mounting rails in future.
For example, some shooters might want a higher mount to raise the sight line of the scope (although the HAM Team didn’t). Another possibility would be a mount with a built-in 20 MOA (or similar) droop to facilitate the long range shooting that many Delta Wolf customers will undoubtedly want to do.
The Delta Wolf is fitted with a fully-shrouded barrel. However, not all of the shroud is available for sound-suppression purposes. This is due to the space taken by the Delta Wolf’s built-in chronograph. That’s it in the photograph below.
So the muzzle cap can be removed from the shroud and – if required – an accessory airgun-only silencer added, such as the 0dB silencer shown here.
In HAM’s subjective testing for this Delta Wolf review, we found the sound level to be very well-controlled, even without a separate moderator – and even in .25 caliber. However, setting the gun for “all out” power – such as with the “WARP” Advanced Mode that’s pre-programmed by AoA will cause a significant increase in report. That’s not unexpected, of course.
COMMAND AND CONTROL – THE TOUCH SCREEN
That built-in chronograph is an ideal lead-in to a discussion of the Delta Wolf’s touch screen. In normal mode, this gives a black-on white display.
However, there’s also a red-on-black mode that’s actually very useful in low light situations. It’s easily selected from the touchscreen itself as an option.
Apart from the color changes, there’s also several other differences shown in the two screens…
In the black/red screen, you’ll see the “8 S.L.” indicated at the top right of the display. It’s not present in the black/while screen. That indicates that the “Magazine Shot Count” was enabled for the black/red display.
Setting the Magazine Shot Count enables the Delta Wolf to keep track of the number of shots fired from a newly-inserted magazine. The “8 S.L.” indicates that there are 8 Shots Left ( i.e. remaining). This enables the shooter to keep track on the number of shots fired, even through the magazine itself provides no physical indication to the shooter.
Now let’s make another comparison. You’ll see that the black-on-white display indicates: CAL 0.25″, 25.39 gr, BARREL 23″, SPEED 900. That information indicates that the gun is set for use in Factory Mode. It confirms the caliber, together with the pellet weight you want to shoot and the Muzzle Velocity you want the gun to deliver.
That’s the “ACTIVE SET”. The mode the gun is working-in at the time. By comparison, the ACTIVE SET for the red-on-black display gives us a totally different readout. It displays: 2534, HAMMER 2900 Mu S (micro Seconds), VOLTAGE 78.0V. PRES.SET 151 bar.
That indicates that the gun is now set in an Advanced Mode called 2534. This was pre-programmed into the Delta Wolf by AoA before shipment. The name 2534 indicates .25 caliber, 34 Grain pellet. It also indicates that the hammer dwell time was set for 2900 micro Seconds and the voltage to 78.0 Volts.
In fact, using 33.9 Grain JSB pellets in 2534 mode produced a Muzzle Velocity of 900 FPS. That’s 61 Ft/Lbs of Muzzle Energy.
In both cases, the “149 (or 151) bar reg.” indicates the pressure the gun is looking for. Huh? Don’t worry, we’ll cover this in more detail below.
Now let’s look at this display…
The big news is that we can see the Muzzle Velocity of the previous shot fired. 857 FPS in this case. That 857 FPS was recorded by the Delta Wolf’s built-in chronograph and immediately displayed on the screen. You’ll see the Muzzle Velocity displayed on the screen after every shot.
You’ll also see that the gun has been shooting in Factory Mode, but with different settings than shown above. Now it’s been set for 25.39 Grain pellets (instead of 34.9) to be shot at a Muzzle Velocity of 850 FPS.
Phew! Let’s stop and recap on what we have just learned so far in this Delta Wolf review.
The Delta Wolf’s touchscreen display shows us the following (reading down from the top):
- The regulator set pressure.
- The number of shots fired from that magazine (if enabled – and why wouldn’t you?).
- The FPS of the previous shot.
- When in Factory Mode the caliber, pellet weight, barrel length and requested Muzzle Velocity.
- When in Advanced Mode the hammer dwell time and voltage.
- PRES or PRES.SET, the regulator pressure suggested by the gun to achieve maximum power.
- The lock shows that the settings are saved (ie will not change from shot-to-shot).
- The battery indicator shows the amount of charge remaining.
That’s an impressive amount of data. It’s also useful information! And finally, there’s no other gun in the market today that will do this for you…
Note that the PRES or PRES.SET value is NOT the same as the actual regulator pressure setting that’s indicated in the top line of the display.
In fact, it’s the pressure the gun would like to have to achieve maximum FPS when combined with the other settings. However you, as the shooter, can choose to set the regulator to a different lower pressure than the gun wants. (The Delta Wolf has an electronic brain, remember).
Why would you do this? Well, improving shot count is one reason. Securing a quieter report is another. Improving accuracy would be a third. (We know from HAM testing that too much muzzle velocity is not good for accuracy).
For these reasons, Airguns of Arizona sets the Delta Wolf regulator pressure to around 150 bar before shipping. So you will typically see the gun looking for a higher PRES/SET.PRES value than it’s actually receiving from the regulator.
Does it matter? No!
No harm is done if the actual regulator pressure doesn’t match that the gun would like. Just concentrate on the accuracy downrange!
COMPARISON OF FACTORY MODE AND ADVANCED MODE
We’ve talked already about Factory Mode and Advanced Mode in this Delta Wolf review. So what’s the difference between them?
Actually it’s quite simple, as this table shows…
|Functionality||Factory Mode||Advanced Mode|
|Chronograph feeds back shot data to control gun||Yes||No|
|You make changes by inputting FPS and pellet weighs required||Yes||No|
|Mode to use for maximum control||No||Yes|
|Mode to use for simplicity||Yes||No|
|Mode for maximum consistency||No||Yes|
1. Factory Mode
Factory Mode gives you a simple way to get started with the Delta Wolf. It also frees you from getting too involved in programming the gun if that’s not your thing. It may be that Factory Mode is the only mode you ever use.
Factory Mode has pre-set values for FPS and pellet weight – things that we intuitively understand, right? It also gives you the opportunity to change the FPS you want, or to set a different weight if you choose to use a different type of pellet by using the touchscreen.
Factory Mode also does one other very clever thing. It takes the FPS readings from a number of previously-made shots (about 10, so far as I can see) and adjusts the gun’s internal electronic settings to take account of them.
As we know from HAM pellet test reviews, individual pellets from the same tin may well not all have the same weight. So they will be shooting at slightly different velocities. Look at this chart showing the weight of JSB Exact King 25.39 Grain pellets when tested by HAM.
These are high quality pellets, yet while the average weight of the tested pellets almost exactly met the manufacturer’s specification, there was a spread of 2.76% between the lightest and heaviest measured in our test.
The most common weight found was 25.32 Grains, with 8% of the tested pellets having that weight. Just 4% of the pellets tested by HAM actually weighed 25.39 Grains.
That means that the gun is constantly making microscopic internal power corrections, shot after shot, to achieve the consistent Muzzle Velocity you asked for – based on the weights of the previous pellets.
Let’s be clear. In the HAM Team’s opinion, this is a really outstanding concept. And – in fact – the Delta Wolf does a really pretty good job of delivering on that promise.
But there are some issues…
Firstly, there’s no way for you, me or the Delta Wolf to know the precise weight of the next pellet that will come from an unsorted tin. So the gun is actually estimating the power required for the next shot. But past pellet weights are not a 100% indicator of the weight of the next pellet…
Secondly. If through operator error, you fail to load a pellet and shoot a blank, the Delta Wolf will pick up a zero FPS shot. That confuses the algorithm a little as the gun then increases power – too much – for the next shot to compensate.
Thirdly if you change from shooting one weight of pellet to another, it takes the gun around 10 shots to “learn” the performance of the new pellets. This leads to FPS not being consistent until it has done so.
Based on the results achieved during this Delta Wolf review, Daystate’s estimation algorithms are obviously pretty good. But the HAM Team’s opinion is that it handles variations in pellet weights just a little too aggressively. However let’s be fair, this is Version 1 of an unique type of software which will undoubtedly be improved with time.
2. Advanced Mode.
Advanced Mode allows you to set-up a shooting profile modes exactly as you want. In fact, you can set-up as many different modes as you wish.
That sounds great, except for one thing…
Unlike Factory Mode, you don’t input pellet weight and desired FPS. Instead you select the hammer stroke dwell time in micro seconds and the power level by choosing a voltage value. And – of course – regulator pressure.
For most of us, this is definitely un-intuitive! How do I know what settings to use?
Fortunately Airguns of Arizona pre-programs one mode for each caliber (two for .22 cal) with every Delta Wolf they sell. That’s the “Active Set 2534” we saw on the display photograph above for the .25 caliber gun supplied for this Delta Wolf review.
In Advanced Mode, the chronograph displays the most recent shot, as you’d expect. However – now – the chrony readout is NOT feeding back information to the gun. It’s merely displaying the FPS.
Comparing results for Factory Mode with 2534 Advanced Mode when shooting the same pellets, we see that Muzzle Velocity is more consistent in Advanced Mode. We’ll cover this in more detail in a future part of this review.
So – if you’re interested in ultimate accuracy and consistency – and if you have the inclination to experiment, Advanced Mode is the way to go. But how do you know where to start if you want to create your own mode(s)?
Daystate will be providing some typical starting point values for enthusiastic users. However, right now, the best course of action would be to start with the AoA mode(s) in your gun and create a new mode based on that for your experiments.
As we’re starting to see, this really is a revolutionary airgun!
To be continued. For the fourth part, we’ll continue with consistency, power, buying and owning. Stay tuned!