Del-Ton (DTI) generally makes good AR-15 rifles that are “priced to own,” as they say. “Cheap” in other words. But only in the monetary sense. This afternoon RF forwarded me a press release from DTI introducing a new rifle called the “Extreme Duty” (pictured above), and I have to say I’m not extremely impressed. Here’s the presser . . .

Extreme Duty AR-15 style modern sporting rifle (MSR). “I am very proud of this rifle,” says Tony Autry, president and CEO of Del-Ton. “This is our most ambitious design, to date, and we have succeeded in producing a spectacular MIL-SPEC rifle for the enthusiast seeking high end enhancements.”

Key features include:

  • 16” FN Manufacturing 1X7 twist, hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel for long life (HPT/MPI tested)
  • Chambered in 5.56 X 45
  • Upper and lower receivers are MIL-SPEC, forged 7075 T6 aluminum, hard coat anodized
  • MIL-SPEC phosphated 8620 steel carrier assembly with HPT/MPI tested Carpenter 158
  • bolt that are heat treated and plated; chrome-lined carrier interior and key
  • M4 handguard with double heat shield and aluminum Delta ring assembly
  • M4 rifling profile and feed ramps
  • M4, five-position buttstock with MIL-SPEC buffer tube
  • Troy Industries flip-up rear sight
  • Ships with sling, 30 round magazine, buttstock cleaning kit, and hard case

The MSRP for the DTI Extreme Duty is $989.00.

Del-Ton Incorporated is a manufacturer of quality of modern sporting rifles and an online
supplier for parts, upgrades, accessories, optics and custom rifle kits. Based in Elizabethtown, N.C., all rifles and components for Del-Ton products are made in the U.S.A. and Del-Ton rifles carry a lifetime warranty for the original purchaser. Visit www.del-ton.com for detailed product information.

There’s not anything wrong with the rifle in and of itself. Only the Extreme Duty runs $239 more than Del-Ton’s standard DTI-4 rifle. I was expecting something more than a 1:7 FNH barrel, a flip-up rear sight and an extra heat shield in the handguards. Literally everything else about this rifle is identical to their existing models.

The 1:7 barrel will enable you to stabilize heavier bullets. That said, with a non-free-floated 16″ barrel, I wasn’t expecting accuracy beyond the operational capacity of a standard 55gr round. And while an extra heat shield may be nice I’ve never found myself needing more than one (on the bottom) for a semi-auto firearm.

It’s great that manufacturers are creating and selling more “modern sporting rifles.” I just don’t think that every iteration deserves its own model number. Cars have “accessories” and “sports packages” and “optional features” that swap out parts and tailor a car to your needs, and I think that’s the way firearms should be treated as well. Advertise a base model and then let people pick and choose how they want their guns, maybe with “suggested” builds. Anything is better than this current system of searching for a company that makes exactly the build you want.

The AR-15 platform has been distilled to near perfection over the last few years, and while there are different builds you can do I just don’t think that a barrel change and a rear sight qualify for the term “extreme.” Slap some free floating rails on that thing and a quality optic from the factory and you might have yourself a ball game, but minor changes do not an “extreme” firearm make.

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39 Responses to New from Del-Ton: “Extreme Duty.” Or Is It . . . ?

  1. Del-ton isnt the only company “guilty” of this. It feels like you are using them as a scapegoat, no ill will just thought it was worth saying.

  2. Meh, anyone who isn’t assembling their own AR-15’s at this point probably deserves to get fleeced out of an extra two bills.

    • I know this is an older post, but as of now( 2014) assembling the separate components and buying a factory,assembled, tested and ready rifle are roughly the same, give or take $100+ . I put together my first using a Delton Lower , PSA LPK, magpul moe furniture, spikes mid length upper and BCM H2 buffer and tube, magpul ctr collapsible. Gun runs fine, although I’d be considered a”bubba fudd” because I haven’t shot 10k in rds or spent $2k for a LMT or Noveske. I think this article is accurate in calling Del ton out-they make a decent bargain rifle that can easily go from sport shooting to defending your home( sorry AR snobs they don’t magic one shot break or blow up!) But Delton shouldn’t be overcharging for basic industry standard gear either!

  3. Mil-spec AR15’s are button rifled. not hammer forged. This is the same barrel Palmetto State Armory uses, it’s the same as the M249, just with a different profile.

    • If going to nit pick, a more obvious missing feature is the full-auto/burst FCG. And when exactly did the military start buying AR-15s?

      And i’d worry about that FNH barrel if their rifle barrels are anything like their pistol barrels. Some of their FNP-45 barrels have dimples on the inside, where the FP stamp is on the bottom.

      • While I see where you’re going with FCG parts, the issue is the BATFE(ARBF); they have decided that the true military parts are “machinegun parts” and therefore it is inadvisable to have them in a lower that is not itself a legal machinegun (although the 1991 case US vs Rock Island Armoury seems to indicate that the Hughes amendment invalidates the NFA with regard to machineguns), or containing a machinegun (DIAS, LL, etc.).

        A full auto carrier is one thing, but it is unwise to have more than one machinegun part in a non-machinegun if one wishes to avoid the authorities’ wrath.

    • Went to a gun show today, first one in many years, and there was a little bit of interesting stuff there, but I was shocked by the number of AR uppers/lowers/middles/pinky fingers there. AR everywhere. Too much AR. I see the appeal, I guess, I loved my Legos.

      I did lust after a cherry Norinco Mak 91 with the dorky “sporter” thumbhole stock. Not that I had any actual money to spend.

  4. Where’s my stainless lower? That would be extreme… ly heavy.

    I do love me some chromium in my blasters though.

    • My Father owns a Group Industries Stainless Steel M16 lower. It is noticeably heavier than Aluminum, but not as much as most think. The lower receiver is not really a huge piece of metal.

      • The 1/12’s shoot great with lighter bullets as well. I’ll bet the VMaxes would work fantastically well and a .22 lr conversion would shoot light years better than in a fast twist.. I have all the parts except the barrel for my A1 spec upper (no Colt rollmark of course). Green Mountain lists ’em, but they keep claiming they are going to do a run “in the next couple of months” but that doesn’t seem to ever happen.

      • I nearly write a check every time I walk by the 1983 M16 in a display case at my gun dealer/range. If my son didn’t understand how much 26,000 could buy, I’d write the check. But then I’m an RVN vet.

        • Let me guess: You’re talking about the M16 A2 that’s Government Property marked that’s sitting in a case at Targetmaster….

      • Well, if I’m going to bag on you in my blog and have the effrontery to link it here, the least I can do is further your education. Go to the AR-15.com retro forum here:

        http://www.ar15.com/forums/f_3/123_.html

        And Retro Black Rifle here (most people miss the forums, because there’s so much on the website proper, so don’t do that):

        http://retroblackrifle.com/

        Look particularly for builds by John Thomas. The guy is a master. And posts by Armeiro — vital historical information dug up in archives.

        If you’re ever in NH look me up and we’ll go through the whole history of the AR-15 / M-16. At the range.

  5. I think you are being a bit hard on the Del Ton.

    They don’t make good rifles. Del Ton has always been right up there with DMPS, Olympic, Bushmaster and their ilk, churning out poor copies of AR series rifles and pushing them to local gun stores with solid retail distribution strategies. Other forums (like M4 Carbine) will be happy to explain the minute technical differences that make a rifle work or not, but the long and short of it is that Del Ton typically cuts all of those corners to hit the “value” price.

    So they build this “Extreme Duty” version. I reply “Good on them!”

    Building this weapon shows that Del Ton is at least switched-on enough to listen to what real rifle users are saying about what they will or will-not buy in an AR. They are making an attempt to elevate the brand above gun store schlock in order to build a technically superior product (and doing so at what will be a pretty competitive street price). They are doing a lot more than the idiot MBAs at Bushmaster, DMPS, Oly, Model 1 and their ilk.

    And $240 for bringing their weapon up to spec is money well spent. Magnetic particle inspectings, tooling up to properly stake a carrier gas key, using the right raw materials and finishes – all of that costs good money. If it didn’t, everyone would build a high quality AR pattern rifle.

  6. I would put forward the proposition that calling any AR-15 “extreme duty” is naive at best and false advertising at worst. The AR-15/M16 design is simply far less robust and reliable than other mainstream designs, such as the FAL, G3, or M14, not to mention new designs such as the SCAR. I can’t think of any other rifle that needs a special assist just to get rounds to chamber, nor one that requires almost yearly redesigns of the mag followers in a vain attempt to get it feed properly, nor one that blasts hot residue into the receiver with each shot so that the aftermarket had to come up with a completely new upper assembly for it.

    Accurate and fun? Yes. Extreme duty? Never.

    • Stick with your 1960’s designs and we’ll stick with our proven DI ARs

      We also wont be killing our backs all day humping ’em

    • “I can’t think of any other rifle that needs a special assist just to get rounds to chamber”

      To be fair, the forward assist is really not needed, and the only point in which it is ever used in practice is to ensure that the bolt has fully closed and locked after a press check. With the M14, for example, after doing a press check you can manually ensure that the bolt is seated by tapping the op-rod forward; With the M16, you do not have physical access to the bolt, and the charging handle does not reciprocate with the bolt, ergo the forward assist.

      In short, it isn’t there so much because it CAN’T seat a round on it’s own, merely because there can arise circumstances in which the bolt doesn’t want to go fully back into battery without chambering a completely fresh round.

    • The “unreliable AR-15” thing is a myth. The rifle had it’s problems in the beginning thanks to a typical military SNAFU. Search google for the Filthy 14, over 26,000 rounds without a cleaning and that is a standard direct gas impingement AR-15.

      • Flithy 14 is currently over 42,000 rounds as a loaner rifle at EAG Tactical. It has been cleaned twice. That is about as hard use as it gets.
        Run a rifle dry and fill it with Iraqi sand fines, and it can malfunction, any rifle, the AR, the FAL, and yes even the AK. Talk to US GIs who trained Iraqi forces. Poorly maintained, unlubed AKs exposed to the super fine Iraqi sand will fail.

    • While I can’t speak for Del-ton, from any top tier manufacturer an AR-15 is certainly an extreme duty weapon. I have AR-15s that I have shot thousands of rounds of Wolf through without cleaning (and without any malfunctions). I shoot them in the rain, covered in dirt, and they just keep going bang. The only failure point I’ve found is running one dirty and completely dry–a couple drops of oil on the bolt and they’re back up and running.

      Who cares about a bit of hot air going through their gun? It’s a gun. It’s going to get warm.

      The forward assist isn’t necessary, and is only there because it was a requirement to get the contract. It’s only really useful for quietly charging a gun.

      Del-ton may be questionable, but certainly an AR-15 from Colt, BCM, Noveske, or one of the other numerous top tier manufacturers qualifies as an extreme duty weapon if anything does.

    • I dunno, I have a friend who has a Spikes Tactical AR and it carbons up after 500 rounds. Clean burning ammunition and select lubricants play a big role in AR performance. It plays a big factor in all rifles, but the AR gas impingement will make it a larger factor.
      Randy Wakeman Outdoors has a rather involved article under the rifle section about the AR versus other designs including reference to military trials. It eats where it poops.

        • Eh, my experience is that AR’s will run dirty, but not dry and especially not both. Keep ’em wet and they will run until they are unbelievably filthy and even then all you need is a quick scrape to get rid of the most egregious carbon deposits. They are an unbelievable pain in the ass to get perfectly clean though, I agree on that.

    • how much experince do you have to call the ar/m16 not as robust as a m14,or g36,and the scar is a flop.well 11 years in the army i have jumped out of planes,done combat swims,amongst dropping the m16 in mud sand you name it,and the rifle has always performed.not as robust well the rifle has stuck around since the 50s,has to be doing somthing right.

  7. From http://weaponsman.com/?p=270

    Nick says: “Literally everything else about this rifle is identical to their existing models.” But none of these features:

    1. chrome lining
    2. Chrome BCG internals
    3. magnafluxing of stress parts
    4. milspec materials, treatments and coatings…

    … are present in the entry-level Del-Ton, and they have a right to be proud of this improved offering. Also, every one of these costs Del-Ton more than the parts in the discount gun. Del-Ton is not a first tier AR maker, but they make a good product at a good price. And if you’re a guy who writes about this stuff, when they try to tell you they’ve improved the product you shoud have at least the baseline technical knowledge to understand what the press release says.

    Google the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

  8. I have been “lurking” several sites to get info on AR platforms. I live in CA. And due to high demand(“panic”),local gun shops charge exorbitant amounts or run dry.. After reading theTONS of “ar expertd, gurus, gun snobs”, I decided to build my y own. I bought a delton dti 15 lower for r 120 at Turners,along with a PSA lower kit(magpul pistol grip included),a core 15 upper, bcm gunfighter heavy buffer, t charging handle,magpul “mil spec” collapsible stock. Total cost was 850 or basically what a S& W mp 15, a delton echo 316, or a bushmaster patrol orc costs! I work for a local L.E. Agency, so I had the range master, who is also certified as a colt armorer, check out my frankenstein AR carbine.he rated it good t to go, and test firing it against dept colts it didn’t blow up, or jam/ FTE,FTF, or all the things high dollar AR snobs claim will happen! I don’t plan to throw my gun in the mud or sand, I am not going to shoot 30,000 rounds thru it. The same snobs have the mindset that nothing but a colt or kimber 1911 will save your tail, but are scared sh*tless to be in a situation where those guns could get roughed up(I carry a glock 21, its tough, accurate, has more rd capacity, and costs half the price of those “real.45s” that I see choking at the range. Bottom line , the ARs most civilians own are NOT,and will never be their military cousins. You have a right to pay top dollar for what brand logo you want, and use / abuse your property as you please, but I will say this, I will take my chevy tahoe any day over a Porsche- it will do the job, not as fancy or fast, but it will be here long,after the prissy high ender is dumped…..

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