Daniel Defense added the new DD5V1 rifle chambered in the increasingly popular 7.62x51mm during SHOT Show this year. The DD5V1 has several upgraded features, and innovative design features, and shot very well at the Industry Day at the Range. This .308 caliber rifle could become a competitor in the AR-10 style market, if the price doesn’t chase buyers away, but we’ll talk more about that later.
Daniel Defense has established themselves as one of the premier AR-style rifle and accessory manufacturers on the market, and this year was only a continuation of that trend. For those that are familiar with Daniel Defense, this new rifle should be no surprise, but a welcomed addition. For those not familiar, you need to consider Daniel Defense with future purchases.
Daniel Defense DD5V1 7.62 x 51mm
This is Daniel Defenses first entry into the 7.62 x 51mm market (.308 Win.), and there are many saying it’s too late to be a serious contender. Anyone who knows Daniel Defense should be able to see right through that non-sense. Though later to the game than many other competitors, the DD5V1 shows the patience and skill of a highly crafted firearm waiting to deliver at the right moment. Time will tell if the Daniel Defense reputation of quality firearms will be enough to gain traction and overcome market saturation and the high price for the DD5V1.
The DD5V1 will have forged 7075-T6 aircraft grade aluminum upper and lower receivers. The move to aluminum has provided incredibly strong receivers and parts, that weigh fractions of what steel counterparts would. The lower receiver will come with an integrated flared magazine well, making magazine insertions easier and more confident.
One of the first thing I examine on a rifle is the quality of trigger. I was not disappointed. The Daniel Defense DD5V1 comes standard with a Gieselle 2-stage SSA trigger. Gieselle is among the elite trigger makers in the world, and the SSA is designed to have a 4.5 pound standard trigger pull, with 2.0 pound second stage. This trigger is glass smooth, and reset is short and distinct – both audibly and with tactile response.
The DD5V1 will come standard with ambidextrous mag release levers, safety selector levers, bolt-release levers, and charging handle. These are a benefit to left-handed shooters, or those who routinely practice off-hand shooting. Having ambidextrous controls has become more standard recently than in past years, and the BlueSheepDog Crew is pleased to see this move. The only pause we have is to make sure the safety selector lever on the right side of the receiver does not interfere with the right-handed shooter’s natural grip. The Daniel Defense DD5V1 did not seem to have much issue in this regard.
The ambidextrous charging handle is modular allowing users to equip their rifle with two different-sized latches. This upgrade is a part of an improved bolt carrier group that contains an enhanced extractor geometry, dual ejectors, an oversized cam pin and a proprietary low-friction coating.
In addition, the DD5V1 will have a Daniel Defense 6-position stock, and a Daniel Defense free-floated rail for addition of desired accessories. The Daniel Defense DD5V1 comes with a patent-pending 4-point rail attachment system. This system provides the DD5V1 with a free-floating barrel to ensure the highest accuracy without undue interference from objects attached to the barrel. This attachment system also eliminates the need for a barrel nut.
In addition, the 4-point screw-in system provides an incredibly strong anchor, ensuring that accessories like bipods, lights, lasers, or optics attached to the hand guard rail are securely attached to the receivers themselves. The Daniel Defense DD5V1 that I tested at SHOT Show was outfitted with a Trijicon VCOG.
As should be expected of a Daniel Defense rifle, the DD5V1 is well-balanced rifle. Touted to be a lightweight rifle, the reported 8.3 pound unloaded weight places the DD5V1 on the lower end of the mid-range. The pistol grip on the DD5v1 is a Daniel Defense grip that takes on the characteristics of the famous 1911 profile. The grip has Daniel Defense’s very popular Soft Touch over molding.
The fit of the components was very tight. There was no movement between the upper and lower receiver, and even the collapsible stock was relatively tight. Daniel Defense claims “sub-MOA” accuracy from their DD5V1, and we believe this rifle will deliver that and more with no problems.
Daniel Defense DD5V1 Features
- Receiver Material: Forged 7075-T6 aircraft grade aluminum
- Barrel Material: Chrome-Moly-Vanadium steel
- Gas System: Direct impingement, Mid-length profile
- Ambidextrous Controls: Mag release, safety lever, bolt release, charging handle
- Stock: Daniel Defense 6-position collapsible
- Muzzle Device: Daniel Defense Superior Suppression Device (SSD)
Daniel Defense DD5V1 Specifications
- Caliber: 7.62mm NATO (.308 Win. compatible)
- Action: Direct impingement semi-auto
- Barrel Profile: 16″ chrome-lined, cold hammer forged
- Overall Length: 33.38 to 37 inches
- Weight: 8.3 pounds (unloaded)
- Twist Rate: 1:11 with four grooves
- Sights: None provided
- Finish: Matte black
- Capacity: 20+1 (Magpul PMAG included)
- MSRP: $2,899.
Shooting the DD5V1
Daniel Defense was one of the first booths at the Industry Day at the Range we visited this year, and we quickly got in line for the DD5V1. The DD5V1 at the range was equipped with a Harris bipod and Trijicon VCOG optic. These were two very nice additions, although I prefer to shoot from a bag or rest. The VCOG is Trijicon’s entry into the rapidly expanding reflex optic with magnification.
The VCOG offers 1-6x magnification, providing a true reflex sight for up-close shots, and the ability to dial in more accurate shots at distance with a 6x magnification. This feature allowed for magnified shooting, at the steel target with head popper 100 yards down range.
The DD5V1 Gieselle SSA trigger had a crisp break, with a short and distinct reset, making the shooting experience very pleasurable and confident. These are two of the most important features of a rifle, or any firearm, in my opinion. Accuracy, and dependability are at the top of the list, but a good trigger and reset is next in line. I was easily able to move the head popper from side to side at 100 yards, even with fairly rapid follow-up shots. Recoil was manageable, and did not feel as bad as some AR-10’s I’ve fired, but you know you’re shooting .308 over 5.56mm.
The Daniel Defense SSD muzzle device did a great job of helping reduce felt recoil, but a shooter will definitely want to make sure their hearing protection is properly secured. The SSD, like many muzzle brakes is louder than flash suppressors that tend to have smaller gas ejection ports.
Daniel Defense was using Magpul 20-round magazines at the range. Magazines were easily inserted and released, and had a solid fitting when locked into place. I had no failures when firing, and did not witness any of the other shooters having any problems either.
Daniel Defense is an outstanding rifle maker, and the DD5V1 appears at first glance to meet those high expectations. Shooting was smooth and accurate, with a recoil that was manageable and not as heavy as some. The DD5V1 trigger was smooth and crisp, with a distinct and tactile reset that was reasonably short.
Accuracy was good, though measuring a particularly tight grouping was not feasible at the time because of the steel targets. However, from the markings I could see after my shots, I would agree that sub-MOA is feasible.
The biggest draw back is the recommended price of nearly $3000. For that amount, it will be hard for many to justify. There are plenty of options that may not be as smooth or have tolerances as tight, but come with a price tag half of the DD5V1. The Daniel Defense DD5V1 is very good, but is it good enough to justify the extra expense?
EDITOR’S NOTE: We were not paid anything by Daniel Defense for this review, and Daniel Defense is not currently one of our sponsors. This review is based upon our limited exposure to the DD5V1 at SHOT Show.