Alright. So I’ve had a Daniel Defense DD5 V1, an AR-10 chambered for 308 Winchester and 7.62×51 NATO, for a few years now. Truth be told, I haven’t done much with it and it has maintained a really low round count. The minimal usage has nothing to do with the rifle, as it’s actually a very nice and capable AR-10. It has everything to do with me – which I’ll expand more upon shortly. Thing is that a hunting buddy has been getting more and more into hog hunting, specifically at night time, with his AR-10 and I’ve become somewhat curious. As such, I’ve decided to repurpose the DD5 V1 for night time hog hunting. This decision has led to some rather interesting experiences thus far and that’s what this post is going to touch upon.
I’m going to start with a little back story. My decision to acquire the DD5 V1 was based on next to nothing. I was back at a local big box store where I had previously acquired a Daniel Defense DDM4 V11 and wanted to add an AR-10 to the collection. I didn’t have a purpose in mind, but that didn’t stop me. Given I was infatuated with the previously acquired Daniel Defense, I impulsively decided to pick up the DD5 V1 along with an optic that the guy behind the counter recommended. Over the next few years, I intermittently used the AR-10 for recreation and on two hunting trips – one that yielded nothing and another that yielded a bountiful harvest. It wasn’t until later that I decided to get into the suppressor game with the intention to suppress the AR-10 and do more with it. Even so, time passed while the AR-10 sat in the safe.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago, after quite a bit of influence from my hunting buddy, that I decided to dust off the AR-10 and repurpose it for some night time hog hunting. The decision came with two major tasks. The first task was getting the AR-10 suppressed. The second was getting some sort of night vision going. Looking back, I should have probably completed one task at a time, but where is the fun in that?
Given I already had a SilencerCo 30 caliber ASR Muzzle Brake, which was included with the SilencerCo Omega 300 suppressor, sitting in a parts box. I started by ordering an ATN X-Sight 4K Pro digital day and night scope. The day after the scope was delivered, I took the DD5 to my local gunsmith, Liberty Gunsmithing, and had them install the muzzle brake. The muzzle brake installation took a few minutes and I was on my way home to mount the ATN scope.
A question I got from several folks I conversed with while going through the process of setting up the rifle was: “Why not go with a flash hider instead or a muzzle brake?” The main reason is that I’m less concerned with reducing muzzle blast signature than I am about minimizing muzzle rise. The reason is hogs generally travel in a group, or a sounder as they say in my neck of the woods, and due to their destructive nature it is generally desirable to eradicate as many as possible (ideally all of them). As such, I think there is more value in faster target transitions than signature reduction. That may seem counterintuitive since muzzle flash can slow down target transitions as the eyes readjust to low light or no light conditions. I suppose I’ll find out sooner or later if I made the optimal decision, but I suspect it will take some time as I don’t think I will be hunting without attaching the suppressor to the muzzle device much and the can should reduce both signature and rise more effectively than either muzzle device on it’s own.
The mounting and set up of the ATN scope was interesting. Mechanically it’s no different than mounting any other riflescope. However, there is a technical aspect to it not unlike setting up a new smartphone – setting up preferences, configuring ballistic profile, pairing with smartphone, installing an app on the smartphone, etc. I’ll dive into the details in a future review of the scope. Suffice to say, it took a bit longer than I expected to get the optic ready. As soon as that was done, I attached the can to the rifle, tossed the rifle into a case, grabbed a few boxes of ammo, and hurried off to the local range to try it out.
I arrived at the range and rented a lane. Took a minute to set up and load a few Hornady .308 Winchester 178gr ELD-X Precision Hunter cartridges in the magazine. With the target set up at 25 yards, I started working on dialing in the windage on the scope using the one-shot zero feature. The process went a little like this:
- Push a sequence of buttons to access the one-shot zero feature.
- Use the button to move one of the two visible crosshairs over the center of the hole while keeping the other crosshair centered on the point of aim.
- Push another button to save the zero settings.
- Take another shot and scratch my head as the shot was further away from the point of aim
Of course, not having read the manual, I had no idea what went wrong. But who reads manuals nowadays? I repeated the one-shot zero process again and got the same result. Finally it dawned on me that I had inverted the roles of the crosshairs in the feature. Took a few more attempts at using the one-shot feature before I was happy with the windage.
As I was getting ready to send the target back to 100 yards, I got the five minute warning that the range was getting ready to close. I was in such a rush to get the gun ready and try it out that I failed to look at the time. So I packed up and headed home.
The next day I went back to the range to finish sighting in the scope. For the sake of brevity, I’ll skip the minutia and save it for that future review I already mentioned. The gist of this trip was that the DD5 started having malfunctions after finishing the Precision Hunter box and starting on a box of Hornady .308 Winchester 165gr InterLock SP American Whitetail. I got about halfway through that box before calling it a day and leaving frustrated.
The next day after conversing with some friends. I came up with the following remediation plan:
- Clean the gun and use a lighter consistency grease, like the Black Rifle Balm from CherryBlamz (the link sends you to a place where you can get a free bottle of grease to try).
- If the problem persists, swap out the buffer for a heavier buffer.
- If the problem persists, swap out the spring for a heavier spring, like the Sprinco orange spring.
- If the problem persists, look into replacing the fixed gas block with an adjustable gas block.
With a plan in hand, I decided to give Daniel Defense a call to see if I could get my hands on one of the adjustable gas blocks that are included in more recent DD5 variants. Much to my surprise, they suggested I send it to them so they can get it running right because according to them it should run reliably suppressed without any additional modifications. How is that for customer service? I think it’s excellent, so off to Daniel Defense it goes before I do anything else.
While I wait for Daniel Defense to finish doing their thing with the DD5, I plan to write up a review on my initial impressions of the ATN scope and perhaps get around to writing the review of the SilencerCo Omega 300 that I’ve been putting off.