Del-Ton sent their Echo 316 carbine for T&E review. This model features an A3 upper receiver, carbine-length direct gas impingement system and a 5.56 NATO chamber.
Included in case: Basic maintenance kit, nylon sling, and two OD Magpul PMAG 30-round magazines.
. Manufacturer: Del-Ton Inc.
. Model: Echo 316 MOE OD
. Caliber: 5.56 x 45 mm
. Capacity: 30 rounds
. Weight: 6 lbs. 14.2 oz.
. Length – collapsed: 32.8125 in.
. Length – extended: 36.625 in.
. Barrel: 16 in.
. Twist: 1:9 in.
. Trigger: 5 lbs. 10.5 oz.
After opening the case and a brief external inspection I noticed the lack of a rear sight. This is not uncommon as more manufacturers are leaving it to the end user to select their own rear sight; I personally believe a rifle should include both. The Magpul MOE furniture is an improvement over the standard equipment. The handguard is more ergonomic than the round carbine or oval M4 type. The stock is six-position adjustable for length of pull, its lever is protected against inadvertent adjustment and the butt is fitted with a thin rubber pad. Both fit and finish are excellent with the anodizing and parkerizing uniformly applied to all surfaces and with minimal play between receivers. All controls are in the familiar AR-15 locations.
To address the absence of a rear sight I contacted Magpul, who sent me their OD MBUS. The MBUS is easily installed, folds flat to accommodate an optic, and is windage adjustable. With a rear sight now installed it’s time to go shooting.
Temperature was 65° F. Wind: 20-25 mph North. Elevation approx. 470 ft. Federal, Black Hills, Ultramax and Double Tap ammunition was acquired for the test.
Velocity results were first priority.
. Federal American Eagle AR223 55 gr. FMJ…..2819 fps
. Black Hills .223 Rem. 55 gr. SP…………………2963 fps
. Ultramax .223 Rem. 68 gr. HP…………………..2544 fps
. Double Tap .223 Rem. 69 gr. HPBT Match……2637 fps
At the range with winds of 20 mph and gusts up to 25 I wasn’t expecting good results – I was pleasantly surprised. After a few rounds and some sight adjustment the irons were on at 50 yards. Moving out to 100 I affixed the Bushnell Elite Tactical LRS with the ADM Recon S mount to the upper receiver’s picatinny rail to aid in accuracy. The optical clarity of this scope is exceptional and the quality of the mount is renowned. With some rounds downrange and a few clicks it was dialed in.
Of the ammunition brands tested the DTI Echo 316 showed a noticeable preference for the 68 gr. Ultramax, consistently producing groups under one inch. Both the 55 gr. Federal and the 69 gr. Double Tap hovered slightly over one-inch groups while the Black Hills softpoints averaged about two. The accuracy can likely be attributed to the quality of construction and heavy-profile barrel. The trigger is on par with your average mil-spec. Additionally, I took along a 100-round bulk pack of 55 gr. Federal FMJ to increase round count and run some drills. Through approximately 250 rounds the carbine suffered no malfunctions or failures.
Overall my impressions of the Del-Ton Echo were highly favorable. The heavy barrel gave it a slightly nose-heavy feel, however this does not detract in the least from its fine handling characteristics. It is accurate and reliable, lightweight and maneuverable. Unlike that of a traditional black rifle, Magpul’s OD furniture disrupts its lines and allows it to blend in with the natural environment.