Last time we took a look at the new Delta Elite 10mm pistol from Colt, we saw the refinements on the new Delta, compared to the classic Delta Elite from the 1980s. In my opinion , it is a very fine pistol. It has all of the “custom production” enhancements I want in a modern M1911, that I intend to carry and use as opposed to set in a safe.
With the new Delta being obviously configured for carry and hunting in mind, I used a variety of ammo choices in this go around. I chose some modern carry /defense loads along with ball practice/training ammo. There are still some brands and types of 10mm ammo out there I have not gotten my hands on yet and when I do I will add to this review or update. One thing I kept in mind this time, is the cost of the 10mm ammo and how likely the average buyer could find them in the local gun store. My thinking is to mix in ammo the new buyer, who is not a dedicated 10mm lover, would likely see in the same store the gun was being sold. I did mix in carry and high performance ammo that would also be encountered in a store, compared to some of the more expensive high end ammo from places like Double Tap. Lastly, I did not ignore the reality that money is tight for most people these days and most 10mm shooting is likely to be done with ball training ammo. As I said above, a future post with high performance 10mm ammo will be upcoming.
The groups shown are an average of all rounds fired from each ammo type. I fired from a bench rest with sand bags, with ranges marked on the target. Shooting was slow fire with most groups taking at least 5 minutes to complete, to give the ammo every bit of concentration and effort I had. I did fire off hand in a few instances to take a better look at how the gun and ammo combination would do in a self defense situation. The third part of this review will be shooting the Delta at longer ranges of 75, 100 and possibly 200 yards, to illustrate how the 10mm round really benefits from its higher velocity and power.
First, I want to talk about the big surprise for me. The Armscor ammo was a brand I have had little experience with. The gun loved this ammo. I have not verified its velocity or any specs on it other than bullet weight, but it was noticeably hotter than the other generic FMJ plinking and training ammo. As far as I am concerned, for now, if I want ball ammo for the Delta or for any thing, this is what I will be using, until I find some other ball ammo that shoots better.
The PPU 180 grain hollow point was not so great and felt like a medium power load. Of course the dual spring system can be throwing off my judgement on account of it working so well to tame the 10mm recoil. This group is normal for PPU ammo in my experience. I have tried PPU match and have not seen it live up to any of its marketing claims. It is nice plinking ammo though and it has the benefit of being easy to find locally.
The Federal Trophy Bonded soft point is another round I have little experience with. It shot great and would be a good choice for hunting if you are a believer in the bonded bullets from Federal. It could also serve double duty for self defense. I also fired a Federal Hydo Shock round, that shot about the same but I confess to losing the target it was shot on before I could take a picture.
The Winchester 175 grain Silver Tip hollow point. This is an old favorite of mine from back when the 10mm was in its early days in the 80s. A very good round and highly thought of at the time. It is still the first pick among a lot of people for CCW. I have had these rounds for a long time but a quick check at Midway showed me this round is still being made and sold. It has always shot very well for me and was perfectly reliable in all three (3) of the Delta Elites I have owned. The Silver Tip is pretty well regarded by a lot of people including myself and if I was not a convert on the use of solid copper hollow points, this would be a load I would stock up on for daily carry. Apologies for the blurred picture.
The Hornady Critical Duty with the flex tip shot outstanding, as the group above shows. I used this load as the “match load” standard, for accuracy and for the rest of the tests for longer range groups. Reports and testing show the round to be very effective on ballistic gel. Friends who have more experience with it, tell me it is superb. Until I settle on a solid copper HP load for this gun , this is the load I have been using as a place holder in the gun for CCW.
The S&B ball ammo seemed to always shoot 3 rounds tight and then toss the last 2. It feels like a mid powered plinking round. Which it is. Good for training and plinking. Its not too expensive but nothing special. I saw this ammo have problems in a Kimber 10mm and even a glock. If you want some ammo to plink with I would say it is ok, but understand what you are getting.
Another offering from Hornady is the XTP round. A good solid round that shots great. I would have been shocked if it didn’t.
This is a group fired off hand with the Fed American Eagle ball ammo. I fired it off hand as I had already put up the bags and my set up. I happened upon just a few rounds of this ammo. I fired it offhand and it did about what I expected from it. It is always reliable and decent training quality ammo.
Now we get to trying the ammo in a method more in line with real world self defense. This group is fired at 25 yards, off hand. I did shoot it at a slow methodical pace, to get the best out of itself and myself as I could. I fired eight (8) rounds of the Critical Duty ammo using the center of the large orange sticker as my aiming point. I think you can’t really ask for much more out of it. The group would easily fit inside a target the size of a human face or inside something the size of a human heart. This target group is one of the reasons this ammo is what I am currently using as the CCW ammo for the Delta.
For fun I took the gun out to 50 yards using the Hornady ammo. I fired this group from the bags and bench. I have to say I was pretty pleased with myself on this one! Too bad I couldn’t shoot that same level off hand at a bulls eye match. This target shows you that the 10mm is fully capable of an easy hit on a man sized target at 100 yards, which we will be doing in part 3 of the review.
Of course with the group from the bags being as good as it was, I had to try it off hand at 50. I fired ten (10) rounds off hand (though two handed) and got most of them on the target. For my excuse, I am going to admit that buy this time I was getting pretty tired. Shooting a 10mm for hours is harder work than you may think. It doesn’t have the nice soft push of a 45 ACP or childish slap of a 9mm. It starts to wear on you. I am confident I could have done better if I started this fresh.
The new generation Delta Elite is proving itself to be everything I hoped it would be. It has already over taken the place in my heart the older original version occupied. After a little over 1,500 rounds so far, it has had no problems and has all the extra touches I want. It has been my daily carry since I received it and it will be with me come hunting season.
In part 3 of the T&E of the new Delta, we will be shooting it out to as far as I can possible make a hit with it, to take advantage of the powerful 10mm round. We will be adding in some drills and training to get a handle on what a new 10mm user may have to get used to, if they are interested in moving up to a new level in power, by letting some one who has never fired a 10mm do some drills with it. Check back in the next few weeks to see that and more.