New 2016 Colt Delta Elite 10mm Part 2 : Accuracy Test

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.

 

Rare Civilian Legal Colt XM148

Below are some pictures sent to me by good friend to the website, Trey Moore, owner of MooreMilitaria.  He is selling something that is rarely seen on the market.  The ultra rare Xm148 made by Colt.

This is the Vietnam war era grenade launcher that mounts to the barrel of the M16 family of weapons.  It has the X designation because it was never made standard. The M203 was the grenade launcher that was adopted by the military for use with the M16 series  and is still in use today.   Trey tells me there only about 6 of them on the registry.

If you have the money and want this one you can find it at www.mooremilitaria.com. You can get to it by clicking on the banner link on the right.   It is certainly a once in a life time chance.   For the rest of us, enjoy the detailed pictures of the system.

 

 

Leupold MK8 CQBSS, the best rifle optic?

Is the CQBSS the ultimate rifle scope?  No, but it is damned awesome.

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Ever since the Leupold MK8 1-8X CQBSS came out, I have been reading people sing praises of it online.

So why would someone want something like the CQBSS?

The concept is to have a single optic with the speed of a reflex sight at low magnification and the clarity, tracking, and capabilities of a sniper scope for medium to longer ranges.  This flexibility of being able to quickly switch from 1X to 8X magnification to give you the option to use the magnification best suited for the distance your shooting.  It is nice to have an optic with the intent to be able to do room clearing out to 800m shots.

Now there are a couple main versions of this scope.  One style has a Horus reticle with a 5 MOA donut that is bright for use like a reflex sight.  This version is the most expensive, and you tend not to see anyone mention what the battery life is.  The other style does not have a daylight visible illumination, and is offered in the TMR, Mildot, and CMR-W reticles.  The scope referenced here is a TMR reticle MK8.

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At 1X magnification, the TMR reticle gives you a nice clean simple crosshair you can quickly get on target.

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At 8X magnification, you have Leupold TMR reticle allowing for ranging the target in mils and holding over necessary adjustments.  Note the range finding marks below the center of the crosshair for estimating range of man or vehicle at 700-1200m.

So why wouldn’t you want a CQBSS?  First is cost, list price runs from $3,899.99 to $4,939.99.  The second is that no matter how awesome it is, it is still only an 8X magnification scope.  Many people who might want to shoot groups or shoot out to longer ranges may find them selves wanting more magnification.

The CQBSS shows up what the future of scopes is going to look like.  Just as the low magnification optics like the ACOG feel right as home on the AR15, these variable optics just feel right on the growing number of semi auto .308 rifles.  However consider these the first generation of the future combat/battle rifle optics.

The New 2016 Colt Delta Elite 10mm Review Part 1

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The Colt Delta Elite  M1911 has been around since the  1980s. It was  Colt and the Delta Elite that came in at the last minute and saved the 10mm round from death.  While never a huge best seller it has come and gone over the years since the first models hit shelves.  It did go away for a while but as recently as a few years ago was brought back by colt in its original retro form and sold pretty well.  While it was a great gun and true to its original issue, it was a bit bare stock for now a days.   In May of this year, all of us who wanted a Delta Elite in a more modern combat carry package without having to send the stock model off to a gunsmith, got what we had been waiting for.

First Look At Colt's New Delta Elite 10mm

The new Delta is everything I personally wanted for a long time. It has all the refinements I want in a M1911 that I plan to use for more than setting in the safe.  It has my favorite Novak Combat sights. It has an extended safety, the under side of the trigger guard is cut for a higher grip. it has a competition trigger and a beaver tail grip safety and is de-horned for carry comfort in addition to other upgrades.

Before I get into a deeper look at the piece, I should add right away that I did change a couple of things as I am want to do.  While I like the safety that comes from the factory and think its a fine part, I much prefer the feel and size and shape of the STI extended safety be it single or ambi.  Colt used to provide the STI on its XSE and upgraded guns until recently switching to what I believe is the Wilson Combat safety.  I replaced the Wilson part with my personal preferred safety.

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The Next change on the gun that I make on almost all of my 1911s is a part that I have had a long standing love affair with.   That is the S&A stainless steel checked main spring housing.  Again, the factory has so issues and I can not fault it. I just have my personal  quirks like we all do and when given a chance I can not resit making tiny changes to a 1911 to make it more my own.  To see the gun in its unaltered form, I provided the link to my original first look over review of the Delta from a few months ago posted above.

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Now that we got that out of the way so no one will wonder why their Delta looks different than the one reviewed here, its time to take a look.

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The new Delta is standard Colt 1911 with some obvious slight changes. It comes apart just like any other Colt and Colt’s apparently millions of copiers.

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The recoil spring is the new double spring system. It is the same concept as used on the USMC’s MARSOC  M1911 recently adopted and also made by Colt. You can find a review of it here as well.  It does not have the full length guide rode that is essentially pointless.

The recoil that results from the new dual spring was a huge surprise for me.  I have had several older Deltas over the years and full power 10mm ammo is  not exactly something you would want to pound yourself with all day long. But this makes it pleasant and I could barely tell a different between the 10mm ammo and 45 ACP. The lower power 10mm auto loads are very pleasant to shoot with the new recoil spring set up.  This seems to be a new standard practice on most of the more combat and competition 1911s from Colt now and I’m liking it a lot so far.  I confess I have not attempted to take these two apart from each other because I have no inclination to see how much of a pain it may or may not be at this point. I most likely won’t do it either until they need replacing from normal use.

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The cut out for the slide release is the full relief. This is pretty common now a days but there was a time when it was not standard. It was originally done because of the cracking that would appear on the old light weight commanders after long term hard use. A crack in the area effected nothing but some anal retentive types (like the kind of guy who loses sleep over brass marks or dings on his AR15s case deflector) ability to sleep at night witohut worrying over it.  Obviously it is expect especially on a  1911 in this round as it is a powerful round and some of the loads are very hot and hard on a gun.

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Yes. It is the so called “series 80.” Deal with it.    There is nothing wrong with that, I have been using series 80  guns for 30 some years and never had a problem. The trigger is  crisp and breaks clean. Anyone who tells you not to buy a gun if it has the series 80 style safety is an idiot that can be ignored or treated like  your liberal mother in law.

 

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The barrel is standard 1911. I know some people moan and grown over this because they want to shoot rounds  that are super hot.  I don’t care one way or the other.  I do not load the ammo  to pressures high enough to need to worry about it.  The hotter self defense loads from the factories work for me. In my mind, if you want that kind of performance out of your 10mm, buy a revolver or send the gun off and have it fitted with the barrel you want. I think if I was going to do that I would go ahead and go all the way and have a 40.SW and a .357sig barrel fitted for it at the same time and have the use of all the rounds.  otherwise, the standard, original barrel fills all my needs.

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Here is another look at the under cut.  This is such a nice little enhancement that it should always bee standard on anything that is not a retro nostalgia repro.  The strange thing about this is that I thought for many years it was appreciated by everyone until I mentioned it to some casual 1911s owners and they never noticed it.  I guess that goes to show how far enhanced production 1911s have come since the days when this sort of thing was a custom gunsmith  only feature.  In my opinion, M1911s from factories and gun smiths are the better than they ever where including some of the custom guns from back in the day.

While it may only be a personal taste, I really like the new black trigger against the SS gun. I noticed this trend with the Colt Defender a couple of years ago and really like hot it contrasts and looks with the black sights .

Another change  is the new grips. For years the Deltas always had the standard wrap around rubber grips.  These are still rubber, but obviously do not wrap. I like the slimmer grip though all day pounding of full power ammo does make the older wrap feel pretty good.  Of course the grips have the iconic Delta Elite triangle. The wrap around rubber grip with red triangle have been on the Delta for a long time.  A older catalog shows some from days past below .  The wrap around grips are almost an institution for the Delta but I really like the look and feel of the new grip.  I have an original wrap grip that I put on it for a while to compare before taking it back off and I am sure some will miss it.  Maybe Colt will offer up the older grip as a factory part at the online store for those who want it.

For those curious who want to see the older original grips, below the catalog is a picture of my ultra-rare Delta Elite Gold Cup in blued steel with original wrap around rubber grips.

If you can not wait till part 2 and the accuracy test/review, yes the new Delta out shoots the original Gold Cup Delta,and the GC Delta is Very accurate already.

Colt-Delta-Elite-1990-catalog

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The mags are the standard Colt mags. Same design used for the Super .38.

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They of course are marked 10mm Auto.   Thanks to Hunter at Rangehot.com. I learned that the standard  magazine for  45 ACP will cycle and feed in the 10mm gun.  I admit to having no idea about this but after he mentioned it to me, I tried it and could not believe I went all these years not knowing.  Now, I don’t know if all mags for the 45 guns will work perfect all the time and always lock back when empty. And I would not carry 45 mags for the gun if I thought I was going to have to fight with it. But they will do in a pinch. If you are at the range and need more mags for whatever reason or you lose or destroy the 10mm mags or if you just want some more mags and can not afford the pricey purpose made mags, the 45 ACP mags will work.  I tried Wilson Combat 45 ACP mags and standard Colt 7 and 8 round mags and they worked no problem what time I used them.  Use that info however you want.   But I recommend sticking with the purpose made 10mm mags if you are going to CCW.

On another magazine note, I have tried one other  company’s 10mm  mags.  I picked up 4 Kimber mags from a local gun store and all 4 had problems.    In my experience this is typical of kimber mags.  I was not very surprised and was glad I did not pay the full price for the things.  They do seem to work about 3 out of five times though.  Otherwise the standard USGI  45 ACP mags work better in the gun and of course the mags that came with the pistol are flawless.      I say all that to say, you can use other mags other than ones specifically marked “10mm”  if you need to or are having trouble finding extras, but keep in mind the potential for mischief.

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I have fired  the new Delta quite a bit so far and it is everything I hoped it would be when I was first told by Colt they  had sent me one  before the NRA show.  It feels good. It really is hard to explain but it feels really good.  As we stood around the booth for it at the NRA show I heard people comment on how great it felt over and over.  You’d think  that’s crazy as it is a 1911 like other 1911s, just in 10mm but its true.   It indeed has a lot of enhancements over all the early Deltas, and in my opinion is nicer than the nicest of the older Gold Cup Delta Elites nice as they are.   It is not tricked out for competition since who really wants to use 10mm all day in 3 gun or IPSC or whatever. it is set up for carry or hunting and it is very nice.  I have been daily CCWing it since it arrived and its rubber grips and de-horning make it comfortable. And the thought of the power of the 10mm and the hornady ammo is very comforting.

 

Part 2 of the Delta Elite review will be up soon with accuracy testing, handling and  longer range shooting to take advantage of the rounds  flatter trajectory and speed.