Colt Delta Elite 10mm- weak gun?


PDA






munk
March 25, 2004, 07:54 PM
I need some advice. The only semi auto cartridge I really want to consider beyond the 45acp is the 10mm. (well- laugh away- I like the 50AE too) A very good friend of mine has offerred to sell me his pristine Colt Delta Elite for somewhere over 500. It has numerous after market trick parts. It has been fired very few times.

Trouble is the weapon was an after thought by Colt and not made to handle the slide speed of the 10, was it? Colt later added a buffer- and this is one of the last runs- and had some other modifications.
I've a S&W pal who states the Colt rattles itself apart.

What is the story? Will this gun fall apart fairly quickly? Great round- just don't shoot it?


I'm asking you semi auto boys because my knowledge ends with the sole semi auto I own- a Springfield 1911


thanks
munk

If you enjoyed reading about "Colt Delta Elite 10mm- weak gun?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
bradvanhorn
March 25, 2004, 08:05 PM
No, no, don't buy it... You're right, the Delta Elite is awful, horrible... You really don't want one... Why 10mm, that'll probably take your shooting hand clean off at the wrist the first time you shoot it!:eek:

Ummm, by the way, can you give me your friends number. I don't want him trying to peddle that thing off to some other unsuspecting gun buyer.:evil:







Seriously, the Delta Elite is a great gun. And for ~$500, if you really don't want it, buy it anyway, then email me and I'll buy it from you.

Sean Smith is one of the resident 10mm experts here. You might be well served to email or PM him and ask for some tips.

Also, your S&W pal is wrong. First ask him if he's ever even SEEN a 10mm.

munk
March 25, 2004, 08:25 PM
My friend took many broken Colts to our mutual friend for repair- they owned a gun store, and the gunsmith was an engineer and outfitter. They love 10's- they just don't think anyone made a very good one. They liked the Smith better- less breaks in their experience.

I'm not worried about losing my hand. And Blue Book on the gun is climbing around 800, isn't it? Five hundred is still a lot of money to me, and will take some time to acrue. I really want a Ruger 480, but the argument for the 10 is my dear friend is very old and this offer will not last forever- while the Ruger 480 will probably still be around.

No one has to tell me about the virtues of the 10mm; I've called it, "the best handgun round I never owned."


munk

stv
March 25, 2004, 08:27 PM
For $500, if you don't buy that, post it on here and there will be people lining up for a chance at it.

The Delta's bad rep comes partly from people's fear of the 10mm cartidge and because the earliest guns had a problem with some frames developing small cracks - a problem quickly fixed by the Colt factory on all guns that followed.

So don't listen to the S&W guy - he's probably never even SEEN a Delta Elite, let alone any 10mm.

.45FMJoe
March 25, 2004, 08:55 PM
My thoughts exactly, he's an S&W guy taking a cheap shot at the Colts. Probably has never seen a DE or is just jealous because the 1006 is just hideous in comparison. :)

bradvanhorn
March 25, 2004, 08:57 PM
munk, you're right about the climbing prices. I bought a Delta Elite a few weeks ago, and $700 was the best price I could find. Most were running at least $800! If you can afford it, you should buy your friends gun; ~$500 is a super deal!

munk
March 25, 2004, 09:43 PM
Guys- I really need your advice- I appreciate everything you're saying- but let me repeat- the friend who is skeptical of Colt's saw many of the cracked frames mentioned- he knows more about guns than many here, and probably as much as the best here- but that doesn't make him etched in Gold- that is why I'm asking you.

He believed Colt should have done a real re-design before introduction- who could disagree with that? It may be the early Colts soured him. He told me to buy one if I like broken guns.

I've asked the Billings Gunsmith group about this- their opinion is that neither Smith nor Colt will last as long as a standard 1911, for instance- because the 10 is hard on guns. They don't see any difference in Smith vs Colt in breaking. I'm reaching now but think they may have suggested the Glock might last a little longer.

But that's just a Billings Gunsmith group= not etched in Gold either. I would rather trust a concensus of opinion here. Why? Because I've seen guns and gun folks in 4 States now, had gunsmith friends in all of them, and I can tell you- people of good intention have different opinions. That's just a fact of life.

But I sure as heck don't want to buy a 10 and break it in a thousand rounds, either.

munk

Old Fuff
March 25, 2004, 10:14 PM
One problem with the Colt 1911 design vs. high-pressure loads is dwell time, defined to mean the time the barrel is locked to the slide before it drops down far enough to unlock. This is determined by a link with two pins and the distance between them can’t be altered very much. Later designs (S&W, Glock, etc.) use a cam on the barrel and frame that can be “adjusted” to alter the dwell time for different cartridges.

An alternative to this is to increase recoil and mainspring strength, which will work to a point but only so far. In addition a buffer can be placed at the back of the recoil spring guide to prevent battering between the slide and frame.

Colt engineers played long and hard to make the 1911 work, and obviously it did. On the other side of the equation the ballistics of the 10mm cartridge have been reduced by most makers from what they were originally. I suspect that of the three popular guns, Glock, S&W and Colt the latter is probably the weakest in terms of standing up to the cartridge, but even so, it may be strong enough.

After saying all of this I would still recommend that you buy the gun at the price quoted, simply because if you don’t like it you can sell if for enough to buy any 10mm pistol you want.

munk
March 25, 2004, 10:26 PM
You know, Fuff, the more I talk to you, the more I like talking to you.

The thing about buying a gun to sell is hassle- and out here in prarrie dog land, selling a gun is harder. I use guns, I don't wheel and deal. But this is such a good friend, and he's built this for himself. I doubt it has 40 rounds through it.

He needs the money, too. Heck, I've pretty much talked myself into it- but I wanted a Ruger 480!

(Last year I wanted a 480- but got the Marlin cowboy instead and a couple others that I had to get because they were such good deals...

Then I spend the rest of the year broke, and when I finally get free- a good deal comes by. Well, these 'good deals' are keeping me from shooting the 480.

And you know whats going to happen at the end of summer if the AWB falls- all those guys with great AR's, the ones who had to have the best, are going to be selling theirs because they don't have threaded muzzles and folding stocks.... )

Back to the point- When is this Delta Elite going to self destruct on me, how many rounds can it take?


munk

Parker Dean
March 25, 2004, 10:39 PM
OK, I'm hardly an expert on the DE's but I have read a few things over the years about 'em.

On the frame cracking, I feel it's pretty much a non-issue. Yes they did crack but in a spot that was not critical as cofirmed by ther fact that the fix was to machine out the offending section. Basically, the early DE's had a bridge of metal over the top of the slide-stop opening in the frame. This bridge would crack at one end. Colt eliminated the problem by removine the bridge on later guns and, I believe, all susbsequent 1911's in other calibers.

Colt also chose to try and compensate for slide speed with a fairly clunky double recoil spring set-up. Off the top of my head I want to say that it was 23lbs. Needless to say that resulted in some pretty stout return to battery slide speeds which in turn seems to have been the primary cause of "battering". The more recent methods appears to use something like a single 20lb variable-rate recoil spring with perhaps a squared firing pin stop and 25lb or so main spring.

Colt also chose a plastic short guide rod that's known to break. GI or a good FLGR fixes that.

All in all, nothing I'd be scared of. As a matter of fact a DE is on my to-buy list (if I ever get money :( )

Tamara
March 25, 2004, 10:40 PM
appreciate everything you're saying- but let me repeat- the friend who is skeptical of Colt's saw many of the cracked frames mentioned- he knows more about guns than many here

Then he should've explained to you that the frame cracks occur in the frame rail above the rear slide-stop hole. A problem that A) is trivial, as the crack is automatically stop-drilled by the slide stop hole, and B) can't occur on later Deltas, as they simply milled that section of frame rail away. Also, they came with cheapo fragile plastic guide rods. Those were their only two real flaws, both easily rectified.

If you don't want to buy it, let me know. I don't know squat-all about handguns, so I'll happily saddle myself with another Delt... er, such a lemon.

.45FMJoe
March 25, 2004, 10:55 PM
Sorry if I sounded harsh. I am a Delta owner and I love mine. Listen to Tamara's advice, it's the truth. Old Fuff is probably also correct, but the DE IS strong enough for the cartridge. The only thing to replace is the recoil spring setup.

gunfan
March 25, 2004, 11:20 PM
It is fine in my EAA Witness, S&W Model 610 (6.5" Barrel,) my IAI Javalina and My Dan Wesson Razorback. If your S&W dealer had more information, he'd know that he was DEAD WRONG! This man is living in the late 1980's and his information has not progressed with the times. All of my handguns seem to take the pressures of this fine cartridge in stride.

The 10mm Automatic generates Maximum Average Pressure (MAP) of 37,500 c.u.p.. This is precisely the same amount of pressure generated by the MAP of the .38 Super. As was written earlier, the dwell time is the only concern with the cartridge. This is adjusted thrrough the lugs on the barrel and their mating within the pistol's frame.

Walk away from this misinformed individual and don't give it a second thought. Enjoy the 10mm and consider your poor, misguided, intransigent, friend just a bit too stubborn for his own good.

Scott

Wildalaska
March 25, 2004, 11:21 PM
Ditto to Tamaras comments

WildtamisrightagainassheagreeswithmeAlaska

munk
March 25, 2004, 11:36 PM
Thanks for all the input. My friend- you'd like him. In fact, if any of you live near Idaho Falls, Id, you probably know him.


I feel better about the weapon. There is no way it could be sold to any of you for so cheap, however, I'm just the lucky guy who made a friend out of a soft spoken, gentle gunsmith that many louder mouths overlooked.

To tell the truth- most of the best guns seem to come from friends.


munk

Will Fennell
March 26, 2004, 12:30 AM
Monk,
I'm a die hard 10mm fan. Currently I don't own an actual DELTA ELITE, but I do own a 5" 1911 10mm built on a CASPIAN Slide, and WILSON frame. The last Colt Delta Elite I had, was in the early 90's. I personally put over 20,000 rounds though the gun. I then sold it to a good friend who couldn't live without it......he has been shooting it regularly since '94, and it hasn't "self distructed" yet. As a matter of fact, we shot it last time I was at his house, with some 180's@1300 fps, and it was running just fine!

Keep your springs fresh, and you will be just fine.

munk
March 26, 2004, 12:46 AM
Keep your springs fresh, and you will be just fine.>>>>


I'll add that to, "keep your powder dry"




munk

edit- I forgot to mention, my pal the gunsmith who built this 10, thinks talk of the Colt's breaking are nonsense as well.

Badger Arms
March 26, 2004, 12:56 AM
http://www.geocities.com/mr_motorhead/10tech.html#deltaThe Delta Elite was a fairly basic 1911-style gun made by Colt from 1987-1996. It is not a rare gun, and good examples can be found fairly easily for reasonable prices. However, they seem to be getting more popular with shooters, and so the prices are starting to creep up. The Delta has a rather mixed reputation, and some truly wild rumors have been circulating about how the guns crack, blow up, and so forth. Most of what you have heard about the guns is bogus, and is probably the reflexive reaction of sissies who had their masculinity challenged by the 10mm recoil impulse and were found wanting. However, there is some basis in fact for this nonsense, as the Delta Elite did have some teething problems and design inadequacies.

http://www.geocities.com/mr_motorhead/image001.jpghttp://www.geocities.com/mr_motorhead/image002.jpg
Figure 8: Original frame design (left) and modified frame design (right).

Colt made some other design mistakes with the gun, though fortunately they are easily and cheaply corrected. Although Colt gave the gun a heavier slide, they otherwise sought to control the increased recoil energy simply by using extremely heavy recoil springs. In fact, it had two concentric recoil springs with a combined weight of 23 pounds (versus 16 pounds for a standard .45 of the same size). The result was that the Delta Elite had a very strange, pogo stick-like feel in recoil that was both uncomfortable and subjected the gun to excessive wear and tear as the slide slammed forward with excessive force after each shot. Strangely enough, the short recoil guide rod used in this system was almost always made of plastic, and tended to break prematurely. Fortunately the fixes for these problems are both simple and cheap.

Those problems aside, the Delta Elite in my experience is a very creditable handgun. The examples I have owned were accurate and reliable out of the box, with acceptable triggers ~6 pounds and the excellent subjective feel common to Colt 1911s. Like most Colts of that era, they tend to have sharp edges, unlike more modern guns that look like a used bar of soap. This is both a blessing and a curse; the guns look sharp and crisp, but the edges can be uncomfortable. I personally like Deltas a great deal, but I am a sucker for Colts in general and 10mm guns in particular.


Another common question about the Delta Elites is how to tell the pre-Enhanced from the Enhanced models. The major differences between the two variants are:
1. Standard trigger guard shape on pre-Enhanced, undercut trigger guard on Enhanced.
2. Vertical slide serrations on pre-Enhanced, angled slide serrations on Enhanced.
3. Commander-style (ring) hammer on pre-Enhanced, skeletonized hammer on Enhanced.
4. Narrow grip safety on pre-Enhanced, downturned beavertail grip safety on Enhanced.

Another difference is the top of the slide; on the pre-Enhanced models, the top of the slide is rounded. On the Enhanced models, it has a clearly flattened top. Most pre-Enhanced and all Enhanced versions of the Delta Elite have the modified frame design noted earlier. Functionally, there is really no difference between the pre-Enhanced and Enhanced models; choosing between the two is largely a matter of personal preference. There is also a Delta Gold Cup version with the standard Gold Cup trigger and adjustable sights. Colt also made many limited-production variants of the Delta Elite, such as the Elite Match 10, Combat Delta 10, Ultra 10, Elite 10/40, Delta 10, and so forth. These should be considered mildly collectable oddities.

http://www.geocities.com/mr_motorhead/delta_pre.jpghttp://www.geocities.com/mr_motorhead/delta_post.jpg
Figure 9: pre-Enhanced Delta Elite (left) and Enhanced Delta Elite (right).

Badger Arms
March 26, 2004, 12:58 AM
To sum it up, if you have the notch cut instead of the arch, your frames won't crack.

munk
March 26, 2004, 01:29 AM
Thanks for the illustrations, Badger arms.

The collective mind of the High Road is truly outstanding.

I don't know a more knowledgable gun forum.



munk

stans
March 26, 2004, 07:09 AM
There is nothing wrong with the Colt Delta Elite that can't be easily fixed. The previously posted link ( http://www.geocities.com/mr_motorhead/10tech.html#delta ) has all the information on building durability into the Delta Elite. It isn't that hard to do, it doesn't take a lot of time and it is not really expensive. The 1911 is adequate for sane 10mm loads, if you intend to push the 10mm into orbit, then get a S&W 1006.

Sean Smith
March 26, 2004, 07:30 AM
Looks like everybody answered everything before I got here. Oh well, at least I got quoted. :D

munk
March 26, 2004, 08:25 AM
The 1911 is adequate for sane 10mm loads, if you intend to push the 10mm into orbit, then get a S&W 1006.>>>>>> Stans

Does, 'into orbit' mean book loads, or beyond book? If I stick to published loads will I be OK?


munk

Badger Arms
March 26, 2004, 10:52 AM
I've heard many people speak from anectode and suggest that the 1006 is somehow stronger than the Delta Elite. That's not a fair comparrison. The primary reason for buying the 1006 over the Delta is going to be the fact that one is a double action and the other a single action.

Sean Smith
March 26, 2004, 11:03 AM
I assume he means over-loads, i.e. beyond the SAAMI MAP of 37,500 psi.

A stock Delta Elite is not the gun to over-load the 10mm catridge, but the issue isn't the strength of the gun. The issue is limited case head support from the conventional 1911-style unramped barrel. It is the same reason you don't want to over-load stock Glock 10mm guns. The problem isn't that the gun will break from recoil stresses, but rather that the brass will rupture at the unsupported area.

Note that you have to be very unlucky, or very dumb, to blow a 10mm case. With many good 10mm powders you can't even fit enough powder in the case to get a double-charge, for instance.

munk
March 26, 2004, 11:16 AM
The case head support issue makes sense. I don't overload cartridges. There's nothing to gain from it and too much to lose.


munk

BigG
March 26, 2004, 11:18 AM
The Colt Delta Elite was the gun that kept the 10mm alive in the first place after the stunning crash of the BREN TEN. Without Colt, you could say the 10mm would be an asterisk in Cartridges of the World.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=538264

rich2u
March 26, 2004, 03:43 PM
Hey my gun, isn't it pretty...:D

munk
March 26, 2004, 05:09 PM
Yes it is, though I doubt your wife thinks so.




munk

stans
March 26, 2004, 06:04 PM
Thank you Mr. Smith, I did mean overloads by "into orbit". I think the 1911 design will handle loads that do not exceed SAMMI specs. Beyond that, you do need full case head support. Maybe a 1911 with a ramped barrel would fit that bill, but I have seen such barrels throated so much to gain reliability that the case head support is almost where it was with the standard type barrel. Of course, if you are pushing the 10mm beyond SAMMI specs, you could do it in a safer fashion by getting something chambered in 44 Magnum. With all the caliber options available, I see little reason to push a cartridge beyond its design specifications.

1911Tuner
March 26, 2004, 07:50 PM
Watching this one...I'd about have to bet that the most likely part to
develop a crack would be in the slide...in the ejection port adjacent to the locking lug... from the extractor channel to the starboard side...and possibly
in the breechface from the firing pin hole to the extractor channel.

Also a distinct possibility of the lower barrel lug cracking at the rear from
hitting the impact surface in the frame under the added stress of the Big 10...at the front of the lower lug from the return to battery propelled by a 22-pound recoil spring, along with a crack developing at the bottom of the slidestop pinhole in the frame, and at the junction of the dust cover and the rails from the dust cover flexing upward under the impact of slide and frame. That one can be forestalled by having enough clearance between the top of the dust cover and the bottom of the slide...about .010 oughta
suffice.

Interesting thread. I don't have much experience with the ins and outs unique to the 10mm in the 1911 platform...We just don't see many in my neck of the woods, but the basics remain the same. ANY increase in pressure and momentum is going to put additional stresses on the gun, and accelerate its demise. No way around that one.

Cheers!

Tuner

Tamara
March 26, 2004, 07:57 PM
I'd about have to bet that the most likely part to develop a crack would be in the slide...in the ejection port adjacent to the locking lug... from the extractor channel to the starboard side...and possibly
in the breechface from the firing pin hole to the extractor channel.


The "legendary Delta crack" (and they did occur on early ones) happened in the same place that early Star PD's cracked their frames. Colt copied a page out of Star's playbook. The frame cracks stopped. Just another page for your notebook. :cool:

1911Tuner
March 26, 2004, 08:01 PM
The "legendary Delta crack" (and they did occur on early ones) happened in the same place that early Star PD's cracked their frames.

Ahhhh...Thanks Tamara. Most of those frame cracks went just so far and
stopped on their own. I've got 1911s with cracked frames that I check-drilled 25 years ago, and they haven't moved since. I guess I'll get around
to havin'em tigged up one day...:D

Tamara
March 26, 2004, 08:07 PM
I've got 1911s with cracked frames that I check-drilled 25 years ago, and they haven't moved since. I guess I'll get around
to havin'em tigged up one day...:D

Or you could just cut out that teeny section of frame rail like Star and Colt did. Doesn't seem to hurt anything. :)

(Apparently they got sick and tired of sending these frames back to owners with notes saying "That crack is no big deal. Ignore it." and getting frantic phone calls in response, so they just removed the offending section of frame altogether. There! That oughta teach 'em! :) )

Sean Smith
March 26, 2004, 09:06 PM
Maybe a 1911 with a ramped barrel would fit that bill, but I have seen such barrels throated so much to gain reliability that the case head support is almost where it was with the standard type barrel.

I dunno, it looks like I'm getting pretty good case support from MY ramped 10mm barrel... ;)

Feeds semi-wadcutters and 180gr Gold Dots nicely, too.

stans
March 27, 2004, 06:46 AM
That certainly does appear to have more case head support. My stock Colt barrel allows 0.225" of brass, as measured from the back of the rim to the edge of the chamber, to sit out in open air. Another way of measuring, from the forward edge of the extractor groove, gives a measurement of 0.080".

1911Tuner
March 27, 2004, 07:08 AM
Tamara Wrote:

Or you could just cut out that teeny section of frame rail like Star and Colt did. Doesn't seem to hurt anything.
--------------------------------

That one never bothered me...When I found it on any gun that belonged to me, I just cut it out. I've been takin' that section of the bridge out since
the mid-70s...which puts me ahead of my time...dontcha think?:cool:

The cracks that I check-drill are at the dust cover, around the slidestop
pin hole, and have even check-drilled one in a slide in the top of the port,
in the left hand corner. That one I did have tigged, and the pistol has
been just fine ever since, though I don't shoot it an awful lot any more...
maybe 500 rounds a year total.

If you enjoyed reading about "Colt Delta Elite 10mm- weak gun?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!