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A Tale of Two Colts

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by wanderinwalker, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    SW NH
    In my thread asking for feedback on the Colt Delta Elite, forum member bannockburn asked me to do some photos and a range review of my pair of Colt Competition Models. It's taken me a little longer than I though it might, but I'm happy to oblige!

    First up, the stainless Colt Competition in .38 Super. I've had this one since just before Christmas and put about 1500 rounds through it to date. It has the Series 80 firing system that Colt has been using since about the time I was born.


    If you're like most living, breathing humans, you've probably experienced the "love at first sight" sensation at least once in your life. This was definitely one of those occasions for me. As soon as I saw this one in the display case I HAD TO HAVE IT! And I must say, it hasn't disappointed me yet.

    Running the Super at the range is a lot of fun. It's very soft shooting while still taking advantage of the real estate available in the 1911 grip frame. (My only knock against the plethora of 9mm 1911s now available. You're running a 250-cc revver where you can fit a full 650-thumper.) The 100-yard "rifle gong" is fair game any day. Put the front sight halfway up the plate, press trigger, *clack*, repeat until slide lock. Your perspective of "handgun range" changes a little with this pistol.

    The only real issues I've had with the pistol stemmed from trying to reload the Fiocchi brass I accumulated from the break-in ammo. It was horribly inconsistent and gave me headaches trying to get a properly sized, seated and de-flared round to chamber. But after sucking it up and springing for a batch of virgin Starline cases, that issue went away. I can also say my pistol won't feed SIG V-Crown hollow-points with any consistency. Stick to RN, FMJ or even Hornady HAPs and it will chug along without a hiccup.

    And somehow, I manage to find myself with no sample targets to post like I will for the .45 below. Rest assured they generally show similar accuracy potential, limited purely by the trigger nut.

    Next up is my second 1911, a blued Colt Competition Model, this one in .45 ACP. I've always wanted a "Colt 45", since even before I fell into the gun geek rabbit hole. There's just something about the classic old American big bore pistol. It's an itch I tried to avoid scratching for a very long time. I told myself the logical choice is a modern polymer 9mm service pistol with a magazine that holds more bullets than I can fit in the palm of my hand. The 9mm is cheaper to run. It's lighter. The modern guns require less maintenance. Blah blah blah, ad nauseam.

    Finally, after all of that, here it is. Note: I changed out the stock black and blue grips with Colt logo for a set of VZ Double-Diamonds in Green Lantern. I liked the way they added a little extra contrast to the pistol.


    Right off the bat, this particular pistol uses the Series 70 firing mechanism. (And I'm just enough of a geek to know that "Series 70" originally didn't mean the lack of the plunger safety, but I digress.) Out of the box, the .45 has an advantage in the trigger department. Neither is a hindrance to good shooting though, and since they are both smooth and crisp I won't be having them adjusted any time soon either.

    I've only put a couple of hundred rounds through the .45 so far, and all but 8 rounds have been Federal Champion 230gr hardball ammo. This pistol is surprisingly mild-mannered. I don't know if my memory of .45 recoil was embellished, if the dual-recoil spring assembly does work as advertised, or if maybe the frame enhancements of undercut trigger guard and high grip safety are truly superior to the traditional frame contours. But what I do know is I really like shooting this pistol as well! And so far it's been 100% through break-in with the FMJ. I plan to run some more hollow-points through it before considering it good-to-go, though it doesn't look like I'll run into too many road blocks.

    A couple of quick targets:

    25 yards

    50 feet

    If you've made it through all of that with me, let me offer this final section of impressions.

    1) If you're thinking about getting a Colt 1911: All of the ones I've examined in person have ranged from good to very good. Keep in mind these are production guns and not hand-fitted customs, so there is going to be some variation. And keep in mind, some issues, such as poor accuracy, won't be apparent until you put rounds downrange, which isn't limited to only Colts.

    2) Both of my pistols are fit very well in the barrel hood and slide to frame fit. There's no wiggle or play at lock-up.

    3) Colt's grip safeties rattle.

    4) When you offer somebody at the range a Colt and a loaded magazine, even if they are already shooting a 1911, odds are good they'll take you up on the offer. Double or nothing when you mention it's not a .45.

    5) I personally really like the fiber optic front sight/plain black rear sight combo. It helps put my focus on the front sight, where it belongs, and gives a less-cluttered sight picture for my brain to process. The result is faster, more sure sight alignment.

    6) 1911s are addictive! Now that I have 2 in hand, I'm back to thinking I really need a Delta Elite at some point in the future.
    Armored farmer and stoky like this.
  2. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Apr 24, 2007

    Thanks for the update and especially the photos! Both guns look great though I would probably say that the stainless .38 Super with those blue grips is really the cat's meow! You're right about the the VZ Double Diamond Green Lantern grips; they do provide a nice contrast with the matte blue finish.

    Good to hear that the guns worked fine and are quite capable of decent accuracy too. All of my new Colts are very well assembled, both in the barrel to slide and the slide to frame fit. If you want to run some less expensive 9mm. through the .38 Super just get yourself a drop-in barrel assembly and some 9mm. mags and you're good to go.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Nov 20, 2006
    I have to smile, because I do the same thing with my moderate 9MM (124 Gr @ 1050ish FPS form a 5" 1911) load at 108 yards. (Steel is 108 yards from front of deck)

    That said, I also do it with a .38 Super, and I have a fast 90 Gr 9MM load that shoots very flat.

    I understand, that .38 Super is gorgeous.
  4. Coyote44

    Coyote44 Member

    Jul 17, 2017
    You wont be disappointed with the Delta. I have had mine for about 5 years now, and really enjoy it. I also have 2 .38 Supers and a couple of 9mm 1911's. My .38's are both Dan Wessons. If you like 10mm, the Delta is one of the best.
  5. Blkhrt13

    Blkhrt13 Member

    Mar 18, 2017
    I love colts. Like want to marry that girl someday. I came close because I bought a Thompson deluxe 1911. I lied to myself insisting it was almost as good. They made them under lease back in the day. But it was like dating the throw back sister. Not the one you really wanted. All that aside those are beautiful. I don't recall my 45 being recoil heavy. I referred to it as busy. Seemed like the slide was really moving. But not so much snappy like my 44.
  6. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

    Feb 13, 2007
    Buckeye Country
    My combat commander has a real sloppy slide to frame fit (and poorly fit thumb safety) but it's barrel fitment is superb from the bushing to the lugs and coupled with its great trigger is my best shooting 1911. It out shot my Kimber, which was a 5" all steel gun not a 4.25" alloy frame.

    The proof is in the pudding:
    7 rounds 10yrds standing with WWB at it's first range trip.
  7. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Apr 24, 2007

    Nice shooting, especially for it's first range outing! Always have had a soft spot for the Combat Commander. This is my sweet shooting (as in like a Gold Cup), limited edition model from Colt's Custom Shop many years ago.


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