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Colt Delta Elite 10mm- weak gun?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by munk, Mar 25, 2004.

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  1. munk

    munk Member

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    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
     
  2. bradvanhorn

    bradvanhorn Member

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    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.
     
  3. munk

    munk Member

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    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
     
  4. stv

    stv Member

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    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.
     
  5. .45FMJoe

    .45FMJoe Member

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    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. :)
     
  6. bradvanhorn

    bradvanhorn Member

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    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!
     
  7. munk

    munk Member

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    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
     
  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    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.
     
  9. munk

    munk Member

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    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
     
  10. Parker Dean

    Parker Dean Member

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    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 :( )
     
  11. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    munk,

    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.
     
  12. .45FMJoe

    .45FMJoe Member

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    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.
     
  13. gunfan

    gunfan Member

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    I have been shooting the 10mm since 1991

    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
     
  14. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

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    Ditto to Tamaras comments

    WildtamisrightagainassheagreeswithmeAlaska
     
  15. munk

    munk Member

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    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
     
  16. Will Fennell

    Will Fennell Member

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    the last DELTA I owned.....

    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.
     
  17. munk

    munk Member

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    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.
     
  18. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

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    http://www.geocities.com/mr_motorhead/10tech.html#delta
     
  19. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

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    To sum it up, if you have the notch cut instead of the arch, your frames won't crack.
     
  20. munk

    munk Member

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    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
     
  21. stans

    stans Member

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    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.
     
  22. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith Member

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    Looks like everybody answered everything before I got here. Oh well, at least I got quoted. :D
     
  23. munk

    munk Member

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    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
     
  24. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

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    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.
     
  25. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith Member

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    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.
     
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