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Thread: 460 Rowland Penetration Tests

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  1. #1

    460 Rowland Penetration Tests

    Fellow 460 enthusiasts,

    I decided to try and post graphically my latest 46O Rowland penetration tests. As I have never posted a picture to this website, and as I am using a new photo host, it may take me a couple of tries to get this right.

    I have been shooting the Rowland for many years now. I have been trying to settle on a bullet that will work for me in northern New Mexico where I may have the occasion to use it on mule deer or antelope, and given my historical record of standing nose to nose with black bears who are either not afraid of me or desire to polish off my cans of beer in the creek at our ranch, would like something that I could someday actually need.

    Hence, I have been focusing the last few years on 250 grain bullets, and trying a few flavors of XTP's, even ones that are designed for the 454 Casull. So, for this go round, I tried the 230 XTP, the 240 XTP mag, the 250 XTP, the Beartooth 225 fnb bb and the 250 grain Laser Cast rn fp. My thoughts along the lines of the XTP's if I want expansion, and the other bullets to err on the side of penetration. As to the media for testing, being partially tied to the real estate market in my work and hence a bit too broke for proper testing medium, I decided to use "ballistically calibrated" wet newsprint. Basically, thoroughy wet, but not dripping wet. I have done a fair amount of dry newsprint testing in the past, but dry news print seems to be more of an extreme test to determine whether or not a bullet will come completey apart at the seams.

    As to the bullet velocities, I tested at about 8 feet, with the Beartooth (BT) clocking 1286, the Ranier (Ran) and Lasercast (LC) both doing 1100 fps, the 230 XTP doing 1275, the 240 XTP mag doing 1220 and the 250 xtp clocking at 1076.

    With regard to my depth of media at 12 inches initially, way to optimistic for the solids. The 230 xtp went approximately 8 inches, the 240 xtp mag 10 inches and the 250 xtp 9 inches. I had to tear the stacks in half to make 24 inches to stop the solids. The Beartooth needed every bit of the 24 inches, with the Ranier and Laser cast going 22 inches. And the recovered bullets pictures only show one bullet per specimen, but I recovered quite a few of each in the testing, and the pictures are typical. So here are my graphic results.

    Entrance into the stack (first 6 inches)


    Entrance into the second 6" stack


    Exit the first stack (6 inches)


    Exit the second stack (total of 12 inches)


    Pictures of the recovered bullets. I have multiple images to show a couple of views of the xtps.




    So, what does all of this mean for me? First, I knew that the 230 xtp was likley to end up flattened pretty well. The 230 actually was almost to the point of folding back on itself, right up to the base of the bullet. Second, I figured as the 240 xtp mag was designed for the 454 Casull, the nose might expand some, but it would penetrate much further than the 230 or 250. The 250 xtp performed much as I expected. So as to the xtp's, the jaggedness of the 240 makes me suspect that it the wrong bullet for my intentions, hunting larger game. The 250 xtp has the classic mushroom, with good base retention securing the core.

    As to the solids, the Beartooth really stunned me. I know the theory on lbt style solid hard cast bullets, and even though this bullet is more of a truncated cone than traditional lbt, the meplat on this bullet really moved a considerable amount of material, more so than the beveled edge Ranier or the Laser Cast, even though the meplates were not all that different. I know if I try and interject something about temporary or permanent would cavity I will be one, over my pay grade and two likley to be smaked down by folks who actually know what they are talking about, still the "hole" through the media from the Beartooth is pretty impressive.

    So from here I need to try and test the construction of the solids against something less "wet" to get a handle on what might happen if I were to hit bone. And keeping in mind that the Ranier and Laser Cast are really considered plinking type bullets, I am pretty pleased so far. I know what a Cast Performance lead bullet or traditional LBT style heavyweight bullet will do in my 454 Casull, 45-70 or 458 Socom, the trick is gonna be balancing the length of the few that are available to be shoehorned into the Rowland.

    Last edited by Bearbait in NM; 13th May 2010 at 22:38. Reason: images

  2. #2
    Halito, Bearbait. Interesting project, especially since I am wanting to test the waters of the Rowland. I would be inclined to hear your thoughts on a comparison of the Rowland with the similar bullets in a 4 inch .44 mag as well as against hot-loaded .45 Colt or .454 Casull. Is it your opinion then, that the hard-cast is a better load, so far anyway, against the bear than the XTP...in the Rowland that is. Love the 1911, Alaska (got to take my friend up on his request for my visit) and the forum.


  3. #3

    Well, you already want to derail this thread into an Alaskan 1911 bear thread I have hot loaded the 45 Colt, normal loaded a boatload of 454's of about every flavor, but never have the 44 mag. While I have stared down a few black bears, the pictures I have seen of the really big bears would probably lead me to leave the Rowland at home in favor of my 454. A lot would depend on where I was going, what I was doing, and how frisky I was feeling.

    The real upside to my Rowland is that it so easy to pack, I KNOW it could easily be with me 24/7 while doing just about anything. I have fished with mine, prospected, slept, cut firewood, you name it. As I carry a 1911 much of the time, it is second nature. I can shoot and hit stuff quickly with my Rowland that I can only dream about with my FA 454. My 454 is only slightly less handy than my 1911, but at my skill level it is a ton (single action) slower for me for anything past one round. And it is a two handed affair.

    I would never tell anyone a 1911 in Rowland is enough for really big bears. It is way lacking, but depending on your skill level with revolvers, single actions, levergun or pump shotguns, each person would have to have very serious "come to Jesus" conversation with themselves. It may be lacking when compared to the bigger guns, but it would be better than a 9 or 10 or some of the other guns folks have used to save their hides. Me, if I had the money to do an Alaskan trip, I would probably have the money to buy and get proficient with a double action 454. Fortunately our bears are a bit smaller.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    22nd August 2009
    150m NE of Sloppy Joe's Bar
    Thanks Bearbait.

    I've got a ton of ideas for reloading and I'm sure I'll be back here with questions when I start loading the Rowland.

    I'm doing 45ACP, 9mm and 38 now. I have the dies for my 458SOCOM but haven't loaded any yet. Just finished building the gun.
    An armed man will kill an unarmed man with monotonous regularity.

    Between your luck and my stacked odds, I'll take my stacked odds...double stacked actually.

  5. #5

    Check your pm's. The only thing I am more rabbid about than the 460 Rowland is the 458 Socom. Not sure whether or not you have seen the barnes 335 grain banded solid for the Socom, but that bullet is in my opinion the height of perfection. I was actually pining today, wishing I could find something like that for the Rowland. That bullet will penetrate for days, open a vey nice hole in a critter, and would not much matter the angle of the shot, or the size of the game.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    22nd August 2009
    150m NE of Sloppy Joe's Bar
    Oh yea, I can't wait!

    Hogs, you don't stand a chance!

    Don't ya just love all the 45-70 goodies?

    You and I got some things in common, other than hijackin' threads!

    An armed man will kill an unarmed man with monotonous regularity.

    Between your luck and my stacked odds, I'll take my stacked odds...double stacked actually.

  7. #7
    As you have the Socom, you can hijack all you want. Now if you had the 450BM or the 50Beo, I am afraid I would have to report you to management......

    Now, back on topic sort of, when toting my 458S, it just seemed unright to also pack a 454 revolver. The 454 goes better with my Marlin, the Rowland and the 458S seem "just right" together.


  8. #8
    Thanks for the report and photos. I find the performance of the Beartooth bullet stunning. Please tell me more about your Rowland conversion. What frame are you using? Any functioning or feeding problems? What magazine are you using? Have you tried any cast bullets designed for revolvers, such as the Lyman 452523 or 452424 styles?

  9. #9

    I would love to hear anything you have to post about the Beartooth bullet. I am liking what it does to paper, and need to test more for construction, but my guess is that Marshall does not design the alloy different for a bullet for the 45acp, so likley it is a tough bullet.

    My gun currently is a Series 70 Colt (repro/reissue) and I have not had any real problems unique to this gun (over my other platforms) other than the ejection port being standard. It was a little hard on brass until I filed and smoothed the inside of the ejection port to let brass clear a little better. I recently installed an extended ejector, and now my brass is pretty unmarred. I found that by tweaking the nose profile on the ejecter, I can get brass to go straight back and over my head with zero brass damage, but I prefer the 1-2 o'clock angle, as I really do not want a Rowland smaking me in the forehead if I ever were to get a low orbit piece of brass.

    I have been doing this a long time, and have tried a bucket load of different bullets, lead and jacketed. I do subscribe to the heavy hard cast lead bullets in my 454, 45-70 and sometimes 458S, but as I do not cast, I have been a little limited to lead that I would call hunting suitable in the Rowland. Plinking lead bullets really fould my comp. in general, and I like the Ranier for plinking with it. I had issues years ago with lesser grade, wide front end lead bullets like NEI or other falvors of swc or wide bodied (above the case mouth) design. The Cast Performance 265 wfngc worked very well for functioning, but as we have no pressure data with bullets this heavy, I kind of have abandoned this bullet. I have also had feeding problems with the Nosler 250 Target bullet, and a couple of other exposed lead tip bullets. The nose getting whacked by the ramp and/or the top of the chamber make this style a real tricky affair.

    As to feeding in general, I mentioned this in the bullet setback thread in trouble shooting, but I have always had the best results, across the bullet weight/shape spectrum with original Colt taper lipped designed mags, or their new hybrid style. The semi-wad cutter lips like are found on Wilson, McMcormick or the like can also be really hard, depending on your bullet profile. What is absolutely IMPORTANT is that whatever combination of mag and bullet you use, it must feed without the dreaded "kerchunk". In the Rowland, kerchunk will eventually be followed by kerboom. Been there done that, with a 250 lead swc bullet.

    The other thing that I do to help make the Rowland feed more like and acp is use a 20# ISMI chrome silicon recoil spring. As this spring feeds with something like 25% increase in rate over stock, while the 24# recommended is more like 50%, I have had better overall results. Do the flat firing pin stop, perhaps a heavier mainspring, and we can tweak the gun in ways that likley Rowland and Clark originally did not have at their disposal (for widespread use). As most of us are not using the 460 for daily self-defense carry against humans, I would recommend using shock buffers if it will help to be able to use a 20# recoil spring. Combine that with a bullet that is not too wide, and try a less wadcutter type magazine, and you should be able to get things to feed properly.


    edit: I forgot to add, if Freedom Arms would go back to making their 240 grain jacketed flat point bullet, I would probably wet my pants......
    Last edited by Bearbait in NM; 16th May 2010 at 20:16.

  10. #10

    When I said I found the Beartooth bullet performance stunning, I was referring to your penetration tests in the wet newsprint. I have no experience with it myself, but I have a new mold for a similar bullet, called a BD45. At one time I toyed with the thought of buying a .460 Rowland kit, and even tried to buy a used one on the 1911 Forum, but was unsuccessful. Don't really have a use for a Rowland, but I find it fascinating anyway. Thanks for the additional information.

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