One of the most popular caliber swaps for large frame pistols is the relatively new .460 Rowland caliber. It offers a bit more bang for the buck but has some things to keep in mind. We look at this innovative aftermarket conversion for the Glock.
What is the .460R?
If you took a .45ACP sized round, and made it deliver performance around that of a .44 Magnum, then you have something on the order of the .460 Rowland. This round, the brainchild of Shooting Show host Johnny Ray Rowland about twenty years ago, uses a 24.3mm case and a .451-caliber bullet to generate a simply staggering 900-1000 ft.lbs of energy at the muzzle. It does this by making a 230-grain bullet, standard .45ACP fodder; go supersonic at 1300 or more feet per second. It is .0625" longer than a .45 ACP and features a beefed up interior case wall. As such, it will not chamber in .45 ACP gun barrels.
In short, the supped-up .460 delivers three to four times the power downrange of the .45ACP, which makes it a pretty bad mama-jama. This puts in a bit hotter than 10mm Auto, and firmly in the arena of .44 Magnum loads.
Jim Downey over at Ballistics By the Inch, the website where most gun nerds (this one included) go to minutely distill data on ft.lbs and fps for various loads, said of the .460 Rowland that its "Like flinging thunderbolts."
Prices for these rounds are not in the same unobtanium realm that makes getting into .45 Auto Mag or some others impractical. Currently Wilson Combat, Buffalo Bore, Underwood, and Georgia Arms among others carry it on the shelf at a price that runs about the same as .44 Mag and quality .45ACP.
However, if you plan to shoot more than a few boxes, it is probably wise to get into reloading (standard .45 ACP reloading dies work) to keep your prices down.
Why would you want to do this to your Glock?
.460 Rowland Glock 30 compensated (Photo 460Rowland.com)
Should you want the option of using your .45ACP based Glock platform as a hunting tool in states where sportsmen can harvest game with a pistol, the .460 is ideal. It also gives you a nice, solid ring when participating in steel plate matches if you are a 3-gunner while giving you an extra peace of mind should you use it as your home defense gun.
.460 Rowland Glock 21 ported (Photo 460Rowland.com)
This has been a constant and continuing source of conversation here on the forums for years. Since normally a drop in conversion kit can accomplish this conversion with no gunsmithing required, it's proven popular for some.
Lone Wolf longslide upper with 6.61" threaded .460 Rowland barrel on Glock 21 (Photo Sniperhide)
These kits normally take the same lower frame (and magazine) as your standard G21 and G30 platforms, while supplying a new barrel, compensator, and recoil spring assembly. Some kits, (consult the manufacturer) will also allow continued use of standard and +P .45ACP rounds as well as .45 Super with the same barrel as your Rowland mod. Popular offerings include .460 Rowland.com who sells kits for both the 21 and 30 at about $350 , while Lone Wolf sells everything both separately and as a full upper.
Mr. Guns and Gear evaluates a G21 conversion kit in .460 Rowland
Problems and realities to keep in mind
This round, with its increased oomph, really (did we say really?) need to be fired from either an extensively ported barrel/slide or one with a quality extended barrel compensator. While yes, you can fire the beast that is Mr. Rowland without such a compensator installed or porting, you are courting reliability issues that over time can lead to slide and possibly even frame failure. Remember, you are pushing a round that generates something like 40,000+ psi of pressure at the chamber, and all that gas has to go somewhere. Use of a compensator/barrel porting also reduces recoil and muzzle flip.
Feed issues are another thing to worry about with any .460 conversion. The 24-pound and heavier springs that come with these aftermarket kits slap that slide back into batter with enough force that you can often overrun the magazine, pushing nothing but hot air and broken dreams into your chamber. Worse, there can be resulting double-feeds. This is another reason for the porting, as it will help slow that slide down a bit and allows everything to balance out.
Other feed issues, as our members here have found out are often just an issue of polishing the feed ramp.
What do you think? Have you gone .460? If so what are your experiences? Drop it below in the comments.