By: Cary Kieffer
My favorite pistol the XD Tactical, meets my favorite cartridge, the 460 Rowland. This is it for me, I don’t have, nor can I think of anything I like more than this combination. Until somebody invents me a normal sized, striker fired semi-auto in at least 454 Casull…This is it.
I love power, don’t need it, just really love it. Whether it’s been my lifelong gym rat habit or my perpensity to drop big motors in my Vette’s I just love to push it as far as I can (afford) too. My Stingray did not need a 600 horse 454 BB but that’s what she got when I roached the original 350, same with the Z06, plenty of horses at 450 hp when I threw a couple of rods but she got a 650 HP 427. So when I got my first 460 Rowland kit, with mid level 44 magnum power in a 45 acp pistol, I was absolutely in love with it. It filled in for a couple of unanswered letters to L.A.R. asking them to resume production of the Grizzly in 44mag and 50 AE.
The XD Tactical 45acp: If I had to choose one pistol for the rest of my life it would be this one. For me it has incredibly good ergonomics, points naturally and has my trust as a weapon that would last the rest of my life with little if any troubles. I love this pistol, it has been my nightstand weapon for many years. Now she sits there with 14 rounds of what is essentially 44 magnum power in the magazine and chamber…Even Better!
The 460 Rowland: First available in 1998 and as far as I’m concerned the genius level creation of Johnny Rowland, who worked with Jim Clark to develop the conversion kit. Mr. Rowland designed a case that is 1/16th longer to keep it from being able to chamber in regular 45acp’s. With chamber pressures in the 40,000 lb range it is nearly double that of a standard 45 acp and about 12,000 lbs more than a run of the mill 45 Super load. In a nutshell…it’s really freakin’ HOT! At first I had a part of me questioning the brilliance of all of this…ya know? The “when do you say no” kind of thing, I mean a line has to be drawn somewhere..If this were a brand new thing, I might have stayed away from it for awhile but like I said 1998 and going strong. OK, I’m in… This is a cartridge that you need to fire to appreciate the raw power Johnny Rowland came up with. It’s not a little bit more power…it’s a whole boat load more power.
Authentic Rowland Conversion Kit: I received my first kit from Rowland themselves for X-mas 2015. There are clones but I wanted it from the people who invented it, so I went with an Authentic Rowland kit. When these kinds of pressures are involved you want to buy from the people who know it inside and out, not some copy cat riding someone else’s shirt tails. Anyway, it was a thoughtful gift from Kelly and I absolutely loved the idea of it. Unfortunately, the kit looked like hell, no other accurate way to put it. I wish I had taken pictures of how rough this thing looked. The barrel just looked unfinished, the machining had not been smoothed out before the worst chrome kinda something was applied and you could see all sorts of tool marks through the chrome. “Authentic Rowland” was even marked crooked on the hood. The threads for the comp were the sloppiest I’ve ever seen and I was pretty sure it wasn’t even the right size comp threads. I had nothing to go on here being my first comped pistol barrel and I used the red locktite included to attach the comp and it seemed to tighten right up. Sixty rds later the comp goes flying down range with a bullet…total lemon this first kit was.
Rowland Customer Service: I emailed Rowland on a Saturday night and that very night Dave from Rowland emailed me back. Said he was going through some mail after hours and didn’t want my response from them to wait till Monday. So that was pretty cool, while a lemon may have shipped through the cracks, so far they seemed on the ball. I explained my problems respectfully and got quick and respectful replies, he totally agreed with me after seeing it, the kit was not up to specs. He had sent me a shipping label and I sent the kit back, after a brief delay (few weeks) due to backorder of XD kits I received my replacement kit and it was absolutely gorgeous. Shit happens as they say and that first out of spec kit slipped by, the replacement kit looked great and well worth the $370 they cost. Rowland has suppliers just like everybody else and sometimes things slip by but I am totally satisfied with the way this was handled. Dave was great and so was the 2nd kit he sent. There was constant communication and it was resolved with no added expense to me, PERFECT! Thanks Dave and Staff at 460 Rowland, you have a new customer for life.
New Kit: There is no chrome finish this time and I am glad. The machine work on this one is perfect as is the markings. The comp has been redesigned and now incorporates a set screw. I like this comp much more than the first one. The barrel is 5.5 inches long and comes with a 20lb recoil spring. The Rowland is obviously comped where my 45 Super is not but I run a 22lb spring in the Super. I just feel better with a 22 lb spring in the Rowland and I ordered a Springer Precision XD guide rod so I could use heavier 1911 springs. I am still testing the gun using 22, 23 and 24 lb Wolf recoil springs to see which I settle on. I upgraded all my mag springs with Wolf Plus 10% springs, which I feel is something you are going to want to do. Obviously, we don’t want the slide outrunning the mag spring. Well, it’s ready, let’s go shoot.
New Kit Shoot: These groups pictured were fired at 35 feet, just draw and shoot quickly, no rested position or anything like that. The 185 and 255’s were fairly close POA/POI. The 230’s were a bit off. That is different than the first kit which they all grouped pretty close to POA. No biggee, a set of adjustable nite-sites, which I wanted anyway and I’ll be all set. As expected there were no malfunctions of any kind. The groups average 3 to 4 inches which when I’m drawing and trying to shoot quickly is all that I can expect from me. One of these days I will rest the thing and see how tight we can get them.
UnderWood Ammo: I’ve said it before I love Underwood ammo. The 3 loads I generally shoot are 185 grain JHP at 1575 fps, 230 grain JHP at 1400 fps and 255 grain HCFP’s at 1300 fps. These loads generate what I would call mid range 44 magnum energy levels. With the 185’s you have 1019 lbs ME, 230’s are 1001 lbs ME and the 255’s are coming in at 957 lbs of muzzle energy. Good prices, fast shipping and quality components make Underwood a great choice for carry and HD ammo. The stuff is fantastic.
A final note on ammunition, Rowland makes authentic 460 Rowland ammo at the same power levels and prices as Underwood does, while I have not yet, I do intend to try out the “real” stuff if you will. The good folks at Rowland did have nice things to say about Mr. Underwood though. Additionally, Rowland offers a load they do not. It is called “Johnny’s 240gr Magnum Hollow Point”. Hornady’s 240 grain bullet moving out at 1350 fps, generating 957 lbs of muzzle energy, this thing is a beast too. Sounds great and looking forward to getting some.
Summary: Rowland customer service is everything you can possibly hope for. I don’t really care that much if I get a bad thing here and there as long as it’s handled properly. Dave and the crew at Rowland met every expectation any reasonable person would have. So again, great job Dave. The 460 cartridge as far as I’m concerned is pure genius, I get the little flutters in my stomach I love so much from higher levels of power. A high capacity, lite weight, striker fired “44 mag” is what my dreams are made of. This Rowland conversion opens up a whole new world of applications for said weapon due to the level of power it has or for people like me, it’s just a damn good time to shoot. I say once again, you have to shoot one to believe it, these loads club the 10mm and 45 Super like they were baby seals. In my future I see a Glock 21 converted to Authentic 460 Rowland with an ENDO Tactical Shockwave kit on it, imagine something like this Glock set up pictured below with 44 mag power! Awesome! Thanks for reading and train often.
7-2-16 Update: I settled on the Wolf 24 lb 1911 spring. I feel it eats up a bit of the beating from the weapon and still fires any run of the mill ball 45acp with 100% reliability. They eject at your feet but they still run the gun no problems.