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Thread: .460 Rowland musings

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    TRX
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    Default .460 Rowland musings

    So, my faithful Norinco 1911 is finally displaying the dreaded "barrel lug setback." The barrel has sharp rifling and is hard chromed to resist corrosive ammunition, but the underlying metal is too soft, and the edges of the lugs where they engage the slide are badly peened over. So a replacement barrel is needed. But I have a .45 slide, so I'm limited to a cartridge with a .45 ACP size case head.

    The new Storm Lake gunsmith-fit barrel I had bought for the "very slow 1911 build" was available since I'd veered off into a longslide build, but I'd been hearing the call of .460 Rowland for a long time.

    US Army .45 hardball runs 230 grains at 830fps. "Defense" +P loads pump that up to 900 or so. The .45 Super runs 230 grains at 1100fps. The .450 SMC is basically a .45 Super with a small primer pocket, loaded to 1150fps.

    There are substantially hotter .45s. There some stretched .45s from long, long ago, but in recent-ish eras there was the .451 Detonics Magnum with a .944" case to prevent the hotter Detonics cartridge from being loaded into unmodified ACP pistols. Same reason a .357 has a longer case than a .38. There's also the .460 Rowland, stretched to .957". Both are available new from Starline. For some reason I can't tickle the web into giving up the .451's ballistics, but the Rowland will push a 230 grain bullet out at 1350fps, right up in .44 Magnum territory. The Detonics and Rowland have the same overall length and powder capacity as the ACP; the longer cases are just to prevent interchange.

    Being of the "bigger is better" persuasion, I naturally gravitated toward the Rowland. I've talked to Clark Custom, PMed some people who have run Rowlands for years, perused the information available on Wilson's .460s. Clark sells a kit; a comped barrel and springs. They won't sell a kit without the comp; they say it will work, but without the comp to damp the recoil of the slide/barrel assembly it'll break parts.

    Wilson Combat, on the other hand, advertises a .460 without a comp. It uses a barrel that sticks 1/4" or 1/2" or so out the front depending on what pictures you see, but no comp. But you're paying Wilson prices, and presumably getting a gun that's tuned to accept the battering of an uncomped .460... and they're pushing new, improved comped version of the gun now...

    The problem is, I don't want a comp. The comps are fugly. Half a dozen times in the last few years I came close to clicking the "BUY" button for a Clark .460 kit, but... we're talking Pontiac Aztek levels of fugly.

    I had played with the idea of building the longslide with a buffer and a 24# spring, and loading up ordinary ACP brass until I hit Rowland performance or until the gun showed signs of distress. If all it would take would .45 Super loads, well, okay.

    So... I vaguely remembered seeing a full-profile compensator somewhere. I found a lot of places that *used to* make them back in the day. And there's a place called Valkyrie that makes a "bushing comp" that's full profile. It has a cylinder and lug on the back side so it functions as a barrel pushing. The barrel slides through the comp as the gun cycles, so there's so much leakage that bushing comps are generally considered to be not very effective.

    Too much clearance. Hmm.

    Finally, an idea struck. Well, the Voices suggested it, but they tend to mumble a lot, and go off on tangents about ice cream. But I ordered a Valkyrie comp (it's marketed with the ridiculous name "Punisher", which is apparently something to do with comic books, which didn't exactly give me a warm fuzzy) and... a 6" barrel.

    The parts showed up and everything came up cherries. The barrel headspaces fine and has plenty of lug engagement, The comp appears to be nicely made on CNC equipment (I was sort of expecting a casting...) and fits snugly in the slide and well within spec on the barrel. The barrel links down properly with the comp in place. And there's no "comped" look; it looks like a longslide.

    The next step is to reach down through the slots in the comp and... port the barrel. The idea is to line the barrel ports up with the comp, which should still be able to function with most of its efficiency, less some amount of leakage at the clearance between the barrel and comp.

    My little X2 mill has the spindle speed to work a 1/8" end mill, but I'm sorely tempted to just take a spare file over to the disc sander and remove the teeth on the flat sides so it only cuts on the edges, then do the slots with a file. Hmm...

    Anyway, I have the proper recoil spring for a .460, so all I have to do is cut the slots and load up some ammo...
    Perge, scelus, mihi diem perficias.

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    Gunco Good ole boy kernelkrink's Avatar
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    Part of the effect of a bbl mounted comp is the added weight resisting the action unlocking, similar to how a heavy suppressor prevents cycling without a Nielson Device. A ported bll will reduce muzzle flip a bit, but may not reduce the slide velocity much. Also might be some crud buildup as the ports vent while not aligned with the cutouts.

    If you have a mill, why not just make your own bbl mounted full profile comp? Comp Blank - Full Profile 2" Carbon Steel: EGW Gun Parts

    Or cut the bbl bushing part off the one you have and sleeve it to thread on the end of the bbl and bore it out to just over bore diameter and make it a real comp?

    They still make a few full profile comps, but they are pricey. Cylinder and Slide and TJ's Gunworks both utilize them in their custom pieces, should be able to purchase them as parts.

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    Rcovering tangentialist stalker1's Avatar
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    On the 460 Rowland good luck in all seriousness. Wide link for support,slotted barrel. Barrel mounted or bushing mounted. It's been comped with a frame mounted compensator. Barrels have been made fixed to the frame or a rotating barrel system. I know the rowland has been done along with the super and detonics. Mass,slide velocity all comes into play as Kernel pointed out. At the end of it I just got a revolver. Thank you for making the brain work for me.

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    TRX
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    Quote Originally Posted by kernelkrink View Post
    Or cut the bbl bushing part off the one you have and sleeve it to thread on the end of the bbl and bore it out to just over bore diameter and make it a real comp?
    That's always an option, and it was 1/5 of the price of EGW's part. But I'm going to see how it works with the ported 6" barrel first.

    Part of the effect of a bbl mounted comp is the added weight resisting the action unlocking
    I don't think so. The barrel and slide are locked together, then the link pulls the barrel down against the frame. If anything, I'd think the comp would put more stress on the link and the barrel would hit the frame harder. [shrug] I'll find out soon enough.
    Perge, scelus, mihi diem perficias.

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    Gunco Good ole boy kernelkrink's Avatar
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    Think of the 1911 bbl as a lever, with the bbl bushing being the fulcrum. As the slide recoils, the link pulls the rear end down. With the fulcrum at the very end of the bbl, as in a standard 1911, the effort required is small. Now extend that lever outward past the fulcrum and add both weight and downforce from the jet effect of the comp on that end and the effort required increases. Same reason hanging a suppressor off the end of a tilting bbl pistol requires a Nielson device to remove the weight at the instant of firing to get it to cycle.

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    Okay, I see where you're coming from there.

    Hmm. If it doesn't work out I'll try boring the comp out and screwing it onto the barrel.
    Perge, scelus, mihi diem perficias.

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    Always sore, always tired Bradrock's Avatar
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    When Rowland had his TV show 'Guns & gears' He used to shoot water jugs and other fun visual targets. They just fricken vaporize with the Rowland cartridge!!
    He is a pretty kool kat.
    " Save a tree...........Eat A Beaver!"

    I seldom talk to liberals.............................. But when I do, I order fries............

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    I was just looking at the .40 Super again. Its published muzzle energy overlaps well into .460 Rowland territory... but it didn't require a comp to keep from beating up the gun like the .460.

    Hmm...

    Here are some "representative samples" sorted by muzzle energy. (there's some variation by manufacturer, more than one bullet weight is available for each cartridge, data likely from a 5" barrel, contents sold by weight not volume, some settling may have occurred during shipment.)

    (reference data)
    414 ft-lb: 230gr@900fps: .45 ACP
    616 ft-lb: 185gr@1225fps: hi vel .45 ACP
    618 ft-lb: 230gr@1100fps: .45 Super (basically +P+ .45 ACP)
    694 ft-lb: 185gr@1300fps: .45 Super
    930 ft-lb: 230gr@1340fps: .460 Rowland
    1000 ft-lb: 185gr@1560fps: .460 Rowland

    -----------------------------------------------------------
    (cartridges under consideration)

    430 ft-lb: 185gr@1034fps: .41 Avenger (.45 WM necked down to .41)
    588 ft-lb: 135gr@1400fps: .400 Cor-Bon, which is a .45 necked down to .40.
    694 ft-lb: 185gr@1300fps: .45 Super (basically +P+ .45 ACP)
    749 ft-lb: 185gr@1350fps: .450 SMC (basically +P++ .45 ACP)
    796 ft-lb: 140gr@1600fps: .40 Super, another necked down .45
    871 ft-lb: 200gr@1400fps: .40 Super
    891 ft-lb: 147gr@1800fps: .38 Casull (.45 necked down to .38)
    972 ft-lb: 135gr@1800fps: .40 Super

    The .400 Cor-Bon seems to be loaded quite conservatively, particularly when compared to the .40 Super.
    Last edited by TRX; 03-08-2016 at 12:45 AM. Reason: added ballistic data
    Perge, scelus, mihi diem perficias.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TRX View Post
    I'm sorely tempted to just take a spare file over to the disc sander and remove the teeth on the flat sides so it only cuts on the edges, then do the slots with a file.
    And so I did. It took about five minutes per slot, then another ten minutes with various needle files to deburr the holes. I assembled the barrel, slide, comp, spring, plug, and plunger, wrapped it all with tape to keep it from exploding, and used some thin wood shims in the big bench vise with just enough oomph to keep it from shifting during filing. A little black Sharpie to touch up, reassemble, and I have the barrel ported through the comp.

    The plan is to assemble the gun with the stock 5" barrel, run a mag through to make sure I can still hit the target, then reconfigure the gun with the 6" barrel and comp and run another mag through it. If my Bubba barrel porting job makes it group like a shotgun I'll make a piloted D-reamer and counterbore the barrel to just behind the rearmost port. The usual ported barrels go through through the rifling just like I did, but my ports are wider to match the comp. Well, it's in the nature of an experiment... if that doesn't work either I can saw the end off, recrown it, and have a spare 5" barrel, so it's not like it would be a disaster.

    I'll get some pictures up as soon as I figure out where the shop fairies hid the camera.
    Perge, scelus, mihi diem perficias.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TRX View Post
    871 ft-lb: 200gr@1400fps: .40 Super
    891 ft-lb: 147gr@1800fps: .38 Casull (.45 necked down to .38)
    972 ft-lb: 135gr@1800fps: .40 Super
    I had really, really wanted a .38 Casull. And I found that using .40 Super brass would simplify making Casull brass. So I bought a bag of Starline .40 Super brass and some .356" bullets and started sketching out the chambering and die reamers, and bought a length of 1/2" O-1 drill rod to make the reamers from, and some 4140 to make the dies, and...

    Why did I want a .38 again?

    The .40 Super is superer than the .38, and I don't have to make my own brass, and Midway has the dies in stock.

    [stomps the Voices under the hobnailed Boot of Practicality]

    The Triton .40 Super print doesn't match the .40 Super brass I have. I've emailed one of the developers of the cartridge with a few questions; perhaps he'll reply.
    Perge, scelus, mihi diem perficias.

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