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The .460 Rowland Rocks

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.460 Rowland Rocks 

By Matt Lippincott

It isn’t often that breakthroughs in firearms design live up to the hype, but in the case of the Clark Custom Guns .460 Rowland conversion, many shooters are agreeing that the elusive, high-power variant of the 1911 has finally arrived. Before getting into the details, here are some key facts to back up the impressive claims being made by more and more users of this exceptional product: 

·   The proven .460 Rowland round gives a .45 1911 more power than a .44 magnum.
·   The conversion requires no gunsmith or modifications. It is a true “drop-in” kit.
·   You can use your existing 1911 magazines with the .460 round.
·   Depending on the make and model of your 1911, you can fire .45 ACP through the kit.
·   You can’t accidentally fire .460 Rowland through a standard 1911 .45 ACP barrel.
·   The muzzle brake actually works…very well.  


Tests show that a 230 grain .460 round reaches a velocity of 1340 fps, while a standard 240 grain .44 Remington Magnum round reaches a velocity of only 1180 fps. The energy in ft/lbs is 917 for the .460, compared to 741 for the .44 magnum. 

What Makes The Conversion Kit So Great 

Above all, it is the ability to expand the capability and performance of the time-tested, 1911 design. As an avid backcountry mountain climber growing up - and sharing habitat with Grizzlies - in the Montana Rockies, I have been searching for years to find what I call “the ultimate pack gun.” After much time spent with a variety of .44 magnum revolvers, I had eventually settled on the rock-solid – and somewhat thinner – Desert Eagle, chambered in .44 magnum. I have been a fan of these exceptional handguns for years, but have also been aggravated by their bulkiness and weight. Therefore, my search for something smaller, lighter and with equivalent or better firepower has continued. 

Over the past few years I had been wondering to myself why someone had not designed a .45 long colt variation of the 1911 that could support higher velocity loads, as .45 long colt revolvers do. I had not suspected that, not only had this been done, but that it had also been perfected to the point that this new round is only about 1 millimeter longer than standard .45 ACP.  

 .45 ACP next to .460 Rowland.45, .460 and .44 mag

                           .45 ACP next to .460 Rowland                                                             .45, .460 and .44 mag

This innovation alone is one of several reasons why I feel comfortable describing the .460 Rowland round as a dream come true.  

Testing The Performance 

A few months back I ordered an all-stainless kit for my Springfield 1911 A1 via Clark Custom Gun’s website at Delivery took only 4 days, and product packaging was well thought-out and protected the contents while minimizing shipping costs.  

Clark's Conversion Kit

The drop-in kit includes everything pictured here, (24 lb recoil spring, firing pin spring, barrel, muzzle brake and guide rod), AND a 20 lb recoil spring as well as a special installation tool that are not pictured

 I did place a call to their customer service department because the kit came with two replacement recoil springs, clearly labeled as a 20 lb and a 24 lb. I wanted to know which would be the best choice for my 1911 prior to installation, and the gentlemen on the other end of the phone was very professional and helpful. He told me that I should use the 20 lb spring because I have a stainless slide. He also advised me to not use a recoil buffer.  

Installation was straight-forward, although it could have been faster had the written instructions included a simple, step-by-step diagram. There is also a video on YouTube that shows the conversion process, but it does not have enough close-up shots, nor is the resolution of the video adequate to see what is being done. It does, however, show how quickly and easily the conversion can be accomplished once you have practiced it a couple of times. My only recommendation to Clark Custom Guns is to provide more information to the customer so that calls in to customer support can be minimized, and the first kit installation can be done correctly and in as little time as possible. 


 Springfield Armory

Replacing the slide on the frame was the same as with the standard barrel, guide rod and spring assembly, and once that step was complete I was ready to shoot. Following installation the balance of the gun does become different since it is longer and heavier on the muzzle end. It is also worth noting the change in appearance of the gun.

I also added some other accessories that I thought would help the conversion. First, I put a rubber finger groove panel on the grip, and replaced the factory grips with a thin profile, checkered hard rubber Hogue grip. I did this because I found this combination to be substantially thinner than the one-piece Hogue finger groove/grip replacement that is commonly used. I also replaced the grip safety with a variation that has a medium-hard rubber cushion built into it in order to minimize chafing that might be caused by an increase in recoil. Finally, I added some grip tape to the slide since the recoil spring strength had now been increased. 

Now for the good part; shooting the newly converted pistol. Loading the magazine is the same as with standard .45 rounds, and aside from requiring some extra pull when drawing the slide back, everything else about the converted 1911 remains the same. As you would expect, recoil is increased by the higher power of the .460 round, however, the muzzle brake does its job very well, making the added “kick” quite manageable. I and a friend who also fired the gun agreed that the felt recoil was very similar to that of a 4-inch barrel .357 magnum revolver. Further evidence of the functionality of the muzzle brake came when shooting standard .45 rounds through the new barrel, at which time the reduction in felt recoil was quite apparent when compared to shooting .45 without the same muzzle brake.

muzzle brake Taurus Tracker Desert Eagle 

The reason that the recoil reduction is so significant can be seen by comparing the Clark muzzle brake design to other handgun barrel porting methods. Doing so makes it very clear that the Clark design is able to dissipate significantly more force than the ported .357 Taurus Tracker and .44 magnum Desert eagle used for comparison above. 


And, It Gets Even Better 

Anyone with more than a little time spent shooting a 1911, especially with an upgraded trigger, can appreciate the accuracy, ergonomics and overall smooth performance that one experiences. I have not found this to be matched by any revolver, double action semi-auto, or the big-bore semi-autos. Having big game stopping power available in this shooter-friendly package is something that I suspect many other gun owners have dreamt of. What makes the .460 conversion even better though, is that I can shoot .45 ACP through it as well. In fact, during one field test I loaded two magazines with alternating .460 and .45 and fired all rounds with no issues.  

More About The Ballistics

Factory loads for the .460 Rowland are a 185 grain jacketed hollow point at 1550 fps, a 200 grain jacketed hollow point at 1450 fps, and a 230 grain jacketed hollow point at 1340 fps. Another reviewer provided this detail on his testing of the round, fired from a similar Springfield 1911 conversion: 

“Fired in my completed .460 Rowland, the 185 grain factory load does 1530 fps (and drops five shots into 5/8" at 15 yards), the 200 grainer does 1436 fps and, and the 230 clocks out at 1330 fps. For a comparison with .44 Magnum loads I fired the Federal 180 grain jacketed hollow point load from the five inch barrel of a Smith & Wesson Model 629 with the results being a muzzle velocity of 1564 fps. Hornady's 200 XTP .44 Magnum loading clocked out at 1350, while Black Hills rendition of the 240 grain jacketed hollow point .44 load came in at 1247. For all practical purposes, the .460 Rowland with its five-inch barrel equals, or surpasses, the .44 Magnum in a like barreled sixgun.” 

 “Hornady's 200 grain XTP at 1453 fps, shoots into 1", while the same bullet at 230 grains and a muzzle velocity of 1335 does even better at 7/8" for five shots. With cast bullets it is the same story, second verse. The 230 grain #452423 bullet at 1158 fps groups in 1 1/8" while the 245 grain #452424 and the 260 grain #45-255 are at 1128 fps for 3/4" and 1119 fps and 1/2" respectively.”

Comparison With What Else Is Out There

When it comes to carrying a handgun for purposes such as back-country self defense or hunting, the 1911 is tough competition for any of the magnum-class handguns out there. Obviously, the 1911 is much thinner in profile than a revolver, and since the 1911 has the capability to carry 7, 8 or 10 + 1 rounds, the revolver is immediately out classed. 

Therefore, I put together some basic comparisons between the dimensions of the .460 converted 1911 and a similar semi-auto pistol with almost the same amount of firepower; the Desert Eagle .44 magnum with a 6 inch, ported barrel.

I compared the weight and dimensions of the two guns with fully loaded, 10 round magazines and after market rubber grips. The 1911 chambered in .460 is the clear winner for all applications, particularly when you compare the two in weight and width.

1911 versus Desert Eagle 




1911 w/.460 Drop-in

Desert Eagle .44 Mark VII

Height (w/out mags)

5.187 inches

5.87 inches


1.06 inches

1.625 inches


9.875 inches

10.56 inches

Weight (w/10 rnd mags)

3.1 lbs

4.9 lbs


Additional Information

In addition to drop-in kits being available from Clark Custom Guns, completed guns are also to be offered including a Kimber Convertible with barrels for both .460 Rowland and .45ACP, a Dan Wesson revolver in .460 Rowland, and conversions offered on S&W M625's and Ruger Blackhawks originally chambered in .45 ACP. Check out the Clark Custom Guns website to see how many other models of .45 ACP semi-autos they have made conversions for, since the list appears to be growing. You can also purchase the 1911 conversion kits from Brownell’s.

Starline already has the brass, and factory ammunition is available from Georgia Arms. I purchased .460 ammo directly from Georgia Arms online, which was very quick and convenient. Their shipping also required only around 4 days.

Related Links:

* TAFFIN TESTS, from American Handgunner (1999)



Author:alcan7 Comment Left:06/08/2008 16:37

I bet it walks on water also. Kinda like the short magnums.

Author:springfield-45 auto Comment Left:07/03/2008 17:07

Hi i would just like to say that the 460 rowland is one heck of a gun.I put the drop in kit in one of my 45-autoloaders,The pistol is a springfield gi model.this is a real nice set up.shoots good ,with a lot of power

Author:Jason Parrish Comment Left:07/17/2008 16:21

We were contacted today by a person named Joe D'Alessandro,, 512-255-1878, from a company called, Have any of your heard of him or the website?

He claimed that the review above is a copy of his article! When I read them both, all I could find is one photo in common, which is also on wikipedia and the manufacturers website; and a table of basic info.

His article is located here:

The wikipedia article, with the same photos (in public domain) are here:

Author:postalpaul25 Comment Left:07/18/2008 19:56's very clear Mr. Lippincott clearly copied him. See Mr. Lippincott did his conversion on a Springfield Stainless Steel 1911 clone and I believe the other fellas kit was put on a blued Kimber 1911.Mr. Lippincott was kind enough to post a side by side comparison of the .460 Rowland kit to a Desert Eagle .44 Auto Mag, I must have overlooked the Auto Mag. picture on JOSEPH'S site. Joseph go piss up a tree and buzz off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Author:vneedham Comment Left:07/23/2008 15:03

Why did you remove my comment? Like I mentioned, I enjoyed Texas Hunting & Fishing, but now I have concerns about the integrity of your site & staff. All I did was question how you guys could have taken the photos from the Wikipedia page (published July 9th) when your article was published a month earlier (June 8th). It was just my personal opinion that you probably took the photos from without asking the folks at RealGuns then tried to cover your tails by saying that you got the photo at Wikipedia which doesn't seem possible because of the dates mentioned above. Now your censoring my freedom of speech? Very disappointing gentlemen.

Author:udamdan Comment Left:08/09/2008 20:55

Why would one wanna improve a .45 Auto ACP ?



Author:udamdan Comment Left:08/09/2008 20:57

Here's my Ruger P90

IMAG0204.jpg picture by udamdan
Author:snowymtnmaster Comment Left:10/27/2011 12:10

Just some info for anyone buying 460 conversion  from rowland.   Be careful  I sent money to those people  about ten mo. ago and I have yet to receive my 1911 conversion or my money refunded.  Beware

Author:Thomas Scriminger Comment Left:02/01/2012 09:11

Dear Snowymtmaster,

I am newely partnered with Johnny Rowland in our about-to-be-launched company "460 Rowland LLC" but we have only been working on it for about two months.  Please contact me to verify the details of your bad experience and I will get you the first kit available... or a refund if you prefer.

Your friend with the big bang,


Thomas Scriminger

Manager, 460 Rowland LLC

907 S. Detroit Ave., Suite 600

Tulsa, Oklahoma 74120


Author:Thomas Scriminger Comment Left:02/01/2012 09:22

Dear Snowymtmaster,

I am newely partnered with Johnny Rowland in our about-to-be-launched company "460 Rowland LLC" but we have only been working on it for about two months.  Please contact me to verify the details of your bad experience and I will get you the first kit available... or a refund if you prefer.

Your friend with the big bang,


Thomas Scriminger

Manager, 460 Rowland LLC

907 S. Detroit Ave., Suite 600

Tulsa, Oklahoma 74120


Author:RhianonJustin Comment Left:11/09/2013 05:02

This review that you have shared upon us seems to be so reliable that is why we should really make sure that we should be informed in all these things. - Lindsay Rosenwald