Montana Bullet Works .45 cal 230 and 250 grain hard cast in .45ACP. (Handload)

Test Gun: Colt 1911.
Barrel length: 5 inches.
Ammunition: Montana Bullet Works .45 ACP 230gr and 250gr Hard Cast.
Test media: 10% Clear Ballistics Gel.
Distance: 10 feet.
Chronograph: Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph G2.
Five shot velocity average: 947, 860fps
Gel Temperature 70 degrees.

In the ongoing quest for a field or woods load, I decided to pursue some hard cast bullets in .45 ACP. I was very impressed with the performance of the Underwood 255gr hard cast in .45 ACP and .45 Super. The Super loading was one of the few of all the rounds tested to penetrate all four blocks of clear gel. The +P loading also did a very respectable 50 and 53 inches nipping at the heals of the 10mm.

I decided to try out a couple of 45 caliber bullets from Montana Bullet Works. One was the LBT 250gr LFN-GC. This bullet is intended for the .45 Colt load but I felt confident I could make it work in the .45 ACP. This bullet is heat-treated to a BHN 22 and while I didn’t feel the gas check was necessary it wasn’t offered without it. I also considered the 250gr WFN but I felt the smaller meplat of the LFN would promote better feeding. The average weight of this bullet was closer to 255 grains.

The second bullet I wanted to try was their .45 230gr LFN-BP. This bullet was designed for the .45 ACP and I felt it would work well. Both bullets were sized to .451 inch diameter.

With the 230gr bullet I got a five-shot average velocity of 947fps with a high of 953fps and a low of 941fps.

Five rounds at 10 yards offhand 230gr.

With the 250gr bullet I got a five-shot average velocity of 860fps with a high of 874fps and a low of 851fps.

Five rounds at 10 yards offhand 250gr.

I work up a load for each bullet using Power Pistol. I was able to achieve a velocity of around 930fps with the 250-grain bullet but was unable to get it to work reliably. I was getting miss feed problems with the last round in the magazine. I installed Wolff extra power mag springs and tried several recoil springs from 18 to 24 pounds. I even installed a Sprinco Recoil Reducer . However, the only solution was to drop the velocity to a more sane level. Dropping it down to the mid 800fps solved the feed issues and resulted in a much more controllable and comfortable shooting load.

Starting with the 230-grain bullet shooting into the bare gel the first round had a velocity of 953fps and penetrated to 50 inches the recovered weight was 230.5 grains. The second round came in just a little shorter and penetrated to a depth of 48 inches. Its velocity was 933fps and the recovered weight was 231 grains.

The 250-grain bullets penetrated even further. The first round went to a depth of 55 inches with a velocity fo 874fps. The bullets recovered weight was 254.8 grains. The second round came on only half an inch shorter at 54.5 inches. Its velocity was 872fps and it weighted 255.2 grains.


  1. “I was getting miss feed problems with the last round in the magazine. I installed Wolff extra power mag springs . . . ”

    That live round stovepipe was the result of an inertia feed. The extra power mag springs were a step in the right direction to solve the issue. You could also have added a flat bottom firing pin stop and a heavier than standard weight mainspring (hammer spring). It’s possible that all three working together could have slowed the slide enough to prevent the inertia feed. Just a thought.


  2. I forgot to mention that it had a flat firing pin stop installed. I haven’t tried a heaver main spring yet and I probably won’t. This load I ended up with is doing a pretty good job and it’s much more pleasant to shoot.


    1. I agree about not bothering to drop in a heavier mainspring. You’ve got a good “woods” load as is. I just saw your reply over on the 1911 forum in which you note that you’ll be specifying a .452″ diameter on your next purchase of these bullets. I’ll be interested to see how these perform.


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