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Nearly a year ago, I picked up a box of Herter's 9mm aluminum cased ammo from Cabela's. Cabela's acquired the brand name some time ago and uses it on much of what I refer to as "house brand" ammo. If you look on the back of the boxes, you'll see that most of it comes from Europe. However, this aluminum cased ammo is sourced from CCI/Blazer. It works very well in my Springfield Armory XD9 and I wrote a Herter's 9mm aluminum cased ammo review some time ago. So naturally, when I saw the same offering in .45 ACP, I decided to give it a try and see how it performed. While I reload all my practice rounds, the training courses I attend require factory ammo and do not allow recovery of your spent brass. So I save a few dollars per box using something like this and have no regrets leaving unsable empties behind.
This is a box of Herter's aluminum cased ammo. You can clearly see the Blazer logo in the upper left corner. At Cabela's, boxes that are not marked "Select Grade" are gold and red and from what I've seen are always steel cased rounds from countries in Eastern Europe. Cabela's also retails brass cased ammo under the select grade label too. For those of you that are a "Made in the USA" only shopper, these will satisfy that requirement. The cartridges are stacked in a plastic tray in the cardboard box.
I opted to use my Springfield Armory XD45c (compact) pistol which has a 4" barrel. Chronograph results from it would be a realistic split between a 1911's longer barrel and something shorter like in my XDs45 with its 3.3" barrel. More on the chronograph numbers later. My XD45c was my first Springfield Armory pistol and at one point in time, I used it as my primary CCW pistol. I've used it in a few training courses over the years and was glad to have an excuse to shoot it at the range again.
Unless you've shot aluminum cased ammo, you may not realize just how light the cases are until you collect a handful after emptying a magazine or two. Every time I do, I'm still reminded as to just how little they weigh. The high-strength alloy cases are not intended to be reloaded. That being said, I recently read a thread on a popular gun forum where someone did it just to see how it would work. Basically, don't do it....at least not until the face eating apocalypse zombies are out in full strength and you are down to your last box of ammo in your bunker....really! To help reinforce the not reloadable idea, there is a warning on the back of the box from CCI that states they should not be reloaded.
Using my RCBS kinetic pullet, I pulled this one apart for a
closer look. The
bullet is completely cladded in nylon, as you can see in the photo. The
base of the bullet is slightly concave. The bullet weighed in at 231.4
grains and the empty aluminum case was 31.5 grains, including the primer.
I did not weigh the powder charge. Using my vernier calipers, the bullet
diameter measured a uniform .452".
More Heter's .45ACP