It’s good to have options, ya know? Luckily, there are two 121 grain bullets available in the marketplace, and when one is scarce, the other is usually available. I recently picked up a couple of cases of Montana Gold Bullet’s 121gr IFP bullet, because the Zero 121gr JHP isn’t easily findable, right now.
After loading up a few hundred to test out, I can offer some current feedback on this bullet.
I have some previous experience with the 121gr IFP, as well as Montana Gold’s 124gr JHP bullet, so I wasn’t concerned with buying these by the case. My previous experiences were good, and the current group of bullets is no different.
If you’re used to copper jacketed bullets, Montana Golds tell you right up front that there’s something different about them – the bronze jacket is quite a bit yellower than copper. There’s no questioning that you’ve got a Montana Gold bullet in front of you. The bullets are very attractive in their case packaging, arriving very clean and shiny.
Unlike the Zero, the Montana Gold 121gr IFP is a very consistent .355″ bullet and weighs slightly lighter, on average, than it’s nominal weight (the Zero is a .356″ bullet). Mine average out to 120.9 grains, going as light as 120.7 and as heavy as 121.2. This will factor in to final load development, as experience suggests it may take a couple more tenths of powder to get to the same 172 power factor versus what I’ve been using. In some ways, this actually works in your favor, as the extra powder will work the comp and ports more effectively.
I have to be honest, I have a bit of a love/frustration relationship with this bullet. If I understand it correctly, the bullet was developed to meet IPSC’s minimum bullet weight of 120 grains, and is constructed by taking Montana Gold’s 115gr JHP, and essentially “filling in” the nose of the hollow point with lead, resulting in a bullet that’s just above the weight floor (thus the IFP – International Full Profile). The exposed lead is not highly consistent from bullet to bullet, which drives the OCD reloader in me nuts. If I seat the bullet using a flat punch the pushes down on the tip of the bullet, I get inconsistent internal case volume (and, frequently, a marred bullet nose – the punch in the seating die tends to smoosh the lead). If I seat via the ogive (ie, the shoulder of the bullet), I get consistent case volume, but a potentially inconsistent overal length. However, when seated via the ogive, I get very nice performance out of this bullet. Since performance is what really matters, my OCD can take a back seat! Just be aware that you’ll definitely want to seat this bullet off the ogive, so use the “rounded bullet” side of the seater punch, if you’re using a Dillon seat die.
Also, I’ve noticed that this latest batch of bullets is more consistent in length than previous 121 IFPs I’ve used. They only vary in length about 3 to maybe 4 thousandths of an inch, which is certainly acceptable.
I shot a couple of groups with these bullets this past weekend. They’re not quite as tight as the groups I showed from the Zero 121s, but I’m not convinced I was shooting superb groups that day. I’m going to give them another go before rendering a final opinion on accuracy. It may be that my barrel just doesn’t like these quite as much. Either way, as you can see, the bullet is grouping about 1″ at 25 yards – more than enough accuracy for IPSC/USPSA competitions. The group on the left is 4 plus a called flyer high and left (ie, poor shooter performance, not poor bullet performance). The vertically strung group on the right is actually 5 holes, by the way.