Thursday, March 13, 2014

Winchester Ranger 40 S&W 165 Grain T-Series Multi Shot Terminal Test


Many thanks to Justin D. for supplying this ammunition for testing.

The Winchester Ranger T-Series line of ammunition is always in high demand.  When it appears on various ammunition dealer websites, it's quickly sold out.  Over the years, the T-Series has developed a devoted fan base and is one of the most talked about lines of ammunition on the various firearm and shooting enthusiasts websites I frequent.  I was really looking forward to seeing how this mid-weight bullet would perform in testing. 

Test Pistol:

Test Protocol:
Step 1)  Measure and record temperature and relative humidity.
Step 2)  Run a 5 shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 10 feet.
Step 3)  Run various terminal test shots, with and without simulated clothing barriers, into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth.

Test Results:


Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:


My Thoughts on This Load:
I want to apologize for my chronograph issues during this test.  I find it crucially important to capture the actual test shot velocity because we have seen the wild swings that can happen in previous tests.  The low Winter sun can be very problematic for chronographs and unfortunately that bit us in the butt with this test.

I had really high expectations for this load based on the comments from others that seem to love it.  I found this box to be inconsistent in regard to terminal performance.  Bare gel test shots should always expand.  That's why a bare gel shot is usually included in each test.  It gives us a baseline of "best case" terminal performance that we can use to compare with results from tests shot through light and heavy clothing barriers.  When the first bare gel test shot only partially expanded, I started to wonder what the rest of the test results would look like.

The bare gel retest and light clothing test yielded the terminal performance results I expected from this load with huge expanded diameters and full deployment of the hollow point petals.  Even with velocity test results almost 100 feet per second slower than Winchester specification, both test shots easily surpassed 12" of penetration.  Heavy clothing proved to be problematic for this load with both test shots failing to expand and exiting the catch media.  We have to assume they were plugged by denim because both bullets were lost.  

Pick or Pan:
Based on the results of this test and very limited availability of this ammunition, I would personally call this a pan.  I would prefer the most consistent terminal performance, and greater availability, of the Winchester PDX1 in this caliber and bullet weight.




Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested.  All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media.  Terminal performance in all other media will show different results.  It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs.  It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.

Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.

11 comments:

  1. Was this a 16in block or one of your larger ones?

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    1. It was one of the newer 18" long blocks.

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  2. Wow....that is extremely disappointing. Scratch this one off my "acceptable carry" ammo list. If it won't expand from a 4" barrel, it is most definitely not going to expand through my XD40's 3" barrel. Bummer.

    Thank you. Good test.

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    1. Over on GlockTalk, there is a picture showing recent bullet variations with RA40T (180 grain version of this load). Who really knows for sure how many variants of the T bullets have been produced over the years. For me, it's fail once and the ammo is done. Other folks may want to track down a box of recent manufacture (black and blue box) and run their own testing before giving up on this load.

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  3. The average velocity clocked here is some 75 fps below that advertised by Winchester. I have had it expand through tough cloth barriers at 1103 fps and faster. In an age where ammunition manufacturers can sell every round they make, they tend to load ammo to safe pressures rather than to advertised specifications. That 's why I chronograph ammo I carry for self defense. When I lived outside Nashville, TN about six years ago, this round was the issue load of Nashville Metro. The officers I talked to said it always worked when fired from their Glock 22's and 23's into violent desperadoes. The testing protocol is very tough, and like Evan Marshall says, "people aren't jello." I believe that, based on real life experience of police officers, it can be depended on to work if it makes it up into the 1100 fps range.

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    1. Thanks Dan. In my head, I know the best way to test would be to have a few boxes from multiple manufacturing lots. I still haven't gotten any Ranger in the new black boxes yet except for 223 and 12 gauge.

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    2. I have tons and tons of it in the black box if you would like me to send you one for resting, just let me know, thanks

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    3. I have winchester ranger in black box if you would like to test it let me know and i'll ship it to you, thanks

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    4. Appreciate the offer. Heading into Winter, I'm not sure how much testing I will be doing since I test outside. Also, I'm keeping my eyes open for new black box stuff at my usual shopping spots.

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  4. I think the cleargel is the issue here. The internet is rife with bullets failing to expand in cleargel that perform perfectly over and over again in simtest and standard gel.

    As for the velocity, I was issued this 165 Talon load through several variations from Black Talon with a brass case to the current nickel and standard color jacket and the velocity has always been 1050 fps or so from my Glock 27. I know that is below the advertised velocity, but that is what it has always been in my velocity testing.

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    1. You are certainly entitled to guess at the reason for the poor test results, but I see way too many good results using clear gel to discount the occasional failure to expand. The 165 grain bullets in this test had no problems expanding. http://mousegunaddict.blogspot.com/2014/03/winchester-pdx1-40-s-165-grain-bonded.html

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