Friday, January 10, 2014

Winchester Ranger 9mm +P+ 127 Grain T-Series Denim and Clear Gel Test

I'd like to thank blog reader Wastool for donating the ammunition used in this test.  I really wish I had better results for you.

If you spend any time around the internet gun forums that have ammunition discussion areas, this is one of those loads that is discussed frequently.  It's actually so popular that people often refer to it by catalog number (RA9TA) instead of by name.  I think some of the allure of this load stems from the fact that it is part of the Winchester Ranger line of Law Enforcement ammunition.  You won't find this ammunition at your typical Sporting Goods Store.  Loaded to +P+ pressures, it is intended to be fired only in handguns certified by the manufacturer as safe for use with high pressure ammunition that exceeds SAAMI specifications. 

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 first bare gel test shot into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  Run second test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz/yard heavy-weight denim.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 5)  Repeat step 4.
Step 6)  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:
Overall, I was very disappointed by the performance of this load in our short barrel test.  Bare gel performance was satisfactory, but the two failures to expand when fired through the 4 layers of denim was a let down.  With the stellar reputation of this load, I really expected to see expanded bullets in the gel block behind the denim.  Just to be sure the first expansion failure wasn't a fluke, I tried a second denim test shot and saw similar terminal performance results.

Pick or Pan:
The terminal performance of this load doesn't justify the additional wear and tear that +P+ ammunition inflicts on a pistol.  We've seen better terminal performance from other 9mm +P loads in previous tests.  The very limited availability of this ammunition is another reason why I would consider this load a pan.

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.


  1. Interesting. I got notably better velocities (c. 75 fps) than you did from my G26 and my Kahr P9 Covert - both with "polygonally rifled" 3.5" barrels, and both shot at notably higher elevation than your test was run. I wonder how much effect that extra oomph would have had on the denim expansion.

  2. Velocity is everything with this round. I got similar velocities and expansion as in the PG&G test through heavy clothing barriers in the G26. Nothing expanded in more than a double T-shirt at less than 1190 fps in the G19. All expanded at 1215 fps and up in the Glock 17 regardless of the amount of cloth put in front of it. I had two lots of RA9T, one loaded in 2009 and the other in 2010. The bullets appear identical; however the velocity of the '09 lot averaged 25 fps faster than the newer lot.