Thursday, April 3, 2014

Winchester Ranger 40 S&W 165 Grain Bonded JHP Multi Shot Terminal Test

Thanks again to blog reader Justin D. for the assist in getting the ammunition for this test.  You may remember this load was previously tested back in March 2013 from a much shorter barrel.  You can see that test HERE

The Winchester Ranger Bonded line competes with the Federal Tactical Bonded, Speer Gold Dot, and Remington Golden Saber Bonded lines of ammunition.  Bonded bullets are manufactured with a process that bonds the copper or brass jacket to the lead core of the bullet.  This manufacturing process creates a "tougher" bullet that is less likely to fragment when passing through barriers like wallboard, automobile glass, and mild steel.  Bonded bullets are frequently used by many law enforcement agencies that may encounter these barriers in their work.

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 to verify density.

Test Results:

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

My Thoughts on This Load:
Many folks believe the Winchester PDX1 165 grain is the retail version of this load.  Based on the results of this test, they do appear to be very similar.  I actually tested the PDX1 through the same pistol with a different set of gel blocks very recently.  You can see that test HERE.  The results were very similar.  All recovered bullets from both tests were slightly over-weight.  All test shots fell within a similar velocity range.  The only significant difference was the terminal performance in the 4 layers of heavy denim test.  The PDX1 actually expanded, but the Ranger Bonded tested here did not.  Other than a slightly lower velocity with the Ranger Bonded denim test shot, I'm at a loss as to why the PDX1 expanded and the Ranger Bonded did not. 

Pick or Pan:
Based on the similar results of this load and the PDX1, I would call this one a pick.  I like Ranger 50 count boxes vs. the 20 count PDX1, but I'll buy this load in the packaging that happens to be available at the time I'm ready to re-stock.

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. Thanks for reaffirming that the 180 grain Ranger bonded is the way to go...

  2. Been carrying the 180 Federal Tactical Bonded, they tend to be cheapest of the bunch along with the Rem Golden Sabers; but still have great performance. As nice as the solid coppers are I haven't seen any tests that show the amount of improvement one would expect with ammo that costs almost double that such as the Golden Sabers.