Range Report: Browning Ammunition

By Bob Campbell published on in Ammunition, Range Reports

Over the past century, many gun makers have offered their own branded ammunition. Among the most successful have been Remington and Winchester. A few makers have offered ammunition made by outside vendors, including Smith and Wesson and Taurus. In these cases, things did not go as well. Browning, however, is another story.

Plated cartridge of Browning amunition

Plated cases should enhance feed reliability.

Using ammunition from a proven source for training, competition, and personal defense is important. Browning branded ammunition is unique and useful—offering choices not found in other lines. Browning relies upon Winchester-Olin to produce these loads. Quality is assured and arguably as good as it gets. Browning offers ammunition for handguns, rifles, and even shotguns. I have been able to test several hundred rounds of 9mm and .45 ACP and find it good.

The handgun loads are offered in two variations. One is for personal defense and the other for practice. By far, the useful and affordable FMJ loads will be the most used. All Browning ammunition is loaded in cartridge cases that have been given a black nickel plate. This plate gives the Browning loads a trademark look, and it should give an edge in smooth feeding.

The .45 ACP load features a 230-grain bullet with a flat nose. The 9mm loads use a 147-grain flat point rather than the traditional 115- or 124-grain pointed FMJ bullet used in most burner loads. The long bearing surface of the 147-grain FMJ offers good practical accuracy and stakes out a place for Browning for potentially match grade 9mm ammunition.

Open box of Browning Ammunition

Browning FMJ loads are a good training resource.

The BXP loads use a specially designed, hollow-point projectile. The X bullet is plated, similar to the Winchester Silvertip in appearance, but different in design. The hollow point nose features a lattice work, or web, inside the hollow nose. This design is intended to offer improved penetration and expansion compared to the standard Winchester Silvertip that has been so successful. These loads are offered in .380 ACP, 9mm Luger, .40 Smith and Wesson and .45 ACP.

I was able to test several hundred FMJ rounds in 9mm and .45, and the hollow point load in .45 ACP. I fired the 9mm in several of my 9mm Luger handguns. I have more 9mm caliber pistols than anything else, and the test gave interesting results. Even the stubby compact Glock 43 exhibited good accuracy.

I fired for accuracy using a pistol rest. The 147-grain load offers mild recoil, good accuracy, and a full powder burn. A clean burning load is important when you are firing many rounds in competition. Performance cannot be faulted and velocity is within the normal range for 147-grain 9mm loads.

Browning ammunition with handgun

Browning ammunition gave excellent results in several handguns.

The .45 ACP 230-grain FMJ is a bit faster than many generic ball loads. For those using the .45 ACP as an outdoors handgun, this may have appeal. With some generic ball running 820 fps, the 870 fps Browning load has a pleasant thump when used against steel gongs. This would also be a good factory load for use in bowling pin matches.

Accuracy is good and the powder burn is clean. Moving to the defensive loads, I found the 230-grain hollow point just slightly slower than the FMJ load, and this is often due to differences in lots. A plus or minus variation of 20 fps isn’t unusual in factory ammunition from the same maker.

This load demonstrated superior accuracy. I fired this load in the pistol rest by taking careful aim, and was rewarded with good results from several handguns. I also fired a few rounds in water testing. This isn’t gelatin testing but neither is a human body. Each offers a rough idea of bullet expansion. The Browning X bullet penetrated to 18 inches and expanded well. This is viable, even excellent performance for a defense load. The Browning ammunition line gets a clean bill of health and seems a good value.

9mm 147-grain

Loading and Gun Average Velocity 25-yard Group
Glock 17 Vickers Tactical 985 fps 3.25 inches
Glock 43 966 fps 4.65 inches
CZ P10C 981 fps 2.75 inches
CZ P01 969 fps 1.9 inches
AREX Rex Zero 1 970 fps 2.25 inches
Ruger SR1911 955 fps 2.5 inches
Wilson Combat EDC X9 939 fps 1.65 inches

.45 ACP 230 grain FMJ

Loading and Gun Average Velocity 25-yard Group
Kimber Custom II 890 fps 2.0 inches
Colt Series 70 878 fps 2.5 inches
Rock Island Commander 840 fps 4.0 inches
STI Spartan 873 fps 3.0 inches
SIG P220R 832 fps 2.0 inches

.45 ACP 230-grain X Hollow Point

Loading and Gun Average Velocity 25-yard Group
Kimber Custom II 865 fps 1.9 inches
SIG P220R 850 fps 1.7 inches

Which brand of ammunition do you prefer? How does it compare to Browning? Share your answers in the comment section.

SLRule

Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

View all articles by Bob Campbell

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Comments (19)

  • Elena George

    |

    A hollow point in .45? That’s some serious overkill LOL

    I had heard that flat nosed (wadcutters) do not cycle well in a semiautomatic but do well enough in a revolver. They do make it easier to examine your target when done though.

    Reply

  • JTB

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    Extremely dirty!!!!!!

    Reply

  • james adams

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    A few years back I acquired a box of .357 magnum ammo made by Browning. I fired 12 rounds with my S&W 686-4 and all the casings stuck in the cylinder so that was the end of me using anymore of that stuff. After that experience, I just figured that we never see any Browning ammo because of it’s poor quality. I just figured they went out of business after folks tried it and found it to be a big waste and disappointment.

    Reply

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