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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tags: , , ,

Trackback from your site.

The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (19)

  • Grady Barton

    |

    Browning. 22 ammo is truly just junk! Period

    Reply

  • Camelot

    |

    I found a box of the Browning BXP 230gr .45Auto at a local store 2 weeks ago. The box states muzzle velocity 920fps, which is +P territory for 230gr, but the ammo itself doesn’t bear a +P rating. I got 880fps on my chrono from a 4.5″ bbl S&W M&P45, which is adequate velocity for a carry load. I milk jug water tested the load and it went 3 jugs deep and expanded nicely. I like the plating and general construction of the load, it has a nice crimp, nice rounded bullet ogive, and functions well. The plastic cross gimmick in the cavity should help consistent hollow point performance, much like Hornady’s polymer cavity plug. The bullet jacket is a non-bonded construction, so the jacket peels away from the nose, but did not separate at the base of the bullet on my test. Overall it’s a good carry load that will not exactly tickle the bad guy.

    Reply

  • Ace

    |

    I can’t shoot steel cases indoor. Range rule.

    Reply

    • Elena George

      |

      Many ranges are adopting the “no steel” rule. The review does not state if under that spiffy black nickel plate is steel or brass.

      The first round I fired on my 9mm was steel cased. It failed to eject :-( Later I was told that steel, if it does not eject properly, can mess up your pistol, so I did not buy any more steel cased ammo after that.

      Reply

    • Bob Campbell

      |

      Elena
      Good comments.
      Browning ammo is brass cased with a coating.

      Reply

  • Arpee

    |

    I understand that the accuracy and penetration are affected by many factors. One of the most basic is length of the barrel. Could the reports also indicate the barrel length. A Ruger with a 3.25″ barrel should have similar velocity and penetration as most other similarly length barrels, but slower and less penetration than longer ones.

    Reply

  • Chuck

    |

    Funny I should come upon this article as just yesterday I tried a box of Browning BRP 40gr hp 22 cal in my brand new Ruger SR22. I had never seen Browning ammo before. I picked it up along with 5 other types of 22 to see what my SR would run. I should note that I broke down the pistol and cleaned it before firing it. At both 5 and 7 yards from a rest it easily printed the best groups and was rated at the highest velocity compared to the others I shot. That’s where the good ended. Out of 60 rounds I had 2 fail to feed and 2 fail to fire (they did not fire on re-strike either) Not a very stellar showing. While just 60 rounds fired is not a lot, 4 failures in those 60 rounds certainly is. Maybe the center fire cartridges are ok, but I’ll be staying away from the Browning rimfire. For the same money you can get CCI which fired and cycled flawlessly every time.

    Reply

    • Kelly

      |

      I had that problem also, it was because they were not seated in the chamber. When the firing pin hit them it simply pushed them into the chamber. The result was a light strike on the back of the shell.

      Reply

  • archie

    |

    bought a case of Browning 9mm range. Found Winchester self defense rounds in several boxes, browning just win in new box?

    Reply

  • Kelly

    |

    I bought a box of Browning 22LR to use in my Ruger Mark II, it would not chamber correctly and caused many jams. I finally figured out that their 22LR ammo is.001 -.002″ in diameter bigger than other brands. I will never buy Browning ammo again in any caliber. Sent an email to Browning but never got a response, poor customer service.

    Reply

  • SamuelS

    |

    I bought 2 boxes of the Browning practice ammunition in .40 S&W for my Taurus PT140 G2. I gave the second box away after 1 out of every 5 would fail to eject in the first box. Every other brand I have used have cycled fine.

    Reply

  • Docduracoat

    |

    I have been shooting ( and buying ammo) for 30 years
    I have never seen a box of ammo with the Browning label…ever
    I see Winchester, Remington,UMC , Fiocchi, the various Bears, Wolf, Tula, Hornady, Blazer, Magtech and even ZQI
    I see ads for Sig brand ammo
    No Browning brand

    Reply

    • Desert Rat

      |

      It is new, so maybe you will be seeing it in stores soon.

      Reply

    • AndyG

      |

      All of my Browning-labelled ammo dates from the mid-1970s. I don’t recall ever seeing any in the 1980s.

      Reply

  • Secundius

    |

    At first I considered “Black Nickel Plating” as a Barrel Lubrication!/? But for that the Entire Bullet would be Plated in “Nickel”?/! Now I suspect the Black Nickel is an “Inhibitor” against Corrosion for Long-Term Cartridge Storage within the Hand Gun or as an Inhibitor against Immersion against Water such as “Rain”, “Accidental Dunkings” or even “High Humidity Environments…

    Reply

    • crazygunsmith

      |

      the black nickel has no real function other than appearance, it looks nice and makes it easy to claim your brass at the range. browning winchester and fn are now the same company as to firearms. the winchester olin ammo while a separate company than the gun co with the same name has a working relationship with each other. stands to reason olin/winchester would make the browning ammo.

      Reply

Leave a comment

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

%d bloggers like this: