During the 1970s, about the only real difference in ammunition performance was accuracy and resistance to oil, water and solvent. For that reason, I often carried Winchester ball ammunition in the .45 ACP.
Primer seal and case mouth seal are good, and the load offers a clean powder burn. I learned that during World War I, Winchester had been awarded a huge military contract.
The stipulation was that the standard for primer failure was less than one in 100,000. Today, the standard is much higher.
I test a lot of ammunition and I rely on Winchester ammunition for personal defense, target shooting, hunting small and large game and also shotgun use.
There are many Winchester loads I use and it was difficult to narrow the choice down. Just the same, here we go with a few highlights.
1. Winchester PDX 124-Grain 9mm Luger
All are accurate enough for meaningful practice in pistols and carbines to 50 yards or more. I am leaning toward the Active Duty for the greatest precision, but use them all.
For personal defense, my standards are high. I have quite a few histories on file — real files, not something dreamed up by shadowy figures for a ‘stopping-power’ study — in which the Winchester SXT +P+ has given law enforcement excellent results.
As close as we can get in readily-available 9mm Luger ammunition is the Winchester 124-grain +P. The PDX load runs 1200 fps in most handguns. Expansion and penetration are excellent.
This is my first favorite Winchester loading.
2. Winchester Silvertip
The second Winchester load is also 9mm Luger. I have used the 115-grain Silvertip as a carry load in the Browning Hi-Power and CZ 75 for many years. It clocks 1180 to 1220 fps in various pistols and has proven accurate.
A new variation that I appreciate for its deep penetration and consistent expansion is the Winchester 147-grain Silvertip. This load exits the Tisas 9mm at 1002 fps.
Penetration is 18 inches and expansion a consistent .62 inch. For those times when the adversary may be heavily clad or if you need a load that penetrates light cover, this is a fine choice.
Accuracy is outstanding. Perhaps best of all, this load is a mild-recoil option. I have also tested the .45 ACP 185-grain Silvertip with good results.
3. Winchester .410 Slug
This little dandy weighs but 88 grains. Velocity is about 1600 fps in a typical shotgun. A friend that owns a spread in a place called Little Chicago sparked my interest in this one.
Rabbits in the crops, crows, chicken hawks eating the chickens, are all part of the farmer’s challenges. He wanted a hard hitter that would not range as far as a rifle.
He keeps Winchester .410 bore three-inch shot loads on hand, but also uses the slug for a longer shot. This slug breaks up in water and leaves a trail of lead in the water jugs.
Even on coyote, the little slug is a sure thing he says. Accuracy cannot be faulted, even with a bead-sighted shotgun at modest range. Sometimes good things do come in small packages.
4. Winchester Super X .22 LR 37-Grain Hollow Point
It is all about shot placement. A 40-grain .22 RNL bullet such as the Winchester Wildcat is great for practice and works fine on most game animals. I like to hedge the bet and use the Winchester Super X hollow point.
By dropping the standard .22 Long Rifle bullet three grains and upping the velocity, we have reliable expansion. Accuracy is never in question. Affordable and reliable, these are good loads.
5. Winchester 62-Grain .223 Remington
The standard bullet weight for practice loads in .223 Remington is a 55-grain FMJ bullet. This is a good enough all-around practice load, and most are more accurate than the shooter may demonstrate.
The 62-grain bullet usually exhibits a slight edge in accuracy that is more well-defined as the range increases. I feel the function may be better.
Overall, the Winchester 62-grain load offers an affordable option with an edge over the general run of .223 Remington practice loads.
Conclusion: Winchester Loads
Winchester is among our oldest companies. They are an icon in the firearms industry, but at the same time, offer cutting-edge technology with the PDX load, Silvertip, modern shotgun shells and rifle ammunition.
What are your favorite Winchester loads? Let us know in the comments section below!