Range Report: Browning Ammunition

Plated cartridge of Browning amunition

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.

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 latticework, 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.

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
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 (21)

  1. 45acp what the lowest to the highest gran, types of use and what other bullets compare with the 45 acp.

  2. I first tried the Browning 147 grain BPT 9mm about two years ago because I was looking for some 147gr that would be subsonic (most, if not all, is) and Browning was one of the few that actually put the FPS data on the box (all ammo should have this info.) The rounds impressed me in several areas. Most importantly, when shooting suppressed, all the rounds were the same volume. Several other brands varied from round to round indicating inconsistent powder loads. Also, the good looking black cases are very slick and not only can I tell what is loaded at a glance they seem to feed easily into the chamber because of this. The ammo is also noticeably cleaner, an important characteristic when shooting with a suppressor. Finally, I have had zero failures out of a few thousand rounds and the price is very good for the quality you get, only a dollar or two more than bargain ammo which has none of the above characteristics. I think people who give this stuff bad reviews must be basing their opinion off of the .22LR or older styles of Browning branded ammo because the BPT is some of the best 9mm range ammo I’ve shot at any price.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

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

  12. 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…

    1. 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.

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