Cheaper Than Dirt! staffers covering the 2014 SHOT Show in Las Vegas have filed their final reports on new ammunition and accessories introduced at the show. Here’s a look at what 2014 has to offer from Winchester, including a simplified line of W Train & Defend loads; dedicated 3-Gun offerings; and Shot-Lok technology in the new Long Beard turkey load.
W Train & Defend
A significant percentage of new handgun owners are women. Some statistical analyses place that percentage as high as 37 percent. Many are purchasing their first handgun for self-defense (though as a range safety officer in the action pistol sports, I can say that I’m seeing a lot of new female shooters entering the simpler sports, such as IDPA, to gain practice time). The vast majority of these new female shooters are not firearm knowledgeable and do not fully understand ammunition. For 2014, Winchester simplifies its ammunition selection process with a new point-of-purchase packaged product line—W Train & Defend.
The new line features customer-friendly packaging that clearly denotes Train & Defend products. Available in 95-grain .380 ACP, 147-grain 9mm Luger, 130-grain .38 Special and 180-grain .40 S&W, the line includes indoor-range friendly 50-round boxes of Train ammunition. The full metal jacketed loads deliver reduced recoil and muzzle flash. Using the same ballistics, but with JHP bullet technology, 20-round boxes of Defend ammunition complete the line. A shooter practicing with the Train version will see little difference when shooting the Defend version. The packaging simplifies the buying decision. Select Train for practice, and the JHP version (Defend) for personal protection.
1911 .45 ACP
John Browning’s classic 1911 single-action auto is still one of the most popular handguns in America. In fact, some consider it to be an American icon. The .45 ACP was the original caliber, and still the most popular. For 2014, Winchester its new Win1911 ammunition line in distinctive packaging. It consists of two loads (both 230 grains)—a .45 ACP flat nose FMJ in a nickel-plated case for practice, and JHP at the same velocity and pressure for home defense. The loads are ballistically matched to produce the same point of impact, which helps simplify ammunition selection.
Win 3 Gun
Modern action shooting sports, whether 3 Gun, IDPA, or USPSA are among the most popular competitive shooting events. For 2014, Winchester capitalizes upon that with a branded product line. The new Win 3 Gun product line is available in distinctive packaging in 147-grain 9mm, 180-grain .40 S&W and 230-grain .45 ACP. Each load features lead-free primers and a fully heel-encapsulated bullet with a brass jacket to minimize compensator fouling. In addition, the packaging lists the Power Factor of the load. Also offered in the Win 3 Gun line is a 55-grain 5.56mm with a lead-free primer, and two 12-gauge shotgun loads—a low-recoil No. 7 1/2 and 9-pellet 00 buck load. Winchester’s match rifle line sees three new additions: a 69-grain .223 Rem BTHP, 77-grain 5.56mm BTHP and 140-grain 6.5 Creedmore BTHP.
Trouble for Turkeys
On the shotgun side, the big news at Winchester this year is the Long Beard XR turkey load, using Shot-Lok technology. Shot-Lok technology involves injecting a liquid resin into the shot cup before dropping it in plated lead shot that migrates throughout the resin. A shot disc goes on top; the shell is crimped, and the resin is allowed to harden. Upon firing, the resin fractures to form a micro buffer that protects the shot as it travels down the bore and ensures the pellets exit the barrel in perfect shape. Winchester claims the new technology produces patterns in the 40- to 70-yard range that are actually tighter than its Extended Range loads (and other tungsten and high-density pellets), yet the use of lead pellets results in a significantly less expensive load. When compared to traditional lead loads, Winchester claims the new Long Beard XR will place twice as many pellets in a 10-inch circle at 60 yards.
The Long Beard XR will be available in 10-round boxes in 12 gauge 3.5-inch (two-ounce shot load, 1200 fps), in Nos. 4, 5, 6, and 3-inch magnum (1.75-ounce shot load, 1200 fps) in Nos. 4, 5 and 6. Upland hunters will also benefit from the new Shot-Lok, plated lead shot technology with the new Rooster XR load. Designed for increased range on pheasant, huns, chukar and similar distant-flushing birds, it will be available in 15-round boxes in 12 gauge 3-inch or 2 3/4-inch in Nos. 4, 5 and 6.
Several line extensions to the Winchester shotshell family make their appearance this year. The Blind Side steel shot line sees the addition of a 12 gauge 3.5-inch No. 5 load, 3-inch 12 gauge loads in BB and No. 3 and 20 gauge 3-inch No. 6 load.
The home-defense segmented-slug Defender line sees the addition of a 2 3/4-inch 20 gauge load with a 3/4-ounce slug at 1600 fps that will be offered in 10-round boxes. The clay target AA Tracker line features a highly visible wad that allows shooters to actually see where his or her pattern is hitting. Introduced last year, it has proven highly popular. This year will see the addition of a 12-gauge 2 3/4-inch, 3 1/4-dram No. 7 1/2 sporting clays load and 20 gauge 2 3/4-inch, 3-dram No. 7 1/2 load. Both will be offered with a black wad for clear skies and a fluorescent orange wad for dimmer light.
.22 LR Goes 222
Last, the Winchester 36-grain copper-plated hollowpoint .22LR load will be offered in a new 222-round bulk package to complement the existing 333 and 555 bulk pack offerings.
Editor’s Note: Our staff articles are supplemented with reporting by SHOT Business Daily, reprinted with permission. SHOT Daily, produced by The Bonnier Corporation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, covers all facets of the yearly firearms-industry show. To view a 2014 digital version of SHOT Daily, click here.