Winchester Responds to “A Tale of Three Bullets”
Russ Chastain 12.26.19
A few weeks ago, I posted the story of a friend’s 2019 hunting season and the trio of public-land whitetails he’d taken — all with Winchester Power Point bullets. You can read about that here.
He experienced some unusual bullet performance, which he and I both questioned; I explored that in some depth in another post titled, “A Tale of Three Bullets.” I will briefly summarize each scenario below, but you may wish to read the full details by clicking here.
Each bullet was used to take a whitetail ranging in weight from 112 to 127 pounds.
We have since received some input from Nathan Robinson, who works for Winchester. Here’s what he has to say about our three bullet experiences:
Bullet One: The Non-Expander
The first bullet hit no bone on the entry side of the whitetail and apparently tumbled around inside, failed to expand, and became flattened and even bent.
I believe the hard quartering target angle, and likely a glancing impact with a rib, either caused the nose to become pinched (preventing proper expansion) or more likely it caused the bullet to tumble through the vitals. Either that initial impact, or subsequent tumbling through the ribs on the off side, would explain the funny bend.
This is not common, and the first time I’ve seen it. It’s reassuring to know the bullet carried enough energy to still cleanly kill the animal.
He’s mighty right — it was an exceptionally fast kill, and there are no complaints about the result.
Bullet One: The Expanded Non-Penetrator
This bullet was fired into a running buck quartering towards the hunter; hit about six inches behind the shoulder, took out a lung, and lodged in hide just forward of the offside ham (rear leg). While expansion and wound channel were both textbook perfect, the lack of complete pass-through at just 30 yards was surprising.
This deer did not fall to this shot, but did stop, and the hunter took a follow-up shot (to the neck) to finish the buck.
This actually looks perfect. Due to the short distance the bullet was still moving VERY fast which causes massive expansion and a rapid energy dump on target. This is an optimal scenario for a quick kill. Typically it should pass through, though.
I know it sounds odd or counter-intuitive but as the distance grows the bullet slows and expands less, so longer shots usually result in deeper penetration and are thus more likely to pass through.
If pass-throughs are important to the hunter I would recommend using a bonded, controlled-expansion bullet.
Bullet Three: Possibly Perfect
This buck was shot broadside at 200 yards and was a perfect pass-through, dropping the animal in its tracks. Again there are no complaints about the result, but the internal results seemed odd to the hunter, mainly because the exit wound in the hide was not large — although he said the offside ribcage and shoulder “were destroyed.”
Also doesn’t appear to be a problem. The damage at entrance and to vitals clearly shows it expanded, while probably not as much as bullet two due to the longer distance I mentioned above. The size of the exit is typically more related to what it passed through just prior to the skin, and how restrictive it was. Bone for example will burst out violently while stretchy muscle and skin may result in a smaller hole.
Mr. Robinson makes good points, and we are happy to provide a platform for him to do so. After all, if we raised questions about these bullets, it’s the least we can do to allow him to answer them. To that end, here are some parting comments he added:
I think your friend should feel confident continuing to use these calibers and bullets. This bullet design [Winchester Power Point] has been used for many decades on countless animals and every major brand has a similar version that is likely their top seller (or close to it) because of the value price.
There’s also nothing wrong with trying out some of our newer innovations though as well. Our Deer Season XP is designed for even more rapid expansion and energy transfer. It’s known for killing deer faster than anything due to its oversize hollow point for more shock and shorter blood trails.
Due to the interest in pass-throughs, I would recommend the Deer Season XP Copper Impact version because it is a solid copper projectile that will retain its weight and punch deeper. Power Max Bonded would also be a great option. It uses a bonding process to increase weight retention.
I can attest to the performance of Deer Season XP; I have taken numerous deer with it in 308 Win and my most recent kill was with my father’s old Springfield-Mauser 30-06 hunting rifle using Deer Season XP ammo. I have recovered every one, and most have not gone far.