Winchester: The American Legend
Few names are as iconic and intertwined with our nation’s history and firearms as Winchester. For more than 150 years Winchester ammo has been recognized by sportsmen, acknowledged as an industry leader and proven itself in the field, on the firing line and front line.
When Oliver Winchester established the company on May 22, 1866, reliable ammunition was part of the original mission. The company name oozes history, pioneering spirit and communicates performance, although resting on those laurels isn’t standard operating procedure. Its tradition of designing and perfecting new cartridges, shotshells and components that perform, in tough conditions, with the latest technology, continues to this day.
The company arguably reached dominance shortly after news of Theodore Roosevelt taking in the view from Cuba’s San Juan Hill swept the nation in 1898. His rag-tag band of Rough Riders determined the U.S. military’s then-standard-issue firearms were sub-quality, arming themselves instead with Winchester Model 1895s for the campaign. The only reason Teddy wasn’t holding his ’95 for that famous summit picture is that, as legend has it, he’d loaned the reliable repeater to another soldier before the battle. He’s widely reported as stating—about his Centennial Model 1876—“The Winchester…is by all odds the best weapon I ever had, and now I use it almost exclusively…”
The story and legend are the product of hard work and untiring innovation that begins with the Winchester Model 1866—launched during the company’s first year of operation. “The gun that won the west,” the Model 1873, was introduced seven years later and it brought with it something all new, the .44-40 Winchester Center Fire—the company’s first centerfire cartridge.
In 1894 the company began launching firearms at a frequency that made competitors green with envy. There was one that year, followed by the Rough Rider-preferred 1895 and many others. Its treasured, controlled-round-feed Model 70 that gained the title “Rifleman’s Rifle” among enthusiasts was first made in 1936 and Winchester didn’t stop there.
Winchester Ammunition Innovation
Winchester’s long list of All-Star guns dominated headlines and sentenced its new cartridge and shotshell designs to the backseat. There, the list of accomplishments is just as lengthy and noteworthy, beginning with the 1895 introduction of the new smokeless-powdered .30-30 Win. cartridge. By 1886 the company was making a line of Rival shotshells in 10, 12, 14, 16 and 20 gauge and, in 1918 collaborated with John Moses Browning to develop the Desert Storm-famous .50 BMG. It’s familiar Super-X brand of shotshells hit the market in 1921, the .270 Win. came in 1925 and two years later copper-plated bullets were coming out of the factory under the Lubaloy name.
The Great Depression struck in 1929, taking a toll on the company’s commercial footing at a time when it was still trying to recover after retooling to produce Enfields for Britain during World War I. In 1931 Western Cartridge Company, which was established by avid sportsman Franklin W. Olin, purchased Winchester Repeating Arms and Western-Winchester was born.
There was no slowdown in innovation. Only a year later it introduced the first non-corrosive, mercury-free shotshell primers and patented a process for making spherical ball powder. Then, working with Smith & Wesson, rolled out the 357 Mag. in 1935, .308 Win. in 1952, followed by the .243 Win., .338 Win. Mag, Power Point bullet and.300 Win. Mag. still serving in the Global War on Terrorism. The still-popular Silvertip bullet arrived in 1939, along with many others through the years.
Improvements in shotshell design continued at the same pace. The Super Seal cup wad was introduced in 1945, which improved shot velocity and gas management. The Winchester Mark 5 shot collar, another performance gain, followed in 1962 and the now-familiar Double X and AA shotshell brands hit the marketplace in 1965. In 1976 Winchester gave enthusiasts their first non-toxic steel-shot load—long before most hunting regulations reflected growing concern about the impact of lead on waterfowl.
Despite the hectic production schedule, the company also churned out 15 billion rounds for U.S. troops during World War II. The Lake City Ammunition Plant, which produces ammunition for the U.S. military, was managed by Winchester from 1985 to 2000. Roughly eight billion cartridges came out of the facility during that period.
Who Owns Winchester? Two Brands, One Name
A labor strike in 1979 ultimately led to the separation of the ammo and gun entities. First the company sold its firearms factory in Connecticut to employees, who had incorporated as U.S. Repeating Arms, but it ultimately came under the management/ownership of Herstal Group— owner of Fabrique Nationale and Browning. Winchester firearms continues to be manufactured under a licensing agreement, but Olin Corporation still manufactures Winchester ammo in Alton, IL.
Since the separation, Winchester has continued to roll out innovative cartridges and shotshells, including the .300 WSM (Winchester Short Magnum) and many others. In 1981 NASA decided the most reliable way to initiate parachute recovery and separation systems for the Space Shuttle’s solid rocket booster engines was with Winchester 209 shotshell primers. Performance is never compromised, obviously, a fact confirmed in 2017 when the U.S. military awarded a contract to the company to supply 9mm ammo for the new Modular Handgun System (an agreement valued at $99.2 million).
The Winchester PDX1 Defender line is tailored for self-defense. Available in a variety of handgun chamberings—and a trio for rifle—the hollow-point bullet is designed to fold into six “petals” on impact, expand to 1.5 times its unfired diameter and defeat intermediate barriers (like clothing). It meets or beats the rigorous FBI testing protocol.
Winchester Ballistic Silvertip
A polymer tip maximizes long-distance performance, yet the alloyed lead core retains weight for the reliable terminal performance sportsmen expect. Its contoured jacket controls expansion and the bullet’s Lubalox coating minimizes barrel fouling.
Winchester M22 Subsonic
Rimfire fans who don’t like to make a lot of noise should take a close look at Winchester’s M22 Subsonic loads. Traveling slower than the speed of sound—yet still functioning in semi-autos—audible report is reduced and suppressor effectiveness maximized. The 45-grain bullets are plated to minimize fouling and improve function.
Winchester AA TrAAcker
The AA line is legend, but this new flavor adds an all-new twist to an outstanding product. The orange wad features notched helical petals that “stabilize” it in the center of the pattern during flight, effectively tracking the shot’s travel. What a great way to get an inexperienced shooter on target. An equally orange hull makes it easy to identify the special loads, even from the standard AA offerings—the preferred choice among shotgun sports enthusiasts.
Winchester USA 223 Rem 62 Grain FMJ - 20 Rounds$17.85
Manufacturer Winchester Condition New Bullet Weight 62 Grain Bullet Type Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) Use Type plinking at the range Casing Type Brass Quantity 20 Ammo Caliber 223 Remington Manufacturer SKU USA223R3 Primer Type Boxer Magnetic No UPC Barcode 020892213135 Cost Per Round 89.3¢ per round
Winchester "white box" ammunition is a staple range load for many shooters due to its affordability and solid performance. These .223 Remington cartridges are ideal for AR-15s and other .223/5.56 NATO rifles.
Each cartridge in this 20-round box fires a heavy 62 grain full metal jacket bullet at 3,100 feet per second. While this is not mil-spec ammo, it produces ballistics virtually identical to those of M855 military ball.
Winchester ammo is loaded in Oxford, Mississippi using non-corrosive primers and reloadable brass cases.
Winchester 38 Super +P 130 Grain FMJ – 50 Rounds$54.85
Manufacturer Winchester Condition New Bullet Weight 130 Grain Bullet Type Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) Use Type plinking at the range Casing Type Nickel-Plated Brass Quantity 50 Ammo Caliber 38 Super Manufacturer SKU Q4205 Primer Type Boxer Magnetic No UPC Barcode 020892201965 Cost Per Round $1.10 per round
Load up your 1911 or EAA Witness with this high quality .38 Super ammunition for a great time at the range. These cartridges fire a 130 grain full metal jacket bullet at a muzzle velocity of 1,215 feet per second, producing relatively mild recoil in the full size pistols typically used with this caliber. This ammo is designated +P, like all .38 Super loads. It can be fired in any gun chambered for .38 Super.
Winchester ammunition is loaded in Oxford, Mississippi using non-corrosive Boxer primers and reloadable brass cases. Winchester brass is of very high quality and can serve as an excellent starting point for handloading.
Although primarily associated with competitive shooting, the .38 Super is also excellent for regular target shooting as it is generally less tiring to shoot than the .45 ACP. When loaded with JHPs, it has higher performance potential than the 9mm Luger and can work very well for personal protection.
Winchester Varmint-X 223 Rem 40 Grain PT - 20 Rounds$30.15
Manufacturer Winchester Condition New Bullet Weight 40 Grain Bullet Type Polymer Tipped Use Type varmint hunting Casing Type Brass Quantity 20 Ammo Caliber 223 Remington Manufacturer SKU X223P1 Primer Type Boxer UPC Barcode 020892219953 Cost Per Round $1.51 per round
The 223 Rem has been around since the Vietnam War when it was invented to give the American soldiers the advantage over the communist enemy and has remained popular ever since among militaries, law enforcement agencies, and civilians. Whether you are looking to train at the range, compete in a shooting match, defend yourself, or put food on the table, the 223 Rem offers the lightweight, low recoil, high speed round you need to get the job done.
With over one hundred fifty years of experience, Winchester knows how to make some of the best ammunition in the country and has been one of the most popular and trusted ammo manufacturers since its founding. These Winchester Varmint-X, 40 grain, polymer tip, brass cased, boxer primed rounds fire at 3700 feet per second and hit with incredible expansion, making it incredibly lethal against the pesky varmints that scurry around your home. When you have a varmint problem, these Winchester Varmint-X, fast, accuracy, and deadly rounds are perfect for you.
Winchester Long Beard XR 12 Gauge 3-1/2" 2 oz. #5 – 10 Rounds$30.75
Manufacturer Winchester Condition New Bullet Weight 2 oz. Bullet Type #5 Shot Use Type turkey hunting Quantity 10 Ammo Caliber 12 Gauge Manufacturer SKU STLB12L5 Shot Material Lead Shell Length 3-1/2" UPC Barcode 020892021303 Cost Per Round $3.08 per round
An excellent 12 Gauge load manufactured by Winchester that promises excellent performance and reliable feeding/extraction round after round. These are new 3-1/2" shells loaded with Lead shot, you'll have 10 rounds ready for your next turkey hunting.