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Winchester Deer Season XP

July 22, 2015
Ohio Valley Outdoors

Looking back over the last several years at new Winchester ammunition, I've reviewed Blindside waterfowl shotgun shells, PDX1 .410 shells for the S&W Governor and Taurus Judge, and the .17 Winchester Super Magnum. All of these new cartridges get an A+. Now, a new Winchester centerfire cartridge has garnered serious interest for me, the Deer Season XP (Extreme Point).

Any deer hunter knows that you need to tip the scales in your favor any way you can to be successful. Not every shot is picture perfect at a deer standing broadside; the shot could be 20 yards or 200 yards; even with good bullet placement, dropping a deer quickly takes knockdown power or you could be tracking for hundreds of yards, or more. The choice of ammunition, and specifically the bullet, can be the deciding factor of a successful hunt.

The Deer Season XP bullet was specifically designed by the engineers at Winchester to meet the needs of deer hunters. It is available in these 8 popular deer hunting cartridges: 243 Win. (95 gr.), 270 Win. (130 gr.), 270 WSM (130 gr.), 7mm Rem Mag (140 gr.), 308 Win. (150 gr.), 30-06 Springfield (150 gr.), 300 Win Mag (150 gr.) and 300 WSM (150 gr.). The bullet for each of these cartridges has two common characteristics that give the performance desired.

Article Video

* Large diameter polymer tip -- This polymer tip is about twice the diameter of typical ballistic tip bullets. Upon impact, it causes the contoured copper jacket of the bullet to begin expanding immediately. This rapid expansion allows the alloy lead core to transfer the energy quickly (i.e. knockdown power).

* High ballistics coefficient -- Simply stated, a higher ballistic coefficient means less drag for higher retained velocity, less drop and less wind drift. On average for the 8 Deer Season XP cartridges, 92% of muzzle velocity is retained at 100 yards and 85% at 200 yards. As for average energy of the Deer Season XP cartridges, 85% is retained at 100 yards and 73% at 200 yards. When sighted in for 100 yards, the average drop for all 8 cartridges at 200 yards is only 2.8".

*** Checking Muzzle Velocity

Article Photos

Winchester Deer Season XP

A string of 10 shots were fired from a 45 year old Remington 700BDL (22" barrel, 1-in-10" twist) and then a Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 (24" barrel, 1-in-10" twist) to check the muzzle velocities of the .308 Win Deer Season XP.

RifleHighLowSpreadAverage
Remington 700BDL2,7072,661462,683
Weatherby Vanguard Series 22,7892,760292,776

The muzzle velocities were slightly under the specifications stated by Winchester from their controlled environment testing. What is very impressive is the consistency of the DSXP muzzle velocities. From the 22" barreled Remington, the total variance from high to low was just 46 fps; for the 24" barreled Weatherby, the variance was only 29 fps. This is exceptional consistency from every day hunting ammunition.

*** Checking Accuracy

The DSXP was tested for accuracy at 100 yards.

Remington 700 BDL - Ten 3-shot groups ranging from 1.6" to 2.3", averaged 1.9". This rifle has seen a couple thousand rounds through it over the years. Lately, 2" to 3+" groups were the norm with various brands and loads of ammunition. Imagine the surprise when the first 3-shot group using Deer Season XP was 1.7". There may be some life left in this old rifle.

Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 - Ten 3-shot groups ranging from .6" to 1.3", averaged 1.0". Weatherby states that this rifle is capable of sub-moa accuracy with quality ammunition. Six of the ten groups were 1" or less. Obviously, Deer Season XP can meet Weatherby's criteria.

A brief opportunity to shoot a brand new Savage 10 FCP-SR (20" barrel, 1-in-10" twist) presented itself. One 3-shot group was fired and measured at 1.2". While this rifle isn't designed for deer hunting, checking how it would handle a cartridge specifically for deer hunting was more to satisfy my curiosity. Curiosity satisfied.

*** Checking Penetration and Energy Transfer

Performance of the Deer Season XP was tested in ballistic gelatin from Clear Ballistics. Winchester claims the DSXP's bullet is designed to transfer energy quickly and with total penetration in the 16" to 20" range. Using two 16" gel blocks placed end to end, I recorded the impact of the DSXP at 10 feet from the muzzle. This bullet performed exactly as Winchester claims. The penetration was right at 16 inches and the energy transfer was so massive it lifted the gel blocks completely off the surface. The slow motion video is an eye opener.

Expecting this ammunition to have a premium price tag, the MSRP was another eye opener. Deer Season XP in standard calibers will have an MSRP in the very reasonable $21 to $24 price range. Magnum calibers will be around $30 and short magnums about $9 more.

Two years ago, I asked one of my contacts at Winchester (Olin) about the development of new cartridges. Paraphrasing his response, "Winchester is dedicated to meeting customer expectations 100% of the time through the continuous improvement process. Our customers want new, innovative products that give them an edge on the range or in the field." The Winchester Deer Season XP does just that.

 
 

 

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