Winchester Ranger penetration data

Remember how I said that when you get up into service calibers, the difference between 9mm, .357 Sig, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP was insignificant?  Well, it turns out I was right.  Science is coolWinchester fired all their Ranger rounds through the FBI protocols: bare gel, denim, heavy clothing, wallboard, plywood, steel, and auto glass.  The graph is pretty interesting for multiple reasons, for example the .380 ACP performed poorly in all tests.  Possibly the most interesting part of the graph to me is that the “T”-Series 230 grain .45 projectile that is used in both the .45 GAP and the .45 ACP failed the plywood test completely.  It failed to expand and acted like an FMJ after defeating plywood, and penetrated 18 inches of gel.

The graph is cool, even if you’re not that interested in terminal ballistics.  But if you are, it’s especially interesting because all the service cartridges (9mm and up) have roughly the same terminal ballistic performance.  Now, while Winchester tries to restrict the sale of the “bonded” Ranger to LE only, it’s still legal for non LE to own, and is available from some shops.  Go to Gunbroker and search their ammo section for “Ranger”.


  1. I’m a big geek for bonded ammo, but it seems that the weight retention for the non-bonded stuff really isn’t all that different.

    Also the .45 ACP +P seemed to work very well with the exception of “Steel” which I’m curious about the specifics of that test.

    Still penetration was still good and even a failed .45 ACP round is carving almost as big a wound track as an expanded 9mm bullet.

    Their 147 Gr 9×19 also looks like a hot ticket for when I get around to buying a Kahr PM9 as a light-carry gun.

  2. Possibly the most interesting part of the graph to me is that the “T”-Series 230 grain .45 projectile that is used in both the .45 GAP and the .45 ACP failed the plywood test completely.

    Even weirder is that the same bullet worked fine when driven 90fps faster.

    Which doesn’t matter to me anyway, since not only do I not use Winchester ammo in my carry guns at present, but more importantly, the odds of me needing to shoot somebody through a sheet of plywood are about zilch.

  3. They need to have a talk with the art guy, or maybe the tester. Notice that all the photos for the .45 GAP match the .45 ACP row exactly, up to rotation? And that all of the data is identical?

    Granted, it’s the same bullet and they claim the same muzzle velocity, so it *should* have identical ballistics and results based on those claims. I’m just insulted that they think rotating the pictures will somehow fool me into believing that they did the test with each caliber.

  4. I’ve been impressed with the 230 grain .45ACP +P on feral hogs. I’ve got to think it would do just as well on a feral person.

  5. The 380 data shows that it is strictly a last ditch weapon. It would have to hit the head of the target, or directly into the front or rear of the chest to be effective.

    Of course, that’s what a backup gun is carried for.

  6. Well, while 7.5 inches of penetration is certainly nothing to sneeze at, you’ll notice that the only time the .380 beat the 12 inch goal was when the hollow point failed and it acted like an FMJ. I’ve generally been supportive of FMJ in subcaliber weapons, because it’s really the best way to get the round to penetrate enough.

  7. Because in most of the tests I’ve seen, the .25 ACP gold dot when fired through clothing fails to expand and actually penetrates better than an FMJ.

  8. This is fortuitous information for me personally. About 5 months back I ordered a few boxes of the Ranger +P+ 127g 9mm “T” series stuff from and it just arrived on Wednesday of this week. I was wondering how good it was since I’d forgotten about the order and bought 147g HSTs instead to carry. Looks like I’ve got some decent ammo!

  9. So why do you carry Gold-Dots in your .25?

    What Caleb said. When I carried a deuce-five, I carried Hornady XTPs. I didn’t recon they’d expand, and I rather hoped they wouldn’t, but I did think that the JHP profile was less likely to skid along the cranial vault or a rib than regular round-ogived FMJ.

    The 380 data …

    FWIW, Remington’s 102gr Golden Saber goes 2″ further in bare gel and 1″ further in clothed gel, at least according to the manufacturer’s claims.

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