A Bonding Experience

A Bonding Experience

Winchester's new bonded pistol ammo is one hot number.

Developed to meet FBI protocols, Winches-ter's new Bonded PDX1 ammo delivers the goods in terms of velocity, penetration and expansion.

Winchester is, as I'm writing this, unveiling a new bullet line. How new? The ammo they sent me to test was snatched off the loading bench of the R&D department. They didn't even have finished packaging to send the ammo in, so they slapped new labels on old Winchester boxes.

The reason for the new ammo? The unforgiving demands of the FBI ballistic protocols. It is asking a lot of a bullet to go through heavy clothing, auto glass, plywood or sheet metal and still not only hold together but expand once it hits gelatin.


I've shot a bunch of those materials and more through the years, and the primary cause of bullet failure when encountering such obstacles is jacket/core separation. Once the jacket and core part company, performance goes all to hell.


To prevent that, Winchester bonds the core to the jacket, hence the name Bonded PDX1. The result is a bond tighter than a Congressman to his campaign contributors. Even after being slammed through obstacles and decelerating in gelatin, the core and jacket cling tightly to each other.

As there was a strictly limited supply to send me, I couldn't do my usual test. No hundreds of rounds to see if the feeding is reliable (I highly doubt that will be a problem), and no chance to run dozens over the chronograph to see just how consistent the velocities are (again, no problems anticipated here either), but I did manage to test it in three pistols, as well as shoot some obstacles and test medium.


The three pistols I used were an S&W M&P, a modified Browning Hi Power and an STI 1911 competition gun. They all gobbled their portion of the ammo without fail. The velocities were what you'd expect: the M&P slowest and the STI fastest.


The recoil of the PDX1 ammo is definitely stout. Meeting the performance standards of the FBI tests is not something you can do with a sedate cartridge. If you want to get a 180-grain .400-inch bullet through plywood and more than a foot deep into gelatin, you have to push it hard. Still, the recoil wasn't oppressive, although if you use PDX1 ammo in a compact pistol I imagine you'll have your hands full.

Accuracy was also right on par with expectations. I could shoot only a pair of groups each, but those groups were what the pistols normally deliver.

Winchester sent me an expanded bullet to get an idea of what the PDX1 can do. I proceeded to do my own testing, and produced bullets so similar to the sent sample that it was only from the slightly oxidized surface of its lead core that I could tell theirs from mine. Penetration and expansion were everything the FBI wants. Indeed, this is the ammo the FBI is accepting shipments of, in its never-ending quest to find the perfect bullet.

I had only cloth and plywood to use in intermediate barrier tests, but they proved to be no hindrance to the PDX1. Bullets looked the same regardless of what they passed through before impact. Whether it was air, cloth, plywood, the results were the same: well over the one-foot minimum required by the FBI, and full expansion.

With accuracy like this, and 100 percent reliability and plenty of punch, PDX1 ammo will be hard to beat.

At 14 to 16 inches (depending on intermediate barrier), the bullets expanded to more than .610 inch in diameter and did so uniformly. The hollowpoint opens evenly, and the petals roll back in a uniform manner and amount.

The uniformity is not just consistent, it is even a bit scary. The consistency carries over to velocity, where not only are the bullets going fast, there isn't a whole lot of variation in velocities.

To top it all off, there seems to be almost no muzzle flash. I shot the ammo on a cold, overcast, almost drizzling day, and at no time in the testing did I detect any kind of a muzzle flash. Now, I'd have to try it at night to get a complete impression, but often an overcast autumn day is good enough to get an idea of what a round will do.

As mentioned, Winchester is right now finishing the R&D and setting up production. So don't expect your gun dealer's shelves to be groaning under the weight of PDX1 ammo right now. And you can count on a lot of it being grabbed by law enforcement when it is available. But when you can lay hands on it, you should. Projected loads are a 130-grain .38 Special +P, 147-grain 9mm +P, 165- and 180-grain .40 S&W and a 230-grain .45 ACP.

ACCURACY RESULTS | WINCHESTER BONDED PDXI
Bullet Weight (gr.) Muzzle Velocity (fps) Avg Group(in.)
S&W M&P, 4.5 inch barrel
.40 S&W1809773.0
Browning Hi Power, 4.75 inch barrel
.40 S&W1801,0002.5
STI 1911, 5 inch barrel
.40 S&W1801,0472.0
NOTE: Accuracy results are averages or five-shot groups at 25 yards, fired over sandbags from a bench. Average velocities recorded on a CED M2 chronograph 15 feet from the muzzle with two-foot screen spacing.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Taurus G3c

Taurus G3c

Taurus introduces the compact version of their wildly successful 9mm pistol; the G3.

Dealing with Subcompacts

Dealing with Subcompacts

Jim and Rich cover the benefits and the challenges presented by very small pistols.

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

G&A Editor Eric Poole and Viking Tacticals's Kyle Lamb talks about 2 new pistols from SIG Sauer and a Lipsey's Special of the P365.

Going To The Range

Going To The Range

Jim and Scott show you how to make each trip to the shooting range a quality experience.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer SKU # 180023) is an easy-racking, soft-shooting pistol. Compact

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 Review

James Tarr - November 06, 2018

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer...

Eliphalet Remington's world initially revolved around flintlock rifles at the time, and while early 1911

Remington Timeline: 2011 - R1 Pistol Is Introduced

Handguns Online Staff - September 09, 2016

Eliphalet Remington's world initially revolved around flintlock rifles at the time, and while...

The SIG SAUER P365 (model # 365-9-BXR3) may just be the subcompact 9mm against which all others will be judged. Compact

SIG P365 Review

James Tarr - October 31, 2018

The SIG SAUER P365 (model # 365-9-BXR3) may just be the subcompact 9mm against which all...

I don't have a distinct recollection of the first time I reloaded a cartridge – it's been a long Ammo

To Cast a Good Bullet

Bart Skelton - June 28, 2012

I don't have a distinct recollection of the first time I reloaded a cartridge — it's...

See More Trending Articles

More Ammo

SIG SAUER, Inc. introduced the newest addition to the SIG SAUER Elite Ammunition product line ' the high-performance M17 9mm +P ammunition. Ammo

SIG SAUER Introduces M17 9mm +P Ammunition

SIG SAUER, Inc. - December 13, 2018

SIG SAUER, Inc. introduced the newest addition to the SIG SAUER Elite Ammunition product line...

Lights, camera, action! Action pistol, that is. Federal takes aim at the competition set. Ammo

Federal Syntech Action Pistol

J. Scott Rupp - December 07, 2018

Lights, camera, action! Action pistol, that is. Federal takes aim at the competition set.

Silverback Ammo features a high-end copper bullet. Ammo

Gorilla Ammunition's Silverback Line

Patrick Sweeney - September 19, 2017

Silverback Ammo features a high-end copper bullet.

Richard Nance and James Tarr discuss the value of using gelatin when testing ammunition. Ammo

Gelatin Testing for Hornady Ammo

Handguns TV - May 30, 2016

Richard Nance and James Tarr discuss the value of using gelatin when testing ammunition.

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now