Ask any self respecting handgun hunter about using factory ammunition and you’ll probably get one of those raised eyebrow “you’re not exactly right are you” sort of looks, and for good reason. Three aspects we handgun hunters must have in our hunting ammunition are power, consistency, and a reliably performing bullet. Factory ammunition has earned the reputation of being a sub-par performer in these areas, the main reasons we tend to turn our noses’ up at the mention of using factory ammunition. Some companies “hunting” ammunition is nothing more than their existing personal-protection ammo packaged with a new label marketed towards hunting.
Fortunately this in not always the case, many companies have made an effort to produce ammunition worthy of meeting a serious handgun hunters standards. One in particular is Winchester (www.winchester.com). Winchester’s Supreme line of handgun ammunition is offered in a number of fine hunting cartridges that include the 357 Magnum, 41 and 44 Remington Magnums, 45 Winchester Magnum, and the awesome 454 Casull. All of these rounds are loaded with either Winchester’s new Platinum Tip Hollow Point or Partition Gold bullet. Specifications for each round can be seen in the following chart:
|Cartridge Description||Bullet||Muzzle (fps)/(ft lbs)||50 (yards)||100 (yards)|
|357 Magnum||180-grain PG||1180/557||1088/473||1020/416|
|41 Remington Magnum||240-grain PT-HP||1250/883||1151/706||1075/616|
|44 Remington Magnum||250-grain PG||1230/840||1132/711||1057/620|
|44 Remington Magnum||250-grain PT-HP||1250/876||1148/732||1070/635|
|454 Casull||260-grain PG||1800/1871||1605/1488||1427/1176|
|454 Casull||260-grain PT-HP||1800/1870||1596/1470||1414/1154|
|45 Winchester Magnum||260-grain PG||1200/832||1105/705||1033/617|
- PG= Partition Gold
- PT-HP=Platinum Tip Hollow Point
Recently I have had the opportunity to test this ammunition with the Platinum Tip in 41 and 44 Magnum as well as the Partition Gold in 44 Magnum. Both of these rounds were tested from 7 ½” revolvers. The 41 magnum from my Smith & Wesson 657 with a 4x scope and the 44 magnum from my Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter wearing a 2x scope, both scopes were Leupold EER Another round included in these test is the 45-70 Government. The old 45-70 is one of my favorite rounds for hunting and like many hunters I’ve always felt you needed to hand load it to obtain it’s full potential, especially from a handgun. So I was very curious to see how the 300-grain Winchester Super-X Hollow Points and Partition Gold loads would perform out of my 14” SSK Contender. The range results can be seen in the following chart:
|Cartridge Description||Bullet||50 (yards)||100 (yards)|
|41 Remington Magnum||240-grain PT-HP||2.38”||3.09”|
|44 Remington Magnum||250-grain PG||3.47”||4.52”|
|44 Remington Magnum||250-grain PT-HP||2.77”||4.27”|
|45-70 Govt||300-grain Super-X HP||1.64”||2.84”|
|45-70 Govt||300-grain PG||2.39”||2.84”|
- All groups were fired from a sandbag rest consisting of 5 shot groups for the 41 and 44 and 3 shot groups for the 45-70.
- PG= Partition Gold
- PT-HP=Platinum Tip Hollow Point
The Platinum Tip Hollow Point is a premium bullet with several features to make it a reliable performer on game animals. A patented jacket with lead notches around the mouth of the 2 part hollow point means this bullet will provide controlled expansion at all ranges, but wait it gets even better. The jacket has a reverse taper to lock the bullets core. All of the features combine to give the hunter a bullet with large frontal expansion along with adequate weight retention. This bullet is offered in the 41 and 44 Remington Magnum, as well as the 454 Casull. The Partition Gold ammunition is offered in 357 Magnum, 44 Remington Magnum, 454 Casull, and the 45 Winchester Magnum. The Partition Gold bullet is of a traditional partition design. The front section provides controlled expansion with the rear section bound by the partition and jacket. Giving this bullet maximum weight retention and penetration capabilities.
Historically one of the major problems with jacked handgun bullets is the separation of the jacket from the bullets core. This result in the bullets inability to retain its weight hindering penetration and in most cases the lack of a large exit wound. With all of the features of the Platinum Tip and Partition Gold bullets I was particularly interested to see how they would hold together upon impacting heavy bone. To simulate this I took a heavy piece of carpet and laid it over a ¾” piece of plywood and then placed this over a 55-gallon barrel filled with water. (Note: I conducted these tests at my personal range under controlled conditions and do not recommend you attempt to duplicate them.) Then using both loads in the 44 Magnum fired several rounds of each load into the barrel. Both bullets lived up to their billing and passed with flying colors. The Platinum Tip showed no hint of jacket/core separation and expanded to a very large average frontal diameter of .798”, weight retention averaged an impressive 244.2-grains. The Partition Gold performed as expected. The front section expanded, dare I say perfectly, even upon impact with the thick plywood retaining all of the “petals” around the hollow point with an average weight of 214.6-grains. This lower retained weight compared to the Platinum Tip is due to the front sections loss of the core, but the partition design held the rear section in place. Even with the loss of weight I still think the Partition Gold will penetrate better on larger game because it more controlled expansion.
After seeing the accuracy these loads produced at the range and how the bullets performed I can’t help but be excited about hunting with them during the upcoming hunting season. Winchester markets these rounds as suitable for thin-skinned game such as White-tailed deer and wild hogs and I believe they are right on with this recommendation. The quicker expansion of the Platinum Tip should make it the ideal choice for White-tailed deer, wild hogs up to 200 pounds or so, and any other game with thin skin and light skeletal structure. On game such as trophy size White-tailed deer and truly large wild boar where penetration becomes more important the Partition Gold is the one to have in your handgun’s chamber