Winchester Deer Season XP: Ammo We've Been Asking For

posted on September 18, 2014
zent2015_fs.jpg (12)

undefinedWhen I first heard the goal of a then-developmental, as-yet-unnamed deer load from Winchester, I was intrigued but also a bit skeptical. The aim of this product, formally unveiled by the company today as Deer Season XP, is to give hunters exactly what they’ve been requesting for years—a load that will drop deer in their tracks, or darn close to it. Like the folks at Winchester, I’ve heard plenty of wishing for ammo that would somehow eliminate the need for lengthy tracking through dense brush and swamps or over ground covered with rock or, what I consider most challenging of all, across bare, just-tilled fields littered with other tracks. Once a deer—even those mortally wounded—disappears from view and enters various obscuring terrain or cover, the chance of recovery drops greatly. In many places that problem is compounded when we cannot get permission to track our game onto neighboring properties, or when wounded game moves onto a busy roadway.

There are lots of reasons why hunters would keenly want a “knockdown” deer load, me included. However, I couldn’t help but wonder two things: 1) Isn’t terminal performance on game mostly about shot placement? 2) Short of making a low-percentage brain or spine shot, is it really possible to drop a deer in its tracks?

While everyone at Winchester acknowledged that the overriding importance of shot placement hasn’t changed, they encouraged me to take a firsthand look at just how well the developmental load met its fast-knockdown objective. Given how well this creative company has come up with practical shooting solutions in recent years, with products like PDX-1 cartridges for home defense and TrAAcker training shotshells, they didn’t have to twist my arm.

Sworn to secrecy, NRA Publications videographer Tom Rickwalder and I joined Winchester’s Greg Kosteck for a sneak preview last December at a Texas ranch loaded with nice 8- and 10-point bucks. Since the product won’t actually hit the shelves for several months (sorry, not in time for 2014 deer seasons), suffice it to say, collectively, three shots fired, three bucks down. The total tracking job for those three deer was about five feet.

How Winchester designed this load will undoubtedly generate lots of conversation. We plan to take an extensive look this fall and you’ll be hearing plenty more about Winchester Deer Season XP from American Hunter well before the 2015 deer season. For that matter, I suspect you’ll be hearing more about Deer Season XP from many places.


MAIN 2022 Oregon Waterfowl Stamp Winner
MAIN 2022 Oregon Waterfowl Stamp Winner

Oregon: ODFW announces 2023 annual wildlife art contest

The winning artist in each contest receives a $2,000 award and winning artwork is used to produce collector's stamps and other promotional items with sale proceeds benefitting Oregon's fish, wildlife and their habitats.

Primos Releases New Trigger Stick Gun Mounted Bipods

Primos hunting has announced its new line of Trigger Stick Gun Mounted Bipods, which come in short, medium and tall heights.

New for 2022: Browning X-Bolt Speed Ovix SR

The latest X-Bolt’s new Ovix camo pattern is suitable for a variety of environments, and its shortened, threaded barrel allows users to mount a suppressor while maintaining a reasonable overall length.

First Look: Franchi Instinct Sideplate

The new Instinct Sideplate sets itself apart with an elegantly engraved, color-case-hardened sideplate-style steel receiver, providing classical accents to its gold-plated trigger and complementing its rich AA-grade satin-finish walnut stock.

Savage Arms Announces Sponsorship of NRL Hunter Series Matches

Savage Arms is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the National Rifle League (NRL) Hunter Series—an evolving rifle competition that challenges participants with exciting ways to practice shooting skills in hunting-like conditions.

NSSF Retailer Surveys Indicate 5.4 Million First-Time Gun Buyers in 2021

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearm industry trade association, revealed that at least 5.4 million people purchased a firearm for the first time in 2021.


Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.