I know, I know, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a 9mm Ammo Quest video, so you may have thought I was done. Far from it! I’ve still got quite a few rounds to get through. I’m still optimistic that some of them will be promising performers that will rival the best I’ve found so far. Well, actually, I don’t necessarily need to rely solely on optimism, because I just got through testing the 147-grain Ranger-T . . .
and it’s superb. Really. From the 3″ barrel, Winchester’s 147-grain Ranger T-Series delivers, I believe, the best combination of penetration and expansion of all the 147-grain bullets I’ve tested. All the 147-grainers I’ve tried so far have been disappointing when tested from the 3″ barrel (excepting only the Federal HST loads.) With the short barrel of the 9mm pocket pistol, it seems that the heavy 147-grain bullets have trouble reaching suitable velocity to ensure proper expansion, so we’ve usually ended up with partially-expanded bullets that overpenetrate. The HSTs have been an exception to that, both the 147-grain standard pressure and the 147+P HST expanded properly and came to a rest well beyond the 12″ minimum penetration depth I am testing to.
The Winchesters, however, expand well and penetrate deeper. And they have nasty sharp talons originally seen on the infamous “Black Talon” bullet. From what I can Google, the Ranger-T is a design improving on, but derived from the Black Talons. They’re just not black.
Regardless of whether they’re inspired by the Black Talon or not, these bullets are highly consistent in penetration depth and expansion size, with each test I conducted resulting in three bullets stopping all at the same depth, and the other two close by.
While I am a big fan of the performance of the HST, I have to say that the Ranger-T’s may represent an even better performance combination than the 147-grain HST does, since the Ranger-T’s penetrate a little deeper. I like the depth the Ranger-T’s reached, even if it means that the bullet is slightly smaller in size. The talons present a nice secondary wounding factor for deep penetration cutting.
Normally the talons wouldn’t have much effect on the bullet’s cutting capability during the majority of the bullet’s travel through the flesh or gel, since the cavitation of the flesh spreads it around the bullet and the talons wouldn’t be directly interacting with much tissue. However, when the bullet is towards the end of its travel, and has slowed down enough that cavitation is no longer happening, it’s possible those nasty little sharp talons might indeed slice a vital artery that a more-rounded bullet (such as, say, a Federal Guard Dog) might just slip past.
Finally, I appreciate that the heavy Ranger-Ts reached this level of penetration and expansion in a standard pressure load.
Frankly, this kind of performance from a pocket 9mm is really promising. I don’t know how the rest of the 9mm Ammo Quest will shake out, but as of now I can say that we definitely have a new entrant in the category of “best performers” — the Winchester Ranger-T Series 147-grain.