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There’s a lot of wild-ass shotgun ammo out there, from Winchester’s “judge not lest ye be Judged” PDX-1 (three steel discs and a bunch ‘o BBs) to Oleg Volk’s favorite expanding Dupo20 slugs (1 1/8″ diameter entry hole). In the handgun realm, there’s plenty of hollow-point action (e.g., Hornady Critical Defense) and some frangible fury (e.g. Extreme Shock). We’re still following our Triple Threat amigos (bolo round connected by Kevlar strings). Meanwhile, Winchester has joined the race for unconventional ammunition with their new Varmint HE 3/1 ammo . . .

The company claims their new 37 gr plated HP fragmenting expansion .22LR bullet achieves a rather brisk 1435 fps. Upon contact, the “programmed” hollow-point fragments into three “forward segments,” followed by a solid rear core designed for “explosive impact energy plus penetration.”

For those of you who eat varmints, this could be something of a problem. For those of you who don’t, Winchester’s new ballistic offering could provide a distinct advantage in the lethality department. Through-and-through vs. you’re through? In fact, does Winchester’s triple play put .22LR back near the top of the deck as a serious self-defense round?

Over at, commentator zincorium puts Winchester’s Varmint HE 3/1 Fragmenting Expansion .22LR ammo in its proper perspective.

Expanding anti-animal rounds are naturally going to look very similar to expanding anti-personnel rounds. We’re animals, after all.

The controversy over dum-dum bullets has always been silly and political. When you shoot something, you should want every possible factor to be in favor of it dying. Otherwise, you have no business shooting it.

Hunters are definitely going to use expanding bullets unless the animal is so large that the penetration of those rounds wouldn’t be sufficient to hit vitals.

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  1. Seems similar to what we use which are CCI Segmented .22 HP 32 gr 1640 FPS which separates into 3 equal parts upon impact. Don’t know if the solid rear core would turn out better or not without testing both. Interesting.

      • I have shot two grey squirrels with this round and it is devastating. One through the shoulders one through the guts. Neither one hardly quivered. Damage was substantial in both cases. I will not use it to hunt squirrels this fall but if you have varmints to shoot, perfect.

  2. Sounds like another version of the Triton Quick-Shok .22 (still being made by CCI, that Brock referred to).

    Personally, I think it makes more sense to have 3 more or less equal sized pieces of the slug (Like the Quick-Shok) than to have 3 smaller pieces and a single large rear section.

    Either way it will make a mess.

  3. Just the thing for for…something. Certainly not a squirrel one intends to eat. I wonder where the innovation curve for the humble yet mighty in numbers .22LR will end? Voice activation?

  4. Penetration? I wouldn’t expect much from the tiny submunitions that this round will fragment into upon impact. A 37 grain bullet will produce three oddly-shaped 12.33 grain fragments. Unless it’s solid tungsten and traveling in excess of 5,000 fps, nothing that small is likely reach the vital organs of anything larger than a small fox.

    These might be good rounds for pelt hunters, however, since the fragments are unlikely to exit the target and damage the hide.

    • you tube video. testing a cci 36gr hollow point into gelatin used by the FBI for stopping power test used a 10/22 at 100 yards. it fragmented into 3 pieces and left a 4″ permanet wound cavity. at 400 yards it went through a 3/4″ plywood board. I would not want to be shot with a 22lr. small, but just as deadly as a 9mm with good shot placement. never under estimate this Rimfire round.

  5. I agree, I am a pelt hunter and can’t wait to try these rounds this coon season. Thanks Winchester!

  6. i have just done some ballistics gel testing on this ammo, out of a 5″ phoenix hp-22 it expanded to .43″ and penetrated to 8 3/4″ it did not frag, but segments peeled back like standard jhp, out of my 16″ mp5 rifle it did frag but the 3 fragments sailed with main slug to 11 1/2″ penetration but expansion on main core was smaller .30″

  7. Got 2 boxes (the limit) of these today. Not cheap but look like the perfect round for nuisance varmints. I loaded up a magazine for my 16″ tactical 10/22. Maybe the critters will be out tonight.

    I may try a some in my Colt 1911 22LR to see how they feed.

  8. Just tested this round fireing into four layers of denim backed up with gallon jugs of water. The bullet did not fragment but did mushroom nicely. Penetration was into the 2nd jug with no marking of the back wall. Weapon used was a Ruger 10-22, standard barrel. IMHO, the bullet does not travel fast enough to fragment. However, I have not checked the CCI Quick-Shok, so I don’t have a basis for comparison.


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