About the Winchester White Box 9mm Ammunition
The Winchester Target 9mm Ammo, also known as Winchester White Box 9mm ammo, is a popular and fairly economical choice for target practice in 9mm Parabellum. The 115 grain variation of this 9mm ammunition, which is what we are testing in this article, can be found at most retailers where firearms are sold and can be had anywhere from $10-22 USD depending on where it is purchased. Winchester is an old American company and with that comes lots of history, a wide selection of firearms spanning centuries, and a good selection of ammunition, reloading components, and firearms accessories. In their lineup of products, Winchester offers products from the expensive and well made down to the cheap and highly economical. The Winchester White Box 9mm ammo falls into the lower end of that spectrum and serves as a mostly economical solution for those that would like to practice their handgun skills more frequently on a budget, but would still like the reassurance of a brand name American company manufacturing their ammunition.
Quality Control and Factory Tolerances
There has been much discussion in the past regarding factory loaded ammunition and quality control issues. Many of the large ammunition manufacturers produce their low end target ammo using automated machines, causing debate over exactly what the tolerances really hold up to and how much variance there is from one cartridge to the next. The general consensus is that factory line assemblies do not produce the same quality or employ the same close tolerances as ammunition that is loaded by hand. For the most part, this generally seems to be true. In the case of the Winchester 9mm White Box Target ammo, i found this to be particularly true.
To test the Winchester White Box 9mm ammo I first select 5 samples from the 50 round box, disassemble the components and take measurements in terms of both physical sizes as well as weight in grains. More details about my process and the equipment used for testing the Winchester 9mm White Box Ammo are at the bottom of this page.
The 5 samples from the 9mm Winchester White Box ammunition were first weighed and measured in their factory loaded state to record overall variances. The individual 9mm cartridges are then disassembled, and set aside to be measured and weighed. I have recorded the outcome of these measurements below as well as photographs of each cartridge and its components throughout the disassembling process.
Quality and Tolerance Notes
Manufacturers Ballistics Table
To the left I have included the label from the Winchester 9mm White Box Ammunition Factory Packaging. Many manufacturers printed data on the box, some do not. In this case, Winchester has supplied us with a little data to work off of, noting 5 yard Velocities of 1190 fps and energies of 353 ft-lbs out of the barrel. I used this data to position myself at the correct distance of 15 feet form the Chronograph for testing and marked my position so that I could return to it after each reloading for each test group. All numbers noted below are taken from the 5 yard / 15 foot line.
Overall Length & Appearance
The first thing I noticed about the brass upon removing it from its factory packaging, is its overall appearance and cleanliness. It is not uncommon for cheap factory loaded ammunition to be dirty and dull in appearance, and there is no exception with the Winchester 9mm White Box ammunition. The brass, much like many other factory loaded targets ammunition’s in this price point and usage model, was dull and dirty, containing mild amounts of machining grease and what appeared to be graphite or other powder/soft dusty material covering the outside of the case including the primers. This is pretty normal for ammunition like this and I wouldn’t expect more given this ammo comes at a low cost. I would probably chalk it up to a dirty assembly process or possibly it could be graphite dust from the powder charge. These factory pump out millions of rounds, so its to be expected.
Overall Length varied by as much as .10″, with the longest cartridge coming in at 1.165″ and the shortest being 1.1625. Within the 5 samples used, the load factory cartridge’s weighed in at an average of 184.12 grains, with the lowest coming in at 184.6 grains and the highest being 185.5 grains, giving a total spread of 0.9 grains in difference from lightest to heaviest. Overall, this is pretty good and can most likely be chalked up to a slight variance in the weight of the projectile or brass tolerances, although I did find a slight tolerance issue with the powder charges which I noted below.
The brass itself, as noted above, was not the cleanest or the shiniest, but this is to again be expected. I did notice some issues with tolerances and machining overall with the brass, but nothing extreme. Case necks were deburred and fairly smooth around the edges.
Flipping the cartridge over, I noticed there was some variance in the appearance of the flash hole, some of them looking a little jagged and crudely manufactured, which can be seen in the sample image to the right. Notice the WMA 15 headstamp of the cartridge with the Nato Symbol, indicating this is Mil Spec brass. Because this is Mil Spec, there is a slight primer crimp, which is noticeable in the image to the left, and appears a little uneven. There is more information about this at the bottom of the page. Generally speaking however, I have never had any problem using this Winchester Brass to reload my own target loads. At times, I have had to ream the primer pocket once, but they have performed for the most part flawlessly once they are cleaned properly and resized.
Average Overall Length: 1.169″
Average Loaded Cartridge Weight: 185.12 grains
Of the 5 samples taken, the weights varied from the low end of 61.0 grains up to 62.5 grains on the high end, which is fairly nominal. I did notice some sloppy manufacturing around some of the primer pockets and flash holes in the brass as noted above, with pronounced burring and rough edges, especially around the flash hole of some cartridges. I’ve never used the fresh Winchester Reloading brass for my own loads, just the once fired stuff, but I have talked to several folks who were less than thrilled with the quality of the brass out of the factory, particularly the rifle brass. I’ve had reports of sloppy tolerances, dirty and dull cartridges, incorrectly sized primer pockets, and rough machining around the case neck that required extensive case prep for the first load. While this may be true for certain other brands, some of the more premium reloading brass such as Nosler comes prepped, cleaned, sized, deburred, and ready to load. Of course, you pay a premium for such quality brass, but it can be worth it when loading precision rounds or any large quantity.
The primers are standard Small Pistol Primers, with a brass color appearance matching the case. Because of the color and the fact that it is Winchester Ammunition, it can only be assumed that they are Winchester 1-1/2″ WSP Small Pistols Primers. Without published data, this is of course impossible to state for sure, but it would make sense that Winchester would use its own primers in its products.
The 9mm FMJ projectile, in terms of appearance, does not deviate from my previous statements about the cleanliness and appearance of the brass casings. Again, they were dull in appearance, although the copper jackets were not nearly as dirty as the brass. I don’t know that the shine of the projectile is of high importance, but I assume the cleanliness would be of slight concern.
The copper jacket was not highly polished like you find in some FMJ rounds and I am unsure how this would affect function of the cartridge. With most metals however, usually less shine means a rougher surface, even at the microscopic level, which could translate into very nominal performance issues. Most likely though, this would entirely unnoticed. If there were any negative impacts from surface level abrasions or dirt, I would think they would be very nominal. Given people shoot lead cast bullets from guns all the time with reports of decent accuracy, I cant imagine the dull surface texture counts negatively for more than anything than appearance, and as much as we all like a super polished copper jacket, this ain’t exactly a beauty contest.
Average Bullet Weight: 114.8 gr
The construction of the projectile is a copper full metal jacket over an exposed lead core. The base is cup shaped and as I said, exposed at the bottom. This is not to be confused with a TMJ or Total Metal Jacket which has a copper jacket that covers the entire lead core with no exposed lead and generally has a flat base as compared to the cup shaped base seen here.
The weight of the projectiles varied only slightly by 0.6 grains, 114.5 grains being the lightest and 115.1 grains being the heaviest of the 5 samples.
The Powder Charge
POWDER CHARGE DISCLAIMER – PLEASE READ!!
The information contained on this page, and particularly pertaining to powder charges for the Winchester White Box 9mm ammo, in no way signifies Bullet-Blog’s use or acknowledgement of any known factory load information for this cartridge. In no way are we suggesting load data or suggesting any person at any time for any reason should use this information as to determine the type of powder used in loading this cartridge for the purposes of duplicating this load or reloading their own cartridges. Bullet-Blog accepts to responsibility for how you use the information provided here.
The information provided here is informational only, NEVER USE THIS INFORMATION AS A DATA SOURCE TO RELOAD AMMUNITION. For factory information on this cartridge, please defer to the manufacturer at all times with any and all inquiries.
The powder used in the Winchester 9mm White Box ammunition is of a small disc/flake shape with relatively small individual pieces, much resembling Winchester WSF or W231 Powder. (READ ABOVE DISCLAIMER).
Powder Charges varied by as much as 0.8 grains, which seemed a relatively large gap in charge but would help to explain some of the numbers I got through the chronograph below. The largest charge in the group weighed in at 5.6gr with the lowest being 4.8gr. This was evident in the somewhat sporadic velocities I received amongst the 4 tests groups.
I didn’t notice anything unusual about the powder such as clumping or a wet appearance, as I have seen in several other factory loads in the past. Despite this, the large tolerances for charges here were a little disappointing, but it comes with the territory.
Average Powder Charge: 5.2 gr
Winchester 9mm White Box 115 grain Test Results
The following information is the result of testing 4 separate groups of 9 shots each. Data is provided here for each individual shot as well as group averages, standard deviation, and energy at 5 yards. The total figures and averages for all 4 test groups of the Winchester White Box 9mm ammo are listed below with my rating and final score.
All 4 groups were fired outdoors, conditions were sunny and dry with a slight over cast in some areas. Wind gusts were few and far between, but they did occur.
Wind Speed (Av): 7.7 mph
Temp: 42.5º F
Wind Chill(Av): 40.5º F
Sky: Mostly Sunny / Slight Overcast
Date: February 28th, 2015
Location: SW Washington
Start: 7:14 AM
Stop: 7:42 AM
Elevation: 1952 ft
Firearm: Ruger SR9
Twist: 1:10″ (254 mm)