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Bourjaily Tests Winchester's Blind Side Shells

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October 15, 2010

Bourjaily Tests Winchester's Blind Side Shells

By Phil Bourjaily

This week I went to Winchester’s Nilo Farms in Alton, Illinois, to learn about and shoot a new steel load they are calling “Blind Side”* which will be available next year. As you can see in the picture, Blind Side pellets are not round but hexahedronal – that is, rounded, but with six flat sides, like dice. The advantage to the shape is two-fold: the pellets pack more compactly into a hull, allowing higher payloads (1 3/8 ounces in a 3-inch hull, 1 5/8 in a 3 1/2-inch), and the shape increases shock trauma on tissue when it hits.


Because squared pellets are a poorer aerodynamic shape than round pellets, this new shot has to be contained in a solid, unsplit shotcup to prevent the shot charge from behaving like a spreader load and opening up into very wide patterns. The cup has diamond-shaped cutout petals that deploy as the load exits the muzzle. They hold the shot together for a very short distance before the petals act like brakes and separate the wad from the shot. The combination works well and it seems to pattern like lead: the
1 3/8 ounce loads of 2s we shot printed about 50% patterns at 40 yards through an IC and tightened to just over 70% with Full. While we patterned guns Winchester engineers filmed us on high speed video and the footage of pellets hitting a pattern board at 40 yards showed a very compact shot string.

I shot flighted ducks at ranges from 30-50 yards through a Modified choke and if I hit a duck squarely, it fell out of the sky. The difference between Blind Side and regular round pellets was this: we did not see ducks fly off as if unhit, only to bleed out and fall later as you sometimes see with regular steel. Solidly hit birds came down and most of them were dead in the air. Birds that weren’t solidly hit didn’t fall, but that happened with lead, too, a fact that steel-haters conveniently forget.

Blind Side will sell for $17-$22 a box of 25 and will be available in June, 2011.

*I’m trying to decide if I like the name. My son, who plays on his high school football team, loves it and points out that a “Blind Side” is a devastating hit. Other names Winchester considered included “Ice” and “Havoc.”

Comments (21)

Top Rated
All Comments
from huntnfishnut wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

I suggest Havoc. "Blind Side" is also a sappy (but good I have to add) football movie that came out recently with one Sandra Bullock, wait... have I just lost my man-card by admitting that?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dneaster3 wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

huntnfishnut, retain our main-card. Ms Bullock could easily replace Eliza Dushku as the gun nuts spokeswoman... no shame there!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Greenhead wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

huntnfishnut,

I think you're in the clear, its a football movie, right?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom-Tom wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

"...if I hit a duck squarely, it fell..." And therein lies the problem. Seldom do you hear someone say that they "barely clipped that one"; rather, they blame the shotshell, because they knew they were all over that bird. Phil, did they tell you what the actual numbers were in the increased shot trauma caused by a single pellet? Were your modified patterns in the 56-61% range? Will the shells be available in 2&3/4 and in #4 shot as well as larger sizes for geese?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

I had heard of cubic shot a good many many years ago. It was supposed to spread like crazy and form a much wider pattern than normal shot.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from mad_dog9999 wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

If they don't price them much higher than normal steel shot I'll try it. Otherwise I'm going to pass. I kill birds pretty well with regular sheel shot.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Maybe this type shot hits like Michael Ohr, former Ole Miss Rebel, currently Baltimore Raven, and subject of a recent movie of the same name.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Bought many a box of Peters "blue whistlers" for $2.25 per box!
MAN, did those things kill game, and kick hard!
Didn't need 3" mags with Peters!
Rem and Win were a bit cheaper, probably $1.95 to $2.15.
Pop wouldn't let me buy Federal! I can hear him now, "I'll chunk rocks before I shoot Federals!"
He was a "dyed-in-the-wool" Union Democrat too! You WERE NOT changing HIS mind! I can guarantee his last vote was NOT for RON in '80!!!

Bubba

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kudukid wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Such technology is interesting but can't the big companies spend some effort in trying to bring the cost of exotic waterfowl loads back down to near lead levels?

My pocketbook is already screaming!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Plotner wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

sounds nice

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Should work well om "Perps" too ;)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longbeard wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

2 questions: 1) does the added weight of the additional pellets permitted by the easy packing shape affect the ballistics? and 2) does the term "flighted" ducks imply that the birds were not wild, but released birds instead? And I agree that the cost of non-toxic alternatives is making it harder to be a waterfowler. Maybe that's one reason our numbers are dropping.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

My question would be how do these pellets fly?... true with few fliers out of the pattern? I'd think the round pellets, although anything of a good ballistic design, would fly straighter than a multi-sided pellet.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Kudukid;
Remember the big companies, no matter what, will charge what ever the market will stand.
Try reloading.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kudukid wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

dale freeman:
...and I remember when the big companies went against us hunters and shooters and helped the antis get us some crummy laws that still hurt all of us. Their greedy idea was to shut off the war surplus imports in order to sell more of their new stuff.
As Jack O'Connor said, "It was short-sighted." as it simply discouraged new shooters from getting into the game...shooters that undoubtedly would have ended up buying even more of their Remchesters and Savagebergs in the long run.
I don't know how many participating in this blog remember this nasty bit of history from our major gun companies. They haven't always been our best friends.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Phil, a "blind side" can also be described as something that takes you completely by surprise.

As in, "Wow, Amflyer actually hid a bird in the air...on purpose...that kind of blind-sided me."

Nice to get that kind of nod from Winchester, but they never asked me if I minded. Shouldn't I get a T-shirt or something?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from blueridge wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Phil,

Have you considered the name, "Smack Down"?

blue

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Kudukid;
I will not forget !

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

The price of raw tungsten keeps the price of premium non-toxics high -- believe me, ammo companies wish they could sell the stuff for less. They can't, and that's why we are seeing so much emphasis on new steel (Black Cloud, Hypersonic, Blind Side).
The pellets do pattern somewhat more openly than do round steel pellets but that's not a bad thing and I didn't see evidence of many flyers leaving the main pattern.
Flighted ducks are released birds. These were strong flyers and they presented challenging targets.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ginark wrote 3 years 20 weeks ago

was in stuttgart, ar at macks prarie wings this weekend...they had the shells for sale there as a test market...will be on the shelf in june according to the winchester rep. watching the video on the shell should convince you they are a great shell...awesome patterns at 40 yds with IC choke...price was 199.90 / case or 20.99 / box...if you shoot the extended chokes ie patternmaster you will need the black cloud version...looking forward to shooting them.....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Duck27 wrote 3 years 13 weeks ago

I bought a box at Macks back in November. Great shells. There is a noticible difference in the severity of the wound channel and the Diamond Cut wads work flawlessly

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from dneaster3 wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

huntnfishnut, retain our main-card. Ms Bullock could easily replace Eliza Dushku as the gun nuts spokeswoman... no shame there!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from kudukid wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Such technology is interesting but can't the big companies spend some effort in trying to bring the cost of exotic waterfowl loads back down to near lead levels?

My pocketbook is already screaming!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntnfishnut wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

I suggest Havoc. "Blind Side" is also a sappy (but good I have to add) football movie that came out recently with one Sandra Bullock, wait... have I just lost my man-card by admitting that?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Greenhead wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

huntnfishnut,

I think you're in the clear, its a football movie, right?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom-Tom wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

"...if I hit a duck squarely, it fell..." And therein lies the problem. Seldom do you hear someone say that they "barely clipped that one"; rather, they blame the shotshell, because they knew they were all over that bird. Phil, did they tell you what the actual numbers were in the increased shot trauma caused by a single pellet? Were your modified patterns in the 56-61% range? Will the shells be available in 2&3/4 and in #4 shot as well as larger sizes for geese?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

I had heard of cubic shot a good many many years ago. It was supposed to spread like crazy and form a much wider pattern than normal shot.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from mad_dog9999 wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

If they don't price them much higher than normal steel shot I'll try it. Otherwise I'm going to pass. I kill birds pretty well with regular sheel shot.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Maybe this type shot hits like Michael Ohr, former Ole Miss Rebel, currently Baltimore Raven, and subject of a recent movie of the same name.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Bought many a box of Peters "blue whistlers" for $2.25 per box!
MAN, did those things kill game, and kick hard!
Didn't need 3" mags with Peters!
Rem and Win were a bit cheaper, probably $1.95 to $2.15.
Pop wouldn't let me buy Federal! I can hear him now, "I'll chunk rocks before I shoot Federals!"
He was a "dyed-in-the-wool" Union Democrat too! You WERE NOT changing HIS mind! I can guarantee his last vote was NOT for RON in '80!!!

Bubba

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Plotner wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

sounds nice

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longbeard wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

2 questions: 1) does the added weight of the additional pellets permitted by the easy packing shape affect the ballistics? and 2) does the term "flighted" ducks imply that the birds were not wild, but released birds instead? And I agree that the cost of non-toxic alternatives is making it harder to be a waterfowler. Maybe that's one reason our numbers are dropping.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

My question would be how do these pellets fly?... true with few fliers out of the pattern? I'd think the round pellets, although anything of a good ballistic design, would fly straighter than a multi-sided pellet.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Kudukid;
Remember the big companies, no matter what, will charge what ever the market will stand.
Try reloading.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kudukid wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

dale freeman:
...and I remember when the big companies went against us hunters and shooters and helped the antis get us some crummy laws that still hurt all of us. Their greedy idea was to shut off the war surplus imports in order to sell more of their new stuff.
As Jack O'Connor said, "It was short-sighted." as it simply discouraged new shooters from getting into the game...shooters that undoubtedly would have ended up buying even more of their Remchesters and Savagebergs in the long run.
I don't know how many participating in this blog remember this nasty bit of history from our major gun companies. They haven't always been our best friends.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Phil, a "blind side" can also be described as something that takes you completely by surprise.

As in, "Wow, Amflyer actually hid a bird in the air...on purpose...that kind of blind-sided me."

Nice to get that kind of nod from Winchester, but they never asked me if I minded. Shouldn't I get a T-shirt or something?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Should work well om "Perps" too ;)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from blueridge wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Phil,

Have you considered the name, "Smack Down"?

blue

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

Kudukid;
I will not forget !

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

The price of raw tungsten keeps the price of premium non-toxics high -- believe me, ammo companies wish they could sell the stuff for less. They can't, and that's why we are seeing so much emphasis on new steel (Black Cloud, Hypersonic, Blind Side).
The pellets do pattern somewhat more openly than do round steel pellets but that's not a bad thing and I didn't see evidence of many flyers leaving the main pattern.
Flighted ducks are released birds. These were strong flyers and they presented challenging targets.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ginark wrote 3 years 20 weeks ago

was in stuttgart, ar at macks prarie wings this weekend...they had the shells for sale there as a test market...will be on the shelf in june according to the winchester rep. watching the video on the shell should convince you they are a great shell...awesome patterns at 40 yds with IC choke...price was 199.90 / case or 20.99 / box...if you shoot the extended chokes ie patternmaster you will need the black cloud version...looking forward to shooting them.....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Duck27 wrote 3 years 13 weeks ago

I bought a box at Macks back in November. Great shells. There is a noticible difference in the severity of the wound channel and the Diamond Cut wads work flawlessly

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment