Whitetail Hunting photo

Last November, Winchester Ammo invited me and a gaggle of other writers out to Gobble ‘N Grunt Outfitters in east-central Nebraska to test a new deer-specific centerfire round so fresh from factory that even now, almost a year later, it’s still not in stores, and won’t be until next April. We will be shooting and testing it further in the coming months, but based on how it performed on my hunt (and others like it), you might want start making room on your ammo-hoarding shelves.

In Nebraska, we writers were given the opportunity to help name the ammo, and yet despite our far-more-colorful suggestions, Winchester dubbed it Deer Season XP—which does get the point across: This stuff is designed to dump deer.

Years in the making (and nearly a year in the naming), Deer Season XP features a radically new polymer tip. In a word, it’s big—bigger than you’ve seen before. And when that big tip disintegrates on impact, the part of the bullet that smacks your deer is fat—fatter than that of other pointy bullets. In essence, you’ve got a big, fat wadcutter bullet with polymer-tip flight and rapid expansion designed to drop deer where they stand. And from what I saw, it does just that.

On the range, fired from a variety of Thompson Center rifles, Deer Season XP consistently produce MOA or better accuracy. In the field, the two deer I shot—a main-frame 8 pointer and a doe, both at around 250 yards—ran a total of about 30 before tipping over. (I’ll spare you a description of the devastation I witnessed when I opened these deer up.) By the time the trip was done, another eight or 10 deer fell to this round, and all that were hit well went pretty much nowhere, and that seems to have been the case on several other hunts where it was tested.


Now all of that is very impressive, but here’s the real kicker: Deer Season XP, which will be priced within one dollar of the company’s popular Power Point brand, will be one of, if not the, most affordable polymer-tipped centerfire rounds anywhere. (Available in .243 Win, .270 Win, .270 WSM, 7mm Rem Mag, .308 Win, .30-06 Spr, .300 Win Mag, and .300 WSM, starting in April 2015.)