Terry Weiland, who writes about guns for Gray’s Sporting Journal, has come out with a new book called Dangerous-Game Rifles, which is published by Countrysport Press, and is full of excellent information on rifles that will bankrupt you and scramble your brains both.
However, in his otherwise exemplary chapter on expanding bullets, there is the following:
“…In August, 2005—twelve years [after its introduction]—Winchester finally admitted that the Fail-Safe [bullet] was a failure and announced its replacement, the “Supreme XP-3…” Now that the Fail-Safe is on the way out the company is no longer reluctant to condemn both its accuracy and terminal performance.”
This is so wildly out of sync with what I know that I called Glen Weeks, who is in charge of Winchester rifle ammo development and read him the above quote.
“The only part that’s true,” he said, “is that we’ve stopped making Fail-Safes.”
The Fail-Safe is a complicated bullet that was difficult to manufacture and expensive to sell. Not enough people were buying Fail-Safe ammo, so it was dropped. Fail-Safes were not the most accurate bullets ever, but they were plenty accurate enough, and their performance on game, from my experience, was exemplary. I’ve used them in .270, .30, and .338, both here and in Africa, and regard them as the top of the heap for a controlled-expanding bullet. In fact, I just spent a bunch of my own money on six boxes of .270 WSM Fail-Safe loads which I found in a Bass Pro Shop near Denver.
My gun-writing colleague Ross Seyfried flatly says that the Fail-Safe is the best hunting bullet around. If any of you have Fail-Safe experiences, I would appreciate hearing of them.