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Hello. First, I am not a terminal ballistician. I have no axe to grind with anyone. I do not try and persuade anyone to use any particular type of ammo for self-defense; make those decisions yourself.

Questions are frequently asked about the LE Winchester .45 ACP round referred to as the "Ranger T" ammo. The ammo I choronographed and shot for group today is marked "Winchester RA45T" and is the standard pressure 230 gr JHP. (I could NOT find a lot number on the box anywhere.) It was compared to Remington's 230 gr Golden Saber BJHP, also a standard pressure load. (Lot # Y24LA3103). Also fired was Corbon's +P 165 gr "PowRball" expanding bullet. (Lot # 200209-1). I also fired a "known" round to see if the pistol used today was giving extraordinarily high or low velocities. The round is Sellier & Bellot 230 gr FMJ as many folks use it. (Lot # 304*13). I also fired a handload using a 200 gr CSWC with which I'm quite familar in terms of velocity and so forth.

Test Gun: Simply because I wanted to shoot it today, I used a Norinco 1911 5" .45 ACP that I've lightly modified. Because today's focus is on the ammo, sufficient information on the pistol is that the bbl is the standard factory bbl.

Chronograph Results: Average velocities listed are based on 10-shot averages approx 10' from the gun's muzzle. Extreme Spreads and Standard Deviations are also listed for those interested.

Sellier & Bellot 230 gr Ball:
Average Velocity: 820 ft/sec
Extreme Spread: 42
Std. Deviation: 17
(Though from a different lot number, when fired from a 5" STI Trojan, this load averaged 789 ft/sec with SD of 10. This is well within the normal "ball park" for differences in ammo from different lots and fired from similar, but different pistols of the same type.)

Winchester RA45T 230 gr JHP:
Average Velocity: 841 ft/sec
Extreme Spread: 38 ft/sec
Std. Deviation: 13

Remington 230 gr GS:
Average Velocity: 805 ft/sec
Extreme Spread: 39
Std. Deviation: 17
(Fired from a 5" Kimber Classic Custom, this load, but different lot number, averages 847 ft/sec.)

Corbon 165 gr +P "PowRball":
Average Velocity: 1220 ft/sec
Extreme Spread: 119
Std. Deviation: 40
(The actual average velocity from this pistol compares very well with Corbon's advertised velocity of 1225 ft/sec.)

Because the Extreme Spread was higher with this load, I will give the High and Low velocities:

High: 1285 ft/sec
Low: 1166 ft/sec

Kead 200 gr CSWC
5.5 gr Unique
Mixed Cases
Winchester LP Primer
LOA: 1.25"

Average Velocity: 742 ft/sec
Extreme Spread: 58
Std. Deviation: 40

(Fired from an STI 5" Trojan, this same load from the same loaded "batch" averages 745 ft/sec.)

Accuracy Testing: Due to the expense of some of these rounds, I fired 5-shot groups @ 15 yards, but did so using a rest today.

Groups fired @ 15 yards with Norinco 1911...

With many loads in the past in various calibers, the lighter, faster rounds normally hit lower than heavier-bulleted rounds. Neither in this 1911 nor others I've fired it from has this been the case with the Corbon. I really don't "know" why. I am assuming that even though faster, the recoil is a bit more "sharp" and noticiable than with any of the other listed loads. Could it be that the increased recoil "balances out" the higher velocity round's expected tendency to strike low? I don't know, but it does NOT significantly do so out of this pistol nor 2 others I've tried it in. Though not "inaccurate," this pistol did not "like" this lot of PowRball as well as other pistols I've tried it in.

I also fired 4 sets of controlled pairs from 10 yards, using a 2-hand hold. I marked the holes in an attempt to see if there was any significant difference in POI vs POA. The marking wound up making a damned mess.
To me, any of the rounds fired strike essentially the same POI for the same POA at distances most-expected in private citizen defense scenarios, but the only way to know is to test the ammo in your pistol. The same holds true as to what velocities you're actually getting.

4 sets of controlled pairs fired at 10 yards...

"1" = handload, "S" = Sellier & Bellot, "GS" = Golden Saber, "W" = Winchester, and "P" = PowRball.

No firing was done beyond these distances today.

Expansion: Some of the rounds used today have been fired into water and recovered dimensions recorded. Today, I did some "scientific mud expansion tests" in addition. I am aware that these don't mean much in comparison with carefully done 10% ballistic gelatin. One can find data on such at various sites such as, http://www.firearmstactical, etc. I am NOT in competition with any of them! Hahahahaha!

From the side, here's the recovered expanded bullets. Left to Right:
Winchester RA45T, Remington Golden Saber, and Corbon PowRball.

From behind...

and the front...

When I got home, I washed off the excess mud and took some measurements and weighed the bullets.

Winchester RA45T: 0.79 X 0.70", 207 grains

Remington 230 gr GS: 0.74 X .92", 223 grains

Corbon 165 gr PowRball: 0.92 X 0.84," 163 grains
(I really expected more loss than this with the high-velocity round.)

Fired into water, you can see the Corbon compared to the Winchester. I don't have any Golden Sabers fired into water, yet.

For what it may be worth, here's the data on the recovered rounds fired into water:

Corbon PowRball: 0.80 X .81", 161 grains (bullet + jacket)

Winchester RA45T: 0.80 X 0.78," 229.7 grains

There were zero malfunctions with any ammunitionf fired.


259 Posts
Great post!

thanks so much for sharing a very comprehensive ammo test.
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