In 2016, Browning introduced a new line of ammo in conjunction with longtime partner Winchester. Browning and Winchester enjoy a relationship that goes back over a century to a time when John M. Browning developed rifles and shotguns for Winchester.
However, Browning ammo is not merely repackaged Winchester ammo with a different logo, but rather entirely new offerings with unique attributes.
This isn’t Browning’s first foray into the ammunition market, but it is its most extensive. Browning ammo is available in rifle, pistol, rimfire, and shotgun configurations to meet the needs of both hunters and target shooters.
Rifle offerings include BXR Deer, with a rapid expansion matrix tip bullet designed specifically for deer, and BXC Big Game, with a controlled expansion terminal tip bullet designed for larger game like elk and bear. Both loads are available in a variety of popular calibers ranging from .243 to .300 WSM.
Pistol ammo is available in both personal defense and target offerings in the four most popular semi-auto handgun calibers - .380 Auto, 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 Auto. BXP personal defense loads feature an X-point hollow point bullet for consistent expansion.
BPT performance target loads have matching full metal jacket bullets of the same weight and velocity as BXP for consistent training and practice.
I’ve tried both versions in .380 Auto and found them to be just as reliable and accurate as any other brand of pistol ammo.
BPR rimfire .22 Long Rifle loads are available in both hunting and target formats. Hunting rounds have a fragmenting bullet, while target rounds have a black oxide coated bullet for reliable functioning in a variety of .22 LR firearms.
Shotshell offerings also come in hunting and target configurations. Browning’s distinctive “Buckmark” deer head logo is prominently displayed on both the hull and brass case head.
BXD waterfowl loads feature plated steel shot and a long-range wad. They are available in both 3.5 and 3-inch 12-gauge and 3-inch 20-gauge. 12 and 20-gauge turkey loads with buffered and nickel-plated lead shot have also been added to the BXD hunting load line-up this year.
BXD upland loads are available in 12, 16, and 20-gauge and feature nickel-plated lead shot. I had particularly good success with the 16-gauge version this season, bagging a limit of three roosters with it on opening day.
The 12-gauge load also proved effective on roosters and the occasional, unfortunate quail.
BPT target loads are also available in 12, 16, and 20-gauge. There are four 12-gauge offerings, including a new handicap load for 2017. I found the BPT sporting clays load to be a reliable and effective performer on targets during my visit to Oak Creek Sporting Clays near Brainard, Nebraska last summer. Despite its 1,300 feet per second velocity, recoil was mild in my soft-shooting Browning Maxus autoloader.
There is one target load apiece in 16 and 20-gauge. Particularly noteworthy is the 16-gauge offering, which has an ounce of number 8 shot, because it is one of the very, very few target loads available in 16-gauge.
Browning likely did this to coincide with the company’s reintroduction of the 16-gauge Sweet 16 A5 semi-auto in 2016. Regardless, this load fills a giant void in the target load market and is a great choice for those who enjoy shooting clays with a vintage 16-gauge shotgun.
All Browning ammo is made in the U.S.A., except for the 16-gauge loads, which are made in Australia. When I asked my contact at Winchester about this, I was told it was for proprietary reasons that couldn’t be shared. Whatever the reason, Browning’s 16-gauge target and hunting loads are both excellent performers. Still, it’s a fun and intriguing fact that adds to the continued mystique and uniqueness of this classic gauge.
Other new offerings for 2017 include BXV rifle rounds for varmints and BXS copper sabot slug loads for deer. The Browning Ammunition line will likely continue to expand even further in the near future.
By now, Browning ammo should be on most dealers’ shelves and widely available. It seems to be priced similarly to other comparable loads and, in my experience, is just as effective.
Check it out the next time you’re at a sporting goods store. Even if you don’t own a Browning firearm, this is a unique opportunity to shoot ammo from one of America’s oldest and most iconic brands.
Jarrod Spilger writes an outdoor column for The Independent.