Winchester Ranger: Too many QC problems, will no longer purchase **pics**

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by Warp, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. Warp


    I think that I have about had it with the Winchester Ranger line of ammunition.

    Strike One:
    I ordered a case of RA9B (9mm 147gr bonded) a few years ago from OMB Express. This was during the ammunition buying craze when very little was generally available. I wouldn't have gone with RA9B if not for the price and availability during that time.

    Every round from that case is FUBAR. We had discussions about it here on GT at the time and the end result seemed to be everybody said it was acceptable and nobody would take returns or exchanges or otherwise fix the problem. I refuse to load it defensively because it is FUBAR, IMO, which basically made for an expensive case of practice ammo/general JHP feed testing ammo.


    You cannot tell me the row on the bottom meet any kind of QC standard for bet-your-life ammunition. Coincidentally as a result of this plus another problem I had with them I refuse to do business with OMB Express. I did not hand pick anything for this picture. I took the first 4 rounds out of two different boxes, one each from the above mentioned case and a different source at a different time. They are representative. If you take any of the rounds from the 'FUBAR' case that is how they will look, if not worse.

    Strike Two
    I bought a Glock 30SF this spring. It was my first/only .45. I bought RA45T (.45 auto 230gr talon) as my initial choice in JHP ammunition. The RA45T failed miserably in the 30SF. I blame the 30SF, but then HST +P failed once in 100 rounds and the RA45T failed once in every 10-15 rounds. Also, I came across this round fresh out of the box:


    This round might function properly, or it might fail to extract if the side that has material missing is the area that the extractor attempts to grab.

    Strike Three
    I ordered a few boxes of RA9TA (9mm 127gr talon +P+) from mahsupplies around a couple of months ago. I took the first box of it out with my Glock 26 yesterday and I loaded this round without noticing (good reminder to inspect every single round you load for actual potential defensive use!) it until it failed to fire:


    It is more disfigured than I can get the image to convey. I am surprised I loaded it at the range without noticing. The gun partially chambered it. The slide appeared to be forward and the trigger reset but it was not completely in battery and of course would not fire.

    What is going on here? How do we get entire cases/an entire batch/whatever it was of RA9B that looks like that? And it is supposedly okay?

    Am I just that unlucky that out of the last 3 boxes of Ranger Talon I have fired I came across two totally FUBAR rounds in two different calibers?

    I have always preferred Gold Dot. I have fired more of them than any other JHP in my years of shooting. The more these things happen the more and more I strongly prefer Gold Dot.

    Has anybody else experienced anything similar?

    Wanna kill these ads? We can help!
    #1 Warp, Oct 7, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
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  3. Have you tried contacting Winchester?

  4. Warp


    Not yet.

    It would be nice if they owned up to it and compensated me but that's not what I'm after. If their QC isn't good enough their QC isn't good enough. I have had these issues pop up on three different products on two different calibers over a period of about 3 years. And while that may sound like a long time I have only purchased 5 different products within the Ranger line (RA9T, RA9B, RA9TA, RA45T and RA38B) and 3 of those have had problems...and with the RA9B I only ever bought one single box! The rate/percentages here are just terrible.
    #3 Warp, Oct 7, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2011
  5. Holy Cow!! Warp thanks for posting that. Coming from you I believe it is an objective conclusion. I never ordered any of this ammo but this confirms to me to stay away from Winnie Ranger.
  6. Warp


    I don't hold a grudge against them or anything and the regulars will note that I have been consistently recommending Ranger Talon right alongside Gold Dot or Federal HST, as a general rule, when people ask about defensive ammunition in any of the service calibers. However, the strike three that just occurred yesterday has really put a sour taste in my mouth and I cannot ignore it any longer.

    It also happens that I bought a 500 round case of Gold Dots that arrived earlier this week and they all look beautifully perfect, as usual. :)

    *I filled out the little form on Wichester's site that is supposed to contact one of their LE ammunition technical experts. I even gave them to the link to this thread so I wouldn't have to type it out again or link images. (that box just felt so small anyway)

    I will be interested in hearing what they say...especially since it is all Ranger ammunition and I am not in law enforcement. I am not sure if that will be a factor.

    #5 Warp, Oct 7, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2011
  7. Something to perhaps bear in mind is that you're seemingly not buying it directly from Winchester.

    Do you know where the LE ammunition you've been buying has been obtained by the company/companies selling it to you? Is it ammunition that's been rejected for LE use, but has entered the wholesale/commercial pipeline in some manner?

    Granted, I've experienced, observed and learned of QC issues arising with the less expensive Ranger ammunition upon occasion, meaning mostly the budget/contract ammunition similar to what's sold under the USA label. Aside from some occasional minor discoloration of cases or jackets, the T-Series ammunition I've received over the years has always seemed to exhibit better QC than the rest of the Ranger, Duty & USA stuff.

    I've also either experienced, or have learned of (from trusted sources), QC problems involving a couple of the other "premium" or LE-Only loads being produced by a couple of the other manufacturers, too. It can happen. Especially if production is running round the clock to fill contract sales. For example, if a company can produce 1M rounds every 24 hours, and they received a contract for 200M rounds, and they're still filling regular smaller LE/Gov orders, as well as the usual periodic commercial production demands, how busy do you think that production line is going to be for weeks, months and even a few years at time?

    In one instance I got a call to tell me about many pallet loads of cases of one of the LE-Only pistol loads being rejected due to an excessive number of short-loads (squibs). It was all one caliber, too (.40 S&W). I have no idea where that ammunition ended up, being destroyed or sold off in some manner. (It's one of the very popular LE-Only lines from one of the big names that people promote among internet firearms forums, including this one.)

    While I've had a couple of good experiences when buying major brand pistol ammunition from companies in years past who did a good business procuring and selling hard-to-find ammunition, I haven't done so in some years. I'm more cautious when it comes to wanting to know the source (and condition) of the ammunition I'm buying for use as dedicated defensive ammunition nowadays.

    I remember when I was attending an AR armorer class some years ago, and the subject of ammunition-related stoppages & malfunctions was being discussed. The instructor polled the class about where they were buying their ammunition. Interestingly enough, it seemed to be mostly the folks who had been buying "discount" ammunition who were reporting the most "problems".

    The instructor discussed a similar trend he'd heard among other classes, and then discussed some of the potential problems that might be prevented if "discount" ammunition were avoided ... ammunition which might have been previously rejected for official LE/Gov use at one time, but which ended up for sale on the internet or in some discount sales venues.

    Maybe you might ask ... maybe they might know ... maybe they might tell you. Dunno.

    I think it's a buyer beware situation at times, though.

    As with many other things.

    Sorry to hear of your problems. Ammunition issues are annoying, even under the "best" conditions.
  8. Warp


    Can you define what you mean by "discount" ammunition?
  9. You're right. That term can include a multitude of things. ;)

    How about "bargain basement" ammunition, where the price is almost "too good to be true" and the source isn't known, or ammunition which is being resold after having been traded in by an agency somewhere (and it's not known why), or it's being sold diverted into the commercial market because it didn't meet someone's specifications for LE/Gov sales for whatever reason.

    I've bought small quantities of traded/returned LE ammunition from small stores or companies in the past, and when I've done so I've had the opportunity to learn about the reason for its availability (and in one instance I learned the LE store had taken it in trade when an agency changed calibers, and they sold the agency their new ammunition, and I could inspect the cases of ammunition prior to buying it - looking for water damage, handling damage, etc).

    I'm not including contract overruns that are being sold off on the commercial market so they aren't sitting around as unsold inventory due to lack of LE/Gov sales, but are otherwise not out-of-spec or rejected ammunition.

    It's really more that over the years I've come to look at buying discounted, sale or bargain priced ammunition from "wholesale/discount" sources increasingly more from the "buyer beware" perspective, especially after hearing the experiences of other armorers over the years in various classes, gel events, or just talking with them when having occasion to get together, etc.
    #8 fastbolt, Oct 7, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
  10. hotpig

    hotpig IAFF Local 4766

    I received a bunch of the Bonded ammo like that a few years ago. Winchester said it was ok but they had a bunch that they "Z" so I did not buy any more. I ended up selling them way under cost for something like 15.99 per box. I did carry it as my duty ammo for about three years so I was not worried that much about it. I replaced it with the 147 PDX1.

    I also avoid the Federal "X" loads and the Gold Dot marked not for LE use. I prefer selling ammo that I know exactly what it is.
    #9 hotpig, Oct 7, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2011
  11. Warp


    Thanks for the input hotpig.

    I wouldn't carry anything marked not for LE use or not for duty use either.
  12. I decided to check my Ranger 127 +P+s. I noticed almost every primer has a small ding or dent in it. None of my other brands of ammo have that. I didn't inspect each round in more detail but a cursory look didn't show any other problems.
  13. 93GT

    93GT The Ogre

    I haven't had any problems over the years with the 127 +P+ stuff from ammunition to go or OMB Express on small sample sizes of about 100 rounds at a time, but I am going to keep an eye on anything in the future.
  14. If I recall the acceptable failure rate is 9 in 100,000 rounds for anything considered defensive...

    Hotpig (aka mahsupplies) can probably confirm that.
  15. Warp


    I no longer have that 30SF, due directly to those problems.

    The 21SF I got as a replacement has been great so far.
  16. wow that is crazy, i use ranger t series, in 40 and 9mm, never had one issue, deff contact winchester and see bout recalls, its the only JHP i use in any weapon except my old smith, pls contact them and keep us posted good luck!!!
  17. I pucked up several boxes of 127 +p+ at a funshow yesterday, some of the rounds show discoloration on the case heads and some have some crud around the primers? I seperated out the nasty ones from the normal ones, use them for range use only. I've been using Ranger T's for 7 yrs now and never have had any issue at all and the 127 is my carry round for my 19 and that is not going to change.
  18. Warp


    Funny you should mention that. I opened some random boxes of different Ranger Talon rounds today and noticed that as well.
  19. I got an ugly looking box of Winchester PDX1. Sent them an email, they gave a call tag for the defect stuff and sent it back.

    Their communication was pretty good during the process and they sent me back two boxes for my troubles.

    The stuff shot great. I haven't bought anymore since this issue (actually any Winchester ammo), as I have seen the light and refuse to buy the cheapest ammo I can find and expect 100% reliability.

    I'll stick with Gold Dot for my defense ammo. Never an issue.. Box after box
  20. Warp


    That isn't how or why this came about.

    I am even more endeared towards Gold Dot though.
    #19 Warp, Oct 9, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2011
  21. gold dot is good, id use them but i get the rangers for dirt cheap, ($20 a box) and have done some testing both are very good rounds

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