Winchester Quality Control?


July 29, 2011, 12:42 PM
I've heard and read about people receiving damaged ammo when buying various calibers in their PDX1 line of ammunition. I ignored this and kept buying it because it's been one of the few premium ammo types available in store. I've since been satisfied with what I have received in 9mm +P and .45, until I bought a couple boxes of .380 yesterday. One of the cartridges is cracked about 1/3 of the way down the middle of the case. Being that I paid right at $0.80 per cartridge I'm pretty pissed off and plan to bring this up with Winchester.

If fired this cartridge could have caused damage to my gun, my hand and at the very least a stubborn malfunction. I don't know if I'll buy anymore PDX1 again. I've never seen this happen with any of the other of the big name premium ammo manufacturers.

Any thoughts or opinions on what is becoming a notorious lack of QC on Winchester's part?

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July 29, 2011, 12:46 PM
Wow that's a nasty looking crack. I would definitely be calling Winchester about that one if it were me. I would be pissed to say the least....that's unbelievable.

July 29, 2011, 01:31 PM
Hmm... I'd worry about a bad batch of brass with improper alloy qualities. If this is the case then all rounds could be dangerous to shoot. BTW, after reading so many bad reviews about Winchester brass I haven't bought a single box... not in a long time.

July 29, 2011, 01:35 PM
Wow, I use PDX for SD, never had a problem. This does not make me feel good about my decision.

July 29, 2011, 01:44 PM
That's pretty bad considering my handgun is loaded with PDX1 right now.

Call them, Bring it to their attention. I had bought some 9MM WWB and had about 3-4 rounds that had the bullet seated to deep and crushed the neck of the casing.

They sent out UPS with a tracking number and had it picked up for free. After explaining the problem to them. Also, Make sure you remember who you spoke to and get a reference number and keep your tracking number and all that together. Your gonna want it just in case.

After I had send it in, I had called about a week or so later and there still taking a look into it. Again, I called another week or so later and they told me that they were done checking it out and everything.

They also then told me that they would be sending me a $50.00 gift certificate for Winchester Ammunition and I should have it in the mail a few days from now. A few days later and I did in fact have a gift certificate from Winchester!

So, Yeah...Bring it up to them and remember that if you do get a certificate it's only good for Winchester ammo.

July 29, 2011, 02:04 PM
Last year, I had a dud round of 40 S&W 165 gr. Ranger T; resulted in a little pop (instead of bang) and a bullet lodged in my barrel.
I was able to drive the bullet from the barrel, wasn't easy.
I had shot about 3 boxes of ammo (150 rounds) out of that 500 round case when it happened.
I was glad it happened in practice, not a SD situation, because that pistol was out of comission with a bullet stuck in the barrel. (Good reason to carry a back-up).
I called and got a pick up tag, Winchester replaced the entire 500 rounds.
I like Ranger T.

VT Deer Hunter
July 29, 2011, 05:12 PM
Good thing you spotted that, i would contact Winchester about it.

July 29, 2011, 05:15 PM

Vern Humphrey
July 29, 2011, 07:01 PM
I'd worry about a bad batch of brass with improper alloy qualities. If this is the case then all rounds could be dangerous to shoot
You're right about that -- Winchester should be notified immediately. They will probably issue a recall on that lot number.

July 29, 2011, 08:22 PM
If you really want high quality ammunition you have to make it yourself. The factories are building to a price point. Profit margin is No.1 - Quality is No 2. I started reloading twenty five years ago and I have never produced any rounds with the defects that seem to be getting all too common now. (crushed primers, backwards primers, bullets setting back on 2 or 3 chamberings, inconsistent powder charges.) Every time I hear guys on the Internet explaining to the newbies that all rounds set back if you chamber it more than once, that's just the way it is, I laugh. It is sad that America has come to accept the idea that cheap junk is OK as long as it's cheap. Thank you WalMart.

Vern Humphrey
July 29, 2011, 08:29 PM
Thank you WalMart.
Better to say, "Thank you, consumers." If people wouldn't buy it, Wal Mart wouldn't sell it.

If enough people wanted higher quality ammo, and were willing to pay for it, you can bet Wal Mart would sell it.

July 29, 2011, 09:22 PM
Better to say, "Thank you, consumers." If people wouldn't buy it, Wal Mart wouldn't sell it.

If enough people wanted higher quality ammo, and were willing to pay for it, you can bet Wal Mart would sell it.
PDX1 is supposed to be a "premier" Winchester product. I'm not bashing Winchester but I haven't bought any since the long-running issue with their brass. I won't even buy their otherwise excellent LE Ranger T series.

July 30, 2011, 02:02 AM
I contacted the Winchester ammunition CS department (1-800-356-2666) and left a message on their answering machine. I was called back about 1 hour later by a gentleman, who's name escapes me. I told him the problem and he gave me a speech about how they catch 99.9 % of the bad ammo but some still escapes the factory that runs at such a high rate of manufacturing. He then told me to write "small arms ammunition, ORM-D" on the box and he would have a UPS guy come pick it up or drop the label for it off at my house. When they receive it they will send a gift certificate for more Winchester ammo. He was very polite and answered all my questions.

That's fair enough. I don't know if I'll use it to buy anymore PDX1 though. I switched back to Gold Dot for the time being.

I also more closely inspected the remaining ammo from the box of .380 and discovered a bullet that is seated in the case at an odd angle. It sort of tilts to one side, not quite at 45 degrees. About half of the ammo has odd nicks and dents in the cases as well weird stains. Two of the cartridges look to be seated too deeply. As I said before I've been pleased with the 9mm and .45 I've bought before but this must have been an awfully bad lot. I'm just glad they'll take it back.

If Winchester really makes this right I can forgive them. But, I don't know if I want any of their PDX1 again.

If you really want high quality ammunition you have to make it yourself.

I have been seriously considering reloading, I've always been a "do it yourselfer." Call me egotistical but I think I could do it better myself, on a smaller scale of course, if I have the proper tools and time.

Vern Humphrey
July 30, 2011, 09:11 AM
I think the ammo companies are behind the times -- they don't realize how news of something like this spreads over the internet, and how much it can hurt their business.

July 30, 2011, 11:32 AM
I seriously doubt there's anything wrong with PDX1 in general. However, if I was buying Winchester right now I'd buy Ranger T series ammo.

July 30, 2011, 03:34 PM
It's reasonable to immediately notify the ammunition manufacturer and bring it to their attention.

Other than that, if you think the other major manufacturers don't occasionally have their own issues, you might be surprised.

I can think of 3 occasions where the "premium" lines in use by LE customers, made by 2 of the other major manufacturers, experienced some issues with some production lots which ended up in LE hands.

One company's loads had some short-loaded rounds produced in a couple production lots 2-3 years ago, and then apparently again recently.

While I never saw any of those short-loaded rounds from those production lots myself, I can remember seeing and experiencing something like 4 problematic rounds from 3 different calibers produced in that line of ammunition, but they occurred over the course of having probably upwards of 150K - 200+K rounds come through a range.

One .45 case was trimmed too long to fit in a chamber during cycling.

One 9mm case was damaged/mangled at the lip, failing to hold the bullet in the case during feeding. Another similar instance turned up later, which I was able to keep intact because it was noticed before someone tried to chamber it:

I had a .40 round fail to fire, apparently due to a "bad" primer, since it failed to ignite after 2 hard hits which deeply dimpled the primer cup. I didn't take a picture of it, but I kept it to add to my small collection of problematic factory rounds.

The other company ended up getting back several pallets of cases of their premium LE load after a major PD customer decided they were experiencing too many short-loads (squibs) on their training range. (I remember getting the call from someone there as the pallets were being loaded to be shipped back.)

I remember an instance of my own involving Winchester LE Ranger ammunition several years ago, too. I came across a box of LE rounds which had 2 problematic rounds which wouldn't chamber due to a case dimension issue (trimmed too long). I didn't have that particular problem occur while using that particular line of ammunition during the several tens of thousands of rounds used before or after that instance, though.

Several years ago I was handed a pretty mangled 147gr JHP load by one of our folks during a qual range. ( (

It happens. Not often, thankfully.

On the other hand, I can't even begin to number the "bad" rounds encountered during range sessions where someone brought handloaded/reloaded/remanufacturered ammunition to some course. I usually hear someone reacting in disbelief, saying something along the lines of, "But I've NEVER had that happen with MY handloads", or, "That's NEVER happened with my FRIEND'S reloads before!" These comments have usually involved more than a single problem with the reloaded ammunition, too, requiring the line to be stopped now and again while the problems are resolved. (Now, I used to be an avid reloader when I was a young man, but I can't claim that every round I made was perfect.)

July 31, 2011, 01:18 AM
I'd like to add that I used to think people who carefully inspected each round before carrying it were OCD. Now I plan to carefully inspect each round before even purchasing the ammo (only for expensive premium ammo of course) so I don't have to go through this drawn out return process.

All brands make a little bad ammo, just like all firearm manufacturers make a few bad guns, the important thing is how they treat the customer when they have a problem.

Sav .250
July 31, 2011, 09:05 AM
Quality control..........ain`t what it used to be! RE-Load....:)

August 2, 2011, 01:29 AM
I found out the other box's bullets are not seated straight. They got jammed in the magazine as I was loading them as a result. Guess I'll send box #2 back. LOL

Due carefully check your carry ammo before carrying it guys. If I mixed up this ammo, carried it and had to use it I could have had one stuck in the chamber from the crack in the case and a magazine that is too jammed up to function from the cockeyed bullets. What a mix.

August 2, 2011, 08:00 AM
The rounds in my recently purchased box of ''Super X'' 510gr .458 Win mag are downright filthy, with dents and bulges of varying size behind the bullet on every case.

I seem to recall that the .45-70 winchester ammo i bought a while ago weren't exactly flawless either.

August 20, 2011, 12:40 AM
Today I received a reply and a gift certificate from Winchester for $20 dollars for the box of ammo I sent them. The reimbursement is great and much appreciated. But, the letter accompanying it is perplexing, maybe even disturbing. It reads as follows:

"This will acknowledge receipt of the material sent to us for testing. Tests conducted on the exhibits received showed that they met Winchester and industry specifications in every respect. Accordingly, we are at a loss to explain the difficulty encountered. Nothing was found to indicate that the ammunition was in any way responsible for the trouble reported. Be that as it may, we want to thank you for bringing the matter to our attention. We sincerely regret that this difficulty was experienced while using our products. With that in mind, I have enclosed a certificate for replacement product with our compliments. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention and for giving us the opportunity to investigate the problem and advise you of our findings. We sincerely appreciate the time and interest you have taken in Winchester ammunition products."

A cracked case and crookedly seated bullets meet Winchester industry specifications? Really? Maybe I just got a cookie cutter letter, but this is mind boggling. I can't wait to ask CS about this. If this is up to their standard I don't plan on buying any of their "premium ammunition" any more. Wow. Are they too afraid to admit QC problems and promise to try harder?

Jorg Nysgerrig
August 20, 2011, 01:26 AM
It sounds like you simply were sent the wrong form letter. I suppose you could call their CS and grill them, but I'm not sure what you are going to achieve by doing that. I guess you could either get someone to confess they sent you the wrong form letter since they aren't likely to actually say cracked cases meet Winchester industry specifications.

You got some bad ammo and they took reasonable steps to compensate you with a gift certificate. You could launch an investigation to get to the bottom of this, but will the outcome be any different?

August 20, 2011, 10:51 AM
You got some bad ammo and they took reasonable steps to compensate you with a gift certificate.

Yep....I myself, don't know what else one should expect. Winchester replied and took action in short order and compensated you for your inconvenience. Buy enough other ammo and odds are you may again have a similar experience with a different manufacturer. Factory ammo is mass produced......on machinery. Millions of rounds a day. Even if 99.9% of each of those rounds is perfect, 1000 still are gonna be imperfect. If you want better than that, and want each round visibly inspected before shipment, you need to buy custom ammo for $40 a box instead of Walmart bulk "Premium" ammo for $15. When I handload, I visually insect each cartridge before it's placed in the box. Many times I come across a cartridge that doesn't meet my standards, be it a cracked case or bullet damaged by seating/crimping. Not a big deal, it gets tossed. Crooked bullets and small dents in cases to me, are cosmetic only in handgun ammo, and unless really excessive, have no effect in accuracy(especially at SD distances) and relieabilty. For years when I used factory ammo, and even now when I buy some occasionally. would never load it into my firearm without personally inspecting it first. Just part of the game. Part of being a responsible shooter. How do I know I did not damage it myself on the way to the field? Now if one brand of ammo has more "bad " rounds (percentage wise) than another brand and costs the same, I might switch ammo. But to pay double because of an occasional bad round, which is easily detected by eye, wouldn't make sense to me. I doubt very much in Winchester has a greater percentage of "bad' ammo than other brands. They just sell more than most other brands......thus they more have examples overall.

August 20, 2011, 11:21 AM
I don't buy any Winchester ammunition at this time.

August 20, 2011, 12:03 PM
Winchester QC has been slipping for some time now.

I have some S&B produced & Winchester packaged 7.62X54 that has cracked necks right from the package.
Nobody bothered to check the stuff before it was boxed??!!

Customer Service has been somewhat lame also.
Sent ammunition back for inspection, received a coupon for a replacement box of ammo, mind you the same ammo that caused issue to begin with.
No recall ever put out that I am aware of, no explanation, no apology, just a coupon in an envelope mailed out six weeks after I sent the ammo back to them,,,

August 20, 2011, 12:15 PM
Who actually manufactures the ammunition that gets put in Winchester's boxes?

August 20, 2011, 01:47 PM
Who actually manufactures the ammunition that gets put in Winchester's boxes?

Olin corporation, as far as I know.

August 20, 2011, 03:54 PM
Yes, it is an agitation when you save for and buy any product now-a-days that you have to return for some QA reason or other. The remark "we strive..yadda yadda however, occasionaly...yadda-yadaa, isn't a good enough excuse or explanation. My take on this is a lack of an ethic, personal pride & attitude towards doing a job a person is paid to do. Face it, we now have 2 or more generations that can't spell, read a mic or tape measure, do simple math with out diggin out a techno product to do it for them. I'm not saying every employee is like that but I've seen my share of slow leaks and heaven forbid they get a ass chewing for fear of ACLU action. Is the "bottom line" the only thing that counts in any industry? Yes, it is to a point. However, if quality affects the bottom line then that bottom line has to be adjusted to remain profitable.

August 22, 2011, 11:14 AM
It sounds like you simply were sent the wrong form letter. I suppose you could call their CS and grill them, but I'm not sure what you are going to achieve by doing that.

You're right, it would achieve nothing. I'll just assume I got the wrong letter and leave it at that. They took care of me so I ought not bother them anymore. It's bad enough I stared an internet thread with pictures.

August 22, 2011, 11:28 AM
I don't know if this will work but it does for AT&T when you wish to get a complaint to somebody that can do something about it, try e-mail:

August 22, 2011, 10:27 PM
I don't buy Winchester ammunition anymore as well. Pounding a 9mm bullet out of the barrel is a good way to ruin an afternoon shooting, I was just glad I had my SW40VE with me as well, and several boxes of Federal and Blazer brass for it, so the day wasn't a loss. We did shoot some more of the 9mm out of my Hi Point C9, but after about ten more rounds I had one that "POPPED" and I stopped, the empty brass hadn't even ejected. My buddy started laughing, and after I cleared the pistol and locked the slide back, he came up and about two feet in front of where I was firing from, leaned down a and picked up the bullet from where it had literally fallen out of the end of the barrel.

I have him the rest of the bulk pack box, he said he'd pull the bullets, dump the powder and reload them. Told me later that he had three in the rest of the box that had NO powder in them. I'm not a rocket scientist, but I am smart enough to stop using something after it gives me bad results like that.

Super Sneaky Steve
August 22, 2011, 10:37 PM
Just yesterday I was shooting some Winchester white box 125grain .38 special +P self defense ammo.

About half of the cavities were filled with some kind of media. For comparison the one on the right is how it should look.

It's packed in there enough that hitting it against the table won't dislodge the stuff inside. I don't think it would expand very well like this.

Really I think if you're really careful and you do your own reloads it's the best quality control out there.

August 22, 2011, 10:52 PM
I wonder if there is a chance the ammo could have been reloaded by someone and returned? It is strange multiple bullets had problems. I would think with the liability assumed in a field like producing ammunition quality control would be a high priority.
That doesn't explain the letter Winchester sent.

August 22, 2011, 11:41 PM
About half of the cavities were filled with some kind of media. For comparison the one on the right is how it should look.

That is bizarre. Excess bullet lube? It looks like dirt packed in. Are you able to scrape it out?

August 22, 2011, 11:53 PM
I just had some PDX 45 ACP. It was inaccurate and felt like the powder loads were different throughout the box of 20. A lot of the cases were significantly deformed (after shooting) and all over the ground. I switched back to the Winchester White box and I was back on target and all of the shell casings were in the same general area on the ground..... I used to carry the PDX in 40 S&W and never had problems with it like that.

August 23, 2011, 12:16 AM
I live about 10 miles away from the Winchester ammo plant in East Alton, IL (soon to move down south). I was told about 15 years ago, by people who worked there & made the ammo (center-fire), that Winchester ammo was junk. Experience has borne out their statements, although I haven't had much of a problem with their white-box .40 S&W apart from accuracy.

Seems Winchester isn't a great place to work at either. The workers voted down their last two contract offers even when they knew full well that we were in an economic downturn & their jobs would be lost. Look for their ammo to improve once they move to Mississippi. Also look for their ammo prices to drop since their labor costs will be cut in half & will pass the savings on to the consumer.

August 23, 2011, 09:28 AM
No offense intended; But why do we keep buying from a company that seems to not care one little bit about QC and, therefore, (possibly) our very lives? I'm just repeating myself but I will NOT buy another Winchester product of any type until they get their act together.

August 23, 2011, 11:54 AM
John Farnum on more than one occasion has recommended inspecting any ammunition you'll be using for what is sometimes called "serious social purposes". I concur with that recommendation.

Nothing man-made is perfect.

A chamber gage in suitable calibre (9mmx19, .40 S&W, .45 APC etc) to facilitate such inspections is very helpful. Failing that, using the chamber of the barrel from your field-stripped semi-auto pistol is a field expedient method that will at least approximate such a check. Clean the chamber first of any loose residues. Any cartridge that will not drop in and fall out using gravity alone is suspect. It should seat flush or below the lug on the top rear of most barrels.

August 23, 2011, 04:02 PM
Im glad you got your certificate. I had only found that one problem with their ammo. Of course, I was not the only one to have found out that the bulk packaged 9mm had some defects.

Other than that, I have had no other problems with their ammo. As for why do we keep buying this ammo.....I don't really have an answer for you. Except I wanted to see what would feed better in my gun and what would be more accurate. I think people who found Winchester Ammo to be accurate for them or feed well would tend to keep buying it.

Just a guess really...I started to reload...I don't recall last time I bought factory ammo. :)

August 23, 2011, 04:45 PM
I have shot quite a bit of WWB 9mm fmj, no real issues.

August 23, 2011, 04:50 PM
While we'd all like to think (and expect) all commercially produced ammunition to be as perfect and consistently trouble-free as we'd desire, this stuff is being cranked out on automated equipment that's maintained (and programmed) by human beings. Ditto the components being used to make it.

If a company is running their equipment round-the-clock ... and cranking out up to one million rounds every 24 hours ... the sheer volume of production can probably mitigate against everything being perfect all the time.

I remember once upon a time being told (by a Winchester rep, maybe?) that the Silvertip line was different in that an additional step was included where each cartridge was checked for tolerance (inserted in a 'gauge during production), and that was one of the reasons the STHP ammo cost more in their Supreme line. Maybe so.

Now, producing the lowest cost/bulk grade ammo might understandably involve a lesser standard of QC (in some manner), or at least lesser cost (quality?) components, at times.

I've seen, experienced or learned of QC issues in all the major ammo company lines, although mostly involving the lower cost stuff. Sometimes even in the "premium", or even LE-type production runs (which can have defined QC specifications stated in the contracts sometimes, or, at least a minimum number of "problematic" rounds that would require return of a case (or production lot) of ammo for replacement.

While I don't have any "inside info", when it comes to spending my own money on defensive carry ammunition (meaning not for "range/practice" ammo), my own expectation when it comes to the best QC (hopefully) presently runs along the line of Winchester, Speer, Remington & Federal, in that order, involving their "premium/LE-type" ammunition. I tend to look at the QC of the lower cost, budget/sale, reduced price bulk/contract ammo as being anybody's guess, on any given day.

When I was only shooting commercial ammunition once a month, or every couple of months, and not more than 50-100 rounds at a time, I don't remember encountering much in the way of "defective" rounds. (Sure, as an avid reloader I remember encountering the occasional bad primer, or maybe pushing case past the point where it probably should have been tossed, or making a mistake in how the loading equipment was set if i wasn't paying close attention.)

Once I became an instructor, though, and started shooting increasingly more ammunition on someone else's dime ... and started seeing tens of thousands of rounds fired by the folks I worked with on the range ... I started to have the opportunity to see, and experience, more rounds which had problems of one sort or another. Once I started calculating the ammunition that had been delivered and used over the years, and realized I'd seen more than a million commercial rounds fired through our range for quals, training & practice (and had contributed my best effort to firing at least my small, but fair, share of them :uhoh: - which was pointed out to me by the guy ordering them upon more than one occasion :D ), I stopped being surprised by encountering the occasional "bad" round.

August 23, 2011, 05:30 PM


i don't buy winchester white box anymore. it's gotten as crappy, if not more so, than UMC. PDX1 has always been a poor performer, never had a reason to buy it.

P5 Guy
August 23, 2011, 07:27 PM
I guess some type of vision qc check would catch cracks and improperly seated bullets. If they wanted to invest the cash.
Another reason I handload, yes even SD ammo.:what:

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