Category Archives: Reviews

Our thoughts on an item.

The New 2016 Colt Delta Elite 10mm Review Part 1


The Colt Delta Elite  M1911 has been around since the  1980s. It was  Colt and the Delta Elite that came in at the last minute and saved the 10mm round from death.  While never a huge best seller it has come and gone over the years since the first models hit shelves.  It did go away for a while but as recently as a few years ago was brought back by colt in its original retro form and sold pretty well.  While it was a great gun and true to its original issue, it was a bit bare stock for now a days.   In May of this year, all of us who wanted a Delta Elite in a more modern combat carry package without having to send the stock model off to a gunsmith, got what we had been waiting for.

The new Delta is everything I personally wanted for a long time. It has all the refinements I want in a M1911 that I plan to use for more than setting in the safe.  It has my favorite Novak Combat sights. It has an extended safety, the under side of the trigger guard is cut for a higher grip. it has a competition trigger and a beaver tail grip safety and is de-horned for carry comfort in addition to other upgrades.

Before I get into a deeper look at the piece, I should add right away that I did change a couple of things as I am want to do.  While I like the safety that comes from the factory and think its a fine part, I much prefer the feel and size and shape of the STI extended safety be it single or ambi.  Colt used to provide the STI on its XSE and upgraded guns until recently switching to what I believe is the Wilson Combat safety.  I replaced the Wilson part with my personal preferred safety.


The Next change on the gun that I make on almost all of my 1911s is a part that I have had a long standing love affair with.   That is the S&A stainless steel checked main spring housing.  Again, the factory has so issues and I can not fault it. I just have my personal  quirks like we all do and when given a chance I can not resit making tiny changes to a 1911 to make it more my own.  To see the gun in its unaltered form, I provided the link to my original first look over review of the Delta from a few months ago posted above.


Now that we got that out of the way so no one will wonder why their Delta looks different than the one reviewed here, its time to take a look.


The new Delta is standard Colt 1911 with some obvious slight changes. It comes apart just like any other Colt and Colt’s apparently millions of copiers.


The recoil spring is the new double spring system. It is the same concept as used on the USMC’s MARSOC  M1911 recently adopted and also made by Colt. You can find a review of it here as well.  It does not have the full length guide rode that is essentially pointless.

The recoil that results from the new dual spring was a huge surprise for me.  I have had several older Deltas over the years and full power 10mm ammo is  not exactly something you would want to pound yourself with all day long. But this makes it pleasant and I could barely tell a different between the 10mm ammo and 45 ACP. The lower power 10mm auto loads are very pleasant to shoot with the new recoil spring set up.  This seems to be a new standard practice on most of the more combat and competition 1911s from Colt now and I’m liking it a lot so far.  I confess I have not attempted to take these two apart from each other because I have no inclination to see how much of a pain it may or may not be at this point. I most likely won’t do it either until they need replacing from normal use.


The cut out for the slide release is the full relief. This is pretty common now a days but there was a time when it was not standard. It was originally done because of the cracking that would appear on the old light weight commanders after long term hard use. A crack in the area effected nothing but some anal retentive types (like the kind of guy who loses sleep over brass marks or dings on his AR15s case deflector) ability to sleep at night witohut worrying over it.  Obviously it is expect especially on a  1911 in this round as it is a powerful round and some of the loads are very hot and hard on a gun.


Yes. It is the so called “series 80.” Deal with it.    There is nothing wrong with that, I have been using series 80  guns for 30 some years and never had a problem. The trigger is  crisp and breaks clean. Anyone who tells you not to buy a gun if it has the series 80 style safety is an idiot that can be ignored or treated like  your liberal mother in law.



The barrel is standard 1911. I know some people moan and grown over this because they want to shoot rounds  that are super hot.  I don’t care one way or the other.  I do not load the ammo  to pressures high enough to need to worry about it.  The hotter self defense loads from the factories work for me. In my mind, if you want that kind of performance out of your 10mm, buy a revolver or send the gun off and have it fitted with the barrel you want. I think if I was going to do that I would go ahead and go all the way and have a 40.SW and a .357sig barrel fitted for it at the same time and have the use of all the rounds.  otherwise, the standard, original barrel fills all my needs.


Here is another look at the under cut.  This is such a nice little enhancement that it should always bee standard on anything that is not a retro nostalgia repro.  The strange thing about this is that I thought for many years it was appreciated by everyone until I mentioned it to some casual 1911s owners and they never noticed it.  I guess that goes to show how far enhanced production 1911s have come since the days when this sort of thing was a custom gunsmith  only feature.  In my opinion, M1911s from factories and gun smiths are the better than they ever where including some of the custom guns from back in the day.

While it may only be a personal taste, I really like the new black trigger against the SS gun. I noticed this trend with the Colt Defender a couple of years ago and really like hot it contrasts and looks with the black sights .

Another change  is the new grips. For years the Deltas always had the standard wrap around rubber grips.  These are still rubber, but obviously do not wrap. I like the slimmer grip though all day pounding of full power ammo does make the older wrap feel pretty good.  Of course the grips have the iconic Delta Elite triangle. The wrap around rubber grip with red triangle have been on the Delta for a long time.  A older catalog shows some from days past below .  The wrap around grips are almost an institution for the Delta but I really like the look and feel of the new grip.  I have an original wrap grip that I put on it for a while to compare before taking it back off and I am sure some will miss it.  Maybe Colt will offer up the older grip as a factory part at the online store for those who want it.

For those curious who want to see the older original grips, below the catalog is a picture of my ultra-rare Delta Elite Gold Cup in blued steel with original wrap around rubber grips.

If you can not wait till part 2 and the accuracy test/review, yes the new Delta out shoots the original Gold Cup Delta,and the GC Delta is Very accurate already.




The mags are the standard Colt mags. Same design used for the Super .38.


They of course are marked 10mm Auto.   Thanks to Hunter at I learned that the standard  magazine for  45 ACP will cycle and feed in the 10mm gun.  I admit to having no idea about this but after he mentioned it to me, I tried it and could not believe I went all these years not knowing.  Now, I don’t know if all mags for the 45 guns will work perfect all the time and always lock back when empty. And I would not carry 45 mags for the gun if I thought I was going to have to fight with it. But they will do in a pinch. If you are at the range and need more mags for whatever reason or you lose or destroy the 10mm mags or if you just want some more mags and can not afford the pricey purpose made mags, the 45 ACP mags will work.  I tried Wilson Combat 45 ACP mags and standard Colt 7 and 8 round mags and they worked no problem what time I used them.  Use that info however you want.   But I recommend sticking with the purpose made 10mm mags if you are going to CCW.

On another magazine note, I have tried one other  company’s 10mm  mags.  I picked up 4 Kimber mags from a local gun store and all 4 had problems.    In my experience this is typical of kimber mags.  I was not very surprised and was glad I did not pay the full price for the things.  They do seem to work about 3 out of five times though.  Otherwise the standard USGI  45 ACP mags work better in the gun and of course the mags that came with the pistol are flawless.      I say all that to say, you can use other mags other than ones specifically marked “10mm”  if you need to or are having trouble finding extras, but keep in mind the potential for mischief.





I have fired  the new Delta quite a bit so far and it is everything I hoped it would be when I was first told by Colt they  had sent me one  before the NRA show.  It feels good. It really is hard to explain but it feels really good.  As we stood around the booth for it at the NRA show I heard people comment on how great it felt over and over.  You’d think  that’s crazy as it is a 1911 like other 1911s, just in 10mm but its true.   It indeed has a lot of enhancements over all the early Deltas, and in my opinion is nicer than the nicest of the older Gold Cup Delta Elites nice as they are.   It is not tricked out for competition since who really wants to use 10mm all day in 3 gun or IPSC or whatever. it is set up for carry or hunting and it is very nice.  I have been daily CCWing it since it arrived and its rubber grips and de-horning make it comfortable. And the thought of the power of the 10mm and the hornady ammo is very comforting.


Part 2 of the Delta Elite review will be up soon with accuracy testing, handling and  longer range shooting to take advantage of the rounds  flatter trajectory and speed.





The Accuracy International AE

Submitted by  “G”  a professional sniper and lifelong friend of the Loose Rounds site owners. “G”  will be writing some articles for Loose Rounds in the coming months.

In the by-gone days of 2004 I was hip deep in the word of tactical shooting.  I had been on my departments SWAT Team as a Sniper for a couple years but have been obsessed with sniping since the late 1990’s, when my father was a LEO sniper for the same department.  I read anything I could about the subject, been to a couple schools, and with any free time I had was practicing.

I had been around the typical M700 and other typical sporting rifles my entire life.  I was issued a Remington PSS and had no problems with it but I wanted my own personal “tactical”
rifle.  I looked at companies like Robar, McMillan, HS Precision and others, but when I visited the Accuracy International web site I found what I wanted.  The Accuracy International AW series was way out of my means at the time but the AE, now known as the AE MK1, was just inside reach.  From what the site said it was the same as the AW series without certain benefits and was gear toward the LE community.  It featured a 24″ 1:12 twist barrel, 3.5 lbs trigger, and a very distinctive look.  So off to a local FFL dealer.

Accuracy International AE 7.62x51
Accuracy International AE 7.62×51

Once this British beauty arrived in this my hands I knew I had made a good choice of rifle. It wasn’t setup for the Parker Hale bipod, which I didn’t like anyway, instead a simple sling swivel attachment for a Harris bipod was attached to the bottom of the chassis system.  Its safety was “safe” and “fire” only, instead of the three position safety on the AW series.  Of course it is chambered in  7.62 X 51 (308 Win),  had an overall length of 44″ and weighed around 13 lbs.


The LOP was adjustable with spacers which came with the rifle.  It was set up with a 0 MOA rail already on the receiver for mounting scopes. The AE came with one 5 round magazine, the Mk1 is not able to use the AI 10 round magazines.  The chassis had four sling mounts, two on each side.  Now a days the Accuracy International chassis system is available for a variety of rifles but then it was AI only.  The stock simply screwed onto the chassis system and its only function was to provide something to hold onto. The bolt handle had a distinctive angle and appearance that even for a left hander, like me, provided easy and smooth manipulation.

Accuracy International AE
Accuracy International AE

I managed to top the rifle with a 6.5-20 MK IV Leupold, it has since been refitted with a 4-14 MK IV. The next step was to find a round for this beast to fire.  I had picked up a couple boxes of Hornady 30 caliber 178 gr AMAX.

AE w/ Leopuld Mounted
AE w/ Leupold Mounted

After doing some load development I found a load that the rifle liked.

-Federal Premium Brass trimmed to 2.005

-CCI LR Primer.  Primer pocket and flash hole uniformed.

-43.0grs of IMR 4064

-178 gr Hornady AMAX and Hornady HPBT seated to magazine length.

10 round group fired from 100 yards
10 round group fired from 100 yards

The AE is comfortable shooting from the bench or prone position.  It does become slightly awkward but not undoable from field shooting positions, as found out by yours truly and Loose Rounds owner Shawn.  The information provided with the AE from Accuracy International stated that the AE model was a 600 yard gun.  We came to find that the rifle was very capable of consistent hits out to 1000 yards.  Many a day was spent with this rifle busting skeet and ringing steel at 800 yards and it may be just me being bias, but this rifle made it seem easy to do so.  I have saved many targets from this rifle that was a testament to its accuracy but through the years they have disappeared.

Over the years I have owned and shot other very accurate rifles but this little 600 yard British rifle will always be my favorite.


Century Arms Canik TP9 SFX

Our guys at the NRA 2016 meeting are doing a great job. One place we really wanted to visit was Century Arms.  We wanted to take a look at the Canik TP9 SF pistol.  As we were looking for the TP9 SF the guys at Century pointed us to the TP9 SFX which is the long slide competition version of the TP9 series.  Like the TP9 SF it has dove tail front and rear sights, so you can add any after marked compatible sights you like and  the TP9 SFX can be configure to handle red dot sights with it extra slots in the slide. Since the TP9 SF models no longer have the docker on the top of the slide, it is a viable defensive or competition firearm, at a very reasonable price.

We are hoping Century Arms will provide us with a test firearm in the near future. Take a look at the video below, its a pretty good looking 9mm firearm,


Colt's Semi M16A1 and XM177 Coming Soon


Here at the NRA show, Colt is also showing two new AR15s coming in a few months.   The plan is to release to new and different semi auto versions of classic vintage  rifles with a plan to release two different rifles every year for the next 10 years .  Above is a picture of the first two vintage rifles that will be out in coming months.   First is the M16A1 ( semi auto of course) 603 correct in all ways save for the full auto parts.  The carbine is the immediately recognizable Xm177 that some know by its more slang name of CAR15.   The xm177 has the fake moderator attached permanently to make the barrel 16 inches and to comply with the pointless ATF rules keeping it from falling into NFA  territory.

A lot of attention and work is going into make these guns accurate as possible and high quality. Below is  the stock for the CAR15 in the early stages, showing it as a piece of aluminum. The stock will not be the later synthetic version.


I could not get better and closer pictures of the guns since they are on a rotating display. Fact is they fooled me into thinking they were the military original versions.   The attention to detail is impressive. No doubt much to the agony of retro part ebay  sellers and the boys at the retro forums.

Inland MFG's M37 Combat Shotgun

The boys at Inland keep turning out some really great high quality and faithful reproductions of classic arms.  After doing well with the M1911A1 and the M1 Carbine they now are offering up a M37.  I have to tell you, after looking it over it is NICE!  The action is a version of the super slick M31 and it is just as slick and smooth.   We will have one for review in the coming weeks.



The KRISS  V has been out for a while now and its probably fairly known to most.  Seems after an initial interest , has not had the huge burst in popularity that a lot of people thought it would.  The gun in its martial form is a submachine gun. Closer to a machine pistol in my opinion.   Chambered in te always effective .45 ACP and fed with glock magazine it makes a handy, very compact piece.



A friend of the website and sometime guest writer purchased this one and had it SBRed into the configuration it was obviously meant to be used in for best results.  While the gun can be used as a pistol. it is much more effective with the folding stock which will come as no surprise. The  owner mounted a RMR to the weapon and it did not take us long to determine a higher mount was needed.  While the RMR can be used as it is seen in the picture above, the lower mount had a side effect we did not anticipate.   The V , when operating imparts a very strange vibration through the shoulder stock. It is not recoil exactly as it has no real noticeable recoil.But the gun does have a very distinct vibration transmitted through the shoulder stock and into the cheek.  A few rounds and you don’t really notice it. But sustained fire and rapid fire really brings it to you attention and it becomes annoying then slightly painful.   To be clear, the stock does not wobble nor is it loose or poorly made or fitted to the gun. It is exactly what I said, it is a vibration like through a tuning fork that rings through the stock.   With the higher mounted RMR and a more comfy cheek weld, it is almost totally eliminated

The V ‘s controls are fairly easy to use and have decent placement. It is not as ergonomic as an AR15, but that’s not what this type of weapon is about.  While it has a forward portion for holding it with the support hand, we both felt that is i best used with some VFG added.

We fired the gun a bit and got used to it.  The KRISS only failed us when using one of the Korean glock mags.  With higher quality mags it works fine and needs little care. The trigger is not an SSA but is workable. It is about what you would expect for something like this. Over all it is very  fun to shoot and handy.    After getting to know it, we fired some groups using some hollow points and ball.


At 25 yards the first group is from PMC Starfire.  Though it is not as popular as it was in the old days, the PMC HP is usually always pretty accurate in my experience and it showed here as the best HP round the gun shot.


Next up was the Winchester PDX1 round.  It strung  the shots vertical and mixed with another group fired at the target below it.  Picture shown is best group from the Winchester round.


Target above shows 3 rounds of a 6 round string of Remington Golden Saber.  Only three because the other two rounds did not stay on paper.  The Golden Saber round has never been very accurate in my use of it. I know other like it. But I have never had it impress me.


Target above was fired with 6 rounds of Federal Ball  230 grain FMJ !   Off hand no less.  The gun has show a liking to ball ammo above HPs.  I admit I do not know enough about the  weapon to comment on if it was meant to work with FMJ ammo mainly or not, but this one likes it.


The above target shows a full magazine fire off hand at 50 yards with the gun using the RMR mini red dot.  For such a short barrel and firing ball ammo from such a short barrel in a gun that is a compact SMG, I think it is hard to ask for much more.  The V folds up into a very compact and easily deployed  package. It fits into small back packs or any other covert carrying bag. It takes seconds to get it out and the stock folded into place to get it into action.  With a suppressor in place there is not doubt it would not be very loud.  With the extended magazines loaded without choice of anti personnel hollow points the KRISS would make a heck of a low profile system that would fill any close range needs.


SCAR-H Review & Long Range Test


Since the SCAR-L and SCAR-H came on the scene and touted as the next best thing  I was skeptical to say the least.  Even now after using them both enough to get to know them, I find the 556  SCAR  neato, but  nothing about it justifies the hype that preceded it.  The H on the other hand I think has some real potential.  Recently we finally got around to testing one out in a manner that I felt gave me something  to say about it.

The SCARH has seemingly taken on the role of battle carbine and as a “sniper support “rifle and after a lot of shooting I think this is its most useful role.  We fired it for group and at longer ranges to see how it would do.   And I was well pleased with what it showed me.

Normally I would put my usual 18x leupold target optic on it for long range testing and firing for group but the owner assured me the Elcan 6x optic pictured on the gun would be enough.  For long range shooting on man sized steel gongs it certainly is.  For group shooting it limited me to 100 yards.  I could have shot further but I feel trying to small groups with smaller power can be rough when eyes get tired  and the strings stretch on and on. With that in mind I didn’t feel it fair to the gun to shoot 200-300 yard groups with the 6x.   And I am not going to lie., the thing has a reputation for  narfing up optics. Or so I am told, so it did not take much to convince me to stick to the Elcan.  With all that in mind  lets take a looky-poo at what it did.


Above is the typical average group for the day.  Fired with 168 grain Federal Gold Medal Match ammo which I was told the Elcan was calibrated for .  Group was a 10 round string with the flyer being the first round fired. This is a common flyer for a lot of semi auto guns due to the difference between the bolt closing and locking up under recoil as opposed to by hand with less force.  Certainly only the most hardened keyboard marksman would complain about it too much in this case, but the first round flyer on a hand chambered round always was a little off from the main group. I do feel this group is representative over all  so I am not going to post all of them up.

After some general drills and plinking I moved it off to long range.  I used my usual man sized steel gong  roughly shaped like a small man from belt to head.  The wind was blowing like a democrat running for president and combined with the 168 grain ammo NOT being 175 or heavier, I chose to put the target out to only 750 yards.


No real reason that I didn’t set it at 800 other than the simple reason I couldn’t find a flat enough spot to set the target.  750-800 yards is what I consider the far end of what a 168 grain 308 round can do from a  barrel length around that of a SCAR especially. Really  its a pretty good rule of thumb in my opinion that making hits past 800 with the 168s starts to become problematic with anything less than a 26 inch barrel.


With a little wind reading, the elcan 6x put the hits right on the steel using the BDC stadia for the appropriate range.  Very few rounds missed and that was due to 35 to 45 mph winds moving full value to 3/4 value all day.  One thing we noticed was the light profile barrel did not to seem to have any problems with POI shift as it heated up quite a bit.  The PWS muzzel device made fast follow up shots very easy. The grass muted any chance for a dust signature in this case so i can’t speak to that.  I was very impressed with the ease of making hits with the Elcan though  it is was a little crowded for my personal tastes.  That’s not a gripe. I spent most of my life, and 99 percent of my long range shooting life during the time of the mildot being the most complicated thing out there.

Towards the end of the long range shooting,  with  the strong wing I attempted to hit the steel rapid fire 20 out of 20 without waiting for lulls in the wind. I managed 19 out of 20  on target in about 35 seconds. That is a very good run in  high wind using  a short barrel and the 168 grain round I have so little taste for use in  serious long range shooting .  I was especially pleased with its performance considering the size of the target. I am barely 5’9  and as you can see the gong is not really as big as a normal man.


I would very much like to  test for myself how the SCAR H does with 175gr match ammo or something else more tuned for longer ranges.  The rest of the time at this range was spent hitting the gong as if it was no further away than 200 yards  once the wind stayed blowing in a  steady direction.   .  At 750 the H shot about as good as the 901  with the 901 grouping better when accuracy tested. One caveat being the 901 did have the 18x though so keep that in mind.  I do have a gut feeling the 901 will have the advantage at the extreme long range since it has a barrel free floated and not piston operated.


Now comes the part with  the down sides.  That Elcan 6x while very clear and very useful is VERY heavy.  It makes a fairly light handy 762 battle carbine into a very fat chick.  With the gun loaded and with other mission required additions such as a light or PEQ etc, this thing turns into a brute. I am not afraid of rifles that have some weight if the weight has a good reason, but the optic on this one really makes it tough to say I would every really buy one myself for constant use.

Speaking of the optic, the charging handle.  Or as I think of it, the SCAR H knuckle skinner.   When the charging handle is on the left side, which is the best side for righties, you do not have much choice of places to mount any optics if it sticks out over the side of the rifles top rail any at all.  Hand position is critical as well since you can stop the gun or take a knock from the handle as it operates. Same thing if the CH touches anything around you when in use. I am not a fan of it nor will I ever be. I have read and heard all the reasons why it was given this feature, but I still think it just sucks.

I had some problems with the factory safeties. I could not use the right side of the ambi safety in any way that was useful and I struggled to quickly and smoothly use the left handed full sized lever.  This is something easily fixed now a days and its a good thing.  If I was to buy a SCAR H I would have to order a replacement ambi safety before I even got home with it.

The trigger was the superb Super SCAR Trigger ’nuff said.  It did not have the factory trigger in it so I can’t really give any opinion on that.  I would highly recommend that super scar trigger though to anyone buying one of these guns.

As hideous as some find the butt stock and as much fun as it is to joke about it,  there was no trouble from it.  The stock was comfortable and  easy enough to adjust.  For average guy in the US use I don’t see it being any real issue though I do understand it has had some problems in the past in combat.

I heard so much hyperbole over how the PWS muzzle device was so loud that it would cause dead bodies to rise from the bottom of lakes and make  instant rain storms.  It wasn’t that loud and it wasn’t that blasty in my opinion.  It did however work great. Same as the L model. But it’s much appreciated on the 762 model.  Rapid fire off hand, prone  or any strange position I tried was like shooting a 556 gun. Maybe even less.  I do find  I would like to see how it feels without it. The Colt 901 has very pleasant recoil with no recoil dampening muzzle brake at all but the HK417 has  recoil I find to be way too much considering what it is. So I would like to see how the piston SCAR feels with no brake compared to the piston 417. I stood beside it and over it while some one shot it prone and walked all around it during firing with nothing more than foam plugs in. It’s not that bad at all. Or I am well on my way to deafness.  Other shooter remarked it was not as bad as it has been made out to be.   Unrelated, the SCAR H and the L  vents a hell of a lot of gas out onto the barrel in front of the gas block and even onto the brake.  I would like to see what kind of flash is produced at night when the gun is suppressed and from a position directly in front of it.

Unlike the HK 417/Mr762 which I loathe, the SCARH never failed us during use. I found it shot more accurate and  was much more pleasant to shoot recoil wise.   I know I have brought it up many times but that HK 417 really surprised me by how much recoil it has.  In the review of the HK you can even see the bruising it caused another shooter from its recoil. The SCARH and Colt 901 are as pleasant to shoot as a 556 gun to me. Not so for that HK417.   The SCAR was as reliable as the 901 though I did not shoot quite as much through the SCARH as I did the Colt 901s.

One last complaint about the H is the rail space. There is not a lot of it on the gun for positioning extras you may have much need for or just simply  want.  There are of course fixes for that and other models with longer rails but the SCARH tested was the configuration it first came out as and is a product of the time period it was designed.

I was impressed  with the guns accuracy and performance.  I would certainly own one  and set it up in the sniper support role.  Oddly there are as many things I don’t like about it as there are things I do like. But I feel it has a couple of roles that it excels best at.  As a combat carbine, I think in its stock form it leaves a lot to be desired and the 762  pattern ARs are superior in most ways. If I wanted to use a 762 carbine like  I would a 556 carbine, I would hands down go with something like the Colt 901 ( which is my first pick) the KAC EMC carbine or whatever they call it this month, or even the LMT MWS god forbid.  If I wanted a piston operated 762 DMR or sniper support rifle/carbine., I would absolutely use the SCAR H especially when it is dressed with its longer rail and the current upgrades.

This review with some time with the SCARH is late enough that it’s not changing anyone’s mind about buying one at this point,  but I would suggest making sure you know exactly what you want out of  it and what you may need to change on the H if you are thinking about getting one. I certainly would get one if I had use for it even in its standard  guise.


Winchester USA Forged / 9mm Steel-Cased

I am not a big fan of steel-cased ammunition. It has never really been that much of a savings per round vs. the quality you have to deal with. Recently ( was kind enough to reach out and provided some ammunition to us. One of the rounds sent to us for testing is the new Winchester USA Forged ammunition line in 9mm. The USA Forged line is Winchester’s attempt to get in on the cheap, high volume shooting steel-cased ammunition market, but offer a slightly better product than the foreign steel-cased ammunitions on the market.

Winchester USA Forged Steel-Cased 9mm Amminition
Winchester USA Forged Steel-Cased 9mm Amminition

There are some slight differences in the USA Forged line vs. other steel-cased ammunition. The Winchester USA Forged is 100% USA made and it uses an all lead bullet core with brass jacket (FMJ). There are no bi-metal components in the bullet. It has a non corrosive boxer primer and uses a clean burning powder, per the manufactures markings on the box.

I shot 200 rounds of Federal American Eagle 115grn FMJ before switching to the steel-cased USA Forged 115grn FMJ, just to compare how the steel functioned against a decent brass offering. I used a 19 year old Gen2 Glock 19 and a brand new H&K VP9 to test the Forged ammunition. Each firearm had 100 rounds of American Eagle though it before using the USA Forged ammunition.



I shot 450 rounds of the Winchester USA Forged 9mm. As I was loading rounds I noticed how scraped up and ruff the steel casings were.  The Forged ammo does not have a lacquer coating or any kind of washed finish on it that I could see. Winchester says they have a proprietary surface treatment on the casings but the three boxes I received, most of the casings look pretty rough. The proprietary surface treatment is extremely inconsistent. It looks like plain exposed steel  most of the time. In several images and videos from some of the industry magazines out there, all the rounds looked the same, with a nice even casing coating.  This was definitely not the case for the boxes I received.

Inconsistent Surface Treatment on Casings / Rough
Inconsistent Surface Treatment on Casings / Rough

It took a little more elbow grease to load up magazines as they seemed to not want to slide in smoothly, due to the rough casings. Once loaded up, I quickly started dumping rounds down range at a rapid pace. I noticed a little more recoil from the Forged ammo. The steel casings were really flying out forcefully. I quickly burned through 85 rounds. On the 86th round I had a Failure to Extract (FTE) resulting in a Double Feed. I notice the casing was a quarter of the way out of the chamber and another round had fed into the back of it.  I cleared the magazine  and racked the slide to reengage the head of the un-extracted casing. Once the extractor and slide reengaged the lip of the casing I was unable to rack the slide to extract it.  I ended up having to smack the nose of the slide against the ground several times, to unseat the stuck casing enough to rack it out. The casing looked normal but you can see where the extractor slipped of the rim of the casing.

86th Rounds FTE/Double Feed
86th Rounds FTE/Double Feed
FTE/Double Feed

Except for the one (1) FTE resulting in a double feed, I had no other firing function issues. There were a few things that caught my attention as far as the quality of the individual rounds. At the end of the day these did not cause actual function issues but it did make the overall use and enjoyment of the Forged ammunition not as enjoyable. They are a little nit-picky but worth mentioning.

First; This ammunition is dirty. Dirty to handle and dirty shooting. It says clean burning powder is used and I was thinking, compared to what?, sticking my hands into a bag of coal dust. I’ve been to courses where I shot 1500 rounds in a day and my hands were not this dirty.  Second; There was a large noticeable powder cloud after firing each round and from time to time un-burned powder pieces would ignite in the air after firing rounds. It seemed to be as dirty shooting as any other steel-cased foreign ammo. Third; The above mentioned difficulty loading magazines. The rough, dirty and inconstantly coated  shell casings just made loading more difficult.

Support Hand
Support Hand
Primary / Shooting Hand
Primary / Shooting Hand


I did not spend any time on in-depth formal accuracy testing.  The USA Forged ammunition is 115grn FMJ plinking ammo and I shot it all off hand. I took my target from 7 to 25 yards and all in between. All the hits were there and the round is going to hit what you’re shooting at.  At 25 yards I shot 20 rounds and they were all center mass within an extreme of  4 to 6 inches of center from each other, that’s good enough for me.

450 Rounds on Target
450 Rounds on Target

Final Thoughts:

Overall the Winchester USA Forged ammo worked. It does have a slight edge over foreign/imported steel-cased ammunition as far as the FMJ bullet is concerned. The best thing the Forged ammunition has going for it is the traditional FMJ bullet construction. I don’t think it is worth shooting over any brass-cased ammunition. In checking on Blazer Brass, PMC Bronze, Speer Lawman and American Eagle, all were between .21 and .26 cents per round depending quantity. I found the USA Forged is also going for .21 to .26 cents per round.  At these prices I don’t personally see that the Winchester steel-cased offering is saving any money. Thanks again to ( for supplying the ammunition for the review.