Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Winchester Long Beard XR: A New Turkey Load Designed for Longer Ranges

Syndicate

Syndicate content
Google Reader or Homepage
Add to My Yahoo!

The Gun Shots Recent Posts

Categories

Recent Comments

Archives

The Gun Shots
in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get our new post everyday.

September 19, 2013
Winchester Long Beard XR: A New Turkey Load Designed for Longer Ranges - 7

The turkey load has seen its share of evolutions in the last few years with the introduction of heavier metals and specialized wads designed to cut patterns tighter than Oprah’s pants. Those improvements -- plus the popularization of extra-full chokes and optics -- have pushed the effective range of the most competent turkey hunters out to 50-yard territory.

Winchester is looking to nudge that distance even further with its new Long Beard XR shotshell. The shell is unremarkable in everyway – copper-plated lead pellets, standard wad, and standard brass – except for one feature: a paste-like resin the company calls Shot-Lok. The resin fills in the gaps between the pellets and binds them in the wad. Immediately after the shell ignites, the resin fractures and turns to powder. This process creates a tighter shooting shotshell and more pellets on target, according to Winchester. The company officially announced the load today and it will start showing up on shelves in November or December.

Theory Behind the Design

Pellets bound in the Shot-Lok resin next to the shotshell wad.

In a standard lead shell, the pellets at the rear of the shot column (about one-third of the pellets closest to the primer) are squished and deformed under the force of ignition. These deformed pellets are less aerodynamic and are prone to flying off course. As the shot column travels farther down range, more of these deformed pellets are lost from the pattern. 

Because Shot-Lok eliminates the space between the pellets, they retain their round shape and fly truer.

Field Testing

I had the opportunity to field test Long Beard on some Texas Rios last spring.  Our group of four hunters all killed birds at ranges of 20 yards to about 50 yards, and all the birds we hit flopped over without much fanfare.

Earlier this summer a buddy and I patterned the load from 10 yards to 70 yards in 10-yard increments. We shot 3-inch No. 6s and No. 4s through a Mossberg 835 Turkey THUG with an 18-inch barrel and an XX-full choke. Both shot sizes did extremely well from 30 yards to 50 yards. Past the 50-yard mark, the 6s pulled away, outperforming the 4s and absolutely whooping the standard Winchester Double X high velocity rounds we shot as a control group. With No. 6 shot at 70 yards, we were able to sink about a dozen pellets in our gobbler target’s head and neck (see some of our patterning photos below), and we saw 1 ¾-inch penetration in our ballistics gel test.

If Long Beard XR has any downside, it’s that the close-range pattern is almost too tight. At 10 yards the shells delivered a hand-sized pattern and at 20 yards the pattern stretched to about 16 inches in diameter. However, you’re not going to get much different results shooting any other turkey load through an extra-full choke at these close ranges.

Other applications

The Shot-Lok concept could become a game changer for Winchester, and as you read this, the company is looking at incorporating the technology into some of its other lead loads. One of the benefits of a tighter pattern is that it allows you to move down in shot size and still deliver plenty of pellets on target.  There are potential applications for Shot-Lok in home defense, predator hunting, and 20-gauge rounds, Winchester Product Manager Brad Criner says. Shot-Lok could be used in any application that calls for lead pellets and tight patterns. The resin will not likely be used in steel shells because steel is harder than lead and not prone to the same deformation, Criner says.

How Long is Too Long?

Winchester isn’t advocating for every turkey hunter to start killing birds at 70 yards, and neither am I.  The most enjoyable part of turkey hunting, of course, is calling birds in and shooting them at close range. Every hunter must decide on his own ethical and effective killing range. With the Long Beard XR round, Winchester is simply giving you the option to push that range just a little farther.  

Stats
Price: $20-$24 (box of 10)
Gauge/Chamber: 3-inch, 3.5-inch; 12-gauge
Shot sizes: 4,5,6
Oz. Shot: 1 ¾ (3-inch); 2 (3.5-inch)
Velocity: 1,200 fps

 

No. 6 Shot, 10 Yards

 

 

No. 6 Shot, 40 Yards

 

 

No. 6 Shot, 70 Yards

 

Comments (7)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Gobblers_nightmare wrote 5 weeks 4 days ago

I picked up a couple of boxes but haven't been able to pattern them yet. I'm not interested in taking a bird at those ranges, but I am interested in a tight pattern that will keep the meat shot free. I gave up on the hevishot early on because of the flyers associated with the irregular pellets, and I'm hoping these truly have less deformation than others I've tried. I try to keep my shots at 25 yards and under to minimize the flyers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from silvestris wrote 6 weeks 5 days ago

Gonna be a lot of unearned turkeys killed with this load. The essence of turkey hunting is calling them in close, without decoys. I am going to try the load because of its apparent tight, dense patterns. 35-40 yards, yes, but 60-70 yards? Justify that. The Wild Turkey deserves better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from silvestris wrote 6 weeks 5 days ago

Gonna be a lot of unearned turkeys killed with this load. The essence of turkey hunting is calling them in close, without decoys. I am going to try the load because of its apparent tight, dense patterns. 35-40 yards, yes, but 60-70 yards? Justify that. The Wild Turkey deserves better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 28 weeks 1 day ago

$2 per shot?! I must be really old school that is some expensive ammo. My average turkey is killed 20 yds or less. You don't need a picture of a turkey on the box nickel plated pheasant loads work just fine at a cost of only 50-cents per shot.
later,
charlie

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom-Tom wrote 30 weeks 1 day ago

I find the 40yd. pattern more interesting than the 70yd pattern. In the river bottoms where I hunt turkeys most often, 40yds. would be a long shot. Even in farmland timber and field edge hunting, if you can't get closer than 70yds. to a turkey, you might want to practice some more on your calling.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ICDEDTURKES wrote 30 weeks 1 day ago

I agree with the above that it is a close range game 40 and in.. But the thought of achieving denser patterns more easily from a lead price tag is intriguing.

While I do not doubt that through modern technology and research lead can be made to pattern denser than what it has in the past and this will be tested across the country this spring. But I have seen on other blogs concerning this product that it outpenetrates other lead by 10%. How so? The velocity is 1300 like HV and other lead loadings. Its plated shot and others use plated shot.. So how can winchesters pellet in these shells outpenetrate other lead offerings with similar density and velocity?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 30 weeks 1 day ago

With all due respect, I don't think it's ethical to shoot at turkeys at 70 yards. 6's may pattern well enough, but I don't believe they pack enough punch to make consistent clean kills at that range, and 5's or 4's probably won't pattern tight enough. My personal limit is 55 yards with standard Winchester Super X 3.5 inch 5's.
With that being said, this does look like an intriguing load, and it's nice to see that it's reasonably priced, unlike most of the high-tech turkey loads nowadays.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

from ICDEDTURKES wrote 30 weeks 1 day ago

I agree with the above that it is a close range game 40 and in.. But the thought of achieving denser patterns more easily from a lead price tag is intriguing.

While I do not doubt that through modern technology and research lead can be made to pattern denser than what it has in the past and this will be tested across the country this spring. But I have seen on other blogs concerning this product that it outpenetrates other lead by 10%. How so? The velocity is 1300 like HV and other lead loadings. Its plated shot and others use plated shot.. So how can winchesters pellet in these shells outpenetrate other lead offerings with similar density and velocity?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom-Tom wrote 30 weeks 1 day ago

I find the 40yd. pattern more interesting than the 70yd pattern. In the river bottoms where I hunt turkeys most often, 40yds. would be a long shot. Even in farmland timber and field edge hunting, if you can't get closer than 70yds. to a turkey, you might want to practice some more on your calling.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 30 weeks 1 day ago

With all due respect, I don't think it's ethical to shoot at turkeys at 70 yards. 6's may pattern well enough, but I don't believe they pack enough punch to make consistent clean kills at that range, and 5's or 4's probably won't pattern tight enough. My personal limit is 55 yards with standard Winchester Super X 3.5 inch 5's.
With that being said, this does look like an intriguing load, and it's nice to see that it's reasonably priced, unlike most of the high-tech turkey loads nowadays.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 28 weeks 1 day ago

$2 per shot?! I must be really old school that is some expensive ammo. My average turkey is killed 20 yds or less. You don't need a picture of a turkey on the box nickel plated pheasant loads work just fine at a cost of only 50-cents per shot.
later,
charlie

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from silvestris wrote 6 weeks 5 days ago

Gonna be a lot of unearned turkeys killed with this load. The essence of turkey hunting is calling them in close, without decoys. I am going to try the load because of its apparent tight, dense patterns. 35-40 yards, yes, but 60-70 yards? Justify that. The Wild Turkey deserves better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from silvestris wrote 6 weeks 5 days ago

Gonna be a lot of unearned turkeys killed with this load. The essence of turkey hunting is calling them in close, without decoys. I am going to try the load because of its apparent tight, dense patterns. 35-40 yards, yes, but 60-70 yards? Justify that. The Wild Turkey deserves better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gobblers_nightmare wrote 5 weeks 4 days ago

I picked up a couple of boxes but haven't been able to pattern them yet. I'm not interested in taking a bird at those ranges, but I am interested in a tight pattern that will keep the meat shot free. I gave up on the hevishot early on because of the flyers associated with the irregular pellets, and I'm hoping these truly have less deformation than others I've tried. I try to keep my shots at 25 yards and under to minimize the flyers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

bmxbiz