Skip to main content

A Closer Look at Winchester Blind Side

Winchester is making a move in the premium steel shotshell category with the introduction of Winchester Blind Side, a non-toxic option featuring hexagon-shaped pellets.

One primary advantage of non-round shot is increased packing density in the hull. Because Winchester Blind Side pellets have six sides, the shot stacks, increasing the pellet count and allowing a larger payload. A basic 12-gauge, 3-inch shotshell holds a maximum of ¹¹â'„â‚„ ounces of round steel shot. The stackable shot of Blind Side allows 1³â'„â‚' ounces of pellets in a 3-inch hull — a stiff payload for an iron shot load.

TESTING VELOCITY

Blind Side has a stated muzzle velocity of 1,400 feet per second. I measured the velocity at 1,351 fps 3 feet from the muzzle using an Oehler Chronotech Model 33. My test barrel was 28 inches long, and the choke was a 40-point Invector-Plus full.


Flat-sided pellets raise the question of faster velocity loss downrange because of added wind drag. Using a 3-inch, No. 2 Blind Side load, I turned to my own self-designed downrange chronograph system to answer the question. Shooting at 40 yards from the muzzle over my armored Chronotech photo screens, the Oehler returned a measured downrange velocity of 634 fps. The calculated reading was based on a modified-choke muzzle velocity measured at 1,354 fps at the time of the downrange velocity test. Standard round No. 2 steel will return close to the same velocity. I say "close" because on any given day, plus varied altitude, air temperature, barometric pressure and wind, the number can increase or decrease. Please also note that muzzle velocity testing is always at 3 feet from the muzzle and slower than the actual muzzle velocity. Winchester states that the new load runs out at 1,400 fps, which agrees with my velocity tests.


PATTERNS AND CHOKES

During testing, Winchester Blind Side produced varied patterns with small changes in choke dimensions. When fired through my Remington CTi 105-II in three choke configurations, the level of performance was very different from test rounds through the Invector-Plus choke-tube system in a Winchester Super X3. No. 2 Blind Side printed an average of 81 percent inside of a 30-inch circle at 40 yards based on three test rounds downrange.

Non-round pellets don't generally fly as straight as round pellets. Winchester Ammunition engineers thought out that yes, the shape of the shot had greatly been altered, but each pellet was altered in exactly the same way. Pellets with a uniform design tended to fly true.


The above data table illustrates the full, modified and improved cylinder patterns produced by Winchester Super X3 and Invector-Plus factory choke tubes, and the Remington CTi 105-II shooting the same series of choke sizes in the Remington choke-tube wrapper. Note the different pattern percentage scores. The actual difference downrange was major. Don't assume anything about your choke system, and always put shot on paper before hunting. I also shot the Winchester Super X3 with a Hevi-Shot extended special high-performance super-full choke for an aftermarket choke comparison. That choke was my long-range ace in the hole at 98 percent with a tight core for a three-round average.

MORE PELLETS

A problem associated with steel shot from day one in its development was the fact that when pellet sizes increased, payload space was squeezed. The 3 1/2-inch, 12-gauge shotshell was designed to hold larger pellets to pattern well enough to kill large ducks and geese. Winchester hex-sided pellets allow more steel to fit in the same space. The No. 2 payload in Blind Side 1³â'„â‚'-ounce loads count out to 169 pellets. More pellets in the shell should equate to more pellets hitting the bird.


The new diamond cut wad seems to generate additional positive payload control downrange. Wads were all recovered close to the same place when fired in windless conditions during pattern testing and chronograph velocity work. As previously illustrated, the ability of the payload to print solid patterns is clearly evident. Winchester has used two-piece wads in other non-toxic ammunition in the past, and that design is applied to Blind Side. The primary payload container (shot cup) is separate from the gas seal plastic wad that sits independently under the diamond cut wad.

ENERGY TRANSFER

I employed two test systems to gain understanding of the net effect of hex shot on soft targets downrange. First, I fired test rounds at 40 yards into ballistic gelatin, and then at pinned dead birds. Pellets recovered from a previously harvested and pinned Canada goose, as well as an observed energy channel against ballistic gel, indicated the pellets in Blind Side loads transfer energy to tissue quite well. The "smoke line" in the gel that develops as a temporary expanded wound channel was larger at times as per the first contact point than that found when shooting standard round iron shot loads side by side against hex shot.

Penetration was about the same as standard No. 2 steel. Blind Side was more than adequate to reach vitals, break bones or disrupt the nervous system in even large birds at decoy ranges.

Pinned (dead) waterfowl have been a common learning tool in ballistics. The subject is not going anyplace, can be positioned at exact ranged distances from the muzzle, and measurements can be done in an accurate and timely manner.

Shooting a Remington 870 turkey special with rifle sights, I put 22 pellets of Blind Side No. 2 pellets into a pinned 101/2-pound Canada goose at 40 yards. I was not looking for waterfowl performance patterns, but as many samples with one shot fired as possible for penetration evaluation when I took the bird apart. What I found upon examination was Blind Side No. 2 pellets were a bit light for heavily feathered, large Canada geese. Penetration was adequate in about one-third of the recovered wound channel examples.

I had only 3-inch, No. 2 Blind Side to test, but loads are now available in BB shot and 31/2-inch shells. Goose hunters will welcome larger shot sizes and loads.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during 2019, company CEO Charlie Holder shows off the limited edition Yentzen Classic aimed at commemorating the life and times of company founder Jim 'Cowboy' Fernandez. With a special autographed box and a laser engraved call body, the Cowboy Classic is a perfect way to honor the legacy of the 1959 world duck calling champ and inventor of the double-reed duck call.

Arkansas Snow Geese

Arkansas Snow Geese

Wildfowl Editor Skip Knowles took this short video showing all the Snow Geese flying. Let's just say, he had a very good hunt!

Puppy Training Getting Started

Puppy Training Getting Started

Puppy Training Getting Started

Browning A5 Shotgun -

Browning A5 Shotgun - 'Gun Stories'

Gun Stories host Joe Mantegna talks about the origin and history of the Browning A5 shotgun.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Mallards are masters of avoiding hunting pressure.Are Mallard Ducks Becoming Nocturnal? Conservation

Are Mallard Ducks Becoming Nocturnal?

David Hart

Mallards are masters of avoiding hunting pressure.

A teacher made a $100 row boat into a bluebill's worst nightmare, and a dog's best friend.  Convert a Row Boat into a Bluebill Blind Boats

Convert a Row Boat into a Bluebill Blind

Mike Marsh

A teacher made a $100 row boat into a bluebill's worst nightmare, and a dog's best friend.  

Chef Jacques Haeringer shows you a great tasting goose legs recipe that will satisfy everybody at the dinner table.Beer-Braised Goose Legs Recipe Recipes

Beer-Braised Goose Legs Recipe

Chef Jacques Haeringer

Chef Jacques Haeringer shows you a great tasting goose legs recipe that will satisfy everybody...

Are you asking enough of your retriever? Maybe your good gun dog could be great. Reach Your Duck Dog's Full Potential Retriever

Reach Your Duck Dog's Full Potential

Tom Dokken

Are you asking enough of your retriever? Maybe your good gun dog could be great.

See More Trending Articles

More Ammo



They're small birds that buzz the spinners tight, sometimes swinging wide and landing close (ifKent TealSteel: The Real Deal Ammo

Kent TealSteel: The Real Deal

John Taylor - March 21, 2016

They're small birds that buzz the spinners tight, sometimes swinging wide and landing close...

The call came in, and I was off to Pierre, S.D., with a few cases of Hevi-Shot's new Hevi-Steel, aHevi-Shot's Hevi-Steel Review Ammo

Hevi-Shot's Hevi-Steel Review

L.P. Brezny - September 22, 2014

The call came in, and I was off to Pierre, S.D., with a few cases of Hevi-Shot's new...

Bismuth shot is an old friend of mine, having worked with the very first batch of pellets inventedRio Bismuth Shot Review Ammo

Rio Bismuth Shot Review

L.P. Brezny - February 27, 2014

Bismuth shot is an old friend of mine, having worked with the very first batch of pellets...

Bismuth loads, like Hevi-Hammer, are still growing in popularity and for good reason.Non-Toxic Bismuth Loads on the Rise Ammo

Non-Toxic Bismuth Loads on the Rise

John M. Taylor - January 28, 2020

Bismuth loads, like Hevi-Hammer, are still growing in popularity and for good reason.

See More Ammo

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Wildfowl subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now