7 Things to Know About Winchester Deer Season XP Copper Impact

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

What Do You Think About This New Load?

I recently had the honor of attending a hunt where I was one of six hunters whom were the first to have an opportunity to kill a deer with the new Winchester Deer Season XP Copper Impact load and Winchester XPR rifles.

Excitement doesn’t even describe it.

First of all, the opportunity to test the new round was incredible on its own. Throw in the added perk of chasing big-bodied Midwestern whitetails and it was just too much to pass up. I packed everything up and headed for deer camp.

Before we delve in, its important to establish that this new load is most certainly deer-ready. The engineers who worked on it, definitely got it right. It flies true. It hits hard. It brings deer down fast.

It’s an Improvement on a Round That’s Already GreatIt’s an Improvement on a Round That’s Already GreatIt’s an Improvement on a Round That’s Already GreatIt’s an Improvement on a Round That’s Already GreatIt’s an Improvement on a Round That’s Already Great

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1 | It’s an Improvement on a Round That’s Already Great

Deer Season XP was already a great option for deer hunting. It wasn’t that it needed improving. But that’s exactly what Winchester decided to do — take an already incredible load and perfect it.

I’ve used the original Deer Season XP the last few years. I’ve seen what it can do. And now I’ve seen what Copper Impact can do, too. I’m impressed.

“With Deer Season XP Copper Impact, Winchester continues its longstanding tradition of creating innovative ammunition that meets the needs of hunters and shooters,” Matt Campbell of Winchester said.

After shooting it at the range, it was obvious the Deer Season XP Copper Impact is an accurate, efficient bullet. Not only that, it does what it’s supposed to — anchor deer where they stand.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

It Retains More Weight and Provides Deeper PenetrationIt Retains More Weight and Provides Deeper PenetrationIt Retains More Weight and Provides Deeper PenetrationIt Retains More Weight and Provides Deeper PenetrationIt Retains More Weight and Provides Deeper Penetration

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2 | It Retains More Weight and Provides Deeper Penetration

Some people wanted to see more pass-through shots on deer with the Deer Season XP load. They wanted the pass through to get an exit wound which would produce better blood trails. But it didn’t really matter, though, because most of the time deer were dropping within sight due to the sheer shock-power of the bullet.

That said, Winchester delivers. And now you have both the deeper penetration and the huge energy transfer. How? The new copper design allows the bullet to retain more weight when compared to the standard jacketed lead-core bullets. More weight translates to more momentum. And more momentum leads to deeper penetration.

I didn’t tag a buck, but I did kill a doe during the hunt. And while I didn’t hit up in the shoulder region (my shot was a touch back), I didn’t have any troubles getting a pass through while using the .30-06 Sprg. load.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

It Has Virtually the Same Muzzle Velocity as Deer Season XPIt Has Virtually the Same Muzzle Velocity as Deer Season XPIt Has Virtually the Same Muzzle Velocity as Deer Season XPIt Has Virtually the Same Muzzle Velocity as Deer Season XPIt Has Virtually the Same Muzzle Velocity as Deer Season XP

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3 | It Has Virtually the Same Muzzle Velocity as Deer Season XP

In most calibers, Deer Season XP Copper Impact is just slightly slower out of the gate than the standard Deer Season XP round. (It’s the same velocity in the .300 Win. Mag option.) However, that’s a perfectly acceptable tradeoff when you get what you get from the newer offering. I’ll trade deeper penetration for a few fps.

Chris Keefer of Rival Wild and Winchester Life dropped a buck in its tracks with this bullet. He said the buck just folded right there on impact. So while this bullet does have more penetration capabilities than the original Deer Season XP load, it still has the same (or better) knock-down energy force, too.

Photo credit: Nathan Robinson

It Offers Great Rapid ExpansionIt Offers Great Rapid ExpansionIt Offers Great Rapid ExpansionIt Offers Great Rapid ExpansionIt Offers Great Rapid Expansion

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4 | It Offers Great Rapid Expansion

Another great thing about the new offering is it boasts incredible rapid expansion. This is due to the large-diameter hollow-point polymer (red) tip that adorns the business end of this bullet. It mushrooms out just beautifully and really holds together well — even when making contact with excess amounts of bone and cartilage.

Nathan Robinson of Winchester also took a nice buck. I got a look at one of the bullets (he shot three times) that was found after the deer was processed. The way the bullet mushroomed out was impressive. I wasn’t disappointed. While one of the flaps did break off, the rest remaining intact and did severe damage.

Photo credit: Winchester

It’s a Completely Lead-Free BulletIt’s a Completely Lead-Free BulletIt’s a Completely Lead-Free BulletIt’s a Completely Lead-Free BulletIt’s a Completely Lead-Free Bullet

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5 | It’s a Completely Lead-Free Bullet

This may not be the primary reason for having the copper component, but it sure doesn’t hurt the argument for choosing to send this bullet through your rifle, either. If you hunt in states where ammunition is highly regulated, or you just want to keep the environmentalists happy, going lead-free has never been an easier decision.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

It Will Be Offered in Numerous Popular CalibersIt Will Be Offered in Numerous Popular CalibersIt Will Be Offered in Numerous Popular CalibersIt Will Be Offered in Numerous Popular CalibersIt Will Be Offered in Numerous Popular Calibers

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6 | It Will Be Offered in Numerous Popular Calibers

This new load will be available to deer hunters in 2018. Starting out, it’ll be offered in .243 Win. (85-grain), .270 Win. (130-grain), .308 Win. (150-grain), .30-06 Sprg. (150-grain) and .300 Win. Mag (150-grain). These will be sold in 20-round boxes.

I used the .30-06 Sprg. option on this hunt. But my favorite centerfire caliber for whitetails is the .300 Win. Mag. It's hard to beat for older/bigger, more experienced hunters.

Photo credit: Winchester

It’ll Kill What You Need It to KillIt’ll Kill What You Need It to KillIt’ll Kill What You Need It to KillIt’ll Kill What You Need It to KillIt’ll Kill What You Need It to Kill

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7 | It’ll Kill What You Need It to Kill

At the end of the day, this bullet does what you need it to. Three outdoor communicators killed deer with it during the hunt and both Winchester representatives did, too.

“We developed Deer Season XP several years ago and it has performed excellently by shortening blood trails and putting deer down faster than ever,” said Winchester’s Nathan Robinson. “While Deer Season XP has incredible terminal performance, some people wanted it to retain more weight and provide deeper penetration. Copper Impact does exactly that. The same great rapid expansion you see in Deer Season XP (thanks to the massive hollow point), but the copper bullet is tougher and penetrates further. You also have the added benefit of being able to use it in lead-free areas — but this is a bullet for any hunter.”

Simply put, the bullet kills deer. And while we could reanalyze and overanalyze this (or any) bullet for days, let’s cut the crap and just flat out admit it — this bullet puts deer in the back of the truck. Period. End of story. Bust a cap. Wrap your tag around it. Deer Season XP Copper Impact is a wrap. Let it grace your barrels, folks.

Photo credit: Nathan Robinson

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