Winchester's new E-Tip passes test at the range and in the field

By: Kent Walton

Unfortunately for a few whitetails, mule deer and antelope, I had the good fortune a few years back of stumbling upon Winchester's Supreme Ballistic Silvertip ammo, which has proven itself several times over to be the perfect companion for my Weatherby Mark V .30-06.
Winchester E-Tip Ammo

From the bench, I could always count on these solid-based boat tail bullets to deliver excellent long-range accuracy and consistent grouping. In the field, the plastic polycarbonate Silvertip always delivered reliable knockdown power on thin-skinned game.

So when I was told I would have the opportunity to test the latest addition to this line of ammo, the all-new Supreme E-Tip, on a management hunt for cow elk in New Mexico, I was eager to see how it compared to the tried and true Silvertips I'd come to rely on.

This latest big-game ammo offering from Winchester features a lead-free boat-tail bullet made of Lubalox-coated gilding metal rather than traditional copper. Not only does this unique formula perform like lead, it's also an acceptable substitute in California and Arizona's lead-free hunting zones. An E2 cavity, which improves expansion at long and short range and a polycarbonate tip are designed to produce devastating effects while maintaining accuracy and weight.

My first test from the bench didn't allow for an accurate comparison the E-Tip and the Silvertip, not because of the ammo, but because of shooter's error involving some adjustment mistakes on a new scope. With just a few rounds plus another box left of the 180-grain rounds I was sent for testing to use for sight in and hunting, I thought it best to give my rifle a thorough cleaning and try again the next day.

To my surprise, even after putting almost a full box of ammo through the rifle, the patches I pulled through my barrel that night were almost completely clean, a testament to the reduced fouling of the gilding metal jacket.

Winchester E-Tip Ammo

The next day it took just a few rounds to produce a serviceable hunting group. While the cluster of holes on the target was not as tight as I typically enjoyed with the Silvertips, it was definitely consistent enough to leave me with little doubt that I could take an elk inside 400 yards. – an opportunity that presented itself just a few days later.

The late-season elk we were hunting on a ranch near Chama, in northern New Mexico has been hunted hard all season, leaving them skittish and wary. So when I got my first chance to take a shot at a plump old cow at 327 yards, my guide strongly encouraged me to take the shot. The elk was slightly quartering away near the top of a high saddle and almost completely surrounded in dense oak brush, not exactly the opportunity I had been hoping for, but my time at the bench assured me it was a shot I could make.

Winchester E-Tip Ammo

Resting my rifle on the tripod, I squeezed off my first round and the cow immediately disappeared from my scope. Thinking she was down for good I surveyed the hilltop only to find she was up again. My next shot struck her with a resounding crack and she dropped out of sight again. After a long climb to the top, my guide and I found her lying just 30 yards from where I had last seen her in my scope. The first round had hit a little far back due more to my own fault than any fault of the ammo. The second round was dead on through her shoulders. That round was later recovered, lodged in her neck and fully intact.

After seeing how this new round quickly and efficiently put down that large 800 lb. cow, I have no doubt it has found a place in my ammo selection alongside the proven Winchester rounds I've counted on for the past several years.