Winchester USA Forged Ammunition

Winchester USA Forged

Winchester Ammunition released a new line of domestically made steel cased ammo. Called USA Forged, the new line is aimed at budget shooters and should be less expensive than its current brass cased USA line of ammunition. Currently, the company is only making the ammunition in 9mm. However, I expect the company would be willing to expand the caliber offerings if the demand and margins are there.

The ammunition is being loaded in Oxford, MS. It uses a 115 gr brass jacketed FMJ bullet and loaded to 1,190 fps. It is Boxer primed, though I don’t know anyone reloading steel 9mm cases for this to be a concern.

Winchester released .45 ACP in special wooden boxes suitable for gift giving and collecting. USA Forged seems to be the opposite of that line.

Checking at a few online sites, it appears that a box of 150 rounds is selling for $31-$34. Considering I have been able to pick up new brass cased FMJ ammo online for $10.99/50, there doesn’t appear to be much savings in the steel cased stuff. There may be a more significant savings when buying at a local Walmart or at a sporting goods chain.

Has anyone seen this ammo locally? What kind of prices are you seeing on it, and how does it compare to white box, Blazer, UMC, etc.?



Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


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  • Dracon1201

    Good to see more cheap domestic stuff. Hopefully this isn’t worse in QC than the WWB.

    • TexTopCat

      Yes, it seems that the WWB has recently been not so good. A few years ago it was my “go to” choice, but not so much today. My choices to day would be Federal, BrassMax, and Perfecta.

  • mosinman

    interestingly enough there are people who reload steel cases on YT

    • FightFireJay

      YT?

      Seems like a bad idea.

      • raz-0

        You tube.

        And yeah you can reload steel cases. I have an interesting reloading book from ~1974 that has a couple chapters about shooting and reloading during harsh economic times. It gets into reloading berdan cases, reloading steel cases, tips on mitigating issues shooting hard cast lead in gas operated semi-autos, etc.

        I know some folks who reload some of the boxer primed steel cases in matches where it’s lost brass. They magnet the stuff up, load it, and shoot it in fairly short order. The main issue is damaged coatings for corrosion prevention, and shorter material life. But if you are losing your brass at a match every 2-3 loadings, it doesn’t matter much.

        • cirrocumulus

          Do you happen to have the name of the book? Sounds like an interesting read.

          • raz-0

            I’ll have to see if I unpacked it after moving.

      • iksnilol

        Not really a bad idea, just requires more lube IIRC. I remember reading about it.

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    Since most of the cost in small pistol cartridges like 9mm is the bullet/powder/primer, steel cases really aren’t going to save much.

    Now, find a way to get .45acp down to 9mm prices and you’ll make millions overnight.

    • FightFireJay

      Brass cases are much more costly than powder and even the primers.

      To look at it in micro scale for a reloader for a single 9mm round…
      $.01 for powder
      $.03 for primer
      $.15 for bullet
      $.24 for brass

      This is using all new Winchester components. Other brands vary in price.

      The case is actually the Most expensive to make.

      • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

        You’re using the cost that us reloaders pay directly for marked up factory new components in retail packaging.

        Given that you can get a case of 9mm for around $200 (so .20/rd), clearly people aren’t paying $.24/cartridge case.

        • ostiariusalpha

          Nonetheless, FFJ is correct that the case is the the most expensive component in ammo production. Anything that lowers the price of the case will cut a large percentage of production cost for a manufacturer.

          • El Duderino

            Sure…but is it the most expensive because of materials cost (copper and zinc) or the cost involved in actually making the case? I’m going to make a guess that it’s more about the production steps and equipment needed.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Actually, the material cost is about half the price of production on brass cases; mild steel is about a tenth the material cost of brass.

          • El Duderino

            I understand that steel is cheaper than brass any way you want to measure it (volume, weight, etc). But is the primary cost of a case the metal, or the process (which includes everything else…labor, equipment, etc). I’m arguing that it’s the process.

          • ostiariusalpha

            I’d like to just tell you that your argument is simply wrong, but of course life is a little more complicated than that. There are such a wide variety of factors that change the equation, it can be difficult to put forward any assertions without qualifications. Firstly, material costs aren’t stable; it’s no real surprise that the price of brass can vary, often pretty wildly, over time. Secondly, production (i.e. labor/equipment) costs are affected by location and volume. A small run of an irregular case type made in the U.S. is obviously going to be far pricier than 5.56 casings made in Taiwan. Still, if we are considering in general the huge volumes of common calibers produced by the Federals, Winchesters, PMCs, and Prvi Partisans of the world, the price of brass makes up over 40% of the ultimate component cost on a casing. If instead you’re looking at something like 6.5-284 Norma or a WSMS cartridge, then you’d be correct that the brass is a much smaller factor in the end cost.

          • El Duderino

            And by casing you’re referring to a complete cartridge? Otherwise my argument is correct since 60% of the cost would be the process.

            I am trying to get an answer on this since I’m seeing American steel case ammo selling for more than foreign brass case ammo. Of course process costs are higher in the U.S. than the Philippines, the Balkans, or Russia. But materials costs don’t vary nearly as much since arbitrage affects metals far more than labor/process.

          • ostiariusalpha

            No, I just mean the empty case. Which is still a very relevant savings, a case that cost 10¢ to make versus 6.5¢ is big money to the manufacturer. Especially since the case is over half the cost of the complete cartridge. If I cut the price of everything that you’ve ever paid for by 25%, you’d notice.

          • Jwedel1231

            Well, there is a simple way to estimate it. Find 2 manufacturers that make a similar amount of ammo (in the millions would be fine) one domestic and one foreign. Find out what they charge for the same round (115 grain 9mm in similar velocities) and the same case material. Find the cheapest price for each, from the same place preferably (so markup is similar, or the same). Now, what do we have? The same projectile, the same powder charge, the same case material, the same manufacturing process, the same economies of scale. Once you factor out the shipping on the foreign ammo, the remaining difference is the difference in cost of labor. You can then calculate the difference between the wages of the two countries and compare that to the difference in labor costs and start to figure out how much case cost is labor, and how much is material cost.

            That’s not very simple, is it?

  • ostiariusalpha

    That would be hilarious if it was really called USA Forged because it’s actually assembled from components made in China.

  • hking

    Pretty sure Blazer Brass is made in the US and is only $210/1,000case shipped…..
    Or if you don’t mind non-US made get Aguila for $199/1000case shipped
    Winchester white box already had enough QC problems and inconsistent loads, I cant imagine something even cheaper being any better.

    • Anonymoose

      I thought WWB was government contract overruns, like XM193 and XM855 are/were? There are lots of issues with the Federal “milspec” stuff, so I wouldn’t be surprised at issues with Winchester milspec stuff, but they’re both vastly superior to (former) combloc imports. It’s not as if each round is handloaded with love by a real person.

      • derpmaster

        There are two WWBs out there – the regular pressure 115gr stuff that every big box store sells, and the 124gr “NATO” overruns. I’ve found the 115gr stuff to be fairly average target ammo, while the 124gr NATO headstamp rounds are great stuff, but I’ve had a few rounds that were much lower pressure than the rest. It’s hot ammo, but fairly inconsistent in velocity.

    • Ben Johnson

      You can get a 1000 rounds for $190 @ Freedom Munitions. And it’s brass. Steel is the worst.

    • derpmaster

      I hate blazer brass with a passion. It’s garbage ammo, only slightly better than the russian steel case stuff IMO. Their aluminum stuff is really good, though. It’s just a pity that it’s not reloadable.

      • Swarf

        Weird. I’ve never had an issue with Blazer Brass.

        What have you experienced? Are we talking FTF type issues, or what?

        • derpmaster

          Inconsistent ignition and crap accuracy.

    • buzzman1

      Couldnt have more problems than their PDX1 Defender rounds. Primers are gouged, tarnished and dirty looking. Ditto for the bullet and the shell casings look used and some have the nickle plating coming off.

  • Don Ward

    Given that the parent rifle company is cobbling together weapons sourced from parts around the world, having the spinoff Winchester ammo company produce a product called “USA Forged” creates a humorous double entendre. Yes I know they’re two separate companies. It’s still funny.

    • Oaf

      FN is not Remington.

      • FightFireJay

        I think he is refering to the irony that Winchester rifles are not US made, regardless of quality.

        I think the name was meant so that casual shooters will not confuse it with cheap Eastern European steel case ammo.

  • USMC03Vet

    7.62×39 please.

    • Ryfyle

      Would it too much to ask for 5.45X39 as well?

    • mosinman

      and don’t forget 7.62x54R

      • Swarf

        YES!

        Non-corrosive yet cheap practice food for my Mosins would be great.

        • mosinman

          i agree

  • KestrelBike

    my mind record-scratched at “brass jacketed” projectile, but then again I live under a rock so I’ve never seen that before. The brass [zinc + copper] alloy allows for less copper than a full copper-jacket, therefore cheaper, still non-magnetic, and apparently non-damaging to barrels/ranges? Sounds good to me!

    edit: not when it’s ~$0.01-.02 more expensive than brass-cased reman.

    • A.WChuck

      I believe Remington Golden Sabers are brass jacketed as well.

    • raz-0

      yeah gilding metal jackets are cheaper. Montana gold makes theirs from it. Works well for FMJ, their JPH bullets can get a bit odd at higher velocities and either shed jackets, or they completely separate and rebound back up range a good distance sometimes.

  • PXN

    At that kind of pricing ill stick to wolf/tulammo for my AK, If its cheaper for me to clean my gun more often than it is to buy american ill take it.

    • FightFireJay

      Unless your AK is 9mm, this ammo isnt for you.

      • PXN

        Well aware but if they are releasing other calibers, pricing wouldnt be too different.

    • TexTopCat

      The problem with both of these is the bullet is “bi-metal”, meaning the jacket is steel and plated with brass for looks (and maybe lubrication). Many ranges will not allow it based on the claim that it damages the backstop. So, if your chosen range takes that position it is not usable. I personally like the Aluminum cased ammo with either a standard jacketed (or plated) bullet or the nylon jacketed bullet. Federal has started selling a line in Walmart. $9.75/50 9mm, $14/50 .45ACP

  • SCW

    I’ve reloaded thousands of steel cased .40S&W. Never had any problems.

    • iksnilol

      Some details might help the others here.

  • Sledgecrowbar

    My sole issue with imported steel-cased ammo is the bullet jacket being copper-washed mild steel, which does wear a barrel sooner than copper or gilding metal jackets. And if we’re splitting hairs, it’s not made here, but the only reason I do buy it is for the price. This being gilding metal, if they can make it closer to 15 cents per than 20, that’s worth not being able to reload it for me. I stopped buying the steel-cased stuff because it stopped being cheaper in every caliber but 223.

  • Vitsaus

    So they had some Russian company OEM their steel case junk for them, and they mark it up to nearly brass prices for those guys who will take a 25% reduction in performance and quality to save 10% on the box of ammo.

  • Steve

    Just picked up a 150rd box of these at my local Walmart, $31.97. I usually shoot 124 grain loads but curiosity got the best of me. At first glance, the steel cases are rather unrefined, not smooth as other steel cased ammo I have used, and it almost seemed as if there was a light coating of oxidation on them. I expect my Glock 19 will handle them without any issues, but I am not impressed with the finish at all. I have used Tul Ammo steel cased ammo as well as Blazer and Federal aluminum, I suspect I will not be changing to Winchester steel cased ammo anytime soon.