Winchester’s Liquid Gel Shot Shells

Varmint X

Winchester Ammunition expanded its broad line of shotshells with the addition of the Varmint X load. Winchester uses the Varmint X name with a number of centerfire loads, but this year’s introduction is the first shotshell offering.

Winchester developed a liquid gel that it uses in this load that is said to tighten up the pattern for longer range shooting. Called Shot-Lok Technology, Winchester coats the pellets in the proprietary gel which then hardens. When fired, the hardend gel buffers the shot as it travels down the barrel and then breaks cleanly away once the pellets exit the muzzle. This helps ensure the pellets are much rounder than normal and will fly true.

Winchester Ammunition uses this gel technology in other loads in the Long Beard XR and Rooster XR lines. The company claims to improve useable shot distance by up to 20 additional yards.

The new Varmint X load is a 12 gauge 3″ shell loaded with 1.5 ounces of plated BBs. The muzzle velocity is rated at 1,300 fps, and at 40+ yards, the BBs will penetrate up to 12″. According to Winchester, the load is great for coyotes, foxes and similarly sized animals in areas of heavy brush and forest.

For those of us in the southeastern United States that have a coyote problem, this might make a good load. We typically do not have the wide open spaces that varmint hunters in the west might be used to.

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


  • andrey kireev

    I hope it wont gum up your barrel rather quickly ?

    • Mike C

      I wouldn’t think so, being hardened; even wax slugs don’t leave residue. That being said, I’d be curious how this would affect a semi auto shotgun like a Vepr or Saiga.

      • Kyle

        I certainly won’t be testing it in my Benelli. If I want to reach out and touch something with shot Federal Flightcontrol wads are still where it is at.

      • Vepr and Saiga don’t care due to shotcup. All they need is enough muzzle energy. i.e. 3 dr eq or hotter. (1 1/8 oz 1200FPS). The gas ports are angled unless mucked up by DIYers. Debris just slides past. One guy who does 300 round drum dumps with very large ports will eventually get some wad plastic build up, but that is still over 1500 rounds without cleaning. The hot barrel at that rate of fire does cause more streaking from plastic wads.

    • Glenn Bellamy

      It appears to have a wad/shot cup that carries it until it is out the muzzle. The gel would never touch the bore.

  • BattleshipGrey

    Sounds like something you’d find in the health and beauty isle.

    • Fire Clean, er….. Shot Lock is Astroglide?

  • d_grey

    Is this liquid gel shot actually effective? Does it even penetrate or does it simple apply strong concussive force?

    • thedonn007

      Did you read the article, or just the subject line?

      • d_grey

        I read it, but I’m still confused. :/

  • DIR911911 .

    apply astroglide to barrel before hunting?

    • If you’re applying Astroglide to a barrel, I certainly hope hunting is what you do with it next.

  • Jeff

    Needs a spell-check.

  • retfed

    Jell-O shots? Thanks, I think I will.

  • LG

    This seems to be a good application of a non-Neutonan fluid.

  • gunsandrockets

    A foot of penetration at 40 yards with BB shot? That’s rather incredible. I’ve seen tests of #4 buckshot that fall below that level of penetration beyond 20 yards.

    • Links? My preferred HD load is #4B at a little higher than standard velocity.

      • gunsandrockets

  • Badwolf

    I’ll just leave this here…

  • Budogunner

    I wonder how temperature mice affect the properties of the fluid, thereby affecting consistency of performance (also known as accuracy).

    • FrenchieGunner

      It’s actually precision, accuracy is how close is the POI to the desired target.

  • jerry young

    I like the idea of getting longer distance but what happens to the coating that doesn’t come off the shot? I’m not sure I’d want this in the game meat I eat, I know some one will say it’s non toxic or it all comes off after leaving the bore but does it all come off? are you sure?

    • Longhaired Redneck

      So what’s for dinner mom? I’m not sure yet kids, either skunk roast or coyote chili. I won’t know until dad gets back from his hunting…

      • jerry young

        Not everyone hunts turkey, pheasant or birds like grouse with a rifle, so my point is do you want to eat this coating with you food?

        • RocketScientist

          I think his point was this ammunition is targeted for VARMINT hunting (its right there in the name). Virtually by definition that means hunting game species that are targeted more for population control purposes, and not for eating purposes. The two animals referenced are coyotes and foxes. So if you plan to eat your kill when you go varmint hunting, and you are concerned about this coating, then don’t use it. Similarly, if you are going hunting for traditional game (deer, turkey, whatever) with the intent of eating, then you should probably avoid this in those circumstances too.

          More importantly, I wonder what the point of comments like your original one are. You ask about the safety of the coating, then finish with “i know some will say its safe but i don’t believe that”… what answer do you expect you’ll get from such a statement. There’s only one obvious answer… if you’re concerned about he safety of this product, and admit you’re not going to listen to anyone telling you it is safe… don’t use it. What exactly is your question? You’re kind of saying “I have a question! I don’t like this product!”. What kind of response do you want?

          • jerry young

            So according to you just cause they call it varmint and promise longer shots it can’t be used for hunting game? so nobody should use it unless it falls into certain categories right, I just questioned if it would be safe for human consumption, I would not use this or any other product before knowing for sure by doing actual research, I see why you named yourself rocketscientist but you should change it to not so mr obvious, and since it’s so important to you I never said I don’t believe that, read my comment I asked are you sure, I also never said I wouldn’t listen to anyone telling me it’s safe you read a lot into a question that isn’t there, what exactly is my question? is it safe and are you sure it all comes off the shot was the question and my statement was I’m not sure I would want this in my game meat not I don’t like the product, are you a scientist? what are your credentials? learn to read and comprehend before you answer

          • RocketScientist

            “So according to you just cause they call it varmint and promise longer shots it can’t be used for hunting game?”

            – No, idiot, not at all. No one ever said that. And no one can stop you from using that for whatever purpose you want. You can totally use this to go hunting for bear or deer or moose or squirrels or lizards or drones or anything you want. Just like you could tow your 30-foot boat behind a Honda Fit or use a pressure washer to clean your teeth. Its just that most people realize that using a product waaaaay outside its intended purpose is usually not a great idea and often comes with some problems. And most people will then not complain about those problems, that they themselves created by mis-using a product.

            “I never said I don’t believe that, read my comment I asked are you sure”

            -Yes, what I was doing is called “paraphrasing”, it means re-stating an expression, maintaining the original meaning while changing the original wording in the name of clarity or brevity (brevity means shortness). Your direct quote was “I know some one will say it’s non toxic or it all comes off after leaving the bore but does it all come off? are you sure?”. We can parse this out semantically if you like, but in general your statement raises a concern (the safety of the product) then states that if someone presented you with evidence of its safety, you would just re-state your questions, with emphasis. Any reasonable person would conclude this was an expression of disbelief on your part, and a lack of willingness to believe evidence that contradicted your view. There is no way to satisfy this situation. Lets abstract it out. you ask someone “is this X?” they reply “yes this is X”. You respond “Is it X though? Are you Sure?”. The only thing they can do is re-state that, indeed, this is X. But they already did that, and you did not believe them, and doubled down on your doubt. How many cycles of them answering your question and you repeating it is necessary for you to Blevins them? (That’s a rhetorical question btw). The logical conclusion is NO amount of someone telling you “this thing you are worried about is not a concern” is going to convince you. The obvious solution being, DON’T USE THE DAMN AMMO.

            “I see why you named yourself rocketscientist but you should change it to not so mr obvious … are you a scientist? what are your credentials?”

            -Well, first off, i think you probably meant to suggest I change my name to Mr. Not-so-obvious (you typed “not so mr obvious”). Unless you’re suggesting that I’m not-so-Mr? As for my credentials, I have Bachelor of Science degrees in Physics and Mechanical Engineering, a Master of Science in ME, and a PhD in ME. And I’ve worked for many years for an aerospace firm designing and testing rockets, missiles, satellites etc. My handiwork is at this moment sitting in nuclear silos, NASA launch facilities, orbiting jupiter and pluto, crawling across the surface of mars, etc. I chose the name Rpocket Scientist as it is a very literal description of my job. Like a Plumber choosing the name Plumber.

  • The Rifleman

    I have used Winchesters Long Beard XR shot shells, and I can confirm that they indeed do perform exactly as advertised. These new Varmint X shot shells appear to be very similar to the Long Beard XR.I plan on buying some of these new Varmint X shells too,

  • Israel asskissing conservative

    “Coyote problem?” Yeah. The problem is hunting coyotes out of their natural habitat, which allows them to be replaced by hogs.