Submitted by Jim Schlender, Publisher/Community Leader Knives & Firearms - F+W Media.
This nasty-looking thing is Winchester Ammunition's latest entry in the lighter/faster sabot slug wars: the Dual Bond. I got a sneak peek at it during a recent hunt in Alabama but, alas, missed my opportunity to try it out on a deer. The Dual Bond will be offered in time for next deer season as part of the company's Supreme Elite line. It will be available in 2 3/4- and 3-inch versions in both 12 and 20 gauge. The 12-gauge slug weighs 375 grains and the 20 weighs 260 grains.
Think of the "Dual Bond" design as a bullet within a bullet; it's a basic hollow point design but with a heavy outer jacket to protect the inner bullet as it penetrates hide and bone. As the slug penetrates, both parts expand, creating 12 petals instead of six and, presumably, creating an indescribable mess of any deer's insides.
This slug is so new that I don't have official velocity numbers from the factory, but I believe it will be around 1,900 fps in the 3-inch, 12-gauge version.
The Dual Bond bullet will also be available in large-bore handgun calibers. The 260-grain slug will be used in the 454 Casull and 460 S&W Mag, while the 375-grain bullet is used in the 500 S&W Mag.
Jonathan Harling, who handles public relations for Winchester, introduced me to the new slugs, and we went to the range together to sight them in using a Knight KP1 with the 12-gauge slug barrel.
Harling only had a precious handful of the new shells, which I'm sure he had to wrestle away from an engineer at Winchester headquarters. So I got on the paper using Winchester RackMaster slugs, then switched over to our small supply of Dual Bond shells. I put three shots into a 2-inch group at 100 yards, which is outstanding accuracy for any combination of shotgun barrel and slug. The impact difference between the two types of slugs was negligible, so I was ready to hunt.
I wish I had a pretty picture of a slug recovered from a deer, but the mature doe I missed in the waning light of my last evening in Alabama is still running around somewhere unscathed. She was at about 120 yards, and I think I subconsciously held a little high and sent the slug right over her back. I was hoping for a shoulder hit so I could see how the slug performed. Guess it's hard for me to get used to slugs that fly more like centerfire bullets than big, heavy chunks of lead.
Oh well, for now all I can say is that it looks great on paper. By this time next year we'll all know how the new Dual Bond products are performing for the legions of deer hunters who use shotguns.