At the 2013 SHOT Show, Winchester Ammunition will show a new member of the company’s PDX1 Defender line of premium ammo: the 7.62×39. The new round will feature a 120 grain bullet rated at 2365 fps. That works out to be about 1490 ft-lbs of energy.
The bullet used in the new load uses the Winchester split-core technology (SCT). The SCT has two separate lead cores: the front core is not bonded and provides for rapid expansion. The rear core is bonded to the jacket to ensure deep penetration. Winchester is attempting to provide for rapid incapacitation by using this dual prong approach to bullet construction.
I’ve been impressed with the Winchester PDX1 line when shooting it from handguns. The 147 grain 9mm is very accurate and both it and the .40 S&W seem to be very reliable performers. I’ve got some of the Hornady SST ammo for my AK needs right now, but I am very interested in seeing how the Winchester stuff performs.
Winchester Ammunition states the ammo is specifically designed for semi-automatic rifles. There are bolt action guns chambered for this round, but the vast majority of the weapons on the planet that can run this cartridge are AK-variants. So, reliable feeding in a semi- or full-automatic gun is critical.
MSRP and other specifics (such as steel or brass case?) are not yet known. (Update: I’ve been told that this is brass-cased ammo with Boxer primers. It should be reloadable.) However, the pages for the ammo has start to pop up on some sales sites, and prices seem to run about $28 – $40 per box. For 20 rounds, that is not cheap. Especially for the caliber normally associated with inexpensive imported ammunition. For the Hornady SST, I think I paid about $35 for a box of 50 rounds. Not cheap, but much more affordable.
Everyday Gunner did an evaluation of the ammo here: