Ammunition Review: Winchester AA Traacker Shotshells
After crushing the first five clay targets, I thought to myself that I’m going to need to miss some in order to determine how well these shotshells work. Well, alas, that didn’t take too long.
The new Winchester AA TrAAcker shotshells are designed to help shotgunners better understand their misses.
The patented wads—available in orange for cloudy days, low-light conditions or black for sunny days—spin to keep a true line in the middle of the shooter’s shot pattern. Effectively, the wad of each shotshell provides the shooter an idea of why—if so—he or she missed a clay target.
I shot one box of the “Black TrAAcker” shells on a sunny day at a local sporting clays range recently. I was firing 1-1/8 oz. 8-shot through a 12-gauge Browning BPS with a modified Invector choke.
The flying wad was not hard to pick up on missed shots. However, if using these, I would recommend the partner—not the shooter—try to determine the flight of the wad because if the shooter tries to hunt for it, it could lead to two critical shotgunning errors:
1. The shooter may stop swinging the gun in anticipation of viewing the flight of the “TrAAcker” and consequently shoot behind the target.
2. Or, the shooter may raise his or her cheek off the comb to look for the wad and shoot afoul.
The performance of the shotshells seemed as one would expect from the Winchester AA line: excellent. They cycled well, and I had no jams. I broke—and missed some—targets at my usual rate.
I was able, with the help of my partner, to understand clearly when I shot behind a target, or low and so on. My second box of shells to complete the 50 round course were not the TrAAckers, and I began to wish I had another box of this Winchester product on a couple of challenging stations.
Are they worth the extra money?
Winchester claims they will only run about a dollar or so more than a regular box of target shells. I purchased mine at an outdoor retail store for about $12, which is almost double the price of a box of a different brand of target shells at the range.
If able to find them and purchase them in bulk or at a price within a dollar or so of your normal price for target shells, then I say go for it. They are well-made, and they do as advertised.
The evidence is clear in the sky on missed clays—at least most of the time.
At one station, I asked my partner, “Was that black thing the wad or did I break off a piece of the target?”
“I don’t think you broke the target,” he replied. “That was the black wad.”
I’ve found some helpful, didactic target shells, but I may have to find a new sporting clays partner.