"When Winchester introduced the AA in 1965, it combined all the great characteristics of the Mark 5 with some additional modern enhancements and quickly became the ultimate target load."
This year marks a huge milestone for one of Winchester’s most celebrated lines of ammunition—AA shotshells. Odds are, if you’ve ever done any kind of clays or shotgun target shooting, whether it be sporting clays, skeet, five-stand or just tossing clays out on your own with some friends, you’ve probably shot AA shells. Certainly among the best performing and most celebrated target loads, it’s no wonder AAs have been around for so long.
But first, from writer John DePalma, a little history:
“The AA took flight from the Winchester engineering labs in 1965. Winchester set out to design a shotshell for target shooting that was far superior than any other. Introducing the plastic hull, which was reloadable, and using a plastic wad and hard shot, Winchester AA shotshells offered consistent performance and quickly took over as the industry leader in target loads.”
But before the AA was born, Winchester made the Mark 5 shotshell, which actually served as the stepping stone to the AA.
“The Mark 5 had an inner liner that protected shot during in-bore acceleration, as well as an integral filler-wad that cushioned the shot (reducing set-back effects) to reduce shot deformation resulting in tighter, more uniform patterns. A nice byproduct of the design was the shooter also faced (or shouldered) less recoil, too,” writes DePalma.
“Then in 1964, Winchester introduced the compression-formed plastic hull. This was arguably the most substantial advancement in shotshell construction of its time. The plastic hull was stronger than paper, more durable and dramatically increased the ability to consistently, and more frequently, reload over paper hulls.”