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What's the real black talon story?

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by PUNISHER56, Jan 7, 2011.



    Dec 24, 2006
    Ok, most shooters have seen or read about the notorious "Black Talon"
    ammo. What's the real story? It must be legal to own or sell, this forum
    even has some for sale. But can you load it in your carry gun or target
    shoot only? Or can you even load it in a gun period? At the prices this
    ammo sells for is it really worth it?
  2. NHmike


    Aug 17, 2010
    from what I understand, what I heard is they got some heat because the bullets are very destructive on people. There where complaints that they make to much of a mess. Again, that is what I heard and won't take it to the bank.

  3. Eyescream

    Eyescream hates you

    Jan 15, 2002
    Hell no. People selling that for $80 and $90 a box are preying on the uninformed.

    I understand it's basically the same bullet design as the Ranger T that I carry in my 9mm; and even the Ranger T is marked Law Enforcement Only, but that's a Winchester rule and not a law that you can be prosecuted for. [redacted] sells the stuff in most common defensive calibers when they've got it in, for example. Anybody can get it.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  4. a very good bullet design that was pulled and renamed because of media hype...nothing more the time there was another bullet that never came to pass...Black Rhino that was supposed to cut through body armor...hype...this was also the time when media hype tried to convince the sheeple that Glocks could not be detected at airports...

  5. malleable


    Dec 29, 2009
    I believe it was pulled for political correctness and re branded with the "talons" becoming "petals" to appease the media etc.
  6. Steff1


    May 13, 2008
    I thought it was the word "Black", due to it's racial reference. You can get the same bullet design in the Ranger line.
  7. ducati


    Apr 7, 2001
    From what I recall Silversport is spot on.
  8. Fed Five Oh

    Fed Five Oh NRA Member

    Dec 28, 2006
    It is still available. It has a new name, therefore the world is a better place to live in.
  9. bowtie454


    Jul 17, 2009
    The round caught the attention of the late, notoriously anti-gun Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y., they guy who Hillary replaced). He gave a bunch of press conferences talking about how this evil round was designed to "tear the guts out of people" (complete with hand gestures). There were also a number of ER doctors yapping at the media about how dangerous these rounds are to them as the sharp edges could tear thier gloves and expose them to bodily fluids while they operate on gunshot victims. Due to the increasingly negative press, Winchester voluntarily pulled them from the market. They are legal to own, it was a voluntary decision by Winchester. The ammo disappeared from shelves virtually overnight when Winchester made the announcement due to hoarding (the operators at Midway USA actually answered the phone by asking if your order contained Winchester Black Talon ammunition since they sold out almost immediately after the announcement). Interestingly enough though, 10mm Black Talon ammo was still available for weeks after the announcement. If only I had owned my Glock 20 then....

    From all of the reviews I read, they are great for hunting medium-sized game but had more penetration/less expansion than other high-zoot hollowpoints on the market at the time. I'd be willing to bet that rounds like the HST, Ranger-T, and Gold Dot are actually better suited for self-defense than the Black Talons were. The industry learned a few lessons from the Black Talon fiasco: do not use "evil" sounding names for your ammo and do not hype the destructiveness of them. Notice how benign modern ads are, touting "expansion", "penetration", and "self-defense"? No hype = no media attention.

    The ammo is still legal to own (I have a couple of boxes in .357 myself), but I personally believe it's worth more as a conversation piece (footnote in firearms history) than as carry ammo. I certainly wouldn't pay any more for a box of it than a box of modern ammo. As I said above, there are several brands of current production self-defense ammo that are as good or better than Black Talons. Besides, would you actually want to use ammo that has such a negative image for self-defense? I have visions of press releases and videos of the late senator being played at my trial. Just my opinion.

    p.s. If you are willing to pony up $90/box, I'd certainly be willing to part with mine!
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  10. whoflungdo


    Jul 15, 2008
    It was voluntarily pulled by Winchester after a train shooting in New York, I believe. It was both because of the name Black Talon and the uninformed media making it sound like they were more lethal than any other bullet design. At first Winchester pulled it from the civilian world and just sold it to LE. Then it was dropped all together and they developed the Ranger series.

    I think lawsuits that were ultimately dismissed against Olin is what caused the name change.
  11. doc540


    Apr 25, 2007
    Deep SE Texas
    yep, train shooter in media capital of the world

    read here:

    multiple articles here:
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  12. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy ********* Moderator Moderator Millennium Member Lifetime Member

    Jan 16, 2001
    Buried in the X-files
    The SXT in the modern Winchester line stands for Supreme Xpansion Talon i've heard.

    Modern ammo has far surpassed the old BT's in performance.
  13. tx787


    Feb 11, 2010
    Winchester first limited the ammo to LE only after the train shooting media frenzy (blaming the gun and the ammo not the shooter). They then took off the lubaloy coating and called it Ranger SXT (same exact thing). Winchester has subsequently updated the bullet and cartridge design, the current production Ranger T Series are actually better rounds.

    Black Talon ammo has never been illegal to own or sell (unless prohibited by local law or unless you're a felon) however it has an allure since it's been banned and a limited supply so prices are high. I wouldn't want any simply becuase it's overpriced and if you use it for SD you're using ammo with a bad stigma for no reason when there's plenty of more modern and cheaper alternatives, Ranger-T, HST and Gold Dot.
  14. ColCol


    Apr 15, 2010
    From what I recall reading some years back, the BT in 45 ACP was the one that made it's reputation. the 40 S&W version didn't fair so well. the 230 gr bullet expanded to .70-.75 caliber and did indeed leave some God awful looking and feeling petals. I shot a couple into wet phone books and upon retrieving them, the petals cut a good gash in my finger. They were as sharp as the point on any good knife.

    The current Ranger T bullets will not do that but still give the Talon look with the petals peeled back...only not near as sharp as the old variety. They were bad to the bone but I wouldn't pay the prices I've seen for them.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  15. I'm glad I still have a few boxes in 9mm and .40, when the zombies come the bullets will rip their guts out.
  16. voyager4520

    voyager4520 -----

    Apr 25, 2009
    SE Colorado
    Winchester got bad publicity over Black Talons. So they took the black coating off of them and called them Rangers. That's the whole story. Rangers have been redesigned a few times so that the "talons" aren't quite as sharp, but they're essentially the same bullet. They might be illegal to use for self-defense in some localities that have laws against using hollow points, but I know of no law anywhere against Black Talons themselves. And with Rangers being labeled "for law enforcement", I know some localities have laws against civilians using anything for self-defense labeled "for law enforcement".

    There were lots of stories about how the "talon points" caused SO much damage, and that surgeons/coroners would even cut themselves trying to remove the bullets.

    The Rangers started with Ranger SXT, these were essentially the same bullet. Then Ranger T, which were designed so that the lead core and copper jacket don't separate as much from each other. Then PDX1, which has a core-jacket bonding much like Gold Dots, and the "talons" aren't sharp at all in this series. PDX1 is essentially the latest version of Ranger Bonded. The earlier versions of Ranger Bonded used a bullet that wasn't anything similar to "Talons", but the latest version is similar to Talons.

    The Rangers are harder to come by now because they're only sold to LE departments. They used to be sold to anyone with an LE department letter-head but now the department itself must make the purchase.
    (you can get them online and at gun shows, it's just harder to get them because of this)
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  17. I seen some in 10mm at a local shop.
  18. .45Super-Man


    May 4, 2007
    The major sales pitch of the Black Talon was the ability to create massive damage at sub-sonic velocity.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  19. failsafe


    Oct 25, 2003
    I have never really had issues buying the Ranger SXT, it is marked Law Enforcement ammo, BUT does not say LE Only ammo...
    Here is some 357 SIG, it is not currently available...
  20. tx787


    Feb 11, 2010
    I don't believe this is true, my understanding is that Rangers, like Gold Dot Duty Rounds and HST are restricted for LE only but can be sold to officers individually at LE supply stores?

    Yes some places online sell to anyone but they are violating their contract with the manufacturer unless they are overrun or a canceled order so to those people that constantly bring this up try not to or it might entourage the manufacturers to restrict them even further.