Winchester Black Talon patents
After the FBI’s deadly Miami, FL shootout in 1986, Olin-Winchester’s premium 115-gr 9mm Silvertip bullet was made the scapegoat. While the 147-gr “Olin Super Match” JHP was initially favored as an FBI-approved replacement, Winchester was quickly faced with the juggernaut of the Federal Hydra-Shok being approved nearly across the board after the FBI’s 1989 ammunition tests.
Winchester’s answer was to create a more robust version of the Silvertip, using a thickened brass alloy for the jacket. Since the Silvertip name was muddied, the jacket was blackened using an oxide process, dubbed Lubalox. Combined with the sharp, prominent jacket tips of the expanded bullet, the most obvious name was Black Talon.
Most folks don’t realize that the “talons” had originated with the Silvertip of the late 1970s/early 1980s. The talons were created via the direction the jacketed core was oriented prior to the cavity being punched. With most JHP, the jacketed core is oriented with the exposed lead oriented to the punch. Winchester had decided to orient the jacketed end towards the punch. As a result, the punch pushed a significant amount of jacket material into the hollow cavity.
Product engineers Alan J. Corzine, Jack D. Dippold, and David K. Schluckebier were credited with the updated design. (Schluckebier would later defect to Remington to create their premium Golden Saber JHP.) The initial patent was filed in April 1991.
After a couple of high-profile shootings, Olin pulled the Winchester Black Talon from commercial distribution on November 22, 1993. Even though the production halt was already announced, Dateline NBC went ahead and aired their hit piece on the Black Talon the very next day. I remember the date as I watched it with a friend and her parents, after finishing Thanksgiving dinner. Dateline used a wildly unrealistic animation showing the expanded Black Talon bouncing wildly through a body like a pinball, all while spinning like a buzzsaw, and graphically throwing off pieces of flesh and bone. Of course, they interviewed the notoriously anti-gun Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), who had recently co-sponsored legislation to levy a 10,000% tax on Black Talon ammunition. The interview included the money quote “It’s designed to rip your guts out.”
Here is additional coverage of the controversy from Dean Speir.
While the Black Talon name was defunct, the product line continued in their law enforcement catalog, relabeled as the Ranger SXT. The first generation was basically reboxed Black Talon, complete with Lubalox coated projectiles and nickel-plated cases. The second generation Ranger SXT kept the Lubalox coating, but reverted to unplated brass cases. The third generation Ranger T-Series ultimately deleted the signature black Lubalox coating.
In 1994, Winchester introduced a civilian replacement as the Supreme SXT, but this lacked the signature talons and Lubalox coating. How they managed to delete the talons, and yet keep the exposed lead base is unclear. Perhaps they started with a copper tube, instead of a cup?
Winchester has tried to resurrect the black Lubalox coating with the SXZ hollowpoint, but this was a conventional cup and core JHP unrelated to the Supreme SXT.
Additional variants have also been developed in recent years. In 2003, the nickel-plated, thick-jacketed Platinum Tip was introduced in handgun magnum calibers for hunting.
The most recent variants have spearheaded by Development Engineer Kyle A. Masinelli, who has since risen to Director of Operations at Olin-Winchester.
Winchester Ranger Bonded/PDX1/Defender patents
While the original Lubalox coating was claimed in the early Black Talon patents to give a bonding effect between the jacket and core, Winchester wanted to make a stronger chemical bond to compete with products like the Speer Gold Dot and Federal Tactical-series.
Winchester Dual Bond patent applications
The Dual Bond was designed with a dual jacket system with a bonded jacket and core inserted into a thicker outer jacket prior to the hollowpoint being punched. The goal was to make projectiles capable of withstanding the higher launch and impact velocities of cartridges such as the .454 Casull and .500 S&W Magnum.
Winchester Ranger One/USA Ready Defense patents
The Ranger One and Ready Defense are Winchester’s answer to Hornady’s Critical Duty and Critical Defense.
It is interesting to note that the new US Army issue 9x19mm M1153 Special Purpose round adopted with the M17 and M18 Modular Handgun System is yet another variant of the Ranger T lineup.