We covered Nylon-coated projectiles yesterday, so how about Teflon-coated projectiles today?
The major ammunition manufacturers had been offering metal-piercing loads in .38 Special, .357 Magnum, and .45 Auto since the 1920s. Western Cartridge Co. dubbed their loads as simply “Metal Piercing.” Peters Cartridge marketed their version as “Highway Patrolman” loads. Remington used the catchy name “Hi-Way Master.” They typically featured cone-shaped ogives with thick-tipped jackets.
In 1966, the coroner of Lorain County, OH, Dr. Paul J. Kopsch, began discussing improvements to the extant metal piercing loads with his special investigator Donald F. Ward and Lorain PD Sgt. Daniel Turcus, Jr. There had been a bank robbery in the city of Lorain, and responding police had fired without effect against the robbers’ getaway car. They formed KTW Experimental Laboratory, using the initials of their last names in alphabetical order.
Their first ammunition was tested by H.P. White Laboratory on October 18, 1967, and production/distribution began in 1968. Their initial production 200-grain .38 Special projectiles were formed from Kennertium W-10, a sintered Tungsten alloy from Kennametal Co. of Latrobe, PA. The bore of the barrel was protected not by the Teflon-coating of the exposed core, but rather the projectile’s reversed half-jacket, which was not visible above the mouth of the case.
By 1971, the cost and availability of Kennertium W-10 became prohibitive, forcing KTW to switch to alternative materials like steel and brass. Curiously, steel cores were already mentioned in Kopsch, Turcus, and Ward’s patent applications of October 31, 1967 and July 7, 1969. Respectively, these were awarded as US Patent #3,580,178 in May 1971 and US Patent #3,553,804 in January 1971. (Yes, the newest application was awarded an a patent four months ahead of the original application.)
In the patents, KTW mentioned comparative testing of plain steel cores with steel jackets; plain steel cores with gilding-metal jackets, Silicon-coated steel cores with gilding-metal jackets, and Teflon-coated steel cores with gilding-metal jackets. The latter obviously won out. The cores with coated with Teflon prior to being seated in the jacket cups. The assembled projectiles were then heated to bond the core and jacket together.
In early 1980, North American Ordnance Corp. executed an agreement with KTW, Inc. for the exclusive, worldwide rights to manufacture and distribute KTW ammunition. North American Ordnance Corp. is better known today as Sage International.
In November 1981, John M. Klein, the president of North American Ordnance, was contacted by a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Later the same month, NBC News requested a television interview regarding KTW ammunition. Klein refused. On 8 January 1982, NBC aired its hit piece on the KTW. On 9 March 1982, Du Pont Co. announced that it would no longer sell Teflon to KTW or North American Ordnance.
The rarest (and the cutest) KTW round is probably the .22 Pokey, a wildcat made by Kopsch for his wife. It is basically a .25 Auto case necked down to .22-caliber.