The Black Talon blues.


April 12, 2003, 09:59 PM
Went to a large gun show today looking for some 10mm ammo for my new 10mm pistola.

While looking, found two boxs of 10mm Winchester "Black Talon" ammo for 25.00 $ for a box of 20 rounds.:what:

I motioned to the dealer and asked what commanded such a price for this ammo? What was so special??

No answer, just a stuiped grin. I can't believe the hype that revolves around this cartridge.

After looking, found some Winchester, 1 box of Corbon 135 grainers, 4 boxs of "Impact" 10mm; what ever the heck those come from, some PMC, and Remington fodder.

End result, found a dealer who loads his own, bought one box of 155 JHP [50 per box] for 17.00$

I can see that it's time to start reloadind for this pistol.

I've seen some excellent loads posted on TFL & Glocktalk using 800 X powder and premium JHP bullets.


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April 12, 2003, 10:41 PM
If you're looking for 10mm. Black Talon, I know a local pawnshop that has 15-20 boxes of the stuff that have been sitting on the shelf for years. If you make them an offer, I daresay they could be persuaded to dump the lot on you... I could even pick them up for you and ship them. If you're interested, let me know.

April 12, 2003, 10:48 PM
Now, if that's not one hell of a deal, I don't know any better.

Take it.

Jim March
April 12, 2003, 10:48 PM
The thing I'd worry about with the 10mm is that a lot of the JHPs are built to expand at 40S&W velocities and fall apart if driven faster. Cor-Bon's newest load for the 40/10mm and their 45ACP-necked-to-40-for-the-same-speed-as-a-10mm critter. Expansion was good out of the 40, rounds lost a lot of mass and diameter on the hotter stuff.

The Gold Dot projectile might be an answer...the lead is bonded to the jacket so it resists coming unglued. Pro-load's version of the 10mm based on the Gold Dot has recorded some absolutely unbelievable expansion numbers in gelatin...1.25" :what:. Looked like a radiator fan.

April 12, 2003, 11:32 PM
$25 for a box of 20 10mm?
To be honest, I would have thought the guy would be asking even more. :fire:
There can't be too much of that stuff around in 10mm.
How long is the magic good for in those anyway?
Don't they have an expiration date?

April 13, 2003, 12:09 AM
If stored properly any ammo should last for a very long time. I bought a box of .45 ACP Black Talon DP for $35 and five rounds were missing but I knew about that. It's hard to come by. I bought it for the novelty. Sorta like my Glock Marine Spring Cups and my 12-gauge flash suppressor. Stuff that you don't see every day but makes for a good box of conversation goodies.

April 13, 2003, 12:25 AM
The funny thing is, 10mm Black Talons are subsonic.

Subsonic 10mm makes about as much sense to me as subsonic .357 Magnum... ;)

Mike Irwin
April 13, 2003, 01:13 AM
Hey, consider yourself lucky that he didn't try to feed you some huge line about them being the top super secret rounds for the SEELS and how they're tipped with Flizupmtium, which increases stopping power 1 billion percent...

I've heard some REAL BS about Black Talons over the past couple years...

Chuck Dye
April 13, 2003, 02:17 AM
I bought 40 rounds each of the Black Talon in 9mm ($9.49/20) and .45ACP (($10.81/20) for testing when they first came out. Testing was delayed 'til after the hysteria hit and Winchester knuckled under, so I set the ammo aside. Still regret turning down the $75/box I was offered shortly thereafter.

April 13, 2003, 03:42 AM
It is my understanding that the Winchester SXT is virtually the the same ammo? Is this correct?
All the good, none-o-the bad ("BLACK TALON!" PC BS)
When do the ban the "Flesh Ripper" bullets? (joke):p

Don Gwinn
April 13, 2003, 09:54 AM
We were such idiots when we closed dad's shop that we auctioned off a bunch of individual boxes of Black Talon for less than retail. Guess we should have held onto it and sold it for a ridiculous price. :rolleyes:

April 13, 2003, 10:13 AM
I think that conducting your own expansion tests with whatever ammo you chose would yield some suprising results. Although the Black Talon was supposed to be a good bullet it has been reported that many competing brands do just as well without the sensational name that went along with the Winchester product.

I often think the advertising campaign for the Black Talon was the most successful in history but that did not make it the super bullet it was reported to have been.

AS a side bar in my conversations with hunters I have often found that even though they have tried numerous jacketed expanding bullets many have gone back to the old Elmer Keith style lead semi-wad cutters in revolvers. They penetrated way better than expanding bullets and seemed to kill just as dead if not better and these results were on animals that were often as big or bigger than humans.

A lot can be said even for cast bullets in semi-auto handguns. They always penetrate and even often deform depending on how hard you make them. Jacketed bullets sometimes work too well expanding so quickly as to not insure adequate penetration especially in the more powerful calibers like the 10mm. Once again conducting your own tests out of your own handgun is the only way to know for sure if the super bullet you think you have really is super.

April 13, 2003, 10:27 AM
hornady makes a BRUTAL 10 mikemike load w/ a 200 gr XTP.
the BT is all hype. we did some phone book shoots w/ 230 gr original DP black talons against 200 gr XTP's in 45acp and found the XTP penetrated 4 times as far and expanded. the BT's clogged up and remained unopened.
the winner by the way happened to be the 200 gr corbon. 5 dry phone books and full fragmentation after the 4th book.

April 13, 2003, 10:30 AM
5 dry phone books

Uh, your interesting choice of tissue simulant may have colored the results a bit. ;)

April 13, 2003, 11:11 AM
I just heard an interesting story about Black Talons. An aquaintance just purchased 2 boxes of 45 acp black talons over the internet for a friend at $65 per box. It seems the friend is going to use the loads as grizzly bear defense when in the woods :what: . Should be just about enough to get the bears' attention and piss him off at the same time. Keep your eyes on the Darwin Awards as this saga continues. :uhoh:

April 13, 2003, 12:34 PM
Tamara--There are some that even question the validity of ballistic gelatin. Some people try to go overboard by proving grand ballistic performance/penetration/expansion (etc) by shooting pieces of meat and dead animals and even jugs of water. None of it really proves anything. Without actual studies based on defensive shooting situations in which the media used is the actual media for which that particular cartrige was intended, ANY claim that "this is better than that" is like claiming that tissue paper makes better parachute material than saran wrap.

Ballistic gelatin is no more valid than dry phone books.

April 13, 2003, 12:42 PM
Yes, but using any non-wet substance for testing expansion creates a problem in that JHP's rely on fluid dynamics to expand.

I actually had an acquaintance once tell me that he'd lost all faith in Golden Sabers. When I inquired as to why, he said that they'd tested some out and they didn't expand. I asked what they shot them into, and was told a stack of pine boards. Hmmm...

Granted, mediums used for expansion testing (water, ballistic gelatin, wet phonebooks/newsprint, modeling clay, mud, what-have-you) are not perfect tissue simulants, but wondering why a JHP won't expand when shot into pine boards is like wondering why a car won't run if you fill the tank with water.

April 13, 2003, 01:24 PM
There will be a new 10mm 1911 released this year.

For those who are interested. <grin>

Mike Irwin
April 13, 2003, 02:41 PM
"There are some that even question the validity of ballistic gelatin."

True, there are. And most of those people are looking at the wrong things.

Ballistic gelatin has one great advantage. It is a REPEATABLE testing medium. "Street results" aren't, nor are there usually enough of them to provide a truly comprehensive look at the performance of any particular bullet other than hardball.

Anyone who says that ballistic gelatin "proves" anything misunderstands the purpose of the testing. The purpose of testing using a uniform, controlled repeatable medium is to find out what SHOULD provide good results under a variety of conditions, not what will provide good results.

Ballistic gelatin has more than proven its worth when looked at in that light.

The statement that ballistic gelatin is no more valid than phone books is also incorrect.

Ballistic gelatin has been shown, when comparing results to actual shots into tissue, to be the most effective material by far for replicating what happens when a bullet strikes tissue.

Much of the validity of using ballistic gelatin in the first place is to provide a repeatable testing medium that can be prepared by anyone who has the time and effort. As long as the preparation steps are the same, the results will be valid from one laboratory to another. In that sense, it's the same as conducting any other experiement.

The problem with using other media has always been in the preparation, media type, details, etc.

April 13, 2003, 02:53 PM
ANY claim that "this is better than that" is like claiming that tissue paper makes better parachute material than saran wrap.

That's not true, everybody knows Saran Wrap won't open after it gets stuck to itself.:neener:

April 13, 2003, 02:56 PM
Jeeze, after reading some of the prices paid for a "subsonic" load:neener:

25.00 $ don't sound allthat bad..:barf:


April 13, 2003, 03:02 PM
BWAHAHAHA! Subsonic 10mm is like a four cylinder mustang!

April 13, 2003, 03:50 PM
It is my understanding that the Winchester SXT is virtually the the same ammo? Is this correct?
All the good, none-o-the bad ("BLACK TALON!" PC BS)

Yes, that is correct. And now the SXT has undergone a redesign that is an even better performer. It's being sold as "LEO" and is called "Ranger T".

BTW: 12- 34hom - The average going price for a box of 20 original Black Talons on Gunbroker is around $40-50.

April 13, 2003, 05:33 PM
the attempt was not to simulate tissue. the medium used was available in bulk. as far as comparisons goe the medium should not matter. i was not comparing my results to anyones else not to published gelitan penetration numbers. i merely stated that in THAT medium the BT's were last my a great margin.
and as comparisons go i would suggest they, black talons, would fall into last place against the corbon or hornady,; in ANY medium; cadaver to caviar.
COHIBA (not ammolab)

April 13, 2003, 06:05 PM
I think one of the best indicators is to look for is patterns of expansion and penetration. If one tests several bullets in a variety of mediums and one sees that Brand X expands and penetrates in water, in gelatin, in wet newpapers and in stacks of hot dogs put end to end and brand Y only expands in some of them then we have a very good indication on what brand of bullet to go with when using it for defensive purposes out of your particular gun.

Facts are very few people are willing to go to this much trouble and testing. They instead rely on glitzy pictures in magazines showing perfectly expanded bullets not realizing ,especially in rifle calibers that velocity and distance also come into play as to how much a bullet will expand. Often bullets designed for magnums are used in rifles that are not magnums or are used at ranges that are too close or too far to get the perfect mushrooms that are shown in the gun magazines.

Handguns are not much different. Shooting an expanding bullet out of a hunting handgun with an 8 inch barrel or even a 10 inch barrel and then proclaiming it is the ultimate bullet for everyones handgun including 3 inch barreled hideout handguns is not very realistic.

April 13, 2003, 08:33 PM
Okay, maybe I wasn't clear enough. Most folks testing their ammo out on phone books/newspaper are doing so to test penetration--not expansion. Yes, I understand how JHP's rely on fluid dynamics to expand and ballistic gelatin is a great media to determine how a bullet will expand--in ballistic gelatin. I assumed that COHIBA was testing penetration. I also understand that different bullets will expand in a different manner but two bullets of the same type (i.e. two Speer Gold Dots of the same caliber but of different weights) should expand uniformly enough for all practical purposes. When testing sheer penetrating ability, phone books and newspaper are fine. Ballistic gelatin holds no greater value in that case. If one bullet goes through four phone books and another bullet goes through five phone books it really doesn't matter if the two bullets are of like type. The one that went through five phone books is going to have the energy to push it further through an obstacle.

Regarding potential bullet performance, I still take issue with those that feel ballistic gelatin is a good media with which to test such properties. It's geletin--not flesh. It has no bones, and it has no variations like your body does of various muscle/flesh mass.

I know several court-room subject matter experts that are called upon to testify in several major cities regarding cases involving defensive shooting incidents. The certifiable experts with whom I converse take issue with ballistic gelatin and its over-glorified properties for bullet performance testing. Ballistic gelatin is nothing more than a pretty format that allows for easy photography of the entire path of the bullet and the bullet's terminal condition. It's window dressing. I love the gun magazines and I've even purchased a Kimber based on what I read in one of them. However, ballistic gelatin just makes for a good platform to take pictures for gun magazines so that ammo manufacturers can WOW the consumer. I'll reconsider my opinion after they figure out how to get ballistic gelatin to grow a rib cage.

In a defensive situation, a bullet often has to pass through more than just one obstacle before getting to the boiler room of the assailant. If your assailant has a gun and is pointing it at you or has a knife and is pointing it at you, where are his hands? They're in front of him covering his center-of-mass which is where you are most likely to shoot. Ballistic gelatin can't reproduce the path of a bullet through someone's hand AND THEN their ribcage.

P.S. Great show today GUNTALK. I'm still getting free calendars from Gunsite after they were offered as a limited GUNTALK offer (50 calendars) last year.

Mike Irwin
April 13, 2003, 08:53 PM
"It's geletin--not flesh. It has no bones, and it has no variations like your body does of various muscle/flesh mass."

That's why it's an approximation.

Calibrated ballistic gelatin approximates the average mean density of human (or other animal) tissue -- that includes bones, fat, muscle, soft organs, etc. That's one of the main reasons why it's become the industry standard for testing.

There are other media that are a LOT easier to prepare but the results aren't considered to be as viable.

FBI testing back in the late 1980s was what gave the industry impetus to start using ballistic gelatin. FBI's tests showed that of all the testing media then in use, ballistic gelatin provided results that were the most "human tissue like."

Are results from ballistic testing directly correlatable across to actual shootings? I don't think anyone has ever claimed that to be the case.

But unless someone starts getting LOTS of volunteers to willingly line up and be shot, ballistic gelatin is presently the best and most useful media for simulating bullet performance in human tissue.

I have no doubt that there are subject matter experts who disagree with the efficacy of ballistic gelatin.

There are also more than just a few subject matter experts who DO view the information gained from ballistic gelatin testing to be scientifically valid.

"the attempt was not to simulate tissue."

That's correct, to a degree, but incorrect to another degree. FBI and other groups originally started using ballistic gelatin because of the reasons noted above. MANY other products were also available in bulk (water and paper, for example), and are MUCH easier to work with and prepare, but don't provide come as close to the average mean density of tissue.

The process for preparing and calibrating ballistic gelatin is a tremendous pain in the butt.

April 13, 2003, 09:51 PM
don't know what this was - sorry

April 13, 2003, 10:03 PM
My CCL class instructor recommended against using Black Talons in our carry weapons. His reasoning was if you had to use deadly force and the case went to jury, a prosecutor could use your choice of ammo to paint you as some kind of nut just looking for a reason to pull the trigger. This was based on the negative media hype the BTs got after that shooting incident in the office building. His recommendation was to choose another brand that would be just as effective without the negative reputation.

I have seen the exorbitant prices asked for Black Talons at the gun shows. I wonder how much they actually sell. Asking price doesn't set the value of something - selling price does.

BTW, I did shoot a BT into some wet phone books. It expanded just as advertized. You could have used a picture of the bullet in an ad.

April 13, 2003, 10:35 PM
I wish you guys would not diss on Black Talon ammo. I would really prefer you to all calmly slouch off into a state of blubbering ignorance while I unload my .357 an .44RemMag Black Talon to one of you suckers for about 2$/rd. Now please, be quiet, and send the cash. QUICKLY.


Chuck Dye
April 13, 2003, 11:15 PM
While I strongly agree with Mike Irwin (note my signature line) and MPFreeman (cash is not needed, money orders and cashier's checks will do) I will continue to place more faith in avoidance, evasion and escape, backup, and shot placement (in more or less that order) than in caliber or bullet choice for defense.

My Black Talon was purchased within a few days of its hitting the market and can be had, for a price. Of course, having already turned down $75/box, I don't expect anyone here to be interested!

N.B.: Everything I own is for sale, it is just that some things are better bargains than others!

April 13, 2003, 11:54 PM
I must confess to having dumped a LOT of the BT ammunition to a local L/E supply store when the craze hit. I sold it to them for more than I'd bought it for ...

... and nowadays, not being an ammunition & box collector, I wouldn't pay $5/box to use it for range ammo. Especially in a subsonic BT 10mm version of what was affectionately known as "fed-lite" 10mm ...

As a matter of fact, I occasionally come across varying quantities of 9mm & .45 BT that folks no longer want, and I simply burn it up as range ammo ...

There are better rounds out there nowadays, including the latest variation of this design in the excellent RA45T & RA45TP. The non-L/E SXT version, with the 8-cut cavity, hasn't been tested as much as the L/E version, and it appears the lack of the jacketing "petals" extending over and into the cavity nose may not protect the leading edge of the lead core during expansion as well as the T Series design.

We could certainly use some better designed and engineered 10mm bullets for full power 10mm loads. This is an under-rated caliber which deserves to enjoy some growth in popularity ...

George Hill
April 14, 2003, 12:44 AM
Couple months ago I fired up a bunch of .45ACP ammo that was made in 1945. It all fired and functioned just fine.

April 14, 2003, 02:44 AM
The Talon is good stuff -- generally--
I had good luck and expansion with the 45 acp and 44mag
Never tried the 10mm
\40S&W and 9mm were mediocre at best--

Gold dots generally worked well Golden Sabre was OK --

Generally the Gold Dot were best in smaller calibers--Talons (or Ranger now) best in larger bore--
Golden Sabre was Decent in smaller bore--Not good in larger bore--

I used 75-200 pound calves and 800-900 pound cows for expansion testing-- (dead already) and the 44Mag and 45 ACP Talon were constant and expanded beautifully-- this was in the mid 90's-- fwiw

April 14, 2003, 02:57 AM
dongun--Your instructor bought into the myth/urban legend. Not a SINGLE case has been lost by an armed citizen because of the type of bullet he used. Prosecutors have attemted it but it has never worked.

There is an instructor and courtroom subject matter expert that currently has a 10,000 dollar reward out for anyone that can locate a single case where bullet type was the demise of an armed citizen on trial for a defensive shooting incident.

Country Boy
April 14, 2003, 11:38 AM
It is my understanding that the Winchester SXT is virtually the the same ammo? Is this correct?
I understood SXT to stand for Same eXact Thing.

April 14, 2003, 12:14 PM
It is my understanding that the Winchester SXT is virtually the the same ammo? Is this correct?

Actually it is not the exact same ammo. Only the ones with the Ranger designation are the same as the Black Talon (i.e. Ranger SXT or Ranger-T). The standard SXT ammo is different and does not perform as well in ballistic gelatin testing.

I suggest you try the Gold Dot loadings. They seem to perform nearly as well as the Winchester ammo and aren't designated as LEO Only ammo so much more likely to find it at a "reasonable" price. If you insist on Black Talon or Ranger ammo, well try to find a friend that works in a PD that uses this stuff for duty. That's how I get mine (for less than you'll ever see in any gunstore). :D

April 14, 2003, 01:34 PM

Me, a gun rag writer, and a judge are all interested in identifying one (1) case where ammo was even brought up! Can you point us to one?

Ballistic geletin may be usefull for testing, or it may not....but it is fun as hell to shoot.:D

I have shot phone books with my 1911 and various commercially produced loads. I have tested on up to 5 books at one time. No bullets were ever found or retrieved for evaluation. (maybe I need to move to a larger town.....:rolleyes: )

Mike Irwin
April 14, 2003, 01:36 PM
"There is an instructor and courtroom subject matter expert that currently has a 10,000 dollar reward out for anyone that can locate a single case where bullet type was the demise of an armed citizen on trial for a defensive shooting incident."

I'd think that would be virtually impossible to show unless you got individual jury members to talk after the trail was over, but I agree, I seriously doubt if the use of a particular kind of bullet would tip the balance in a criminal case.

I could see it swaying a jury in a civil action, however, where the shootee sues the shooter for injuries.

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