When it comes to ammunition, there are choices that we all agree are marks of a high-quality precision maker.
Accurate, deadly and dependable Hornady ammunition features a great deal of research into power selection, quality brass cartridge cases, and brilliantly designed bullets.
The Hornady ELD, SST, V-MAX, A-MAX, XTP, LEVERevolution and Monoblock bullets are cutting-edge bullets manufactured by Hornady and used by other ammunition makers as well.
Let’s look at just five popular loadings from Hornady.
1. 12-Gauge American Gunner Reduced Recoil
Shotguns are an important part of my battery. While buckshot is very effective for short-range use, a slug is useful well past 50 yards. In some cases, a slug is the preferred load even at close range.
A one-ounce slug at 1200 fps is hard-hitting. The American Gunner slug isn’t a full-power loading, but is designed for low recoil. It picks up as much as 100 fps in a 28-inch barrel compared to velocity from riot (18.5-inch barrel) shotguns.
This is a useful loading for hunting thin-skinned game and defense against large animals. Even in a smooth bore like my personal Remington 1100, the American Gunner slug will put five shells into four inches at 50 yards.
Affordable, reliable and hard-hitting, the American Gunner reduced recoil slug is a great shotgun load.
2. .45 Long Colt 255-Grain Cowboy
This is an interesting load, similar to the original .45 Colt load (255 grains over 30 to 40 grains of black powder was the original) and an ideal loading for practice and cowboy-action shooting.
The swaged bullet is more likely to flatten on a target than fragment, making it safer for use against steel targets. The diamond knurled swaged bullet features a well designed powder-type lube.
I don’t want to be uncharitable to small bores and lesser calibers, but this is my idea of a cowboy revolver loading. At 725 fps from a 4¾-inch barrel, the loading is accurate, affordable and true to the original.
Hornady offers a LEVERevolution expanding bullet load for hunting in .45 Colt, and also a Critical Defense loading. I make use of them when the situation warrants. The cowboy load is a solid favorite.
3. .45 ACP 200-Grain XTP
I carry a .45 ACP 1911 on a daily basis. I don’t feel overgunned. I have been undergunned, and being overgunned is conceptual. They say chemistry takes time, and I have developed more than casual intimacy with the 1911 after 40 years of use.
The Hornady 200-grain XTP is among the most accurate loadings you may deploy. The balance of expansion and penetration is ideal.
At about 900 fps in most pistols, this standard-pressure loading is ideal for personal defense. Gelatin results are 16-inches penetration and .68-inches expansion.
When you consider the ease of control and overall performance, this is a sterling choice for personal defense.
4. 6.5 PRC 143-Grain ELD-X Precision Hunter
The 6.5 PRC is a remarkably accurate and useful cartridge. I have enjoyed the 6.5x55mm Mauser for years. The new PRC is a thoroughly modern caliber with every advantage over earlier 6.5 cartridges.
While I also enjoy the 6.5 Creedmoor, the 6.5 PRC is a better choice for long-range use. At 2960 fps, the 143-grain ELD-X is a flat-shooting number.
The “Extremely Low Drag Expanding” bullet is a wind-bucking bullet useful at all ranges. Expansion is excellent. The 6.5 PRC is now the number one 6.5 rifle in my house, chambered in a Mauser M18 rifle.
5. Hornady 168-Grain ELD Match
I have enjoyed using handloads, but since they demand a small base die to properly resize a cartridge for a self-loading rifle, I haven’t loaded them as often as I do the bolt-action calibers.
The .308 is a favorite rifle cartridge. The 168-grain bullet has always given good results in my .308 rifles. The new “Extra Low Drag” bullet has given excellent results in every caliber.
This loading is a superbly accurate loading in the right rifle, and a good performer in every rifle. For deer and boar-sized game, this is a fine performer.
Conclusion: Hornady Loads
Hornady offers not dozens, but hundreds of good loads, including a good number of .17 HRM and .22 Magnum loads. Each offers good quality, and choices of bullet weight and caliber may be chosen for a specific chore with confidence.
What are your favorite Hornady loads? Why? Let us know in the comments section below!