Hornady DGX and DGS

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Hank2211, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. Hank2211

    Hank2211 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I have had generally good luck with Hornady bullets in the past. I just returned from a safari where I used my new .404 Jeffery for the first time. For a number of reasons - availability being the most important - I brought Hornady DGX and DGS bullets with me.

    I used the rifle on cape buffalo, giraffe, hippo and vervet monkey (!). I regret to say that I had a number of issues with the bullets, and wonder if my experience is unusual.

    Firstly, I found that the bullets weren't seated very securely in the brass. When I first fired the rifle I found reloading quickly was impossible - gun was jamming. When I (finally) examined the cartridges in the magazine, I found that the bullets were being pushed back into the brass by the recoil. As a result, the bullets hit the wrong place when I was reloading, causing the jam. This didn't seem to affect the performance of the bullets - when I put the now shorter bullets in the chamber, they fired fine. But a quick follow up shot is important, particularly on dangerous game, and I don't want to have to worry about the second bullet not loading. Perhaps Hornady should consider a crimp to keep the bullets properly seated?

    More important was the actual performance of the bullets. On the giraffe, I used solids. The first shot was a high heart lung shot and the giraffe immediately turned and ran. I put a follow up shot into the rear, trying to break a hip going away. As it turned out, the first shot was good (if a bit high), and the animal went down within a few hundred yards.

    The bullet fired into the rear did hit bone, but failed to penetrate very far, and did no real damage. When I examined the bullet it appeared fine, but when I rolled it on a flat surface, it clearly had deformed. From the tissue damage, it looked like the bullet started to tumble after hitting a not-very-important-part of the hip bone. This resulted in a lack of penetration.

    This is not what I expect from a solid bullet, particularly on giraffe bone. Imagine what would have happened if I had been shooting at elephant? The only job of a solid bullet in my opinion is to retain its shape and penetrate in a straight line through bone, muscle, stomach contents, whatever.

    Now for the DGX. I used the softs for a number of shots, including a brain shot on a hippo that was mostly out of the water. The shot killed the hippo instantly, and lodged in the skull. I recovered it, and a picture is attached. My concern? Given that this soft went through some pretty solid bone, and didn't make it out of the skull, I would have expect greater expansion that I saw. Perhaps this is the most expansion that one should expect from this bullet? If so, I'd suggest it isn't really the type of bullet you'd want to use on large or dangerous game.

    Am I being unfair?
    DSC00607.jpg
     
  2. Wheels

    Wheels AH Legend

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    Hank,

    Sorry for the problems you had. That DGX isn't very impressive looking, even with the fact that it went through bone.

    It sounds like I am in a similar situation to you. 404J owner and not a reloader.

    If you don't reload you are limited on factory ammunition. (I realize you can have ammo specially loaded)

    I have heard/read quite a bit about problems with DGX but not much about DGS. I practice with Hornady ammo since it is cheaper but because of the problems I heard about, on my hunt earlier this year I used Norma which shoots a 450 grain Woodleigh FMJ. Bullets were not recovered. I did not use any 404 softs on the hunt. Considering the price of the hunt, I figured, what is $8 per round for the ammo.

    I too would like to hear what others have to say about Hornady.

    I don't want to hijack the thread, but I would also like to hear what others say about alternative solutions to Hornady if that's okay with you Hank.

    All the best.
     
  3. Hank2211

    Hank2211 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Wheels, I am fine with alternative solutions. I live in Canada, and I'm not aware of any "specialty reloading" places such as those in the US. So if you don't reload, you are essentially stuck with commercial loads, and we don't have that many of those for the .404. If there are some, I'd love to hear from them.
     
  4. CAustin

    CAustin AH Legend

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    Looks to me like it did the job it should do!
     
  5. matt85

    matt85 SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Ive never had good luck with Hornady ammunition. Im glad it didn't cost you any of your animals!

    you have to remember that other then the steel jacket the DGX is just a simple cup and core bullet. if it encounters any tough resistance it will shed its unprotected lead. thankfully the thicker steel jacket around the core of the bullet held it together.

    you are the first case ive heard of where the DGS has failed though. a 400gr solid at 2300fps should not have performed so poorly.

    where do you live in Canada? perhaps I can help you get some better ammunition. shoot me a PM and I will see what I can do.

    -matt
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  6. Johnny7604

    Johnny7604 AH Veteran

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    The DGX looks pretty darn close to the one that Hornady has on their website so I would say it performed as advertised.

    As for the DGS I would not judge a bullet by one result. I'm sure most people on this site has stories of bullets doing unexpected things. In my humble experience one a bullet strikes something all bets are off. Most of the time they sill do exactly what they are supposed to but every now and then a combination of factors will cause one to behave unexpectedly.

    Not sure what to say about the seating issue though. Can't say I have encountered that before. As a reloader I have noted many inconsistencies with neck thickness. If they are running a .001" crush on the necks and they get some brass on the thin side it is very possible I suppose.

    Glad everything turned out well and congratulations on your trophies.

    Cheers,

    John
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  7. Hank2211

    Hank2211 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    As you say, everything turned out the way it was supposed to, so maybe I'm making mountains out of molehills, But I still think a good soft should expand more than this one did, and that a solid should plow straight through bone and whatever else it hits.

    The seating issue does bother me because it prevented me from reloading quickly. I should have taken a picture of the affected bullets next to unaffected ones, but didn't. However, I couldn't figure out why the gun was jamming, and it was my PH who noticed the problem with the bullets. Not sure I would have unless I was looking at them side by side. But unaffected bullets loaded just fine, while affected ones would't load properly.
     
  8. Johnny7604

    Johnny7604 AH Veteran

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    You should give Hornady a call about that bullet seating issue. They may not have heard about it yet or may have received a bad batch of brass. They can't fix it if they don't know about it.
     
  9. Hank2211

    Hank2211 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Done. While I was doing so, I noticed the pictures of the DGX bullets on the Hornady website. It appears that the expansion I had is pretty much what they show for lower velocity rounds (my .404 was about 2,300 f/s). Higher velocities give better expansion. So likely I was a bit hard on Hornady with regards to this issue - but knowing what I know now, I would probably go with a bullet that expands more at lower velocities in a soft next time.

    Moral - do your homework before you use a new bullet!
     
  10. glh

    glh New Member

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    I used the Hornady .458 diam.,480 gr.,DGX & DGS for my first African trip June 2013.Handloaded in Hornady brass and with a healthy dose of H4831,Fed 215M primers,the rifle used was a .450 NE,3.25" double.This rifle likes that particular bullet and load as it prints 1" rt.& lt. barrel groups at 50 yd.,velocity is 2050 fps.
    I am not going to rave that the Hornady bullet is the best ever made but they worked well for me.We had a suitable buf present himself broadside at 60 yd. partially hidden behind a green bush,first soft point went on the shoulder.Buf stumbled forward ten feet and took the second soft and hunched up swaying back and forth and could go no further,followed up with solids.Soft point recovered weighed 435 gr. and was text book mushroom,the solid could have been reloaded and shot again.
    Good enough for me and would use them again.
    I've found that bullet performance is subject to a great deal of personal opinion but rely mostly on my own in the field experience!
     
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  11. Saul

    Saul AH Veteran

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    I am very interested to hear more about the effectiveness of Hornady loads for dangerous game. Thanks to the expert recommendations from the people on AH, I decided to get a Heym .450 NE double rifle.
    It seems that Hornady and Kynoch are the only people that load for the .450 NE. I was planning on using the Hornady loads, but some of the opinions expressed here about them are troubling.
    I have read that the .450 NE can be loaded with 500 grain bullets at 2150-2200 fps if proper bullets are used (Barnes). I am not sure if this is hype to sell more Barnes bullets as stronger, but if it is true, then Hornady seems to be either using anemic loads or their bullets cannot handle it.
    Im just bringing up what I have heard from others so don't bite my head off for bringing it up (I could be completely off base with this load). I just want to see what other options are out their for the .450 NE other than the 480 grain Hornady.
     
  12. glh

    glh New Member

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    Developing a load for rifles that may be as much as 100 yr. old is quite a challenge and one rifle may digest a particular round much better than another rifle.Proper regulation is a big hurdle with these guns.
    I'm sure you could ring more velocity out of the .450NE with handloads,you also would probably be exceeding pressure limits appropriate for a double rifle.I do not believe in hot rodding double rifles,they were originally intended to operate at low pressures thus giving reliability.
    It would be fine to try Woodleighs or whatever else you like but just be sure whoever is doing your loading is knowledgeable about double rifles.I load for 30,000 psi chamber pressure or less,brass lasts forever and cases fall out of the chamber easily.The best load info I've found is the A-Square,Any Load You Want manual,also contains lots of good commentary concerning these cartridges.
    Loading the Hornady bullets you mentioned to higher velocity would most likely result in more fragmentation and greater bullet breakup.I would not worry about the Hornady solid performing well only questions would be their soft point.Substituting another brand of softpoint that you like would be fine as long as they both regulate.Most of this bullet talk is pointless if the first shot doesn't go where it's supposed to. Good Luck!
    Good Luck
     
  13. Brett Becker

    Brett Becker New Member

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    I used 400 grain DGS in my 416 Ruger as a second shot on a water buffalo in the NT ( Aus ), went straight threw, same size hole in and out, through both lungs and rib cages. The first shot was a Swift A frame, turned the heart lung area into pulp, was unable to find the A frame but it didn't exit
     
  14. CAustin

    CAustin AH Legend

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    I used DGS and DGX on buff and lioness. Two dead animals that will be on my wall in about six months. There are folks on here that know a lot more than me with regards to ammo. What I know is I shot the two members of the big five with my Ruger 416 a Guide Gun and both went down and died.
    I got what I bargained for. When I get off the road, I'm traveling right now, I will take pictures of the bullets I recovered and post here. The one I recovered from the lioness looks very much like the one pictured on this thread.
    Can't wait to get this girl to the trophy room! Used DGX on her.

    image.jpg
     

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