Hornady DGX

Discussion in '.375 & Up' started by matt85, May 29, 2014.

  1. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Hornady claims the DGX is strong enough to be suitable for dangerous game. I hear mixed reviews all over the net. some say the DGX comes apart on thick skinned game while others claim it works great.

    im interesting in hearing what the people on this forum think of this bullet.
    -what are your thoughts?
    -have you tried it on thick skinned game?
    -does any one have pictures of DGX bullets retrieved from thick skinned game?

    for the sake of this thread I will hold back my own feelings on using standard cup and core bullets on dangerous game until ive given a chance for people to give their opinion.

    thanks
    -matt
  2. Royal27

    Royal27 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Since I haven't used DGX on DG I can't directly comment on the effectiveness, other than what I've read, which are the same mixed reviews you've read. For this reason I eliminated them as an option for actual hunting.

    What I was going to do was use them as cheaper practice ammo, but out of my rifle I found the accuracy to be horrible. And when I say horrible I mean like a 6 inch three shot group out of a rifle that will shoot Barnes TSX at an inch or under. I've actually found PRVI to be much more accurate. Again, this is the experience of one rifle and results will obviously vary.
  3. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hi Matt

    I was shooting DGS & DGX in a Navy Arms 450 NE. No issues.

    Most shots that you will take at a Dangerous game - Elephant (10 yards) - Cape Buffalo ( 10 to 40 yards) - Lion ( 20 to 50 yards) - Leopard (30 to 50 yards) and Rhino (20 to 40 yards). Your PH will get you close and still closer for your shots on Elephant - Cape buffalo and rhino. Lion and leopard are usually shot from a blind. Leopards are sometimes run with dogs and lions are stalked on foot.

    I have used DGS & DGX on cape buffalo. Shot open sights and off hand. I did not get any recovered bullets, as i did not ask for them.

    The DGX exited the off side on my cape buffalo. One of my Cape Buffalo was shot with DGS - solids and the other with DGX - expanding.

    I am sure on the first CB, i could have dough around in the bank behind him to see if could have recovered one of my 2 bullets. The second CB was at 10 yards or closer and the bullets exited the off side, you would have needed a lot of time and a finder to located the bullets in the tall grass.

    I have 3 new boxes of DGS & DGX on the shelf for when my next DG hunt takes place
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  4. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Matt85,

    You are wise to research bullet performance in general but especially in regards to hunting Dangerous Game.
    PHs, Game Wardens, Park Rangers and such are excellent sources on this subject, as well as many people here in this Forum.

    Yours truly has only shot one thick skinned animal and one not so thick skinned animal (buffalo & zebra) with the DGX bullet.

    Such feeble experience is no reason for you to choose that bullet but I will tell the tale anyway, so that with mine combined with any other person's experience here, you will hopefully be able to piece together a case for or against DGX bullets accordingly.

    To start, regarding premium soft points, I have not SEEN anything that delivers as close to advertised as the Swift A-Frame but, they are so heavily reinforced that there is some debate as to whether they might separate the muzzles from the rib on older double rifles with many firings (I would not know).

    Likewise, A-Frames are not always accurate in all bolt action and single shot rifles but in most they are, furthermore they are known to streak the bore with jacket metal fouling more than some brands (but I'm pretty sure they still make excellent bore cleaning products these days).

    The DGX and DGS were my choice because they have no such issues (they are malleable steel jacket, guilding metal plated and lead alloy core) and after experimenting with several brands and shapes of bullets/powder charges/primers, et al, I determined that they shot way tighter groups with a soft in one barrel and a "solid" in the other of my old Army & Navy .450 No2.

    The buffalo I shot was with the Hndy DGX 480 grain, .458 diameter @ 2050 fps from a SxS .450 No2 NE.
    He was walking rapidly toward myself and the usual suspects (PH, Tracker, Camera Man).
    Not charging but obviously trying to show us that he wanted us gone (that area does not get many human hunters but plenty of lion and that minor display of aggression is how the buffalo sometimes deal with lions there, according to the local Game Warden).

    At about 40 paces (the PH later said more like 30 but whatever) from the sticks, I shot el buffo at the neck and brisket juncture, just as he turned his head to his left to look at a companion (also a rough looking character) who had just jogged up beside him to join his efforts.
    The 480 grainer struck him just to his right of center (my left as I was facing him), tearing the carotid artery, scraping the neck vertebra and coming to rest behind the shoulder.
    This knocked him immediately off his feet.
    I still have the bullet.

    He gathered himself upright again and bolted with the thundering herd, as if a contender in the Kentucky Derby, no limping, nuthin' (except gushing blood from the entance wound).
    Off the sticks now, I swung my weapon with him, until there was enough gap to fire again without risking any other animal, led him for a split second and let drive with the "solid" DGS (actually a FMJ in N. American terminology).
    This one hit him in the right side gut as planned, (hoping to criss-cross his vitals the opposite direction and break the left shoulder before exiting).
    However, my solid smashed his spine instead, again, knocking him immediately to the ground, this time in a mighty cloud of dust.
    He never moved again and we never heard a death bellow.
    As I made that shot, I had guestimated the range to be around 120 paces and rapidly lengthening but again the PH thought it much farther - 150 meters at least (whatever, doesn't matter a whole bunch, just good conversation).

    He obviously would have croaked from the first shot with the DGX but who wants to loiter around in hopes it is so.

    I also sacked a stallion Burchell's zebra with that rifle/DGX, again at something around 40 paces.
    I shot him quartering toward me, spot on the shoulder, smashing it, then tearing through both lungs and stopping in a visible lump under the hide.
    He only stumbled from the impact but didn't fall, then bolted on 3 legs faster than any horse with 4 legs I ever rode, then slammed into a thorn tree and fell dead right there.
    I could not give him the other barrel due to the herd thundering away with him.

    In conclusion, I would use the DGX (and/or DGS) again for thick skinned game.
    HOWEVER, it is imperative that hunters use enough gun, as Robert Ruark used to say.
    My 2 centavos is: old fashioned style bullets seem to fail most often when driven at significantly higher velocity than they were designed to operate at and newer (harder) designs seem to fail most often at lower velocities.

    Cheerio,
    Velo Dog.
  5. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Velo dog, could you post a picture of the bullet you pulled from the buffalo's neck?

    thanks
    -matt
  6. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    PS:
    I have kept both those softs but the solid is still somewhere along the banks of The Olifants River, where it makes a boundary between The Kruger Park and private lands.

    The front 1/4 to 1/3 of each has smeared off but what was left of each was somewhat mushroomed, if however sparsely and the shanks drove on like they were supposed to (about 3' of buffalo and about 2' of zebra, to include smashing said zebra's stout shoulder bone to begin with).

    Is the DGX a perfect bullet, mercy no.
    Are there tougher large bore soft points out there, definitely yes.

    If I were to suggest any improvement to it, I'd say to keep the jacket the same thickness from the base, all the way to the exposed lead (The jacket is tapered thinner in there, just ahead of the main shank).

    An interesting question for debate might be: "At what point during the animal's death did the bullet fail?

    Blah, blah, blah (help, I'm typing and I can't stop).

    Out,
    Velo Dog.
  7. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Yes, I think I can corner my wife (she's real smart....other than her obvious poor taste in men) and have her get it posted.
    If so, I will also include the Zebra vs DGX bullet as well.
  8. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Well I guess I'm going to play contrarian, but before I do, all of my thoughts should be balanced against the fact I have NO dangerous game hunting experience.

    Rifle : $1000 minimum and that's with no scope
    Flight to Africa : $2000 absolute minimum (no charter flights or road transfer costs considered)
    Cost of Avg Buff Hunt: $15000 (ele typically more expensive)

    Throw in tips and what not, you're talking $20000 easily and that's with no taxidermy.

    I have also read of the mixed reports of the Hornady DGS/DGX bullets and some of those have been downright scary. I'm an engineer for a living and as such I go way overboard reading all the technical data, lab reports as well as hunting experiences that I can when choosing a bullet. This doesn't make me an expert by any means, but for me I want the absolute best bullet that shoots accurately in my rifle. The way I look at it is if one bullet performs as expected 90% of the time, that doesn't seem so bad. But if another performs as expected 99.9% of the time, give me the latter please. I don't want to have the first bullet perform poorly that 10% of the time when a high dollar trophy fee may be lost not to mention the PH or I being hurt. I don't want to be the one saying to my PH's wife, "Well I was trying to save $50 on my safari, so I went with a less reliable bullet and well, I'm sorry your husband got killed because of that."

    I realize the offerings of North Fork, Cutting Edge Bullets and Swift are quite a bit more expensive than the Hornady's, but compared to the overall cost of the safari, it's absolutely nothing. Compared to the cost of you, your PH or the trackers being hurt, well there is no comparison.

    Inexpensive bullets for practice I get, but not for hunting, especially DG hunting. Life is too short and safaris too expensive to be hunting with cheap bullets. Hope I didn't step on too many toes saying this. But I truly believe with the manufacturing techniques we have available, we are living now "in the good old days" of bullet technology.
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  9. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    phoenix phil, im looking for all opinions here. that means both positive and negative. your opinion is welcome and your points are valid.

    -matt
  10. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I very much agree with PHOENIX PHIL.
  11. poprivit

    poprivit AH Member

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    Here's a 500 gr Hornady after exiting my S&W 500 and entering a stink bull giraffe's neck. He dropped like his wires were cut. The load on the left is a 440 gr. hard lead that I'm hoping to use on a non-trophy elephant next year. L1010059.JPG IMG3a.jpg
  12. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    interesting poprivit, I just checked the Hornady website and it doesn't look like they make a .500 500gr DGX. so im assuming that's the 500gr interlock which is pretty impressive performance since that doesn't have the steel jacket like the DGX.

    how much did the 500gr bullet weigh after being used?

    thanks for sharing!
    -matt
  13. buckcurtin

    buckcurtin AH Senior Member

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  14. buckcurtin

    buckcurtin AH Senior Member

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    Tried using Hornady to practice because of cost and Norma PH on my trip with CM Safaris. Was shooting a 404 Jeffery. Buzz Charlton recommended I do this, the Hornady goes completely through and hits other animals. Well on my first animal a Buff first and third shots were misfires. Primers well struck. Never again on dangerous game.
  15. poprivit

    poprivit AH Member

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    Matt - never thought about weight retention, so out came the 'ol RCBS. Right at 477 grains. Not bad!

    Then there was this bovine that got right in front of my Ruger #1 458 Lott …
    Africa 1.jpg
    Here's the recovered solid. (The one on the left - I think.) Looks like it could be reloaded.

    DSC_0023a.jpg
  16. CAustin

    CAustin AH Fanatic

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    Matt 85 if you will look at my picture posts you will see the results of my use of Hornady DGX and DGS 416 Ruger. In fact just look at the horns I'm holding in the photo under my name. The 400 gr DGX did the job on my lioness and I used both DGX and DGS on the Cape buffalo. In short the results were outstanding. I did recover one of each but I don't have a photo with me at the moment. The DGS recovered from the Cape buffalo was from a head on chest shot. It was removed from just behind the end of the sternum about two inches under the skin and was 85% intact. That slug traveled a long way through the thickest part of the animal and did a great deal of damage. I was very pleased with the results on two of the big five. The whole idea is to put the animal down. I anchored the lioness with a DGX round through the shoulders at 85 yards. It broke both her shoulders and passed through a lot of bone. It hit right where I was aiming with the Lupeold VX6 scope. That sir is the result you want. As an aside I should tell you that my PH was using an FN Browning 458 Lott and he was carrying Hornady rounds with him.
    Now as for miss fires I have experienced none. The 416 is a new rifle for me so I put three boxes through it prior to my April trip and about 15 more rounds while there. A total of 75 rounds with no problems.
    I also took my Ruger 300 win mag with a box of the 180 grain SST rounds. No problems there either. Good luck to you on your hunt whatever brand you decide to use.
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  17. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    the hornady DGS bullet has a very good online reputation and sits in the same class as the Woodleigh FMJ. is it as good as a monolithic solid... no, but it will do the trick. i intend to use the DGS bullet as my solid for my 450-400 NE 3" assuming i can get it to regulate.

    i think i will go ahead and give my opinion on the DGX now: (keep in mind this is just my opinion)

    i dont think they are ideal for the given purpose. the DGX is a non-bonded cup and core bullet with a copper plated steel jacket. this is a relatively primitive design and there are many MUCH better bullet designs out there. while the steel jacket does shore up the bullet some its still not bonded which means it can and will seperate at some point. it might not fail the first time or even the second time but it will fail at some point. options out there such as swift A-frame, woodleigh bonded SP, northfork bonded SP, and barnes TSX are all going to be vastly better choices! when your life and others are on the line there is no reason to go cheap. i would only use this bullet if absolutely nothing else worked in my rifle.

    -matt
  18. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Hi PHOENIX PHIL,

    Excellent post, especially: ... "I want the absolute best bullet that shoots accurately in my rifle".

    In the case of using double rifles for buffalo, possibly some other thick skinned game (giraffe for one), typically that means, with a soft in one barrel and a solid in the other, said rifle must group all bullets close together.

    For elephant (and possibly hippo on land or rhino hunting), accuracy means: your rifle must group "solids" from both barrels close together.

    I can barely spell engineer but, I'm totally with you anyway,
    IE: Yours Truly would never in a million years select a DG bullet because it was low in price.

    Great minds think alike.

    Cheerio,
    Velo Dog.
  19. PaulT

    PaulT AH Fanatic

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    Some excellent advice up above.

    Regarding the Hornady's D.G.X,
    I got better (more consistant) performance from batches purchased several years ago, as opposed to recently manufactured stuff.


    This is specifically in .458 Lott.

    I don't know if the recipe changed or not, but I've had some (recently manufactured) .458 Lott break-up and over-expand, and under penetrate, at close range.
    In years past, I used the same bullet to stop several buffalo, and feral cattle, charges at close range, successfully.


    These days, knowing what I've seen with bullets used specifically on buffalo, or larger, I would not choose that type of bullet.

    I'm shooting the C.E.B Safari Raptor on all of my serious field hunting excursions, including in my double, and am immensely satisfied with their performance.

    North Fork and Barnes Triple Shoks are also great thick-skinned, heavy-game hunting bullets.

    Save the rest for the range, practice and shooting groups.
  20. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Buckcurtin,

    Did you have 2 duds with Norma factory cartridges or with Hornady factory cartridges?
    I think you are referring to the Norma but not sure since, you mention shooting through more than one animal with the Hornady ammunition as well.
    It seems like you are referring to your personal dud experiences with Norma, and your PH's experiences with Hornady bullets over-penetrating but, I am confused.

    Sorry, sometimes I do not understand everything that's in front of my nose.
    It is my flaw, not anyone else's.

    Cheerio,
    Velo Dog.

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