Ammunition Test - Hornady DGX Bonded VS Swift A-frame

Aussie_Hunter

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So I finally got around to doing a proper penetration test with 2 of my favourite rounds I have been using in my 375H&H, the Hornady DGX bonded which I have been using on scrub bull hunts with great success and Swift A-frames which I have been using on buffalo hunts with great success. I have been meaning to do this test for a long time and just haven't got around to it but after reading a lot of opinions and also facts on this forum it motivated me to put in the time to do the test this weekend. Now before people start making comments about shooting animals and hitting bone and mud covered hides and different angles etc is very different to shooting a drum of water, I am well aware of this. BUT as far as testing goes I think this is about as fair comparison as you can get, exact same conditions, exact same test media, exact same rifle and barrel length etc

So here are the results!

Test media used was old 20L poison drums filled with water, all drums used were identical and filled to the point of overflowing, the main reason these drums were used is I have access to hundreds off them, it doesn't cost me anything and they a consistent uniform size. Photos below

Test media 20L water drums, 26cm wide (10.24 inches)
Distance 40-45 metres. (No particular reason I picked this distance)
Rifle used was my RSM chambered in 375H&H with a 23" barrel.
Ammo used-
375H&H Factory ammo 300grn Hornady DGX Bonded, advertised muzzle velocity 2530fps from a 24" barrel.
375H&H Factory Norma ammo loaded with 300grn Swift A-frame, advertised muzzle velocity 2559fps, I think Norma also use a 24" barrel for testing but I am not 100% sure.

Results.
Penetration from both loads used in the testing was nearly identical. Both rounds just pierced the back side of the third drum, so basically 3 full drums of penetration. Having said this the A-frame did leave a decent dent in the 4th drum where as the DGX Bonded did not so I am going to give the A-frame an extra inch of penetration.

Penetration.
DGX Bonded - 30.72 inches
Swift A-frame - 31.72 inches

Expansion.
DGX Bonded - 0.71 icnhes
Swift A-frame - 0.67 inches

Retained weight.
DGX Bonded - 254grn (84.5%)
Swift A-frame - 293grm (97.5%)

Now just because I can I also had my 458 Lott with me and had plenty of water drums still in tact so I thought I would throw a 458 round at them to see how it went. The results did surprise me a little.
Again the same variables as above, same water drums, same distance, different barrel length though, Kimber Caprivi with a 24 inch barrel was used.
Ammo used- 458 Lott Factory ammo 500grn Hornady DGX (old DGX, not bonded) advertised muzzle velocity 2300fps from a 24 inch barrel.
Just so you know guys I do have some 458 Lott Hornady bonded DGX ammo on order and I will test it and provide a comparison to the old DGX but for now results below of the old DGX on it's own.

Penetration.
4 full drums, that's 41 inches of penetration! I was very surprised the old DGX managed to do this and to be honest I am quite impressed by this.

Expansion.
Well you tell me, the front part of the bullet is no longer in existence. (photo below)

Retained weight.
417grn (83.5%)

Keen to hear opinions and questions if you have any. Hopefully this is interesting and or helpful to some.


Water drums used.
upload_2020-2-16_11-43-37.png

upload_2020-2-16_11-44-40.png




A-frame left, DGX bonded right.
upload_2020-2-16_11-45-55.png

upload_2020-2-16_11-46-41.png

upload_2020-2-16_11-47-31.png



458 Lott old DGX not bonded
upload_2020-2-16_11-48-30.png
 

WAB

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Thank you! It’s great to see that Hornady may have resolves their DGX issues. I’m an A-Frame fan but I like the Hornady folks and wish them only the best!
 

Aussie_Hunter

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Thank you! It’s great to see that Hornady may have resolves their DGX issues. I’m an A-Frame fan but I like the Hornady folks and wish them only the best!
Me too, I think its hard to deny that the A-frame has the number 1 spot but the DGX Bonded is an awesome round and I'm really keen to test the bonded in the 458 Lott.
 

Ridgewalker

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I’m impressed with the new DGX! I’ve never seen one of the old version this uniform on game! It appears they have skived the copper to get such a uniform petal pattern.
I now wonder how it will do if it hits a buffalo bone. The old version would disintegrate.

Good posting! Thanks!
 

One Day...

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This matches my own field observations of the DGX Bonded. This one in .470.
A good bullet it is...

There was a stroke of genius - or a superb demonstration of the power of analytical thinking - in 1984 when Swift combined the legendary 1948 Nosler Partition with the chemical bonding of the 1969 Bitterroot Bonded, and a bullet for the ages was born: the A Frame.
But the only good bullet it is not...

In a completely different technological direction, the mono-metal bullets have also come to maturity. Blessed are the days we live, when there is a plethora of genuine premium bullets to chose from, in addition to the ever effective Nosler Partition, which continues to kill very well, thank you very much for asking.

The DGX Bonded has made me happy for two reasons:

1- A number of double rifles, including my Kreighoff .470, shoot the Hornady combo DGS / DGX loads superbly, because they really match very closely the bullet design, shape and material (hence barrel timing) of the classic Kynoch loads.

2- Hornady deserve considerably more credit that they have received in recent years for virtually resurrecting single handedly the classic African calibers market. The .416, 450/400, 450, .500, etc. would have faded into obscurity if Steve Hornady had not decided to keep them alive, certainly at an economic opportunity cost loss, and most likely at a straight loss, making possible the return of rifle making in these grand old calibers.

 
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Shootist43

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The operative question re. the "old" DGX is how old is old. I was told by one of their sponsored hunters that they began bonding the DGX several years before announcing it. This was a marketing decision to that they could sell out of the old stuff. That made sense to me. At any rate I'm glad to see that the Hornady bullet did well. Yes it isn't quite as good as the A Frame but the price difference is important to some folks. Not everyone is shooting Cape Buffalo.
 

Fred Gunner

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I've tried both at the range. I've only hunted with Swift A-Frames.
When I got my 416 Rigby for our upcoming Cape Buffalo hunt I got a couple of boxes of DGX at Buds for $68 a box to cheep to pass up.
After lots of daze at the range zeroing open sights and scope using both factory DGX and A-Frames in my Ruger No. 1 at 50 yards accuracy was to close to call anything less than equal.
However at 100 yards the A-frames won hands down.
I love the idea of a copper-clad steel jacket bonded to a lead core in the DGX just as I really wanted the GMX to work in my 375 Ruger?
But in both cases the Hornady Factory ammo lacked constant accuracy.
 
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Major Khan

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It is good to see that Hornady is finally taking steps in the right direction once more. They really were an exceptional brand back in the 1960s . Their bullets were almost universally used by all of my clients who preferred to hand load their own cartridges.
 

Pheroze

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I do not understand the benefits of the steel jacket. I understood the jacket was to prevent fouling and give more structure on impact. The pure copper of the Swift is malleable so it works by flowing with the lead core. I don't see what steel adds to the equation:unsure: what am I missing?
 

BeeMaa

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Our PH shoots only Hornady DGX & DGS in his 458WM but it's about availability and price.
He said that the only time he sees 458WM SAF's is when a client brings it over.
Where the Hornady is available at Safari Outdoor at reasonable prices, but not much else is.

That said, he does recommend SAF's to all of his clients for ALL game and ALL calibers.

With new rifles on the way we will be doing some accuracy testing of our own.
We plan on using Hornaday DGX, Norma Oryx, SAF and Barnes TSX.
I'll post results when I have them.
 

Ridgewalker

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I suspect...Structural strength. The steel is substantially stronger than guilded metal.
That would be a good question to ask Hornady!
 

One Day...

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You never get twice the opportunity to make a first impression, they say...

This, I suspect, sums up the DGX Bonded situation...

Just like - literally 50 years after the issue was corrected !!! - one still frequently encounters folks perpetuating the .458 Winchester saga (and I expect that it will likely go on for ever), I suspect that the DGX saga will go on...

In both cases a problem truly once existed, it was truly corrected, but, regardless, the internet will keep it alive for ever...

Will folks who had a bad experience with the original DGX try the DGX Bonded? It is typically unlikely...

Just my $0.02...
 
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Aussie_Hunter

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You never get twice the opportunity to make a first impression, they say...

This, I suspect, sums up the DGX Bonded situation...

Just like - literally 50 years after the issue was corrected !!! - one still frequently encounters folks perpetuating the .458 Winchester saga (and I expect that it will likely go on for ever), I suspect that the DGX saga will go on...

In both cases a problem truly once existed, it was truly corrected, but, regardless, the internet will keep it alive for ever...

Will folks who had a bad experience with the original DGX try the DGX Bonded? It is typically unlikely...

Is it fair to perpetuate endlessly a past issue and deter new comers to African calibers to consider the DGX Bonded? Not really...

Just my $0.02...
Yeah I couldn't agree with this more! Customers should actually be happy with Hornady, Hornady brought out the original DGX, customers were not happy with it, Hornady listened and made it better. And not only did they make it better but in Australia it's still the same price point as the old DGX. I really don't see what the problem is............
Also I think the issues with the old DGX has been blown out of proportion, is there well documented failures? Yes there certainly seems to be but the statistic I would like to see is, how many DGX rounds were used to how many actually failed? The one old DGX I have tested retained nearly 84% of it's original weight and provided significantly more penetration than the DGX bonded and Swift A-frame (from a different calibre). Did the old DGX look like an absolute piece of caca at the end of the test?? haha it sure did but would it have done the job on game? Anyway I will shut up about this now before it turns back into the old DGX argument haha which is not what I wanted this to be about, it's more about the bonded DGX and how it genuinely competes with arguably the best bullet on the market the Swift A-Frame.
 

Major Khan

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Our PH shoots only Hornady DGX & DGS in his 458WM but it's about availability and price.
He said that the only time he sees 458WM SAF's is when a client brings it over.
Where the Hornady is available at Safari Outdoor at reasonable prices, but not much else is.

That said, he does recommend SAF's to all of his clients for ALL game and ALL calibers.

With new rifles on the way we will be doing some accuracy testing of our own.
We plan on using Hornaday DGX, Norma Oryx, SAF and Barnes TSX.
I'll post results when I have them.
Would you mind adding 1 more ammunition to your tests , Bee Maa ?
The Trophy Bonded Bear Claw soft point bullets . The last time l saw them being used was in 1988 by an American friend of mine . They were extremely effective on American grizzly bears , Kodiak bears and black bears , based on what l had witnessed during my visits to America to spend time with him and his family . My friend would use a custom made .458 Winchester magnum calibre rifle built on a Springfield Model 1903 action . However , l had read a few reports on these forums that the new consignments of Trophy Bonded Bullets are not so good .
Screenshot_20200117-035936_01_01.png
 

Scott CWO

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Thanks for the awesome test. As an owner of a .375 H&H and a .458 Lott, I am anxiously awaiting your results with your further testing with the Lott. Will you test the Lott with the AF also?
 

BeeMaa

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Would you mind adding 1 more ammunition to your tests , Bee Maa ?
The Trophy Bonded Bear Claw soft point bullets . The last time l saw them being used was in 1988 by an American friend of mine . They were extremely effective on American grizzly bears , Kodiak bears and black bears , based on what l had witnessed during my visits to America to spend time with him and his family . My friend would use a custom made .458 Winchester magnum calibre rifle built on a Springfield Model 1903 action . However , l had read a few reports on these forums that the new consignments of Trophy Bonded Bullets are not so good .
View attachment 330471
Federal TBBC is a proper premium bullet and I appreciate the suggestion.
However, I've just fallen out of love with Federal as of late.

They promise they will make the Woodleigh Hydro...and then don't.
I personally have been told via email that they will be starting production on the 375H&H Hydros...lies, pure lies.
It's been years since I've seen "new stock" 375H&H Hydros for sale.

Now I hear they are doing the same with the SAF's in a couple different calibers.
Can I count on them to be making the TBBC when it counts...dunno and neither does anyone else.

I understand your fondness for the TBBC and I may change my mind but for now...
There are too many other very good and reliable choices to be making a possible bad one.
Sorry Major.
 

Major Khan

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Federal TBBC is a proper premium bullet and I appreciate the suggestion.
However, I've just fallen out of love with Federal as of late.

They promise they will make the Woodleigh Hydro...and then don't.
I personally have been told via email that they will be starting production on the 375H&H Hydros...lies, pure lies.
It's been years since I've seen "new stock" 375H&H Hydros for sale.

Now I hear they are doing the same with the SAF's in a couple different calibers.
Can I count on them to be making the TBBC when it counts...dunno and neither does anyone else.

I understand your fondness for the TBBC and I may change my mind but for now...
There are too many other very good and reliable choices to be making a possible bad one.
Sorry Major.
Please , no apology necessary , Bee Maa . I look forward to reading about your tests anyway . I am certain that it will prove to be most interesting. Ridge Walker was telling me 2 weeks ago about being unhappy with Federal as well , if l recall correctly. Federal must have done something very grievous to displease so many reasonable members of our forums . So far , l have come across 13 forum members who are currently displeased with Federal products . 1 of my very close friends in Bangladesh is very displeased with Federal shot gun slugs as well. Apparently , there was a problem with the shot cups.
 

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