Why avoid Hornady DG bullets and ammunition?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Paul Edwards, Jun 21, 2017.

  1. Paul Edwards

    Paul Edwards SILVER SUPPORTER AH Member

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    I remember years ago choosing not to use Hornady, and at the time Barnes was to go-to, both for bullets and ammo (when not handloading.). Since things changed at Hornady, I decided to give them a try (bullets and ammo) and have been pleased. I see from old Post (years old) and new posts (days old) that I am in the minority. When I ask my 40+ years hunting mentors what they thought, none have used the new Hornady stuff because they didn't use their old stuff. Granted, I am not saying it's the best on the market...but if we only buy the best of everything, wouldn't we all be hunting with a Purdey, Holland and Holland's, Rigby, or the like, (All of which are out of my budget.) So, I am good with a 458 Win Mag and 460 Weatherby Mag (where my budget topped off), both of which kick like angry mules. I do favor the Mauser 98 action, and so recently added a tamer 416 Ruger to the inventory. Will my RCBS allow me to ditch this Hornady round, if you folks reason it to be so bad? Thanks
     
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  2. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    I think it all depends on what you are loading, and what you are loading it for..

    I've never hunted DG.. and never used Hornady "hunting" bullets of any type.. but I did at one time use their "TAP" rounds in my M4 and their critical defense rounds in my 9mm and .40 pistols and was always pleased with their performance..

    I will say that after seeing first hand the difference in performance with barnes ttsx and nosler partitions the past 2 weeks while in SA, that I am 100% sold on barnes ttsx moving forward for African plains game.. the partitions did just fine and accomplished everything I wanted them to.. but the what the ttsx did was simply amazing.. the bullets we recovered showed near flawless performance and almost total weight retention..

    were I planning a DG hunt tomorrow.. I'd be looking at 300gr TSX in my .375... I see no reason to consider anything else, whether it be made by hornady, swift, nosler, or anyone else.. Im completely sold on barnes at this point..
     

  3. Paul Edwards

    Paul Edwards SILVER SUPPORTER AH Member

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    Thanks mdwest. Sounds like you had a good hunt. Yeah, I have seen the Barnes come out the other side exactly as advertised. With the 416 Ruger being manufactured only by Hornady, I am thinking that I could probably handload other rounds into the same case, experiment a bit...but given that with dangerous game comes real danger, I would like to know what potential failings, flaws, etc. come with Hornady that folks are not (at least not yet) telling me.
     
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  4. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Fanatic

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    The reports on the dangerous game bullets have been mixed. Maybe they have always been perfectly good bullets and it is a case of the internet magnifying the few inevitable failures, maybe they needed some tweaks and are now fabulous. The issue is that there are are a number of good bullets for dangerous game with known, reliable track records. People that hunt dangerous game tend to be pretty conservative about their weapons and projectiles. Not many people want to be the first to try a bullet on something that might kill them.
     
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  5. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    In short the DGX has far too many bad reports for me to risk either myself, my PH or even so much as losing a wounded animal that will suffer. In comparison to stellar reports for the TSX, A-Frame and North Fork offerings, why, especially if you're a hand loader, would you bother? To save a few bucks when you're going on an expensive DG hunt where the D stands for dangerous for a reason? It makes no sense in my mind to cut corners on the bullets you're using when the bullet is ultimately what does all the heavy lifting once the rifle has been fired.

    For more a thread all about the DGX, read here: https://www.africahunting.com/threads/hornady-dgx-not-performing.38205/

    And to add to this. My understanding is more than just a few hunters have reported these results to Hornady, including Mr. Steve Hornady. From what I gather his reactions to these reports seem to have been ambivalent.

    From my own personal experience, call the guys at North Fork and you'll get a different tone. While they are certainly confident in their product, if you have a reasonable idea of what you're talking about, they are happy to discuss and don't make you feel like a clown.
     
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  6. Paul Edwards

    Paul Edwards SILVER SUPPORTER AH Member

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    Wow, Thank you all, especially thanks for the link to that thread. While I have also had good results with the solids, I had planned to follow up with or try the DGX but the thread linked above with pics have convinced me. The 416 Ruger stays home when it's DG time, ol' faithfuls will be coming with me. Really appreciate having this forum.
     
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  7. Buckdog

    Buckdog AH Enthusiast

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    I agree 100% with Phonix phil if you are a handloader why would you take a chance on bullets that have a poor track record, the difference in price if you hand load is nothing! What is your life worth?? Go barnes of swift a frames proven track record ask the PH what they think and I can tell you they are goning to want to know bullets you are shooting and will smile if its a frames or barnes. I shoot swift a frames in 375 and 416. I can tell you they hit like sledge hammers hold together and penetrate and get the job done. If you have a 460 wby and shoot it 1st you are better man than me that's too much punishment for my taste and second you better be shooting a premium bullet or that gun will cause a hornady to just desinigrate on impact.
     
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  8. sheephunterab

    sheephunterab AH Fanatic

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    Hornady Superformance with GMX has been flawless for us in 375. Have shot a bit of DGS and DGX in the past without issue but much prefer the mono metal GMX now. May use DGS for hippo however in September. Still undecided on that one. Hornady added a .416 GMX this year and I suspect we'll see some bigger offerings coming.
     

  9. Desert Dog

    Desert Dog AH Veteran

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    In my experience, Hornady quality is worse now than in the past.

    I still weigh/measure/ sort bullets before I load and the Hornady ELD/GMX bullets have horrible manufacturing tolerances compared to other manufactures. Hornady brass also needs a lot of work, and gets far fewer reloads than Nosler brass.

    I have had several 165gr GMXs break apart in pigs this year, something my 168gr TTSXs have never done. So, I am even losing confidence in terminal performance as well.

    Hornady is a HUGE advertising and promotional giant in the firearms industry. They own most of the popular TV hunters, and own most of the commercials on hunting shows. They also have the lion's share of magazine publicity and have the biggest presence in firearms competitions of every sort. Basically, Craig Boddington, Ivan Carter, Doug Koenig, Larry Weishuhn, and dozens of others are paid big money to convince you that you NEED Hornady ammo to have a successful hunt. Some hunting shows were created for the sole purpose of advertising Hornady products (a half hour infomercial disguised as a hunting show).

    Many manufactures direct most of their resources pursuing high quality, but Hornady seems to direct much of their resources to advertising, promotion, and mass production instead. Hornady makes some good stuff and really tries to innovate, but don't discount superior products like Barnes, Nosler, Swift, Berger, and Woodleigh just because the are not blanketing the advertising marketshare.
     
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  10. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hello Paul Edwards,

    I've only shot one dangerous African animal with Hornady bullets.
    So, do take my opinion on DG bullets with a grain of MSG.
    Nonetheless, it was the buffalo shown in my avatar here, with the old left and right, from an Army & Navy double, in .450 No2 NE (that I sold to pay off my safari bill).
    The bullets were 480 gr Hornady DGX and DGS respectively, leaving the muzzles at 2050 fps and the range was 40 paces.
    The soft struck him at the juncture of his throat and brisket, just left of center, nicked his neck bone, badly damaged blood vessels above the heart, tore through his left lung and stopped against a broken rib on that side.
    This bullet is shown in my photos.
    He dropped to the shot but gathered himself back up to run, obviously not agreeing with the experts that he had just received a very fatal wound.

    Soon as there were no other animals in my line of sight (herd was thundering off and at first, all around him as he was running with them), I fired the solid into his right flank, just behind the last rib, at what I say was about 120 paces but the PH said 150 - whatever, (grew up shooting jack rabbits with rifles / revolvers and this practice definitely paid off on my 2nd shot here).

    The "solid" passed through about 3 or more feet of buffalo, smashing his spine and tumbling him, as if he hit a trip wire.
    He was very dead by the time we arrived at his location, including a small delay while the Tracker threw rocks and sticks at several bulls that had come back around to confront us, the PH ready with solids in his custom CZ actioned .458 3" and me with solids in both barrels of the .450 #2.
    Very sadly, I do not have the solid to show for my time and money (miscommunication with the skinners) and so, it is still somewhere along the banks of the Olifants River, Maruli Concession, SA.
    By the wound channel, it did not deform much if at all.

    The only other animal of any size I have shot with the DGX was a zebra stallion, also at about 40 paces maximum, in heavy foliage.
    He was likewise quartering toward me but, nearly broadside.
    My soft struck spot on the right shoulder, smashing it, then through both lungs, breaking a rib on the left side, close behind the left "armpit", and stopping just under the skin, showing a distinct lump there.
    In fact I nicked my finger examining the lump, as there was a tiny, sharp piece of jacket material sticking through but concealed in the short hair (lesson learned).
    That bullet is also shown in my personal photos, within the world's greatest forum here.
    A .45 caliber, 480 grain bullet tends to almost always pass through smaller animals such as reed buck, impala and such, even if it is fragile.
    So, only two bullets to illustrate my opinion that:
    1. Hornady DGX seem to work alright if impact velocity is rather low.
    2. Hornady uses malleable steel jackets, guilding metal plated so as not to ruin rifle bores HOWEVER, I feel they should stop forming these thinner toward the tip.
    This bullet would be quite good if the jacket was same thickness from base to nose.
    3. If Hornady was to bond the core to the jacket, they could probably leave the jacket thinner toward the nose but, if left up to me (and if a frog had wings), I'd still thicken it as mentioned.
    4. Since about age 16, (late 1960's), I have used various Hornady bullets, mostly spire point and round nose, in a multitude of calibers, from .224 caliber, through .458 caliber and enjoyed no bullet failures (none).
    However, I am not one to use smallish calibers on largish animals, I like rifles and have various ones for various types of game and various hunting conditions.
    And so, I feel their old fashioned and dreaded "cup & core" are quite good for things like deer, impala, etc., (f course as always, provided suitable calibers and bullet weights are chosen according to animal hunted, in other words, I prefer a 6.5 bullet of about 140 gr or heavier as my personal minimum on mule deer / wild boar

    Parting shot as it were:
    If you are not shooting some finicky, stubborn double that, refuses to regulate with any of today's tough, bonded core bullets, and / or the rifle is antique, thereby causing concerns about very stout bullets, potentially loosening the solder bond, between the rib and barrels, I would avoid Hornady softs for heavy game.
    If you are using just such a double rifle in say, .375 H&H, I'd be nervous about the velocity threshold.
    As for repeaters and single shots, since the Swift A-Frame is almost always accurate in these types of rifles, and since IMO, it is the very best of the best premium softs ever dreamed up, were I to use a bolt action or single shot for DG hunting, when a soft is advisable (such as first shot on buffalo for one example), the A-Frame would be my choice.
    Pertaining to close in hunting of large, heavy animals, dangerous or not, I'm no fan of very high velocity, no matter what bullet I intended to use.
    IMO, high velocity and pointed bullets are however a very good fit for shooting rodents and small predators at long range.
    So, perhaps needless to say, I've zero experience with the .460 Weatherby cartridge.
    My life's experiences and opinions are not the Gospel unto all the world.
    However, my suggestion on that fast mover, is to not use the DGX in it for heavily built animals.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
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  11. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    I see nothing whatsoever wrong with the Hornady DGS. As for the DGX, though, the empirical seems to indicate that this is a more fickle projectile, especially at higher velocities.

    As an aside, it seems as though the DGX is Hornady's take on the A-Square Dead Tough bullet of yesteryear (a thin-jacketed nose willing to expand, backed by a thick-jacketed core definitely not). I wonder if the Dead Tough had any similar issues (likely not because there's more to it than jacket profile alone, but I'm curious).
     

  12. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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    I think one reason many choose Hornady bullets/ammo is because of the price point. For most calibers there are many, many other options out there- especially if you reload. I haven't shot a factory loaded round since about 1970 except for 9mm handgun and 22 rimfire. However I do shoot Hornady DGXs at paper…. because they are cheap! I have yet to find a decent explanation or reason for using cheap or questionable bullets or ammo for big game hunting of any kind much less dangerous game hunting. The reaction of Steve Hornady is understandable if indeed he was confronted with these "issues" about his "hunting" bullets. After all he did hunt cape buffalo with undoubtedly Hornady ammo… all caught on video- woo hoo! Killing a buffalo on a Boddington video is probably all the proof he needs to ignore any criticism of his bullets. I imagine I could kill a cape buffalo with a frozen hot dog if I could propel it fast enough! I believe it's best to plan for the worst scenario when hunting, not the best and this is particularly true for bullet selection.

    There is nothing about the DGX bullet that is designed for fail safe performance on dangerous game! It is not a bonded bullet. The lead core will separate from the jacket. The jacket is relatively thin. The thin steel core liner flakes off just like brittle copper jacket material when encountering tough tissue or bone. I proved all this when testing the DGX in tough, realistic ballistic test media. Will it kill dangerous game?- of course it will… just like any number of other designs no matter how good or bad. Will I ever use it for dangerous game or game of any kind?- not a chance.

    As an aside, even the illustration, lower right corner on the DGX box is fraudulent. It shows a supposed expanded bullet with a very small rivet like expanded nose. Good grief!! That bullet might look like that after an inch or two of penetration into soft gel but I absolutely guarantee that illustration has nothing to do with the reality of what that bullet really does if penetrating bone or tough tissue!

    Hornady DGX Box.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
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  13. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    As you mention, straight-up ballistics gel will make any bullet look like a star and I'm fairly convinced that any bullet put on display by a manufacturer, as an example of terminal performance, was deformed in such a manner.
     
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  14. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    And I just received a box of .410 DGX 400 grains. - for what?
    To shoot paper to test the regulation of 400 grain bullets in my .405 double rifle. I have used these before when working up loads for an African Safari where I would use 400 grain Woodleigh bullets in my 1895 .405.

    Of course the DGX should kill Cape buffalo, but then so do cast bullets (we tested them way back when and recommended NF or other top DG quality bullets) but when out for DG, does it pay to shoot anything but the proven BEST?
     

  15. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Your doubles must be less finicky than mine. Regulation with a 400 gr DGX would give me a rifle regulated for the 400 gr DGX. Another 400 gr bullet may regulate quite differently.

    But like many of the others here, if I am flying half-way around the world to spend a small fortune to poke a buffalo where it will make him grumpy, then I'll do it with a bullet which offers the least likelihood of failure. Currently, that shortlist does not contain the DGX.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017

  16. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    The issue is that a hunter can only have one bullet in the chamber for each shot- given the costs in time, money & lifetime opportunity the difference in costs between a bullet of marginal reputation and one of superlative reputation is virtually non-existent. There are dozens of similes that can be used to compare the situation.
     

  17. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    Red Leg,
    You could be right.
    I fired 400 grain .411 Woodleighs at 2020 fps at a separate target per barrel and each barrel shoots MOA. Then the rifle was regulated with Hornady 300 grain factory ammo at 2225 fps and shoots sub MOA R&L groups ! :(
    The McGowan barrels shoot true.

    I am experimenting with the Hornady .410 400 grain bullets to see how close I can get to a good R&L group, starting at 2020 and working up. Then if all goes well, I will load the more expensive and hard to locate Woodleigh .411 bullets of 400 grains and see what happens.
    Wish me luck!

    PS , waiting in the wings are 50 hand loads with Hornady 210 grain .410 bullets for plinking and deer and such.
    PPS This is a .405 WCF double rifle
     
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  18. sheephunterab

    sheephunterab AH Fanatic

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    That's interesting as I was speaking with a group of "F" Class shooters recently and they said the the ELD was the most uniform bullet for weight that they use. I'd say the ELD-X is hands down the most uniform and accurate hunting bullet I've used. The GMX was never designed to be a precision bullet...much like the TSX but both are plenty accurate enough out to 500 yards. After that you likely don't have enough velocity for reliable expansion in most hunting cartridges anyhow. That's just the nature of the beast with mono metals.

    I think most reloaders would put Nosler and Hornady brass pretty much on par with each other and for hunting applications either will give you great accuracy and decent life. F Class shooters will undoubtedly use something else but for us hunters, .1 of an inch really doesn't matter. I've got loads of Hornady brass that's been loaded a half dozen times and still going strong.
     
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  19. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Always thought it a cool caliber for a double - potentially, sort of the Amercan answer to the 9.3x74r - one created with red stag and boar in mind, and the other to address elk, deer and bear. Both have obvious potential use in Africa. Who built yours?
     
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  20. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    Bob Hynden, may he rest in peace. Bob passed on a few months ago.

    BTW, I drove through some of your environs recently going to and from Hondo to hunt Nilgai. It was the weekend of heavy rain. We drove south on H281 and back north to I20 on H16 .
     

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