Why avoid Hornady DG bullets and ammunition?

One Day...

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"And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth" (Lord Of The Rings opening monologue).

We should not forget that DGS / DGX were developed for classic Nitro Express (low velocity) cartridges when Steve Hornady almost single-handedly in the US resurrected the classic African calibers, for which we should all be immensely grateful.

There is no fly on the DGS, and never was, and a lot of the original DGX history came from loading them at higher velocities than designed for. Specifically, loading at .458 Lott velocity the DGX designed for the .450 NE. History became legend. Legend became myth...

More than likely Hornady should have reacted much faster than they did, and proactively bonded the DGX rather than reactively doing it, admittedly too late.

Bonding the DGX allowed it to withstand higher velocities. Here is the only one I needed to shoot, out of my buff (recovered under the skin on the opposite shoulder after a 30 yd double lungs shot from a .470 NE) in August 2018


Everyone is free to prefer a Nosler Partition, a Swift A Frame, a Barnes X, a Peregrine, a North Fork, a Sledgehammer, or whatever, and that's OK, but the simple reality is that the DGS / DGX B just plain work. There is no need for folks to perpetuate the myth...

My personal choice is DGS / DGX B in the .470 because the identical profiles of the bullets deliver an identical point of impact for soft and solid; and Barnes X in the .416 Rigby where I prefer only one load because I can also use it on plains game if the trophy of a lifetime pops up while after buff.

PS: I have also seen with my own eyes early monolithic slugs (A Square Monolithic Solid in this case) push out the rifling on the barrels of my own pre-WWII Belgian best quality Jules Burry .450 #2 enough that you could discern the rifling from the outside when looking at a tangential angle, so you will not catch me firing a monolithic slug anymore from a classic double...
 
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Michael Dean

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"And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth" (Lord Of The Rings opening monologue).

We should not forget that DGS / DGX were developed for classic Nitro Express (low velocity) cartridges when Steve Hornady almost single-handedly in the US resurrected the classic African calibers, for which we should all be immensely grateful.

There is no fly on the DGS, and never was, and a lot of the original DGX history came from loading them at higher velocities than designed for. Specifically, loading at .458 Lott velocity the DGX designed for the .450 NE. History became legend. Legend became myth...

More than likely Hornady should have reacted much faster than they did, and proactively bonded the DGX rather than reactively doing it, admittedly too late.

Bonding the DGX allowed it to withstand higher velocities. Here is the only one I needed to shoot, out of my buff (recovered under the skin on the opposite shoulder after a 30 yd double lungs shot from a .470 NE) in August 2018


Everyone is free to prefer a Nosler Partition, a Swift A Frame, a Barnes X, a Peregrine, a North Fork, a Sledgehammer, or whatever, and that's OK, but the simple reality is that the DGS / DGX B just plain work. There is no need for folks to perpetuate the myth...

My personal choice is DGS / DGX B in the .470 because the identical profiles of the bullets deliver an identical point of impact for soft and solid; and Barnes X in the .416 Rigby where I prefer only one load because I can also use it on plains game if the trophy of a lifetime pops up while after buff.

PS: I have also seen with my own eyes early monolithic slugs (A Square Monolithic Solid in this case) push out the rifling on the barrels of my own pre-WWII Belgian best quality Jules Burry .450 #2 enough that you could discern the rifling from the outside when looking at a tangential angle, so you will not catch me firing a monolithic slug anymore from a classic double...
So, they got it right one time out of ten, that's no justification to give them a medal. The resounding reply from other users is that they failed them.
 

One Day...

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I am not sure I understand what is the "one right out of ten" that you refer Michael, but, truth be told, I have this nagging suspicion that there are many, many more bloggers bashing Hornady, who have never shot even one DGS / DGX at even one dangerous animal in Africa, than there are hunters who have actually used DGS / DGX on actual dangerous game...

Like: among the detractors of the .458 Win, how many actually fired in the 1960's a factory compressed load that ignited erratically? Or among the detractors of rifle makers X, Y, Z, how many critics actually handled - never mind owned - said rifle? Etc. The more I speak privately with folks outside of the blogs of their own actual experience, the more I am growing concerned that public blogging, like news broadcasting, seems to often stimulate a bizarre need to outdo one another, often in just repeating and embellishing unverified previous posts...

Among actual users, I am absolutely convinced that there are occasional DGS / DGX failures, either structural or circumstantial (bullets hitting branches on their way, etc. - much more common that people realize!) ... just like there are with any bullet ever made. I am also convinced that there are legions of hunters who repeatedly use DGS / DGX with routine satisfaction, and who do not partake in blogging... or - maybe more accurately - do not bother getting involved in one more internet bashing...

I also observe that all these pictures of "defective" bullets (regardless of brand) mean that these bullets were recovered from animals killed by said defective bullets...
 
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K-man

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I am not sure I understand what is the "one right out of ten" that you refer Michael, but, truth be told, I have this nagging suspicion that there are many, many more bloggers bashing Hornady, who have never shot even one DGS / DGX at even one dangerous animal in Africa, than there are hunters who have actually used DGS / DGX on actual dangerous game...

Among actual users, I am absolutely convinced that there are occasional DGS / DGX failures, either structural or circumstantial (bullets hitting branches on their way, etc. - much more common that people realize!) ... just like there are with any bullet ever made. I am also convinced that there are legions of hunters who repeatedly use DGS / DGX with routine satisfaction, and who do not partake in blogging... or - maybe more accurately - do not bother getting involved in one more internet bashing...

I also observe that all these pictures of "defective" bullets (regardless of brand) mean that these bullets were recovered from animals killed by said defective bullets...
I realize you have had positive results in your experience with DGS/DGX. i am one of those people you refer to as actually hunting DG. I am also one who has helped "clean up" after another hunter's use of dgs on an eland and a buffalo. The pictures I have are indeed recovered from a dead animal, but they were suffering until finished by another bullet. You may continue to use DGS as long as you want, i will use other better bullets as long as it is my trophy fee, and i am responsible for the trackers and people around me. I hope no one ever has to clean up for you and your hunts go perfectly.
By the way, i own about 500 rounds of different Hornady products, suitable for soft skinned american game
 
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Michael Dean

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I am not sure I understand what is the "one right out of ten" that you refer Michael, but, truth be told, I have this nagging suspicion that there are many, many more bloggers bashing Hornady, who have never shot even one DGS / DGX at even one dangerous animal in Africa, than there are hunters who have actually used DGS / DGX on actual dangerous game...

Like: among the detractors of the .458 Win, how many actually fired in the 1960's a factory compressed load that ignited erratically? Or among the detractors of rifle makers X, Y, Z, how many critics actually handled - never mind owned - said rifle? Etc. The more I speak privately with folks outside of the blogs of their own actual experience, the more I am growing concerned that public blogging, like news broadcasting, seems to often stimulate a bizarre need to outdo one another, often in just repeating and embellishing unverified previous posts...

Among actual users, I am absolutely convinced that there are occasional DGS / DGX failures, either structural or circumstantial (bullets hitting branches on their way, etc. - much more common that people realize!) ... just like there are with any bullet ever made. I am also convinced that there are legions of hunters who repeatedly use DGS / DGX with routine satisfaction, and who do not partake in blogging... or - maybe more accurately - do not bother getting involved in one more internet bashing...

I'll be headed back to Africa in October for a ten day stint at plains game. Your right, I won't be hunting Dangerous game it will be strictly plains game. I have however had first hand experience with failures of Hornady. Tracked an Elk three miles that should have been dead because of a bullet seperation. I will be hunting Eland this fall. They actually weigh more than a buffalo, and again I won't be using Hornady.
Eland are tough big animals and penetration is critical. You won't break a shoulder and get to the heart with bullet seperation. I'll be using Hammer bullets. I've tested them and they provide what they promise, controlled expansion.
Your right, there are a lot of bloggers dumping on Hornady without first hand experience with their dangerous game bullets. But, there are others like myself who have had first hand experience of defective Hornady products.


I also observe that all these pictures of "defective" bullets (regardless of brand) mean that these bullets were recovered from animals killed by said defective bullets...
I'll be headed back to Africa in October for a ten day stint at plains game. Your right, I won't be hunting Dangerous game it will be strictly plains game. I have however had first hand experience with failures of Hornady. Tracked an Elk three miles that should have been dead because of a bullet seperation. I will be hunting Eland this fall. They actually weigh more than a buffalo, and again I won't be using Hornady.
Eland are tough big animals and penetration is critical. You won't break a shoulder and get to the heart with bullet seperation. I'll be using Hammer bullets. I've tested them and they provide what they promise, controlled expansion.
Your right, there are a lot of bloggers dumping on Hornady without first hand experience with their dangerous game bullets. But, there are others like myself who have had first hand experience of defective Hornady products.


I also observe that all these pictures of "defective" bullets (regardless of brand) mean that these bullets were recovered from animals killed by said defective bullets...
 
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BnC 04

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Just my $.02 worth but use whatever bullet/cartridge/load YOU feel confident in and I will use whatever I feel best for me. I fully believe the Non-bonded bullets had/have proven critical failures that in return placed a permanent brand on Hornady. So be it but if/when there are a satisfactory amount of first hand accounts on the new Bonded bullets showing satisfactory results I will have no problem using them.
Until that time comes I will be spitting out Swift A-Frames..
 

One Day...

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Sorry to hear about your bad experiences @K-man and @Michael. My concern is that if we hunt enough and meet enough folks in camp or in life, there always end up being a horror story about everything. Nosler Partitions, Barnes X, Swift A Frame, Hornady DGS / DGX, you name it... they all have folks who had wonderful and horrible experiences...

I wish we could all get objective and complete reports about the bad experiences. If life offers any sort of constant, I have become more and more skeptical of genuine and objective failures (truck engines running without oil, guns bursting under double charge hand loads, safeties failing after home-grown gunsmithing, bullets used too fast or too slow, varmint bullets used on large game, large game bullets used on varmint, "defective" scopes barely held in wobbling bases & rings, etc. you name it). Yet there ARE genuine failures, and understanding them would help.

As to bullet performance, I am also making more and more room in my opinions for that big unknown called life. Why does one Eland go down, ax poled by a .270 Win PMP cup & core in one lung, when mine, two broken shoulders, double lunged, top of the heart reduced to pulp by a .340 Wby Nosler Partition, takes off on a stroll as if nothing happened ?!?!?!? Why do one buff (mine) collapse in 30 yd with one double lung .470 NE shot, and one take eight .500 NE shots, all individually lethal, and literally does not have a heart or lungs anymore, but keeps going merrily !?!?!?

I just think we are sometimes very definite in our judgments based on very little knowledge...
 
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Graham Hunter

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I think what they mean by energy dump is not adequately described by 'egg vs baseball'. This is like comparing a cardboard vs a lead bullet and a bit silly. Would you rather get smashed into a brick wall by a run away truck or have an x-ray particle moving at the speed of light penetrate your body? The x-ray has tons of velocity but very little ability to transfer this velocity into usable kinetic energy. This is silly as well.

Energy Dump, (transfer), is the reduction of velocity to zero of a given amount of mass in motion to another medium. Try catching a baseball bare handed and not let your hand move. Then do it again and allow your hand to retract away and your body rotate. Which will hurt more? Both examples stop the ball but the second allows the shedding of energy through motion over time. In effect an energy sink.

Look at those funky bullets that create an energy bubble. Solids by Woodleigh that have a cup at the tip and concave around the front. They produce hydrostatic shock AND deep straight penetration through the target. Its the energy transfer of the projectile that creates the wound channel and it appears to be wicked. Best of both worlds? I don't know as I cant afford 2 gaziullion dollars per bullet. Its cheeper to up the caliber and then you have another gun! (Just kidding but they are expensive).

Two holes is often better than one and in a perfect scenario, all other things being equal, a bullet just falling out the other side would be the best of everything I suppose. Two holes and maximum energy transfer to the body. But how does one do that considering the variables of the possible targets and angles of penetration?

I can tell you from my personal limited experience that my arrows usually go all the way through deer but they run aways (except when I hit the spine. That one just fell but I had to follow up with a kill shot). A heavy bullet will often drop them especially if it hits a solid bone or through the neck. I always though this was due to shock, which is due to energy transfer unless I am mistaken. Which I certainly could be. Some of the bolt cut a lot of tissue but the slices seal much better than a gaping loss of tissue.

All other things being equal I would personally rather the bullet have complete pass-through than not.

Either way, guys have been arguing big and slow vs little and fast for far longer that I have been alive and I have a feeling will for quite a bit after I'm burnt. The end result is the end result and our truth is based upon what we have personally experienced or what others have told us and we choose to believe. (How do you KNOW those tiny pinpricks of light are the suns of other solar systems? Because he told me so. And how does he know? Because someone told...) If a man drops 5 tigers with a 22 and then hits one with a 415 but it escapes he will argue the superiority of the 22 till he runs out of breath, and in his personal experience he will be justified and correct. Buy I wont try it....
Wow it must be St. PADDYS day.
 

Graham Hunter

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There is certainly no love for the old style Hornady DGX in this discussion, and I understand why. Too many failures a few years ago. I may have missed it, but I did not read a single post that discusses the merit / failures of the currently produced Hornady DGX bonded. My understanding is that Hornady did actually respond to the problem, and came out with an improved bullet with bonded core & jacket that is designed to prevent core separations. I also did not read anything that would cause me to question using the DGS, except for comments that other solid bullets are "better". I have had no problems with Hornady ammunition in several smaller calibers, like .222, .308, 7x57, 9.3x62, and it has served me well. I have no particular brand loyalty to Hornady, but do have a dilemma.
I have a Merkel 450-400 3" double rifle and Hornady is the one factory load available to me in Canada. (it seems that the new Kynoch ammo is not sold here) My rifle is regulated with the Hornady factory loads.
So please advise me, I was planning to take this rifle to Namibia in October and use it for hunting buffalo and elephant. Loaded with DGX bonded for buffalo and DGS solids for elephant. Is there a current practical argument for leaving this rifle at home or should I have sufficient confidence in the Hornady solid and bonded soft at 2050-2100 fps while hunting big dangerous game?
I agree. I use Hornady DG& DGX a lot for practice because of price. I have not heard much about the new bonded DGX. But there is a lot of other premium bullets I'll just stick with.
 

TTundra

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I would like to see more actual 1st hand photos and reports of Hornady DG being used in Africa on dangerous game. Many opinions from people whom have not used any Hornady DG bullet let alone whom have not used them in Africa. A more critical analysis would be nice from hunters who have been to Africa and used or been with the hunter.

@K-man would love to see those photos paired with a good report on the bullet performance along with shot placement. Almost all wounded animals I've seen first hand in Africa were due to poor placement (this is where I first subscribed to african antelope more hardy than many of ours) , so your information would a great addition to the facts. This is all great info and the more first hand accounts the better....both good amd bad. Rather would see the photos and specifics from first hand sources.

I head back for hunt #3 and my buffalo next spring...so this is a great resource to have here.
 

BeeMaa

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Once bitten, twice shy.

To put it another way...
If Ford told you that they “fixed” the problem with the Pinto trunk exploding, would you let your daughter/son buy one?

Granted, you have to be old enough to know what I’m talking about, but you get the picture.

People will make up their own minds on the DGX b and it will survive or not based on that.
 

K-man

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I would like to see more actual 1st hand photos and reports of Hornady DG being used in Africa on dangerous game. Many opinions from people whom have not used any Hornady DG bullet let alone whom have not used them in Africa. A more critical analysis would be nice from hunters who have been to Africa and used or been with the hunter.

@K-man would love to see those photos paired with a good report on the bullet performance along with shot placement. Almost all wounded animals I've seen first hand in Africa were due to poor placement (this is where I first subscribed to african antelope more hardy than many of ours) , so your information would a great addition to the facts. This is all great info and the more first hand accounts the better....both good amd bad. Rather would see the photos and specifics from first hand sources.

I head back for hunt #3 and my buffalo next spring...so this is a great resource to have here.
Not much of a report - they weren't my animals. The eland was shot quartering away the .416 rigby bullet impacted the second rib and disintegrated without penetrating the lungs. I have a picture of the bullet somewhere but not easily available. It looks like scrap metal. I finished the buffalo just 2 hours before my flight left, so I didn't even accompany it to the skinning shed.
If i may ask you a question, if you had heard one or two or even three negative reports about a future outfitter, would you change? You have multiple reports here, decide for yourself. Carpe diem. And again, hope your hunts go flawlessly
 

Longwalker

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How did the DGS dangerous game solid fail on eland and buffalo? Again, I have the same question that I have not yet had a satisfactory answer to - was that a failure of the old style expanding bullet or the new DGX BONDED? Or are you perhaps confusing DGX vs DGS? I wouldn't look for very quick kills on buffalo or eland with a solid in any case. Is this an obsolete product "branding issue" vs an actual current product issue? If Hornady called the newer DGX Bonded something other than DGX would the same concerns still exist?
If there are real concerns about the new DGX bonded I'd certainly like to know. Rehashing past failures that Hornady apparently has learned from is not very helpful from here forward. But if the new DGX bonded bullet failed in a similar way to the old DGX bullet's past poor performance it would make deciding not to use them clear and simple.
 

K-man

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The function of a solid is to penetrate everything, including bone and tissue and keep going, exiting on the other side. Should you ever recover one, it should look like it could be cleaned and reloaded. I am not confusing dgx and dgs. I have zero experience with the newer model dgs. I am surprised by the earlier post with a .470ne that didn't exit the eland. I have shot 22 african animals, 21 with barnesx. I have only recovered 3 bullets from my "little" .375, one from a frontal shot on a cape bufalo (the only one needed) one from a texas heart shot on a black wildebeest, and one from a brain shot on a cow elephant. All others complete pass through. Again, use the info or not, your hunt your trophy fee.
 

Royal27

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Once bitten, twice shy.

To put it another way...
If Ford told you that they “fixed” the problem with the Pinto trunk exploding, would you let your daughter/son buy one?

Granted, you have to be old enough to know what I’m talking about, but you get the picture.

People will make up their own minds on the DGX b and it will survive or not based on that.
And what if Ford had spent several years saying they had never heard of the problem and you knew multiple people who had contacted Ford and been told the same thing - we checked, no problem, our gas tanks are great!

Then one day they make a big announcement that even though they have great gas tanks that have never failed, they chose to redesign them anyway. In fact, once public they tell people they've been selling the new tanks for quite a while without telling anyone .

And, from what you can tell it's likely that the new process costs more money but they are selling at the same cost as before. Hmm....

How much confidence would you have in Ford at that point ?
 

Longwalker

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K-Man, I understand the function of a solid is to penetrate without expansion. I apologize if I'm being slow on the uptake but I am still confused by your statement "I am not confusing dgx and dgs. I have zero experience with the newer model dgs" - To my knowledge there is no "newer model DGS". ( Dangerous Game Solid) there is a new model DGX Dangerous Game eXpanding ( bonded) Please explain?
 

K-man

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K-Man, I understand the function of a solid is to penetrate without expansion. I apologize if I'm being slow on the uptake but I am still confused by your statement "I am not confusing dgx and dgs. I have zero experience with the newer model dgs" - To my knowledge there is no "newer model DGS". ( Dangerous Game Solid) there is a new model DGX Dangerous Game eXpanding ( bonded) Please explain?
The bullet on the eland was a dgs that disintegrated on a rib. That is a complete failure, even for a dgx. I can see what you mean about the newer models, i am not up on the current hornady lineup. Sorry about that confusion, my bad
 
 

 

 

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