Hornady H.I.T.S.
A Guideline for Rifle Cartridge Killing Power

Compiled by Chuck Hawks from Hornady Data


For an expanded version of this table showing more loads, including handloads, European, wildcat, obsolescent American and proprietary calibers, see the "Expanded Optimal Game Range Table" on the Tables, Charts and Lists Page.

The Hornady products catalog uses a unique system called "H.I.T.S." (Hornady Index of Terminal Standards) as a guideline to help hunters compare the effectiveness of various cartridge and load combinations on animals. The Hornady Index considers variables such as impact velocity, bullet diameter and bullet weight. The published Hornady H.I.T.S. ratings for rifle cartridges are based on 100 yard impact velocities, which is a reasonable choice, although the impact velocity at any range can be substituted when calculating a H.I.T.S. value. I used the same 100 yard impact range and factored energy, bullet cross-sectional area and sectional density when creating the "Rifle Cartridge Killing Power Formula and List," which can be found on the Tables, Charts and Lists Page. It is interesting to compare the two attempts to quantify killing power and see how the various cartridges/loads line-up in each.

Hornady divides game animals into four groups. These are: "Small Game" weighing less than 50 pounds, "Medium Game" weighing 50 to 300 pounds, "Large Game" weighing between 300 and 2000 pounds, and "Dangerous Game" (for which there are no weight limits). These Hornady game categories correspond closely with Winchester's CXP1, CXP2, CXP3 and CXP4 game categories that are used in various Guns and Shooting Online articles and also the Federal game usage categories, which are simply numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4. In all three systems the basic categories of game animals are (1) varmints/small animals, (2) medium game, (3) large game and (4) dangerous game. Examples of small animals would be squirrels, rabbits, marmots and coyotes. Medium size animals would include black bear, caribou, feral hogs, goats, sheep, deer and most antelope species. Large game would include such animals as red stag, elk, moose, alg, kudu and eland. Dangerous game includes lion, the great bears, elephant, rhino and buffalo.

Here are the H.I.T.S. scores that Hornady recommends: Small Game, 500 or less; Medium Game, 501-900; Large Game, 901-1500; Dangerous Game, 1501 or more.

I thought that the H.I.T.S. cartridge/load ratings were worth sharing with Guns and Shooting Online readers who may not have seen a Hornady Catalog. The table below lists the cartridge, bullet, factory load product line (or reload), 100 yard velocity (in feet per second), 100 yard energy (in foot pounds) and 100 yard H.I.T.S. rating for a variety of typical calibers and loads. These figures were taken from the Hornady catalog, the Hornady web site (www.hornady.com/ballsitics), or calculated using the Hornady H.I.T.S. calculator. It does not include every factory load offered by Hornady, since some are essentially duplicated with different Hornady bullets of the same weight. Please remember that the H.I.T.S. numbers are just a useful guide to help you choose a proper bullet/cartridge combination. You must still consider the conditions where you will be hunting, the game, bullet construction and impact velocity when choosing a load for your specific purposes.

The following abbreviations are used in the table below: E = energy (in ft. lbs.); gr. = Grains; V = Velocity (in feet per second); yd. = yard.

Hornady bullet abbreviations: A-MAX = Accuracy-Max (match/target bullet, not for hunting medium game); BT = Boat-tail; BTHP = Boat-tail Hollow Point (match/target bullet, not for hunting medium game); BTSP = Boat-tail Spire Point; DGS = Dangerous Game Solid; DGX = Dangerous Game eXpanding; FP = Flat Point; FTX = Flex Tip; HP = Hollow Point; IB = InterBond; RN = Round Nose; SP = Spire Point; SP-RP = Spire Point Recoil Proof; SST = Super Shock Tip; V-MAX = Velocity-MAX; XTP = eXtreme Terminal Performance (a jacketed hollow point bullet).


Cartridge Bullet Product Line 100 yd. V / E H.I.T.S.
.17 Mach 2 17 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 1530/88 21
.17 HMR 17 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 1901/136 26
.17 HMR 20 gr. XTP Varmint Express 1776/140 34
.204 Ruger 32 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 3645/944 129
.204 Ruger 40 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 3482/1077 191
.204 Ruger 45 gr. SP Varmint Express 3188/1015 222
.22 WMR 30 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 1421/134 36
.22 Hornet 35 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 2271/401 79
.222 Rem. 40 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 3074/839 140
.222 Rem. 50 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 2743/835 195
.223 Rem. 40 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 3249/937 148
.223 Rem. 55 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 2854/995 246
.223 Rem. 75 gr. BTHP Match 2561/1092 411
.22-250 Rem. 40 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 3553/1121 162
.22-250 Rem. 50 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 3339/1238 237
.22-250 Rem. 55 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 3253/1292 281
.22-250 Rem. 60 gr. SP Custom 3195/1360 328
.220 Swift 40 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 3597/1149 164
.220 Swift 50 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 3384/1271 240
.220 Swift 55 gr. V-MAX Varmint Express 3253/1292 281
.220 Swift 60 gr. HP Custom 3195/1360 328
.224 Wby. Mag. 55 gr. V-MAX Reload 3253/1292 281
5.6x57 RWS 60 gr. HP Reload 3195/1360 328
.243 Win. 75 gr. HP Custom 3051/1550 414
.243 Win. 85 gr. IB Light Magnum 2926/1615 519
.243 Win. 95 gr. SST Custom 2687/1523 587
.243 Win. 95 gr. SST Light Magnum 2828/1687 618
.243 Win. 100 gr. BTSP Custom 2728/1653 660
6mm Rem. 95 gr. SST Custom 2828/1687 618
6mm Rem. 100 gr. BTSP Custom 2861/1817 692
.243 WSSM 100 gr. BTSP Reload 2861/1817 692
6mm-284 100 gr. BTSP Reload 2861/1817 692
.240 Wby. Mag. 100 gr. BTSP Reload 3003/2001 727
.250 Savage 117 gr. BTSP Reload 2550/1688 755
.257 Roberts 117 gr. BTSP Custom 2550/1688 755
.257 Roberts 117 gr. SST Light Magnum 2701/1895 800
.257 Rob. Imp. 117 gr. SST Reload 2701/1895 801
.25 WSSM 117 gr. BTSP Reload 2749/1962 814
.25-06 Rem. 117 gr. BTSP Custom 2749/1962 814
.25-06 Rem. 117 gr. BTSP Light Magnum 2862/2128 847
.257 Wby. Mag.* 120 gr. NP Weatherby 3046/2472 950
6.5 Creedmoor 120 gr. A-MAX Match 2815/2111 831
6.5 Creedmoor 140 gr. A-MAX Match 2654/2179 1066
6.5x50 Jap. 140 gr. SP Reload 2341/1704 941
6.5x54 M-S 140 gr. SP Reload 2221/1534 892
6.5x55 SE 140 gr. SP Custom 2341/1704 941
.260 Rem. 140 gr. C-L Ultra Rem. Premier 2554/2027 1026
6.5mm-284 140 gr. A-MAX Reload 2654/2179 1066
6.5mm-06 140 gr. A-MAX Reload 2654/2179 1066
6.5mm Rem. Mag. 140 gr. A-MAX Reload 2654/2179 1066
.264 Win. Mag. 140 gr. SST Reload 2817/2466 1132
6.8mm SPC 110 gr. BTHP Custom 2313/1306 522
.270 Win. 130 gr. SP Custom 2825/2304 889
.270 Win. 140 gr. BTSP Custom 2747/2345 1004
.270 Win. 150 gr. SP Custom 2642/2324 1106
.270 WSM 130 gr. IB Reload 2998/2594 943
.270 Wby. Mag. 140 gr. BTSP Reload 2900/2614 1060
7x57 Mauser 139 gr. BTSP Custom 2455/1860 839
7x57 Mauser 139 gr. SST Light Magnum 2642/2153 903
7x57 Mauser 175 gr. SP Reload 2124/1753 1152
7mm-08 Rem. 139 gr. SST Custom 2651/2169 906
7mm-08 Rem. 139 gr. SP Light Magnum 2759/2348 943
7x64 Brenneke 139 gr. IB Reload 2804/2427 959
7x65R 139 gr. IB Reload 2804/2427 959
.280 Rem. 139 gr. SST Custom 2804/2427 959
.280 Rem. 154 gr. SP Reload 2591/2294 1089
.284 Win. 154 gr. SP Reload 2495/2128 1049
7mm Rem. SAUM 139 gr. BTSP Reload 2933/2655 1003
7mm WSM 139 gr. BTSP Reload 2933/2655 1003
7mm S&H Mag. 139 gr. BTSP Reload 2933/2655 1003
7mm Rem. Mag. 139 gr. IB Custom 2948/2681 1008
7mm Rem. Mag. 154 gr. SP Custom 2814/2708 1183
7mm Rem. Mag. 162 gr. BTSP Custom 2757/2734 1282
7mm Wby. Mag. 154 gr. IB Custom 3012/3101 1266
7mm STW 154 gr. SST Reload 3012/3101 1266
7mm Ultra Mag 154 gr. SST Reload 3012/3101 1266
.30 Carbine 110 gr. RN Reload 1533/574 280
.30 Rem. 150 gr. RN Reload 1879/1175 637
.30-30 Win. 150 gr. RN Custom 1959/1278 664
.30-30 Win. 160 gr. FTX LEVERevolution 2150/1643 826
.30-30 Win. 170 gr. FP Custom 1796/1218 782
.30-40 Krag 180 gr. SP Reload 2109/1778 1029
.300 Savage 150 gr. SP Reload 2439/1981 827
.307 Win. 170 gr. FP Reload 2064/1608 898
.308 Marlin 160 gr. FTX LEVERevolution 2430/2111 933
7.5x55 Swiss 150 gr. SP Reload 2533/2137 859
.30 T/C 150 gr. SST Custom 2772/2558 940
.30 T/C 165 gr. SST Custom 2644/2560 1082
.308 Win. 150 gr. BTSP Custom 2560/2183 868
.308 Win. 150 gr. SP Light Magnum 2721/2466 922
.308 Win. 165 gr. BTSP Custom 2496/2282 1021
.308 Win. 165 gr. BTSP Light Magnum 2668/2607 1092
.308 Win. 168 gr. BTHP Match 2503/2336 1064
.308 Win. 180 gr. SP Reload 2396/2294 1169
.30-06 Spfd. 150 gr. SST Custom 2686/2403 911
.30-06 Spfd. 165 gr. BTSP Custom 2591/2460 1060
.30-06 Spfd. 165 gr. SST Light Magnum 2802/2876 1147
.30-06 Spfd. 180 gr. SP Custom 2491/2480 1215
.30-06 Spfd. 180 gr. BTSP Light Magnum 2695/2902 1315
.300 Rem. SAUM 165 gr. BTSP Reload 2877/3032 1177
.300 WSM 180 gr. SP Reload 2739/2998 1336
.300 RCM 150 gr. SST Custom 3056/3110 1036
.300 RCM 165 gr. SST Custom 2921/3126 1195
.300 RCM 180 gr. SST Custom 2802/3139 1367
.300 H&H Mag. 180 gr. BTSP Reload 2695/2902 1315
.308 Norma Mag. 180 gr. SP Reload 2739/2998 1336
.300 Win. Mag. 150 gr. SST Custom 3032/3061 1028
.300 Win. Mag. 165 gr. BTSP Custom 2877/3032 1177
.300 Win. Mag. 180 gr. SP Custom 2739/2998 1336
.300 Win. Mag. 180 gr. SP Heavy Magnum 2872/3296 1401
.300 Dakota 180 gr. SP Reload 2891/3840 1410
.300 Wby. Mag. 150 gr. IB Custom 3126/3255 1060
.300 Wby. Mag. 180 gr. SP Custom 2891/3840 1410
7.62x39 Soviet 123 gr. A-MAX Custom 2060/1159 531
7.62x53 Mauser 150 gr. SP Reload 2441/1984 806
7.62x53R Finn 150 gr. SP Reload 2441/1984 806
7.62x54R Russian 150 gr. SP Reload 2441/1984 806
.303 British 150 gr. SP Custom 2441/1984 806
7.7x58 Jap 150 gr. SP Reload 2455/2008 810
.32 Win. Spec. 165 gr. FTX LEVERevolution 2145/1685 810
8x57JS 195 gr. SP Custom 2293/2277 1194
8mm-06 195 gr. SP Reload 2293/2277 1194
.338 Marlin Express 200 gr. FTX LEVERevolution 2368/2489 1183
.338 Federal 200 gr. SP Reload 2450/2665 1225
.330 Dakota 225 gr. SST Reload 2575/3313 1628
.338 RCM 200 gr. SST Custom 2744/3344 1372
.338 RCM 225 gr. SST Custom 2598/3372 1643
.338 Win. Mag. 225 gr. SST Custom 2575/3313 1628
.338 Win. Mag. 225 gr. SP-RP Heavy Magnum 2714/3680 1716
.338 Ultra Mag 225 gr. SP-RP Reload 2714/3680 1716
.338 Lapua 250 gr. BTHP Match 2760/4229 2160
.340 Wby. Mag. 225 gr. SP-RP Reload 2714/3680 1716
.357 Mag. 158 gr. JHP Win. Super-X 1427/715 399
.357 Mag. 180 gr. NP Win. Supreme 1160/538 422
.35 Rem. 200 gr. FTX LEVERevolution 1963/1711 875
.358 Win. 200 gr. SP Reload 2203/2154 983
.35 Whelen 200 gr. SP Reload 2296/2340 1024
.350 Rem. Mag. 225 gr. NP Stars & Stripes 2353/2767 1329
9.3x62 286 gr. SP-RP Dangerous Game 2136/2896 1863
9.3x74R 286 gr. SP-RP Dangerous Game 2136/2896 1863
.375 Win. 220 gr. FP Reload 1845/1663 905
.375 H&H Flanged 300 gr. RN Reload 2079/2879 1902
.375 Ruger 270 gr. SP-RP Dangerous Game 2600/4052 1923
.375 Ruger 300 gr. DGX/DGS Dangerous Game 2344/3660 2146
.375 H&H Mag. 270 gr. SP-RP Dangerous Game 2458/3621 1818
.375 H&H Mag. 300 gr. DGX/DGS Dangerous Game 2223/3292 2034
.375 Wby. Mag. 300 gr. DGX/DGS Reload 2386/3792 2183
.375 Ultra Mag 300 gr. DGX/DGS Reload 2386/3792 2183
.376 Steyr 225 gr. SP-RP Dangerous Game 2331/2714 1201
.376 Steyr 270 gr. SP-RP Dangerous Game 2331/2714 1755
.378 Wby. Mag. 300 gr. RN Reload 2539/4293 2323
.404 Jeffery 400 gr. DGX Dangerous Game 2046/3717 2611
.405 Win. 300 gr. SP Custom 1890/2379 1423
.416 Rem. Mag. 400 gr. RN Reload 2116/3977 2793
.416 Rigby 400 gr. DGX/DGS Dangerous Game 2116/3977 2793
.416 Wby. Mag. 400 gr. RN Reload 2420/5203 3194
.44 Rem. Mag. 240 gr. FP Rem. Express 1380/1015 616
.444 Marlin 265 gr. FP Light Magnum 1907/2140 1036
.444 Marlin 265 gr. FTX LEVERevolution 1971/2285 1071
.45 Colt (rifle) 255 gr. RN Reload 919/479 417
.45-70 Govt. 300 gr. JHP Rem. Express 1497/1492 916
.45-70 Govt. 325 gr. FTX LEVERevolution 1729/2158 1242
.45-70 Govt. 405 gr. RN Rem. Express 1168/1227 1306
.450 Marlin 325 gr. FTX LEVERevolution 1887/2569 1355
.450 Marlin 350 gr. FP Custom 1720/2298 1433
.450/400 NE 400 gr. DGX/DGS Dangerous Game 1815/2924 2468
.450 NE 480 gr. DGX/DGS Dangerous Game 1872/3733 2938
.450 Bushmaster 250 gr. FTX Custom 1840/1879 805
.458 Win. Mag. 500 gr. DGX/DGS Dangerous Game 1991/4401 3395
.458 Lott 500 gr. DGX/DGS Dangerous Game 2021/4535 3446
.460 Wby. Mag. 500 gr. RN Reload 2259/5665 3852
.470 NE 500 gr. DGX/DGS Dangerous Game 1885/3946 2997
.500 NE 570 gr. DGX/DGS Dangerous Game 1881/4477 3495
.50 BMG 750 gr. A-Max Match 2632/11538 8133



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Copyright 2008, 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.


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