Hornady American Whitetail Ammunition

By Chuck Hawks

Hornady American Whitetail Ammunition.
Illustration courtesy of Hornady Manufacturing Co., Inc.

For 2013, Hornady (www.hornady.com) expanded their factory loaded ammunition offerings by adding the "American Whitetail" line, packaged in an attractive American flag pattern box and loaded with proven Hornady InterLock bullets. American Whitetail ammunition is loaded to typical SAAMI pressures and performance levels, equivalent to what you would expect from Winchester Super-X or Remington Express factory loads, which sell at similar retail prices. Cartridges are packaged 20 per box.

The implication of the name "American Whitetail" is more limited than the ammunition, since this ammo works equally well on Columbian blacktail, Coues, Sitka, mule and all other deer in North America. I have used Hornady InterLock bullets for decades and can testify that, in the calibers and bullet weights offered in American Whitetail factory loads, they work fine for all Class 2 game animals, including deer, goats, sheep and antelope around the world. Like all Hornady ammunition, American Whitetail cartridges are made in the USA.

Here is Hornady's promotional statement about their new ammunition line:

"Loaded with our legendary Hornady� InterLock� bullets in weights that have been deer hunting favorites for decades, American Whitetail� ammunition combines generations of ballistics know-how with modern components and the technology you need to take the buck of a lifetime!"

Hornady claims these advantages for American Whitetail ammunition:

Hornady American Whitetail Cartridge Cutaway.

1.      Legendary Hornady� InterLock� bullets

2.      Optimized loads tailored specifically for deer hunting

3.      Select propellants that deliver consistent accuracy and performance

The initial American Whitetail offerings include:

        .243 Winchester - 100 grain BTSP

        .25-06 - 117 grain BTSP

        .270 Winchester - 130 grain SP

        7mm-08 Remington - 139 grain SP

        7mm Remington Magnum - 139 grain SP

        .30-30 Winchester - 150 grain RN

        .308 Winchester - 150 grain SP

        .30-06 Springfield - 150 grain SP

        .300 Winchester Magnum - 150 grain SP

The first American Whitetail load to appear on my local ammunition retailer's shelves was a single box of the .308/150 grain offering, which I immediately purchased for this article. This load has an advertised muzzle velocity of 2820 fps from a 24" test barrel. Zeroed at 200 yards, the bullet should hit +1.9" at 100 yards and -8.4" at 300 yards, presumably computed for a sight height of 1.5".

Guns and Shooting Online Gunsmithing Editor Rocky Hays and I did the test shooting at the Izaak Walton outdoor range south of Eugene, Oregon. The summer weather was partly cloudy with a temperature of about 75 degrees and a variable crosswind of about 15 MPH. We did our shooting from a bench rest using a sandbag front rest at 100 yards, firing three shot groups at Champion Redfield Sighting-In Targets.

The test rifle was a Mannlicher-Schoenauer 1961-MCA Carbine with a 20" barrel, the only .308 we had on hand. Historically, this rifle had previously averaged 2.55" groups at 100 yards with a variety of factory loaded ammunition and bullet weights. (For complete details, see the "Mannlicher-Schoenauer 1961-MCA Carbine" review on the Product Reviews index page.) This is certainly not guilt-edged accuracy, but it is sufficient for shooting deer out to at least 200 yards, as far as I am willing to pop a cap on a whitetail. Here are the shooting results from this rifle:

        .308, 150 grain SP - smallest group = 1-1/8"; largest group = 2-11/16"; mean average group = 2.17"

As you can see, the American Whitetail load delivered better than average accuracy from this rifle. Functioning, as you would expect from an ultra-reliable Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifle and Hornady factory loads, was flawless. Shooting one box of ammo in one caliber is certainly not a definitive test, but the results were positive. Hornady American Whitetail ammunition appears to be another winner from Big Red.

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Copyright 2013, 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.