Hornady Superformance Ammo: The Real Deal

By Randy Wakeman

Hornady Superformance Ammo

Hornady is souping up their centerfire ammunition, promising higher velocities than ever before, but with less muzzle pressure, muzzle blast, felt recoil and surprising accuracy. The hunting ammo line continues to expand, while the "supercharged Superformance" is headed for varmint loads in 2011, promising to pump up the .223 Remington to a near .22-250 exterior ballistics.


Hornady has not so quietly become the world leader in ammunition innovation. I'm referring to innovations that actually work, innovations that have tangible, real world benefits. It was Hornady that introduced the .17 HMR, a home run of huge proportions. It was Hornady that gave lever-actions new down-range ballistics by replacing the old flat poin type of bullets with plastic tipped FTX spitzer bullets in LEVERevolution ammunition.


For muzzleloading hunters, the Hornady FPB bore-sized bullet provides better accuracy, better aerodynamics and better terminal performance within the astonishing parameters of 800 fps to 2000 fps impact velocities. Introduced as a 350 grain .285 BC 2.0 sectional density bullet, the newest addition is the 300 grain .245 BC version that flies better than all other conicals and outperforms some saboted rounds.


That brings us to today's Hornady �Superformance Ammo,� which we tested with the monolithic GMX bullet offering. The GMX bullets themselves have broken new ground. They are made of gilding metal, rather than pure copper, to minimize "coppering" of the bore. What impresses me most about the GMX bullet is that they really shoot, where so many other similar bullets have fallen flat. In a previous series of .30-06 ammunition testing, the 150 grain GMX had an average 5 shot group size close to 1.1 inches from hunting rifles with sporter profile barrels. Excellent accuracy for a very tough hunting bullet.


The tested Superformance ammo is in one of my favorite cartridges, the 7mm-08. This is Hornady #80576, offering a 139 GMX bullet, .486 BC, .246 sectional density, with a published muzzle velocity of 2910 fps. This Hornady load gives you an extra 100 fps over most commercially available cartridges. If that doesn't sound like a big deal at the muzzle, it is because it really isn't. What is more impressive is that this Hornady hits at velocities at 400 yards (2189 fps) similar to what most other 7mm-08 loads do at 300 yards, with a bit less wind drift. This is a 300 yard, center of the body hold, �set it and forget it� type of combination for most North American game. Even the shorter range zero of 1.5 inches high at 100 yards means you are good to go to 250 yards with no holdover.


The rifle I tested this ammo with is a bone stock Savage Model 14 American Classic. I've turned this Savage into a real cream puff of a shooter with the addition of a Limbsaver recoil pad. It is topped off with a Bushnell Elite 3200 3-10x40mm scope, mounted with Warne Maxima medium rings on Warne steel bases.


Aside from 1/ 2 inch center to center accuracy, fabulous for hunting ammo in a sporter profile barrel, this is a combination you could shoot all day. Compared with a Browning BAR .270 shooting 130 grain Noslers, the recoil was indistinguishable from one rifle to the other. It is a big game hunting combination suitable for deer, elk, black bear, or virtually anything. It is my impression that Hornady is on to something with their reduced muzzle blast and resultant jet effect.


With remarkable accuracy and some extra terminal velocity compared to previous loads, as well as reduced win drift, it is hard not to characterize Hornady Superformance as anything less than a significant improvement and an important step in the right direction. In this case, it is just what the doctor ordered. There are enough new Hornady offerings coming in 2011 to get everyone's motor running.

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Copyright 2010 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.