Tim Pilbeam reviews the Hornady Varmint range and sees how Joyce Hornady’s vision has propelled the company to success
‘Ten bullets through one hole’ was the vision of Joyce Hornady over 60 years ago. Hornady, like many other ammunition manufacturers, was the main supplier of rounds to the military, but Joyce had a passion for improving accuracy, and never looked back. Now it is the largest independent supplier of bullets in the USA.
I am familiar with this brand as I have been using 75-grain V-Max for several years in my .243 RPA. Suffice to say, I fire these critters out to 1,000 yards, and shoot chunky 168-grain .308 rounds way beyond 600 yards. Be it the gun or the ammo, they are formidable, and they have also accounted for hundreds of foxes.
I specialise in varminting and have been testing the Superformance Varmint and the Varmint Express in many rifles of late, so what sets them apart from the rest?
The Superformance Varmint is available in four chamberings: .222 Remington, .223, .22-250 and the .243 Winchester. They boast enhanced velocity by using proprietary blended powder formulations, compared to other factory-loaded ammunition in these specific calibres. Apparently the powder (propellant) burns more completely within the barrel, which Hornady claims will deliver 100-200fps higher speed, without increasing recoil. The flatter trajectory is no doubt sustained by the well-proven polymer V-MAX bullets, which, owing to the superior ballistic coefficients, are less susceptible to wind drift. The table below quotes some very impressive statistics – I think you would agree you cannot get much more out of these calibres.
I tested the 50-grain V-MAX in .22-250 with the Savage BTCSS and 26in barrel, and found the velocities shy by 50fps of the 4,000fps as stated, probably owing to the cold weather. More importantly, the maximum variation in muzzle velocities was only 42fps.
The Varmint Express boasts 16 different varieties of ammunition, covering seven calibres from .204 Ruger to .243 Remington, using mostly the V-Max bullets, with a select few adopting HP or NTX bullets. Every round is individually inspected before leaving the factory, ensuring ‘no cosmetic flaws and imperfections’. The brass is made to the highest tolerances for reliable feeding, corrosion resistance and ability to withstand maximum chamber pressures. The V-Max bullet achieves rapid fragmentation with all varmint shooting velocities – I can vouch for its effectiveness when shooting crows and rabbits out beyond 400 yards.
I have tested the Varmint Express in .204 Ruger, .223, .220 Swift and .243 calibres and cannot fault them for their consistency and performance. The .220 Swift Varmint Express when tested in the Remington VS-SF was very accurate, shooting below 0.5MOA, with very similar variations in muzzle velocity as the Superformance rounds. If you require high quality varmint ammunition that performs, you will not be disappointed with Hornady.
For more information contact the main importers for Hornady ammunition at www.edgarbrothers.com.