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Hornady ELD and ELD-X

27 Oct 2015
@ 04:32 pm (GMT)

Eloy Vilavella

After all the hype it turns out the Hornady announced they are now simply going to use the right polymer/plastic tips consistently in all their bullets so we will not see any more bullets with problems.


Original marketing stunt that got everyone talking...



27 Oct 2015
@ 05:51 pm (GMT)

Cor Nepgen

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
Hi, yes Inwas also following this with quite a bit of anticipation... Now I do not have a whole lot of experience but watching this video reminded me waay too much of the "how bullets kill" section in the Long Range Cartridge book.. I would love to hear the opinions of the experienced guys but I'm rather sceptical of a bullet claiming long range expansion with match grade thick copper walls and a bonded core. Perhaps the plastic tip will make the difference but its still a controlled expansion bullet with a thick jacket which surely will prevent fragmentation at low velocity.

But hey, I might be missing the magic entirely.. I do think though that it will be a fantastic bullet at short to medium range. Very curious what the more experienced people will make of this.

Thanks for the post! Interesting stuff!!

27 Oct 2015
@ 07:24 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
Hi guys, I have been following this too. For my own part, I have been worried that I will have to do a full re-write on the Cartridges book if they pull the A-Max in favor of this bullet.

I contacted Hornady quite a while ago now but it was difficult to get the conversation going two ways. They have been quite worried about leaks.

My main concerns were as Cor has stated.

So what do we know:
The jacket is the same as the A-Max (AMP jacket).
The inner is swaged in place same as the SST and Interlock.
The Tip and meplat are still reminiscent of the A-Max.
Possible that the meplat is slightly wider like the very new tipped Sierra MatchKing?

The inner swage will be the key factor for us / for those of you who know my cartridges book in and out and know what to look for. In the SST, this makes little difference as far as extended range performance goes. Refer to the SST in the book to see. We can get to the second wall with the SST but the third wall is very difficult for both us and the bullet.

Sorry, am keeping this ambiguous deliberately as I don't want the guts of the book splashed around here.

Regardless, it looks as though I need to do a second edition of the Cartridges book next year after testing this new bullet, plus the TSMK and also include my DRT research for this year. Looks like I have some hunting to do. FYI, I have released the second edition of Accurizing and Maintenance. Will announce properly when we launch book 5. Orders from the past 16 hours are second edition.

The big question is- does this mean the end for the A-Max?
27 Oct 2015
@ 08:02 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
Sorry- more to this:

Note that there is a difference between the ELD-X and ELD Match (Match being essesntially the same as the A-Max).

ELD-X has the lock ring (comes in 175gr 7mm).

ELD Match is an A-Max with new tip.
27 Oct 2015
@ 08:28 pm (GMT)

Cor Nepgen

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
Hi Nathan,

Thanks for clarifying, I didn't look at the match bullet. So that changes the picture quite a bit! Would tou say this might be a good scenario for double loading? Given all external dimensions and weight are the same?

On another note I can see why you would want to update the cartridge book but I don't think you need to do so any time soon.. There are so many useful insights and principles that will stay relevant regardless if in another 100 years all bullets have been discontinued.. At the end of the day the same measuring criteria has been applied so one can still clearly see the differences illustrated with the A-Max.

Just my two cents... Still regularly going back and refering back to the books and re reading them... Too much to take in all at once and jeeps me happy while I'm waiting on my firearm license.. Haha

Cheers. Cor
27 Oct 2015
@ 08:58 pm (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
Much testing needed, I think yes!

Big claims of reliable expansion at ALL HUNTING ranges and basically stating the Amax and others has a huge flaw for LR high velocity work.

Well stop the bus, my 208 Amax's running out of my 300wm are consistently within 1/4 moa of my drop charts @800yards, is this all the era is? My 308w -168's Amax's are spot on out to 750.
A slight miss read on thermals or wind will push me further than this!

At what range or speed does this degrading tip become a real concern, is it really a game changer? I have untipped VLD Bergers that will out perform my Amax's at all ranges (on paper), so how is this possible without a tip.

I use Hornady stuff extensively so l am not bashing them but these will need heavy testing to push aside the concerns that you guys have listed.
27 Oct 2015
@ 09:51 pm (GMT)

Jim Moseley

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...

Try this link for more details on BC's and comparisons to other bullets. A few test on elk with more guys still in the field testing the bullets on game.
27 Oct 2015
@ 11:03 pm (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
Interesting reading Jim, much of it reads along in the same vain as Nathans writings.

Whenever they finally get here to OZ........ it will be interesting to give them a try. I would be happy with the new material in the Amax if it helps that much as this is their established Target/LR projectile.

Reading their literature it does sound like they have put a lot of research into making them work on game, time will tell l guess.
28 Oct 2015
@ 03:15 am (GMT)

Eloy Vilavella

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
I think we all understand there is some science into a new product but there is also a lot of hype as dictated by all those marketing dollars.
I think simple gel testing is better than nothing but in reality practical use testing (real life) and results is what matters. This takes time.

It seems unclear at what point the "old" tips become a real problem and we all know the typical solid bullets are for closer ranges so this study is great but also is all relative and a bit arbitrary at the moment. Nobody shoots ballistic gel for real hunting.

One other thing we know is that they had tip consistency issues with the materials I think. I can tell there is a difference in old batches of 223 80gr amax and more recent batches from 2 years ago that were not grouping as well as the older ones. Other people reported issues with other bullets. Perhaps batch quality issues like anyone can have.

I think since the release of the long range accubond and sierra TMK hornady had to do something to both make their BCs more consistent and to counter the competition that BTW they have been doing great and I am not sure there is a such clear evidence their bullets deteriorate from their paths. Doppler or no Doppler the groups tell the truth about accuracy and expected paths at different ranges.

I don't see anything drastically new but we will see.

It comes down to understanding the objectives, the equipment and sometimes working with what we have for the task at hand like the awesome examples on bullet annealing Nate provided.

We will see where all this goes. There are many good bullets. I hope this does not impact some of the great Amax that they sell whether it is in performance, cost or they phase it out all together.

You know... I am afraid someone has to pay for all this expensive marketing. And yes I already have a hornady hat, thank you very much! lol.

28 Oct 2015
@ 03:22 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
Heat resistant tip...hmm, should be a good bullet to anneal if need be.

Good points everyone.
28 Oct 2015
@ 06:19 am (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
I noted they also have ads for loaded ammunition with at least one of these new bullets.
29 Oct 2015
@ 08:24 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
Here is the tech link, emailed to me from one of our readers this morning:

Please- do not read this document and consider it gospel as there is still a fundamental lack of understanding of long range killing in this pdf. There are some good points, but also some sadly lacking info.

If you want to shoot way way out, you will need to, for the sake of animals, consider the ELD- NOT the ELD-X. Please, if you don't understand why, study my cartridges book, read it and fully understand what I am trying to drive home. The same is reiterated in the new book. We must come to a better understanding of long range killing.

Bollocks really. One thing you guys don't know is- if you send Hornady an email, they will respond. If I send them an email these days, they put their fingers in their ears and hit delete. My my, how things change. So again, I get left standing here on my own, trying to push these points. Hoping readers will perform their own tests and fully understand what I am driving at. Hoping that eventually, we will have enough customer awareness so that in a way, the customer is the expert and the bullet or gun makers have to follow suit.

I don't know what else to say other than you can take your graphs and ballistics gel and stick it where the sun don't shine.
29 Oct 2015
@ 08:46 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
Note in figures 21. to 24. similarities between this and the SST.

So in effect, those who wanted a high BC SST will have what they want. So there are some major pluses.

This will all work out. But again, please be weary of how information is relayed to you.
29 Oct 2015
@ 09:22 pm (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
Yeah, as l said stick the new tip in the Amax line up.

Seems a no brainer to me if this truly is a big issue. They maintain and/or grow there LR "Target" standing with no new tooling, along side this new contender which once tested will do what it does!
30 Oct 2015
@ 03:14 am (GMT)

Eloy Vilavella

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
Wise words Nathan. Sorry I called you Nate before. Not sure why.
I read the pdf and decided not to post it before because, while it gives some references, it is full of inconsistencies and I think it is arbitrary at best. But I am glad you did so we can see how this evolves.

Also their tests do not match other tests done by those competing manufacturers nor independent tests so I don't know what to think, did they pickup the worse exhibit? In any case ballistic gel doesn't have the pigs shell and large moose bones so it is worth only that much.

I think the biggest problem here is not the hype they created, we get that. The problem is the way they presented the product and the way they managed the communications thereafter. It is not clear at what point the polymer becomes a problem, in what calibers and speeds and what conditions. There is zero evidence to suggest that TMKs are affected by this as they claimed. Actually Sierra and Berger have been a lot more consistent with their advertised bcs than them. And people are used to calculate their bc corrections and get to work.

I am sure these will be fine bullets but I don't see this being an game
changer in the industry. Perhaps time will tell otherwise.

The conditions behind all this testing and the results from the Doppler should be explained in detail and not in a video that looks, sounds and feels like an infomercial.

I think that is where they shot themselves on the foot. At the moment a few blocks of gel and two elks shot by them is not evidence enough to be marketing this like they did and specially not sharking crucial details.

We are shooters and we like ballistics. We can handle the facts.

Many forums are not happy. We continue to love the Hornady products but I think they lost a bit of credibility so far. The marketing people need to rethink their performance strategy. Maybe the bullet is amazing but I think the community is a bit tired of the game many companies are playing with their spaghetti trowing tactics (trow it to the wall and see if it sticks) and just want people that are serious, consistent and follow through.

Companies need also to understand that they need to do things working closely with their enthusiasts. We know firearm owners and shooters are very opinionated people and we like it that way but this industry is not alone. Brands are culture and companies co-own those brands with their loyal customers and enthusiasts so they need to open up or they are going to run into this type of marketing fiasco sooner or later.

I am always optimistic but I am also pragmatic. We all have to be.


30 Oct 2015
@ 03:23 am (GMT)

Eloy Vilavella

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
Btw.. for those who have not seen the new assortment.

30 Oct 2015
@ 03:48 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
Nate, Nath or Nathan, its all the same. I post as Kiwi Nate when helping on Have posted bugger all these last couple of years but still get PM's regarding the 80 page 7mm-300 thread.

I agree with what you are saying. Mike Neeson on the other thread has just learned a new saying regarding current marketing.

The 175gr bullet will hopefully go well at around 3150fps in the 7mm Practical. The 9 twist will be ideal at these speeds without ripping things up. The BC of .660 should see it beat the wind quite well and hold velocity so that it hits hard. Should (that word which means I really have no proof of this) have no probs at all creating disproportionate to caliber wounds out to 1100 yards or so with body weight versatility. Time will tell anyway.

I still think that the bullet companies need to focus on the less common combos. There are a pile of guys who would love more options for the 8mm, .358 and 9.3. But then the bullet companies will tell you that the demand is low. At the same time however- they don't put the effort into marketing and save it for other areas. Makes no sense to me.

I have spoken of the 150gr SST in .303 caliber. I found some of these never even had a box, just a snap log bag?

30 Oct 2015
@ 07:42 pm (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
i did plan on writing bit of BS email to hornady trying to get more info out of them but came across this in there FAQ it sounds like they are expecting the eld to perform like the amax.
i guess as they never promoted the amax as a hunting bullet they wouldn't promote the eld.
im guessing if they do and people run light projectiles with bullet blow up they can't complain.
bit of a long read but they do mention performance at 1600fps not so much mention of the eld-x/sst thou.
now if they just brought out some more .270 projectiles ill be a happy man

Does velocity make tips melt or is it just a matter of exposure to aerodynamic friction over time?
It is a function of the softening point of the plastic, air temperature, bullet BC and the maximum velocity. Basically, it is how long the bullet tip is exposed to what level of temperature. The higher the muzzle velocity the higher the maximum temperature on the tip. The higher the BC the longer the tip is exposed to higher temperatures. The longer the exposure and the higher the temperature, the more tip deformation will occur.

At what temperature do standard tips melt?
Standard tips begin to melt and deform depending upon their specific material properties. In general, standard Acetels and Delrins, currently used in bullet tips, begin to soften and deform at 150-200 degrees (F) At 250-350 degrees (F) they will begin to melt and badly deform. The longer the exposure to these types of temperatures the more deformation will occur. This generally begins to occur from 50-100 yards of the bullet leaving the muzzle.

At what temperature do Heat Shield tips melt?
The material used in Heat Shield tips will begin to soften at approximately 700 degrees (F) but does not have a definite melt point. The tremendous amount of heat this material can absorb without deforming allows for the integrity of the tip to be maintained throughout bullet flight.

Why didn't you put the Heat Shield Tip in all of your other tipped bullets?
Doppler Radar testing has shown that tip deformation/melting occurs out to ranges of 500-600 yards depending on the bullet BC. Bullets designed for conventional ranges of 0-400 yards such as the SST do not have long enough time of flight over these distances to show a significant effect of tip deformation in a field shooting environment. However, at longer ranges and time of flight, these effects become substantial to bullet drop, wind drift, terminal performance and accuracy due to increased drag and drag variability.

If your tipped bullets are so good, why should I buy your BTHP Match bullets?
For match use many shooters find that one bullet shoots better in their specific rifle than others. BTHP bullets provide another option for match and target shooters to tune loads for the specific application.

How can you claim such high BCs?
All BC's were determinded using Doppler Radar by measuring bullet velocity as a function of distance to ranges of up to one mile. Doppler Radar provides velocity measurements approximately every two feet of the bullet's flight resulting in exact measurements of velocity loss due to drag. By the use of state of the art aeroballistics software (6DOF) large amounts of data can be analyzed and computed to provide extremely accurate determinations of projectile drag.

If tips melt, why wouldn't I just shoot targets and animals with non-tipped bullets?
The new Heat Shield tipped bullets provide both aeroballistic and terminal performance advantages. The class leading ballistic coefficients provide flatter trajectories, less wind drift, and higher impact velocities. The ELD bullets provide terminal performance far superior to traditional bullet designs over a much wider range of velocities. Repeated laboratory and field testing has shown that BTHP bullet designs do not provide reliable or predictable terminal performance. Hornady does not recommend the use of BTHP bullets, regardless of the manufacturer for big game hunting.

Are you encouraging people to shoot animals at long range?
No, we are simple providing a bullet that is capable of excellent terminal performance, accuracy and reduced wind drift that is lethal at ranges from near and far. It's our opinion that you should get as close to your quarry as possible. In certain instances, you simply shouldn't take the shot.

But we aren't going to pass judgement on what is too far, nor are we going to get mired in ethical discussions. Everybody should know their limits and stay within them, but lest we forget 100 yards was once far. That has since changed. Man has used tools to kill animals for over 1 million years. The use of a stick constitutes the use of technology and technology continues to advance. Modern rifles, optics wind measurement tools, bullets and lots of practice have advanced modern shooting to the point that what was once considered too far is now the starting point. The unpredictable consideration is animal behavior coupled with bullet time of flight. Hunters have accepted 40 or even 50 yards as acceptable archery ranges. At that range the arrow takes approximately 1.5 seconds to arrive on target and the quarry often times "jumps the string" crouches as it coils to spring away. A 30-200 gr. ELD bullet fired from a 300 Win May at 6000 ft. altitude has traveled 900 yards at 1.5 seconds time of flight. The bullet will arrive before the sound of the report reaches the game. Again, it is not our position that hunters should know their limits and if it's possible to get closer to game, do so, and in certain instances, the shot simply shouldn't be taken.

What is the maximum range for acceptable terminal performance with ELD bullet?
This is dependent on retained velocity and is therefore cartridge dependent. In general, the ELD bullets will provide reliable and effective terminal performance to velocities of approximately 1,600 fps.

If the BC degrades with older tip material how accurate are trajectory predictions?
Beyond ranges of 300-400 yards they become progressively more innacurate. Although the efforts of a changing BC with distance can be modeled with several commercially available ballistic calculators, it is virtually impossible to know what the actual BC changes are without Doppler Radar data. Reducing velocity to measure the simulated ballistic coefficient in mid-flight does not reflect the effects of aerodynamic heating and its effect on the tip.
31 Oct 2015
@ 01:22 am (GMT)

Eloy Vilavella

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
I have a large amount of AMax in stock so after reading this I think I am going to throw them all away!

... one at the time, at 2600-3000fps. lol

01 Nov 2015
@ 03:03 am (GMT)

Jim Moseley

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
I was hoping that Hornady would have offered the ELD Match in a 175 gr. I have more faith in the amax than the hybrid SST. But for the time being, I'll stick with my aluminum tip national match amax. I know for sure what it will do at long range.
05 Nov 2015
@ 10:31 pm (GMT)

Joshua Mayfield

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
New bullets aside, it's interesting how deep the bullet makers are getting into serious marketing these days. Nosler jumped to the forefront for bit, it seemed. Hornady, obviously, has gained ground. It's aggravating in a sense, but I think it also is indicative of a growing reloading market.

Many will remember a few years ago a certain long range rifle maker in Wyoming who swore by Berger bullets in very well crafted, slick commercials. They very abruptly jumped to Hornady. They claim to have had a voice in the development of Hornady's new lines.

My point is that I believe reloading is badly outgrowing the range. More and more people are coming into reloading, but I do not believe the growth in number of people who will do extensive range work is growing at nearly the same pace. So there is this - I think - relatively new niche in the shooting sports markets of people who reload, who want the quality bullet with the high BC and who will care about whether a plastic tip deteriorates or not. But most of those people are not at the range shooting various weights of Sierras, of Noslers, of Hornadys, of Bergers, of Woodleighs, etc. in order to figure out the precise bullet or handful of bullets that their rifle shoots best. Because we know that all the companies named above and more that I didn't mention produce bullets that will shoot well and kill effectively to the edge of most shooters' range. So what we see Hornady and Nosler (more will follow) doing is reflective of the fact that there are more handloaders to sell to and most of them will not buy because of range results. They will buy one line of bullet because of a magic tip in a well produced commercial, or they will buy one line of bullet because they (like me) read the book on John Nosler, or they will buy one line of bullet because a guy in Wyoming dropped a huge bull elk in its tracks at over 1,000 yards with bullet X and got it on film. It's smart business. You just hope and pray, I guess, that these companies keep trying to get better at making bullets while they're getting better at marketing and that function does not become the victim of form. And, I know this is silly idealism, but wouldn't it be great if these companies will invest some of their profits in developing training? The aforementioned group in Wyoming offers long range shooting schools at prices that I will probably never be able to afford. What if the big bullet makers invested in reloading, gun care/safety, and marksmanship training camps that I could afford to take my son to? Now that is how a bullet maker could make a fanatically loyal customer out of me.
07 Nov 2015
@ 10:25 am (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
Hornady used to subsidise reloading gear and components for sale at my local range, was about 10-20% or so cheaper. I thought is was a great idea and started with much of their gear which l still use & recommend today.

So yes giving something back to the shooting/hunting community is a great marketing tool which has been largely lost.

I read most reviews & recommendations and treat them as adds. Amazing how being sponsored by and/or given something sways the ability to be impartial and at times honest.

Will be interesting to try the 208 eld against the 208 amax, all we need now is some stocks!!!
07 Nov 2015
@ 10:36 am (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
Well don't hold your breath mate!
14 Nov 2015
@ 04:53 am (GMT)

Chris Murphy

Re: Hornady new "big thing" announcement...
They don't say but i think this is them being tested
be good if they showed autopsies[b]
25 Nov 2015
@ 03:02 pm (GMT)

Ricardo Laborin

Re: Hornady ELD and ELD-X
I can't find the 208gr Amax in MidwayUSA anymore. So to be precise, the ELD Match and the Amax are exactly the same???
25 Nov 2015
@ 07:16 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Hornady ELD and ELD-X
You got it.


We are a small, family run business, based out of Taranaki, New Zealand, who specialize in cartridge research and testing, and rifle accurizing.