Hornady Manufacturing has just announced its new line of “Superformance” hunting ammunition. Hornady claims that, “across the board” the new Superformance ammo will deliver “100 to 200 fps higher velocities than any other standard ammunition currently available.” Hornady also claims its Superformance ammo delivers increased velocities “WITHOUT increases in felt recoil, muzzle blast, temperature sensitivity, fouling or loss of accuracy.” Hornady President Steve Hornady says this is “a whole new standard in ammunition performance… We are going to be able to raise the velocity of almost any [hunting] load you’ve ever used… by 100-200 fps.” Surprisingly, the marketing materials even claim that Superformance ammo delivers higher velocities with “no increases in barrel wear” — something that runs contrary to common sense.
Rather amazing claims are being made for this new Hornady ammo. Are such claims to be believed? Well, when AccurateShooter.com tested Alliant Reloder 17 powder last year we confirmed that it could deliver 100-200 fps more velocity than most popular powders, in some cartridges. Presumably, Hornady is employing propellants with technologies similar to Reloder 17. Hornady’s marketing materials state that it is using “ultra progressive” “21st Century” propellants for the new Superformance ammo. Hornady has also brought out a line of GMX® mono-metal bullets that feature two deep cannelures for reduced bearing surface. It is well-established that this kind of bullet design can yield higher velocities, particularly in the big-bore calibers with heavy bullets.
So… the velocity claims may be bonafied, though we would expect the velocity gains will vary among the cartridges. Some chamberings will benefit from the new propellants more than others. And only half the Superformance ammo line-up features GMX bullets, the other half being loaded with more conventional SST® bullets.
How about the claims regarding recoil? The claim that Superformance ammo can deliver 100-200 fps more velocity without any more recoil is questionable. Hornady can’t alter the laws of physics. If a bullet of given weight has a higher muzzle velocity, it MUST produce more recoil than the same bullet moving slower — provided that the propellant charge weight (and rifle weight) are held constant. The only way Hornady can achieve higher velocities without increased recoil is by either: 1) reducing bullet weight; or 2) reducing the powder charge (or gas-related recoil). Hornady could hold recoil constant if its new propellants achieve the higher velocities with a reduced powder charge compared to “conventional” loads.
Hornady has issued an 11-page technical report that provides support for many of its marketing claims. Authored by Hornady Senior Ballistician Dave Emary, the report features some interesting test results, summarized in graphs. Regarding the recoil question, Emary argues that “Recoil … has parts to it that are not commonly understood. The fundamental misunderstanding of recoil is that the recoil is over when the bullet leaves the barrel. In truth, the vast majority of recoil occurs after the projectile exits the barrel. By far the greatest percentage of recoil is produced by the force of the gases and propellant residue/ejecta leaving the barrel.” Emary cites test results showing that “approximately 85 – 90% of the recoil happens after the projectile has left the barrel”. If Emary is correct, then Hornady might be able to achieve higher bullet velocities without enhanced recoil, provided the gas-based force is reduced.
We strongly recommend you read Emary’s report. CLICK HERE to download Superformance Ammo Report.
Hornady plans to release a complete line-up of Superformance ammunition for twenty chamberings: 243 Win, 6mm Rem, 257 Roberts, 25-06, 6.5 Creedmoor, 270 win, 7×57, 7mm-08, 280 Rem, 7mm Mag, 308 Win, 30 TC, 30-06, 300 RCM, 300 Win Mag, 338 RCM, 338 Win Mag, 375 H&H, 375 Ruger, and 458 Win Mag. CLICK HERE to review all the available calibers and bullet options for Superformance ammunition.