November 22nd, 2010

New .224-Cal Varmint Bullets From Hornady

We recently had a chance to chat with Dave Emary, Hornady’s Chief Ballistics Scientist. Dave told us that varmint hunters should definitely check out two new .224-caliber bullets from Hornady, the 35gr NTX and the 53gr V-Max. Both bullets offer high-BCs for their weight class, along with excellent terminal performance.

New Lead-Free NTX “California-Legal” Bullet
First is the new 35gr NTX® BT plastic-tipped bullet. This is a lead-free California-compliant design. Designed with a boat-tail and extended ogive, the new 35gr NTX has better ballistics than most other bullets in its weight class. This bullet can be pushed to very high velocities by a standard .223 Remington cartridge. As you can see from the factory illustrations below, the new 35gr NTX bullet is far more streamlined that the previous 35gr flat-base V-MAX, and the NTX’s BC is much higher. So the NTX gives you a lead-free alternative, that has better ballistics to boot.

Hornady NTX bullet

New High-BC, 53gr V-Max May Be a “Game-Changer” for .223 Rem Shooters
The second recently-released bullet is a new, High-BC, 53gr V-Max with a field-tested 0.290 G1 Ballistic Coefficient. That’s a very high BC for a .224-caliber bullet in this weight class. To demonstrate that point, the Berger 55gr BTHP Varmint bullet has a .210 G1 BC, while the Sierra 53gr FB MatchKing has a .224 G1 BC (above 2800 fps). How did Hornady achieve the higher BC? Emary tells us that this new bullet was designed with an extended ogive (nose section) to provide significantly better ballistics than other bullets in its weight class. Emary added: “With this .290 BC bullet and the higher velocities we get with the SuperFormance powder blends, the .223 Remington runs pretty darn close to a .22-250 with standard loads — you can run the ballistics numbers yourself.”

Hornady V-Max 53

Taking Up Emary’s Challenge — Running the Balllistics
Given Dave’s challenge to “run the numbers” — we did just that. Hornady claims 3465 fps from its new SuperFormance .223 Rem factory ammo loaded with the 53gr V-Max. At 400 yards, this load will drop 20.8 inches from a 100-yard zero, and drift 15.6 inches in a 10 mph crosswind. (Figures calculated with JBM Ballistics, for 500′ altitude, 70° F.) To compare, Hodgdon’s Reloading Data Center says a .22-250 can deliver 3713 fps with a 55-grainer pushed by a max load of IMR 4064. So, for the .22-250, assuming a .220 BC for the 55gr bullet, the drop at 400 yards (from 100-yard zero) is 20.4 inches, while the 10 mph wind drift is 20.2 inches (again according to JBM). So, it looks like Emary is right, assuming his .223 Rem velocities are real. At 400 yards, the .223 Rem with the 53-grainer has nearly identical drop and much less wind drift than a .22-250 shooting a conventional 55-grainer. Here are the numbers:

Cartridge Muzzle Vel Bullet BC Drop at 400 yds Drift at 400 yds
.223 Rem 3465 fps 0.290 BC (53gr) 20.8 inches 15.6 inches
.22-250 3713 fps 0.220 BC (55gr) 20.4 inches 20.2 inches

We asked Emary how the new 53-grainers hold up when driven at high velocities. Emary replied: “The 53-grainer has the tough V-Max jacket. You should be able to push it up to 4000 fps with no problems”.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 6 Comments »
November 22nd, 2010

Smith & Wesson Revolver Auctioned to Benefit USA Shooting

Smith & WessonSmith & Wesson has introduced a limited edition of 500 engraved Model 27, .357 mag revolvers to mark the 75th Anniversary of the .357 Magnum cartridge. The very first of the 500, serial number SFY0001, will be auctioned on Gunbroker.com to benefit USA Shooting. “The proceeds of serial #SFY0001 will benefit not only our athletes but also our various shooting programs,” said Buddy DuVall, USA Shooting Team Foundation Executive Director. USA Shooting provides training facilities for American shooting sports athletes, and supports American shooters in international competitions. CLICK HERE to see the Gunbroker auction, which runs through December 19, 2010.

75th Anniversary Smith Wesson .357 Magnum

For those who can’t afford the first of the line, the remaining 499 special edition m27s should prove desirable collectibles. Constructed of carbon steel and built on a large N-Frame, this special edition six-shot .357 Magnum/.38 Special revolver features a 6.5″ barrel and a high-polish, blued finish. Across the revolver’s barrel, frame and cylinder, there is elaborate machine engraving replicating the hand-drawn artwork of Smith & Wesson engraver David Mishichak. The 75th Anniversary m27 comes with engraved square-butt walnut grips, pinned patridge front sight and a micro-adjustable rear sight. Only 500 anniversary models will be produced with a unique serial number range from SFY0001 to SFY0500. Each Model 27 will be shipped complete with a wooden glass top presentation case.

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