Hornady’s Big Announcement: the ELD-X with Heat Shield Tip

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Last week we shared a video from Hornady that gave broad but enticing promises of a new, exciting technology to come. Considering the source – Hornady has been coming up with innovative ammunition ideas for more than 60 years now – it was definitely a promising moment, and now the official announcement has been made. Hornady’s new tech? The ELD-X, or eXtremely Low Drag – eXpanding, with the company’s own Heat Shield Technology.

Early hints of the coming tech mentioned the use of Doppler, and although some of the guesses being made as to the nature of Doppler’s use in the tech were in the general neighborhood, none actually hit the proverbial nail on the head. The logic behind this new bullet is the fact that heat plays a significant role in the quality and performance of bullets, and if you’re a long-range hunter – and many of us are – it’s going to effect your hunt, if not your overall success. According to tests carried out by Hornady’s engineers, the ballistic coefficient (BC) actually changes at a certain point along the trajectory of bullets designed specifically for a higher BC. For the first 100 to 150 yards the BC may be as expected, but after that distance it drops to a lower BC, which has a noticeable and negative effect on its performance. Why? Well, apparently the nose of the bullet is quite literally melting down, softening and deforming from a combination of speed and heat generated while in flight.

Rather than put the studies, tests, and their results into my own words, let’s take a look at the information straight from Hornady (if you’re interested in videos and what calibers will be available, scroll down):

The ELD-X™ bullet is a technologically advanced, match accurate, ALL-RANGE hunting bullet featuring highest-in-class ballistic coefficients and consistent, controlled expansion at ALL practical hunting distances.

All manufacturers conventional polymer tips in high BC bullets melt in flight. Hornady® engineers discovered that conventional bullet tip materials in streamlined, high BC bullets melt and deform. Although not a significant issue affecting moderate BC conventional tipped varmint and hunting bullets, aerodynamic heating causes BC reduction and degradation of accuracy, particularly at extended ranges (400 yds +). To counter this effect, Hornady® identified a heat resistant polymer and developed the patent pending Heat Shield™ tip. This revolutionary new tip creates the perfect meplat (tip) with exceptionally consistent results from bullet-to-bullet and lot-to-lot.

At conventional range (0-400 yards), the ELD-X bullet is designed to continually expand throughout its penetration path. Upon impact the thin nose section of the bullet peels back and sheds material until it reaches the thick shank of the bullet jacket where the InterLock ring works to keep the core and jacket together. The remaining heavy shank of the bullet continues to drive forward and expand for extremely lethal results.

Available as component bullets or in factory loaded ELD-X Precision Hunter ammunition, ELD-X bullets are “heavy caliber” and designed for maximum ballistic coefficients, the highest levels of accuracy, consistency and extreme lethality at ALL practical hunting distances.

 

ELD-X™     Extremely Low Drag – eXpanding 

  • Best-in-class BCs
    Verified by Doppler radar, the Heat Shield™ tip defies the effects of aerodynamic heating and retains its shape to maintain the highest in-class BC over its entire trajectory.
  • Match accurate hunting bullet
    Streamlined secant ogive with optimum boattail design + highly concentric AMP® bullet jackets + patent pending Heat Shield™ tip combine for radically superior aerodynamic efficiency.
  • Devastating conventional range performance
    With high velocity, 0-400 yard impact, the bullet continually expands throughout its penetration path. The thick shank of the jacket and high Interlock® ring keep the core and jacket together providing 50-60% weight retention.
  • Best extended range terminal available
    Upon low velocity, 400+ yard impacts, Heat Shield™ tip drives backward into bullet to initiate expansion. Exhibiting expansion with a large and 85-90% retained weight the provides deep penetration and large cavities. Available as component bullets or in factory loaded Precision Hunter™ ammunition.

While analyzing the radar data on the new bullet, Hornady engineers noticed something right away that was puzzling. In Drag Coefficient versus Mach (Cd vs Mach) graphs, they saw that the new projectile was gaining drag shortly after leaving the barrel, which affected the performance of that bullet for the rest of its flight path. Simply put, the bullet acted like it had one particular BC for the first 100 to 150 yards, then transitioned to a lower BC for the rest of its flight path. Further testing was done with other bullets including BTHP match and A-Max bullets. While the BTHP bullets Cd vs Mach charts looked as expected, the A-Max bullets were showing the same increase in drag that the prototype hunting bullet did. It was as if the bullet was changing shape in flight.

Further testing was done to confirm suspicions that the polymer tip was the culprit. Aerodynamically efficient, high BC bullets at high velocity were suffering from polymer tips softening and deforming in flight. Further testing proved that it happens to all conventional polymer tipped bullets, regardless of manufacturer. Tipped varmint bullets and conventional low to medium BC (sub .550 G1) bullets are not significantly affected. They simply do not hold a high velocity long enough for the aerodynamic heating to significantly affect their tip.

To correct the issue of tips deforming from aerodynamic heating, Hornady engineers identified and developed tips from a new class of polymer. These new, patent pending Heat Shield tips provide a consistent BC throughout the bullets entire flight path. This is due to Heat Shield material’s greater heat capacity and also having a melting point roughly 2.5 times greater than currently used tips.

The Hornady 6.5mm 140gr A-Max is a very popular match bullet. Its long-time published G1 BC of .585 has been measured with chronographs at the muzzle, 100 and 200 yards. The radar verifies that exact BC out to 200 yards. When fired at 800 yards; however, the radar verified average BC it is actually .545. This is because of the polymer tip melting and deforming during flight. When the traditional tip is replaced with a Heat Shield tip, the Radar verified 800 yard average BC becomes .610 – a huge improvement! Why a .610 when we already established a 200 yard BC of .585? The .610 BC shows that the traditional tip was already exhibiting degradation at 200 yards.

As mentioned, moderate and low BC tipped bullets (less than .550 G1) are not significantly affected. Case in point: a 22 caliber 50gr V-Max with a conventional polymer tip, fired at 3,700 fps, has a 400 yard radar verified average BC of .232. With a Heat Shield tip, it still had a BC of .232. Similarly, a 7mm 162gr SST has a 500 yard radar verified average BC of .520. When tested with a Heat Shield tip, it only gained a small amount of BC – .532. The .012 increase in BC is too small to matter on this bullet at any distance this bullet would expand on game.

Why Bother With a Tip At All?

As mentioned earlier, we required that the new bullet have a tip. There are multiple reasons for this. Without a polymer tip (or an exposed lead tip, which is not as aerodynamically efficient), there is no mechanism for expansion. Upon impact, the tip is slammed back into the frontal cavity and forces expansion. Without a mechanism for expansion (tip), the target dictates what the bullet does. High BC, BTHP (Boat Tail Hollow Point) bullets have no mechanism for expansion. Their terminal affects are predictably unpredictable. They typically penetrate without expanding until they hit something hard enough to make them tumble or blow up. Sometimes, they pencil through until the bullet slows down enough to destabilize and start to tumble. Other times they simply pencil through without ever tumbling. Open tip match style (OTM, also known as BTHP) bullets are not designed for controlled expansion. The bullets simply have a hollow cavity where the lead core stops and the jacket material continues to be drawn together above it to form the tip. To get a hollow point to actually initiate expansion, the open cavity needs to be large, too large to facilitate a high BC. For hunting, hollow points do have their place though, in pistol bullets and low BC conventional rifle bullets where the meplat (diameter of the tip) is big enough to promote expansion. It is not simply having a polymer tip that promotes expansion. We can control exactly how fast or slow a bullet expands with the tip size, cavity size and shape below the tip stem and the relationship of the transition from jacket material to the outside edge of the tip. A BTHP offers no “fine-tuning” for expansion. It is totally dependent on what the target media makes it do.

The other advantage of the tip is the consistent shape and optimized geometry of the molded polymer tip. With a polymer tip, the meplat (diameter of the tip of a bullet) is the same from bullet to bullet, and lot to lot. A molded polymer tip shape is the same every time. The meplat of a BTHP, however, is inconsistent. Drawing the jacket material up to a perfect and consistently shaped tip every time is virtually impossible. Some match shooters use a meplat trimmer to even out the rim of BTHP meplats for consistency. This trimming perfects the shape of the tip but removes mass from the bullet.

ELD-X

The all-range hunting bullet is called ELD-X, which stands for Extremely Low Drag – eXpanding. They were designed from the ground up to be match accurate, all-range hunting bullets with best-in-class aerodynamics. ELD-X bullets have a precision swaged lead core. The bullet jackets utilize AMP (Advanced Manufacturing Process) technology for near-perfect concentricity. The jacket material is quite thick at the bullet shank and thins down along the ogive (curved area from the bearing surface up to the tip) to assist in expansion. A high Interlock ring helps to keep the jacket and core together during penetration. While this bullet is unique, it draws on some of the best features and technology of its predecessors like Critical Duty, LeverEvolution and established match bullets.

Why a traditional lead core and not solid-copper or bonded lead? While both of those styles have their place in hunting, both have significant limitations in an all-range hunting bullet.

Solid copper or copper-alloy bullets are tough and give great penetration and high weight retention at conventional range. Without a lead core though, they are relatively light and don’t have the BC to carry significant energy at extended range. Without enough velocity, the material is too tough to expand at low velocities. While a mono-metal bullet can be specifically made to expand at a lower velocity, it lacks the flexibility to perform well across a wide range of velocities.

Bonding a bullet’s lead core and jacket together can be useful for hunting bullets at conventional ranges, but there are some drawbacks. Bonding requires a soft, pure-lead core and a thicker jacket. There are various bonding processes but the result is a soft bullet that is inconsistent in its long-range accuracy and terminal effects. Current bonding methods don’t allow the kind of accuracy needed for extended range shooting. Case in point, there’s a reason you don’t see bonded match bullets.

Performance Expectations

The ELD-X bullet is very versatile in its terminal effects. It’s also quite unorthodox since it is a bullet that works at both conventional and extended range. The bullet works differently upon high velocity impacts versus low velocity, but, the terminal effects are quite similar.

Conventional Range

With high velocity impacts (conventional range, 0-400 yards), the ELD-X bullet starts expanding upon impact. It creates a very large, very deep temporary wound channel and typically 2 feet of overall penetration. The depth of the temporary cavity is a result of the bullet continuing to expand while penetrating. The expansion is more of a rolling back of the tough jacket, rather than a flattening out process that would stop penetration. The frontal area of the bullet sheds some mass during this rolling back and the thick shank continues to drive the bullet forward. Typical retained weight at close range impacts is 50-60%, this is by design.

Extended Range

With low velocity (extended range, 400+ yards) impacts, the bullet looks and acts much more like a traditional hunting bullet does at close range. It expands immediately and forms a traditional mushroom shape while creating a large, deep temporary cavity and 2+ feet of overall penetration. Typical weight retention at extended range is 80-90%.

Closing

The Hornady ELD-X bullet is the most technologically advanced hunting bullet on the market. It is match accurate and delivers dramatic terminal performance at all practical ranges. With the highest BC’s in its class, it retains its aerodynamic shape throughout its entire trajectory path with the Heat Shield tip. Offering match grade accuracy, it excels beyond a match bullet’s (BTHP or tipped) ability to provide true controlled expansion and lethality at any practical range.

If you’re a bit of a guns and ammo geek like I am and would like to delve deeper into the graphs and charts from Hornady’s research, follow this link to take a look at the company’s technical information. There is quite a bit of fascinating info and some amazing images and testing in there, so I highly recommend taking a look: http://www.hornady.com/assets/files/resources/ELD-X_ELD-Match_Technical_Details.pdf

Hornady is manufacturing the new ELD-X rounds in a line they’re calling Precision Hunter in the following calibers:

6.5 Creedmoor, 143-gr. @ 2,700 fps*
7mm Rem. Mag., 162-gr. @ 2,975 fps
.308 Win., 178-gr. @ 2,600 fps*
.30/06, 178-gr. @ 2,750 fps*
.300 RCM, 178-gr. 2,900 fps*
.300 Win Mag., 200-gr. @ 2,860 fps
.300 RUM, 220-gr. @ 2,910 fps
.30-378 Wby. Mag., 220-gr. @ 3,025 fps*

*The asterisk refers to rounds still undergoing testing, meaning ballistics are still subject to some change when the final numbers are released

The following bullets are being listed as being made available as individual components featuring the new Heat Shield tech:

6.5mm, 143-gr. (G1 .620 / G7 .310)
7mm, 162-gr. (G1 .613 / G7 .308)
7mm, 175-gr. (G1 .660 / G7 .330)
.308, 178-gr. (G1 .535 / G7 .271)*
.308, 200-gr. (G1 .626 / G7 .315)
.308, 212-gr. (G1 .673 / G7 .336)
.308, 220-gr. (G1 .650 / G7 .325)

Hornady said they will also be selling the following match-grade ELD-X rounds in 2016:

6.5mm, 140-gr (G1 .610 / G7 .305)
7mm, 162-gr. (G1 .627 / G7 .313)
.308, 208-gr. (G1 670 / G7 .335)
.338, 285-gr. (G1 .789)

Visit Hornady’s site at www.hornady.com or go straight to the ELD-X page at http://www.hornady.com/store/ELD-X

A few videos about Hornady’s new Heat Shield tech:



katie.ainsworth

Katie is an avid shooter, hunter, military journalist, and Southern girl. Firearms are her passion whether at the range or on a spot-and-stalk after a big buck. She’s a staff writer at The Firearm Blog and writes about guns, hunting, and the military for various publications both online and in print such as Outdoor Life, Handguns, and Shooting Illustrated. Shoot her a message at ainsworth.kat@usa.com


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  • LG

    Charles Newton knew about projectile heating in the barrel and during flight. Charles Newton did experiments in the early 20th century demonstrating that the lead core of the then jacketed bullet was actually in a molten state even as it reached the target. He even designed a bullet with paper as an insulator between the jacket and lead core. It would only be reasonable to assume that a conventional polymer tip would reach its heat of plasticity during supersonic flight.

  • Bronezhilet

    There are cases of modern artillery shells quite literally falling apart due to materials heating up. It’s quite a bad surprise to see a live artillery shell disintegrate in mid-air.

    So I decided to do some simulations to show how hot a bullet can actually get when travelling at speed. Simulation should be done in about 20 minutes. I’ll post the results when it’s done.

    • Bronezhilet

      Well, simulation is done, but the post is in limbo somewhere.

      • Delter Vees

        Post pics of the results to imgur, then post an album?

        • Bronezhilet

          I put a screenshot in a post here, but that post entered a moderation queue and then vanished. I’m not sure what’s going on.

      • I haven’t seen it yet

  • hking

    Hornady 2016: Just the tip

    • FightFireJay

      Funny. But to be fair, it’s a whole new bullet. An AMP jacket with an internal core locking cannelure.

  • 6.5x55Swedish

    Once more a
    company in this industry makes a claim about a product that will
    “change everything” yet it is really a small incremental improvement
    to existing products. Sure, it is a smart product but it is not going to “change
    everything”. The introduction of flintlocks, rifle stocks, percussion caps, rifled
    barrels, self-contained cartridges, jacketed bullets, scopes, self-loading
    weapons are example of inventions that changed everything. A new kind of
    plastic is not.

  • DrewN

    Credit where credit is due: MadMonkey called this bullcrap right out of the gate. “I’m guessing it’ll be a huge announcement, like “We have this new bullet that might perform slightly better than this old one”.

    • Sianmink

      Kind of agreeing, but.
      they DID discover a thing that nobody much suspected was happening, and found a solution. Revolutionary, hardly, but a solid evolutionary development.

      • Anyone with an aero-eng degree could have told them this might be a problem, and quite a lot of other people without degrees.

        What makes me raise my eyebrow is where they admitted they only use Doppler testing as a way to verify their marketing material, not as a part of the iterative design process (unless they find out something’s REALLY gone wrong, like the tips are melting).

        • FightFireJay

          And yet, NO ONE with an aero-eng degree told the manufacturers or the long range shooters/hunters.

          • I mean, heck, you don’t even need a degree to work a problem like this. Hornady admits they didn’t do Doppler testing at the last minute; that was a screwup. Then throw in the massive amount of hype and the tone of the ad over what’s basically an undergraduate level aerodynamics problem, and it doesn’t make Hornady look good. They’re being extremely triumphant for having “discovered” something that’s been extremely well characterized since the 1940s.

          • Ethan

            No, they don’t admit that Nathaniel – re-read the article please.

            They do testing at 100 and 200 yards in production, but the 800 yard doppler test was where the issue was found. Pray tell what kind of testing do you do at *your* ammo company which judging by your indignation is clearly doing it better than Hornady?

            You’re really butt-hurt over this, and I’m just trying to understand why.

          • Like I said, I like the company a lot, but I’m critical of this ad campaign and what they’ve said in it about their product development efforts. Now, if that was all stuff the marketing boys put into their mouths, fine, but it made them look bad and it made the video funny to watch for anyone with a technical inclination towards ballistics.

            My first reaction to the announcement was “wait, what, they didn’t use a heat-resistant polymer? The bullets are flying close to Mach 3! Of course you need a heat-resistant polymer for the tip!”

            Sure, you can accuse me of Monday Morning Quarterbacking this issue, and maybe that’s fair, but from my perspective this problem should have been an obvious possibility from the start. I mean, for one thing, I’m pretty surprised that they evidently didn’t test a variety of tip materials when they were initially developing their tipped bullets.

            So I don’t see how calling me “butt-hurt” is accurate, especially since I think and write critically about small arms for a living. It’s just me being a critic, not me having my feelings hurt about a product that nobody’s even bought yet.

          • Ethan

            “.. this problem should have been an obvious possibility from the start.”

            Hindsight is 20/20. This particular problem was so obvious that no one in small arms history has solved it. 😉

            Hornady found a significant problem, and rather than sitting on it and making it a state-secret, they brought it to the WHOLE INDUSTRY. To me, that a huge demonstration of character. They could have kept this a secret and just advertised the increase in performance, but instead they published white-papers on their website.

            Tell me Sierra and Barnes aren’t going to change their bullet designs because of this. =)

            Hornady just put the industry (the customers) before their own profit margins, and is trying to make their money after the fact.

            I, for one, am impressed. I’m impressed with the technology, and I’m more impressed with the business priorities Hornady has demonstrated with this release.

            Just my $0.02, you are, of course, free to form your own opinions.

          • You’re impressed with the technology of phenolic resins or whatever they’re using? Hokay.

            Thing is, there’s a big difference between hindsight and just noting that something should have been obvious. If a car manufacturer introduces a car with ovoid wheels, even if every other car manufacturer also uses ovoid wheels, and then they find out that round wheels work better, are we really supposed to congratulate them on figuring out what should have been obvious? Duh, round wheels work better.

            When you’re talking about a projectile flying at high speeds, aerodynamic heating will be an issue. This is something that Hornady could have been expected to predict even if only one person in the development program had a passing interest in aerospace and the presence of mind to speak up about it. High speed aircraft are made of heat resistant material. “Hey boss, do you think we should test different tip materials for their heating characteristics? We don’t actually have to shoot anything, we can just do a SolidWorks flow simulation.”

            That’s all it would take. So, no I’m not going to lionize Hornady for essentially fessing up that they made a mistake. I’m not going to say I’m impressed. I’m glad they owned up to it, but they chose to do so in such a way that is self-gratifying and, frankly, really funny to me.

          • Ethan

            Then why hadn’t you already made a better one?

            Why hasn’t Sierra?
            Why hasn’t Barnes?

            Why has everyone been extremely happy with the V-Max’s performance to date? Is that high level of satisfaction a “screw up” too?

            History is replete with seemingly obvious technologies applications being slow to cross over into other industries where it ultimately creates significant advances.

            That’s how innovation and development works. We don’t know it, until we do. Edison and his light-bulb are now common knowledge, but before that moment in time, they simply weren’t.

            To declare something as “obvious” when you yourself did not notice it or do anything to correct it, is just juvenile.

          • Maybe they didn’t do the requisite research, either? Maybe they didn’t think it was a serious problem. I don’t know why. That doesn’t matter, because Hornady should have noticed it was a problem.

            I didn’t notice it because I don’t shoot tipped projectiles very much, and even if I did it wouldn’t be obvious, because manufacturers inflate their BCs all the time for no reason, and so I don’t normally expect my gun’s trajectory to match the manu’s data, with some exceptions. It’s like the Volkswagen scandal. Just because you couldn’t tell that your car had way higher emissions than it should have doesn’t mean Volkswagen’s absolved of responsibility for what they did. Of course, there’s a difference between Volkswagen’s obvious misconduct and Hornady just making a minor mistake.

            But still funny that they’re tooting their horn about it.

          • Ethan

            So you blame Hornady, but not the rest of the industry that apparently “failed” to discover the exact same flaw on a timeline that pleases you?

            That’s awfully entitled of you, dude. They just did the industry a HUGE favor and you’re sh__ing on them because “they should’ve done it sooner”. I cannot begin to follow that train wreck of irrational leaps.

            If you find their ad campaign distasteful, fine – I don’t blame you. But somehow blaming an inventor for not inventing something sooner (when you have invented precisely JACK and ____ yourself) is beyond arrogant. There is some kind of back story between you and Hornady here that I’m missing… no one could be that ungrateful.

          • I’m saying they’re openly using their own mistake as a chest-beating point in an ad campaign, and that’s not only self-serving, but makes for a very poor ad campaign in my opinion since I found it to be actually “ha-ha-hah” funny.

            I’m glad they fixed it. I said so before. They should have realized it sooner, but whatever. Why parade around a mistake you made in an ad campaign like that? It makes no sense.

          • Abram

            You’re becoming insufferable on this subject. Are there any other problematic aspects of Hornady ammunition that are plainly obvious to you, that have yet to be addressed by Hornady, or will we have to wait until the 2017 new product announcement for you to bleat about them?

          • Yeah, giving it some thought, actually I can think of a few I’d put betting odds on, but to be clear, I didn’t guess ahead of time they were having this heating issue. I am surprised at the narrative they are putting forward (which makes them look not so great). I am surprised they would try to use that as the crux of an ad campaign, and – assuming their narrative is accurate – surprised that they had such difficulty with what should be something caught easily in routine testing. Also, I am amused at all this.

          • Now you’re just getting personal and off topic. Lets drop the dueling post.

          • 6.5x55Swedish

            You should write an article about the use of “ground breaking”, “game changing”, “revolutionary” and similar words being thrown around by the firearms industry for really small improvement to existing products/concepts. Perhaps a top 10 most exaggerated product marketing campaigns or something like that.

          • Aaron Davidson

            Guys, basically what happened is we asked for a long range hunting bullet. When they got serious about the design, they invested in the tools necessary (including a radar) to measure real performance, specifically terminal performance at distance, and required aerodynamics to extend it.

            All of these discoveries were part of a meticulous iterative design and development process. If it was a small thing, it would have been addressed already by one of the bulletmakers utilizing tips. Nosler, Sierra, Barnes, etc.

            Look at the real BC from the Nosler 175 LRAB of 0.620 compared to an advertised number over 0.700! The Hornady ELD-X is over 0.660 for the same bullet weight. Thats a significant difference in performance at 1000 yards.

            Long range is our business, and this is the first product designed to reliably expand for high and low velocity impacts. And it delivers as advertised! Its a significant development.

            Aaron Davidson
            Gunwerks, LLC.

          • iksnilol

            I am sorta impressed that this wasn’t done already. I guess I was being stupid for expecting polymer tipped ammo to have, y’know, heat resistant tips?

          • The Brigadier

            Nate probably owns a truckload of greentips.

          • Bodie

            Who’s not to assume this obvious dynamic wasn’t already taken into account by Hornady and others? I mean, it’s a polymer loaded into a firearm that gets hot. You’d think there’d be a consideration for varying degree’s of heat resistance. And who really would have been in a position to figure, “Gee, I wonder if they considered in-flight heat spikes and erosion?” Someone not solicited to do so isn’t going to consider verifying something like this when it requires equipment not usually personally owned.

        • Ethan

          Anyone could, but no one did.

          Nathaniel you seem to have quite the bone to pick with Hornady over this, why is that?

          They found a significant flaw in modern bullet design, that will most certainly be corrected among all manufactures in the coming months, and your diss is “well, anyone could have thought of that”?

          • Ethan

            @nathaniel_f:disqus
            Not to mention a significant improvement in B.C. and terminal performance in a market where ANY improvement in either category is usually marketed as “Revolutionary”. I mean, are you just personally disappointed, or have you not read the actual numbers?

          • I like Hornady a lot, actually, they’re one of my favorite ammunition brands. I’m glad they made productive changes to their product, I just think they’ve kinda derped up their ad campaign. At least to me, they’re hyping up “discovering” a phenomenon that’s been understood in other circles for a very long time, and that they could have readily circumvented by doing proper testing and evaluation before they got ready to bring the product to market. It’s really funny to watch that ad and have Hornady playing the dramatic, triumphant music where they’re basically confessing to me that they screwed up and had to fix it.

          • Ethan

            Again – they found a significant problem that *everyone in the industry has*, and fixed, while increasing B.C. and Terminal performance at the same time.

            When was the last time someone in the ammo industry did that?

            You may not appreciate the numbers on this, but the implications for long range shooter is huge. Particularly the 140gr ELD in a 6.5 Creedmore is likely to become the bullet of choice at PRS matches as soon as it becomes available. In a world where performance increases are measured in fractions of an inch, this one is measured in FEET.

          • Hahaha, yes, I appreciate the numbers on this. I am an enormous ammo/bullet nerd (I don’t write about it here too much because it bores people to tears) and I shoot long-range recreationally.

            Hornady claims everyone in the industry has the problem. They might be right, too, because maybe everybody uses the same tip supplier and they all know they all do. I’m not necessarily doubting them. That doesn’t make their ad campaign less funny.

          • Dude, do you like work for Hornady? Be honest.

          • 6.5x55Swedish

            Perhaps he expects more from Hornady. If someone calims that they will change everything then they are saying that they are going to reveal something that will really change the way we see and use guns, like self-contained cartridges did. You don’t expect them to say that “we changed the plastic on our bullets, be amazed.” People are feed up with this industry constantly saying “game changer! The industry will never be the same” and it turns out they changed the colour of their stock from black to dark blue. Had Hornady said “We have a new product that push what is possible” it would be ok. But they promised that they would turn the indusrty up-side-down.

          • Ethan

            That I can appreciate, and agree with. I would note that as far as “revolutions” go, Hornady has brought more the the table than most companies with this one. Still, no question, marketing is marketing.

          • “Expecting more” isn’t really expecting much, to be honest.

            Mostly, I found their release ad to be really, really funny. I’m not mad at all, I’m highly entertained. Hornady is trying to play of their mistake as evidence of how thorough and cutting edge they are, and that’s pretty richly funny.

      • raz-0

        Except that you can find examples of accurate rounds where they have replaced polymer tips with machined aluminum or gilding metal.

  • TechnoTriticale

    re: … patent pending Heat Shield™ tip …

    So the material isn’t just silicone rubber? If the patent turns up, be sure to post it.

    • The previous material was probably nylon. The new material looks like it’s probably phenolic resin.

      Hornady almost certainly did not have to invent a new plastic to solve this problem.

      • TechnoTriticale

        re: The new material looks like it’s probably phenolic resin.

        So then, rigid, and won’t be showing up in tubular magazines soon (vs. an elastomer, as used in the LeverEvolution loadings).

        re: Hornady almost certainly did not have to invent a new plastic to solve this problem.

        Agreed, which is why I’m wondering what it is they think they can patent.

        All that aside, their claim about long range hypersonic bullets partially melting may have legs, if true, and if it actually matters all that much. Should be good for some months of web buzz anyway.

        • FightFireJay

          I don’t think it would matter as even if you were going to shoot a lever gun round past 400 yards it would have the velocity to melt the FlexTip.

          • TechnoTriticale

            The omission of .30-30 on the list of initial loadings is consistent with your view. Ditto for 6.8SPC and 300BLK.

            Too bad about the “Heat Shield Technology” tag line, since Federal already owns “HST”.

            Perhaps Hornady can bill it as “survives re-entry”.

        • Maybe a FIREClean style patent on “phenolic resins as applied to small arms projectile tips”?

  • don

    don’t quite understand… do hunters take 401+ yard shots?

    • Drew Coleman

      Depending on the game and location, they may. If you’re hunting in the mountains, for example.

    • Ethan

      Its a newer thing, but yes. With advances in technology, the effective range of the average hunter is increasing, in some cases very significantly.

  • NDS

    I’d be interested to test the 220gr .308 bullet at subsonic velocity to see if it has ANY terminal effects.

    I’ve yet to find a subsonic loading for 300blk that doesn’t essentially act like a FMJ in a target.

    • Sianmink

      BRB, Shooting Hornady A-Max 208gr into gel.

      • NDS

        Interested to see your results! The 208gr A-Max is my current subsonic load. I shot a small doe at about 25 yards and even though it was almost immediately fatal, it was just a clean icepick through the deer. Compared to the devastation of the 110gr Barnes TAC-TX and 125gr Nosler BT loadings, I’m not hunting subsonic again until I find a reliably expanding bullet.

        • Sianmink

          Didn’t go as well as hoped! None of the shots would stay in the gel, luckily I snagged one from the end of the range.
          Still, better than FMJ I think. Good action in the gel, the round is definitely flipping over hard. It’s IMO a better permanent cavity than most .45 JHP would produce. The search continues for a knockout expanding .300 subsonic round.

          • NDS

            Awesome!! Good to see at least some tumbling in the gel. Nice work.

        • Sianmink

          Only recovered one of the bullets. None of them would track straight in the gel, and inevitably slipped out. This one took some knocks at the backstop.

          • For the record, that is precisely how a similarly constructed FMJ would perform.

    • uisconfruzed

      Ditto. I’ve a friend testing cast 220g with a poly coating.
      I was hoping to use this subsonic for deer & hog.

      • NDS

        Nice build! Love that Seekins rail, used it on a 9mm SBR.

        I’ve shot a some cast 220gr and 240gr and was pleased with the accuracy but haven’t tried any gel or game. Both loadings I tried also would only reliably load 4-5 rounds in a standard Pmag or Lancer – same reason I’m not completely satisfied with the Lehigh Maximum Expansion rounds.

  • This Changes Everything? A Ballistic Tip? Seriously? I feel like I’m taking Crazy Pills!

    • iksnilol

      Eh, I am taking the pills and they seem to not work considering I am seeing what you are seeing.

    • Ethan

      1 – A significant increase in B.C.
      2 – Expanding hunting bullets that now have the same ballistic properties as match bullets.

      At least for the long range crowd, yes, this is going to change quite a bit.

      Note that *all* manufacturer’s ballistic tips exhibit the melting / BC drop issue. Very soon they will all at a minimum, change the material choice to avoid this problem.

  • nobody

    Just decided to check Sierra’s website to see how these compare to Sierra’s MatchKing line, these have a higher BC and expand when they hit the target. Better BC than current match grade ammunition while having the terminal performance of expanding ammunition does seem to be a pretty big announcement.

  • This is my favorite comment from Hornady’s YouTube video about the release:

    “In this video, Hornady is like “wtf is 6 sigma?” Seriously, this was the ground breaking announcement? That you had to design a stop gap to make up for poor production controls, and that apparently someone only just now took a couple undergrad level aero classes to understand atmospheric friction? Jxxxx Cxxxxx…”

    I don’t want to make judgments about Hornady’s internal design processes, but it certainly looks like they brought a product to market without doing Doppler testing early enough to catch a heating issue that anyone familiar enough with the aerospace industry to recognize the names “SR-71” or “X-15” could have told them might be an issue, and now that they’ve fixed it, they’re making a big ad campaign about it, complete with the dramatic violin music.

    • Kyle

      Ah yes, youtube commenters being douchebags. Who could have guessed that was going to happen.

    • I also find delicious irony in their graphics touting “the perfect tip” using heavily photoshopped images to make their bullet tips look more uniform.

      • Oldtrader3

        This is Senior, Science Project stuff for Engineering School students? If they really want to solve the problem, go study other tip materials and make more than a science project out of it. CDR3, CMfgEngr, MBA, Sr. Plastics Engr.

    • Ethan

      Ignorant people gonna ignorant…. until they look at the actual numbers that is.

    • Bronezhilet

      To be fair, I have heard of a huge manufacturer of artillery shells make the same mistake. I can’t really tell you who it was, but think about the scale of Volkswagen and emissions. For as far as I know, multiple countries cancelled orders and/or send their stock back.

      • Yes, but I bet they didn’t create a big triumphant ad campaign talking about how they screwed up! 😉

        • Ethan

          “Screwed up” You keep using that word, and I do not think it means what you think it means.

          Apparently to you, “Screwed up” means “We learned something that no one in the industry knew before, and decided to freely share that info”.

          By that rationale Nathaniel, you have “Screwed up” by not inventing the hoverboard yet. Come on, what’s wrong with you?? 😛

          • “No one in the industry knew” suggests that no one in the industry has any background in aerodynamics.

            Which, if it is true, would be really sad.

            You are acting like this is a major discovery nobody knew before. Except, it’s been well understood for 70 years. I’d be willing to bet that at least one of the bullet companies that doesn’t have a polymer tipped bullet line probably also discovered this problem, or at least knew it was a possibility, because I refuse to believe that NO ONE in the ammo industry has ever hired an aeronautical engineer.

          • 6.5x55Swedish

            Make a plastic tip test. For example: Heat up bullets of different makes to the temperature expected from the friction and press them agains something hard to see if they keep their shape. I bet we will find at least one kind that doesn’t melt.

          • Ethan

            Nathaniel, for the last time – if this was SO obvious, why did you never do anything about it?

            Because it really wasn’t by this industry’s standards. You have some very distorted beliefs about what R&D in the firearms industry looks like.

            Stop crapping on a company because they dared to admit that no one’s really tested bullets this way before – including themselves. That’s called honesty.

          • 6.5x55Swedish

            Because he, as a blogger, can’t be asked to do advanced testing. A big company developing a new product however can. How many people have a dopplar radar in their home? Not a lot of them, but a rather large company making projectiles should have it and sould test at several controll ranges. Sure, they don’t need to test every range possible but 600 yards is reasonable if you are marketing it as a long range bullet. It may not be industry standards but a company that lives of inovassion and high quality should not strive to follow the lowest standards possible. They should go farther in thier testing and vissions.

          • Also, I am not an engineer or product developer at Hornady. I neither have the obligation nor the means to change how they do their product development.

          • No one’s tested a bullet with Doppler before? Nobody’s considered the problem of aerodynamic heating on high speed bullets before?

            Boy howdy, I bet the ARL would have words for you…

          • It is true, very few of these “ballisticians” are actually aerospace degree holders. The only co. I know that actually uses one is Berger, Bryan Litz being their man.

          • That was exactly whom I had in mind, John.

          • Also, how is releasing a bullet that experiences heat induced structural failure of a component in flight and not realizing it until years later NOT a screwup?

          • Ethan

            Because the industry as a whole had never tested their bullets to that degree. Hornady just raised the bar. Did you even read the white paper?

          • Bronezhilet

            Every single firearms test I have attended or seen in progress a Doppler radar has been used. Even when it’s absolutely not needed.

            Going to blow something up with a rifle? Use a Doppler.

          • You literally could have figured out something was up by shooting the round at range, no Doppler required. By your own comments, you admit this. The actual BCs were way lower than the predicted BCs, which can result in drop discrepancies of feet, not inches, at some distances.

            Soooo… What? Hornady just didn’t shoot their rounds at distance before bringing them to market, or they just didn’t pay attention to the fact that there was a huge discrepancy between their predicted and measured results?

          • Bronezhilet

            Everybody with even a tiny bit of sense and knowledge should realise. If there is one thing polymers cannot handle properly, it’s heat. The first thing you learn about polymers: They can handle heat. At all. The most common polymers are completely melted at 250 degrees Celsius. If you want a polymer that keeps its form at 400 degrees you’re getting into the really exotic and really really expensive polymers.

            Not only that, this isn’t the first time somebody made this mistake.

  • Annika R

    So maybe we should try to secure something like $10,000 in order to host a big multi-day event that we invite major firearms, ammunition and accessory manufacturers to – the entire point of the event being to teach them all the phrase “promise little, deliver much.” Seriously, promise little, deliver much.
    I’m not even trying to belittle the significance of this development, I’m sure hunters in particular will appreciate it. But just imagine how different everyone would feel about it if Hornady had previewed the ELD-X by saying “We’ve made a small improvement that we think shooters will concretely benefit from” or something along those lines. Then when the announcement came out the response from consumers might be something more like “Oh wow, our polymer tipped ammo had pretty much all been melting, deforming the flight path? That actually is kind of a big deal. I bet this will end up helping a lot in reality!” Instead, Hornady has set up a situation where consumers could understandably feel a little cheated (since “Changing everything” literally implies a reworking of a total set of features or a fundamental shift in design concept… which the ELD-X simply isn’t).

    • Ethan

      If you study the B.C.s of bullets, you would understand that this is, indeed a major shift.

      Average joe doesn’t shoot at long enough distances for this to make any difference, no question. But for the long range crowd, this is HUGE!

      • Annika R

        As i specifically said, I’m not disputing the significance of this technical development. My comment was about advertising and the way corporations communicate with consumers. There are (perhaps subtle) benefits to releasing actually very innovative products using understatement and fact rather than aggrandizing fanfare. “X product will change everything” to me and a lot of people implies exactly what it sounds like – a drastic shift in the core design or overall features of a product. Perhaps changing polymer materials and slightly tweaking bullet shape fits your definition of
        “changing everything,” but I believe that would put you in a minority.

      • wzrd1

        Honestly, I’m surprised of the polymer choice, rather than using one of the high strength and temperature tolerant ceramics.
        Still, whatever works.

        And still, nothing new for my 45-70. 😉

  • Justin Roney

    Hornady must have been using the same plastics manufacturing company as HK.

    • Ethan

      “ALL manufacturers conventional polymer tips in high BC bullets melt in flight.”

      • Justin Roney

        Yes, I understand that. It was a joke.

        • Ethan

          Ah, humor. I haven’t unlocked that upgrade yet. *pushes up nerd glasses*

  • Renov8

    Over rated, in my opinion…….will stick to SMK’s.

    • FightFireJay

      Wow, you’ve shot them already? Also, how do the SMK’s work on game animals?

      • Renov8

        I have not shot them. The info is not enough to convince me to change. I am shooting 175gr. SMK’s out to 1000 yds. and have had no problems hitting the intended target and taking it down. Most shots I take are well within 400 yds. Don’t see this new application helping me within that range at all.

        • Ethan

          Stone clubs work pretty well too. Who needs advances in technology anyways? 😛

          True, as long as it work for you – it works for you. But I would like to draw an analogy to the difference between image quality in $500 scopes vs $2,000 scopes:

          I used to think people who spent that kind of money on a scope were suckers and fanboys who were paying for the name on the side of their gear…. until I looked through a $2,000 scope. Then I understood the tangible increase in performance that scope offered, that I had no clue was even possible.

          All I’m saying is, you don’t know how something can improve your life if you never try anything besides the status quo.

          Just some free advice from a stranger on the internet – after all its a free country. 😉

          • Renov8

            I get your analogy and appreciate the insight and feedback. I too have used both scopes in the price range mentioned and would agree the higher priced scope is considerably better. I have a preference for Vortex scopes in the PST Viper and Razor families. I also own some rifles which weren’t as expensive as my scopes, yet they shoot MOA right out of the box. The one rifle I use for my long distance endeavors is the Savage FLCP-K in 308. Its the best value I have found in a MOA rifle.
            Having qualified my shooting equipment preference, is this new round going to make me that much better or put that many more shots in the kill zone? Is the round going to track better up to the 400 yd mark? If I am already hitting the mark, why change?
            Just because something might be new and the technology behind it demonstrates a better result…..is it really necessary, if I am already getting the results I want?
            Personally, I see this as a marketing gimmick, nothing more, nothing less. I would be willing to try some of this ammo and write up a shooters report…..let me know.
            Renov8

        • maodeedee

          You’ve shot animals with SMK’s? SMK’s are not controlled expansion projectiles. Sierra warns not to use them as such. The have thin jackets that are not bonded to the core.

    • Renov8

      A little marketing in the mix here too…..

  • Sianmink

    that magnum expansion subsonic may be worth a look.

    • INFI

      Nosler is also supposed to have an expanding 220gr RN Nosler/Noveske bullet. Not sure where it is currently in production. They did have a photo of a gel block shot on their website, but it seems to have disappeared.

  • smartacus

    do they still prevent chain fire in mag tubes?

    • maodeedee

      No. that’s a whole other type of polymer which is flexible and is use in the LEVERevolution® line of ammo an d components.

      • smartacus

        does LEVERevolution polymer melt ?

  • That suggests the narrative their ad campaign puts forward is not entirely correct. I find it difficult to believe someone with that education would forget about something like that.

  • INFI

    What ogive did you use my friend?? Very nice modeling, but it stands to ask???

    • INFI

      Nothing is really FINITE ;]

    • Bronezhilet

      Solidworks Flow Simulation

    • Bronezhilet

      R33. Picture with all dimensions is in limbo right now.

  • maodeedee

    What I want to know is has this ammo been tested in the field on game and not just on blocks of jello?

  • Paladin

    The grammar nazi in me demands that I explain the difference between affect and effect, since they were confused at a couple points in the article/presser.

    Affect means to alter, a bullet performing poorly would affect one’s hunt.

    Effect means to cause something when used as a verb, or the result of something when used as a noun. The effect of the polymer tip is to effect more consistent expansion.

  • Scott

    What?! Nothing in 270? Unacceptable.

  • wzrd1

    Other than temperature, there is pressure from the air being compressed by the round traveling through the air. Add in turbulence from wind shifts and you have one hell of a complex environment to simulate beyond mere temperature modeling.

    • Bronezhilet

      That’s all included in that simulaton.

  • LetsTryLibertyAgain

    I’m a big fan of Hornady rifle bullets, but I’m a bit surprised that Hornady engineers were surprised. The rifle bullets are travelling up around Mach 3. Jet planes that do that aren’t made of plastic for a good reason. Some of the fastest are made with titanium skin on the leading edges to resist the heat of friction.

    Hornady has pretty graphs showing the kinetic energy of their bullets at different ranges. Did they think all of the energy was lost to heating the air and none of it heated the bullet? Why would they think that if it’s obvious when a bullet strikes a target that the bullet melts as well as heating the target?

    To be honest, I wondered about this issue from the moment I started reloading A-max and V-max bullets. The tips looked like nylon (low temperature plastic) but I assumed Hornady did their homework and the polymer tips were sufficient to avoid melting at longer ranges. While I’m glad they now have the ELD-X bullets and I’m looking forward to trying them in my own reloaded ammunition, it’s a bit disconcerting that it’s taken years for Hornady to detect this problem and correct it. It seems like relatively low hanging fruit, and it seems like a bit of an oversight up until now, particularly given the complex technology that goes into other aspects of their bullet designs. Doppler radar isn’t needed to detect this problem. Frankly, I’m surprised that some technical reloaders didn’t report the changing BC to Hornady based on velocity measurements at various ranges or changes to point of impact at various ranges.

    Thank goodness for research. Better late than never.

    • wzrd1

      Yeah, it’s not like current airplanes are made of carbon fiber *plastic* composites.
      The carbon fiber is really titanium/steel unobtanium.

      As for mach 3, another myth in the calibers involved.

      Hornady could’ve done better by studying NASA data for re-entry vehicles, what worked, why it did, what didn’t work, etc. The velocities are lower, but the effects are similar.

  • COL Bull-sigh

    Makes a whole lot of sense–The wings of the X-15 spy plane had to have special alloys invented to keep them from melting due to the air friction.