The Hornady Manufacturing Company, better known simply as Hornady, is an American based ammunition manufacturer, producing a wide range of cartridges of various calibres. Based in Grand Island,Nebraska, Hornady have produced ammunition since 1949 and have sold it worldwide for the majority of that time.

History[edit | edit source]

Hornady was founded in 1949 by Joyce Hornady, whom pursued the goal of achieving "Ten bullets through one hole", referring to his desire to produce consistent ammunition for target shooting. Joyce had grown up learning to hunt and shoot and had spent his time during the Second World War as an instructor of marksmanship and had later set up a small sports shop in Grand Isle, Nebraska.

Joyce Hornady turned his attention to the ammunition manufacturing business when he recognised that there was no really reliable or consistent ammunition after the conclusion of the Second World War. Despite the fact that there was an abundance of military ammunition, the fact remained that this ammunition was more suited to close quarter combat than it was to long-range accuracy. In the late 1940s, Joyce Hornady, along with business partner Vernon Speer, built a machine which converted spent cartridges (originally .22 rimfire cartridges) into bullet jackets and then bullets.

However the business partnership soon fell apart, with Speer relocating to Idaho and Hornady turning to production of his own .30 calibre bullet. Nine years later in 1958, Hornady expanded his company, relocating to its present and purpose built location in Grand Isle, Nebraska with further expansion occuring in the 1960s (including a 200 yd long underground range, allowing testing that was not affected by weather). Various aqusitions of other companies (such as the Pacific Tool Company in 1971 and West Coast Shot Company) allowed Hornady to diversify further, producing reloading equipment and more bullet types (including military ammunition).

Yet, in January 1981 the Hornady family was struck with the death of Joyce Hornady himself in an aircraft crash (which also claimed the lives of engineer Edward Heers and customer service manager Jim Garber). The tragic loss could have cost the Hornady Company its existance, however Joyce Hornady's son, Steve Hornady, took the reins, leading the Company through the tragedy and beyond.

Two years after the tragedy, Hornady and its various acquisitions were officialy grouped together. Frontier Ammuntion became known as Hornady Custom Ammunition, while the Pacific Tool Company became the Hornady Tool Company. The 1980s saw the continued development of various lines and types of ammunition and a sourcing dispute led Hornady to begin manufacturing their own cartridge cases "in house".

These changes caused an upsurge of fortune for Hornady, the company becoming a world leader of ammunition development and production in the 1990s. Various lines of bullets and various projects were becoming more widely recognised, with Hornady winning the Product Award of Merit in 1990 (from the National Association of Federal Licensed Dealers) for their XTP (Extreme Tactical Performance) bullet. The 2000's have likewise seen Hornady develop more of their projects, notable ones include the .17 HMR project (started as a pet project by ballistician Dave Emary) and the 2012 release of the "Zombie Max" range (which was sparked by the growing popularity of "Zombie Shooting" in the U.S.).

Products[edit | edit source]

Hornady produces a large range of products, each of which has been largely developed in house. The majority of these products are to do with bullets, with Hornady more often then not developing cartridge alongside a firearm manufacturer (eg Sturm, Ruger & Co.) whom desire a specific set of ballistic figures.

Current Hornady Production[edit | edit source]

Hornady produce a wide range of ammunition lines, the majority of which have been developed "in house" since at least the 1980s. These lines include:

  • American Whitetail line
  • Cowboy
  • Critical Defense
  • Critical Duty
  • Custom
  • Dangerous Game Series
  • LEVERevolution
  • Match
  • Shotgun
  • Steel Match
  • Superformance
    • Superformance Match
    • Superformance Varmit
    • Superformance International
  • Varmit Express
  • Zombine Max

"Out-of-house" projects[edit | edit source]

Hornady have also been known to work with outside companies and designers to produce custom ammunition that was purpose built for their products. Perhaps the most well known of these projects have been with Sturm, Ruger & Co. whom have often turned to Hornady to produce unusual cartridges for their products. Hornady have also been known to develop Wildcat projects. These projects have resulted in:

  • .17 HMR - Developed by Hornady from one of their employee's pet projects, released in 2002.
    • .17 HM2
  • .204 Ruger
  • .22 Hornet - One of the many .22 calibre cartridges that Hornady's bullets are frequently used with.
  • .375 Ruger
  • .455 Webley - Produced for a time after Webley & Scott stopped their production in the 1960s.
  • .460 S&W Magnum - A joint project between Hornady and Smith & Wesson that resulted in the "World's highest velocity cartridge".
  • .480 Ruger
  • .500 S&W Magnum - A joint project between Hornady and Smith & Wesson that resulted in the "World's most powerful handgun cartridge".

Resources[edit | edit source]

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