Duplicating Hornady Superformance Ammunition with Handloads
Date: Aug 01 2011
Hornady’s Superformance and LEVERevolution ammunitions have been getting a lot of attention and rave reviews. In my last “Bench Topics” column, I mentioned that you can contact Hodgdon if you’re looking for a handload to match Hornady factory Superformance ballistics. If they cannot come close to the published Superformance velocities, they’ll tell you, flat out.
At my request, Hodgdon supplied a copy of these near-Superformance loads. I looked over the list and discovered that of the 53 factory Superformance and LEVERevolution loads listed, Hodgdon can come within 50 fps – and sometimes exceed – 18 of these loads using non-Superformance powders. In most cases the bullets Hodgdon uses for these loads are not the same bullet Hornady selected for the Superformance load, but the ballistic coefficient (BC) and terminal performance of the bullet referenced by Hodgdon are similar to that used in the comparable Hornady Superformance load.
I did notice a few things by looking at this chart. For one, old standby powders like Varget, IMR- 4831, H-4350, H-414 and H-110 are hard to beat when it comes to velocity in the cartridges for which they provide good results. And, newer options like H-100V and Lil’Gun along with the newer LEVERevolution powder deliver high velocities in certain cartridges too.
Two things to remember when looking at the listed loads: The velocities listed for the Superformance or LEVERevolution factory ammunition are the published velocities, and those listed by Hodgdon for the handloads were obtained, in most cases, with a 24-inch test barrel. Keep that in mind when developing your loads.
Secondly, in the world of terminal performance, 50 fps makes little, if any, difference unless it is at a distance where the bullet is about to drop below the required impact velocity to make it expand. On top of that, I’ve seen maximum velocity deviations of more than 100 fps from more than one Hornady Superformance load. My point is, don’t fret over 50 fps.