I’ve always been impressed with the folks at Hornady. Their ammunition is some of the most accurate available, and their reloading gear and components are top notch. One of their latest releases is a hunting-specific projectile called the ELD-X, an “extremely low drag” bullet. It’s designed with a polymer tip to ensure a uniform and consistent profile that open-tip designs just can’t match and an expanding design to cause the most damage possible. It’s made a splash with our readers, who have named it 2016’s Best New Ammunition.

15 Responses to 2016 TTAG Reader’s Choice Best New Ammunition: Hornady ELD-X

  1. Good call. I sure enjoy their 208gr eldx projectiles in my 308, just add a few grains of titegroup and enjoy the 1000fps sound of (almost) movie-set quiet. A suppressor is obviously needed to fully enjoy this one.

      • I used to use the 208 AMax in my blackout. At least I managed to grab a few hundred of them for cheap when the ELD/ELD-X line came out.

      • If there is a suitable powder option available you could fire those bullets out of a .308 Winchester rifle as well and keep them subsonic.

        Having said that, I have no idea what barrel twist rate is required to stabilize that heavy bullet going that slow. Maybe the required twist rate is much faster than any barrel that anyone offers in .308 Winchester.

        • My FNAR has a 10 or 11 to 1 twist and hates heavy bullets! I can shoot sub 2 MOA with Wolf and sub MOA with good 150 Gr, but over 2 MOA with the ELDX or anything over 165 Gr. Sad ’cause they are really pretty (as my wife said when I showed them to her).

      • 308win. For my rifle with 1-10 twist and an 18″ barrel I’m seeing the right amount of titegroup at about 8.5gr. With the 208gr projectile of course. Now I doubt my dpms will ever cycle this round, but my ruger american predator loves it.

        • Oh and i forgot to mention that the 1-10 twist rate and the 18″ barrel allow this to stabilize at least according to my testing. Not that I’ve gotten them to group awesomely, but I’ve jad a few connections at 500yrds and it is funny how long it takes to get there. It just barely taps the steel plate at that range.
          I have a video on YouTube titled something like ruger american 308 subsonic at 200yrds.

  2. I will be impressed once someone can actually articulate what the difference is between the ELD and the now discontinued AMAX. Don’t get me wrong the 208 grain 308 cal ELD with 9.7 gr of 5744 powder is a very nice combination for 300 blk. That being said, I don’t see how this is a new projectile….more like a rebranded projectile.

    • The difference is twofold.

      First, the tip is different on the ELD/ELD-X vs the A-Max. Open a box and you will see a noticeable difference in composition. The reason given is that the new tip is more resistant to aerodynamic heating that is brought on by all the latest hot rod long range cartridges like the 6.5×285, 26/28/30Noslers, the RUMs etc. At the super high velocities seen from those cartridges (in many cases >3000-3200fps). The onl tips were melting as the bullet went down range and this would cause a degradation in the actual BC of the bullet and resulted in erratic accuracy down range. So the biggest difference is ELD/ELD-X has a harder tip. If your shoot standard cartridges you will never be able to tell the difference.

      Second, as the name ELD implies Extremely Low Drag, these are the latest interation of super long and slippery high BC bullets. The have a tangent ogive geometry of the pointy end and a longer boat tail at the back which helps it cut the wind better. This combined with a polymer tip and (likely) an increased jacket thickness leads to a bullet that is both heavy for caliber and long for weight so there will be very little resemblance to the A-Max in this regard unless that A-Max was already a VLD design to begin with (the 208gr 30 cal, 162gr 7mm, and 140gr 6.5mm ELDs are functionally identical to their A-max counterparts as far as I know)

      So there you have it, clear as mud?

  3. Hornady does make excellent bullets.

    I only wish they manage to bring Warner Tool-level aerodynamics to mass-produced jacketed bullets. Will be sight to behold.

  4. I guess it is to be expected, there wasn’t a lot else out there that launched this year.

    My beef with the race to higher and higher BCs is that you reach the point with a lot of these rounds where factory rifles can’t really take full advantage of the increased performance.

    Brian Litz does a lot of testing on stuff like this, and commonly available twist rates can’t effectively stabilize these super long high BC bullets so you take a hit on BC sometimes as high as 10-15% which makes them about on par with what was already available.

    For example, my go-to hunting rifle is a 308win with a 1:12 twist, the 178gr .30cal ELD-X @1.42″ long almost requires a 1:9.5 twist to stabilize at an SG coefficient higher than 1.5 at any elevation I shoot at. That means my effective BC is basically the same or in some cases lower than a standard match bullet like the 175gr SMK. Most people don’t shoot enough or care enough for this to matter but then they go out and their dope is going to be way off at long range. The market is slowly catching up and putting faster twists in their rifles but some, and I’m thinking of the 270win 150gr ELD-X are just SOL because I am unaware of a single factory rifle that comes with the 1:9 twist my stability calculator tells me would be required to stabilize that bullet and get full potential out of a 270win. which is borderline deceptive as the majority of Jack O’Connor worshippers out there are also probably the types who will buy into the marketing hype on this ammo and head out and start taking shots and missing or worse wounding game at long range with this bad data.

  5. I’m a hornady fan too but I bought some sabot slugs from them they were improperly crimped and customer service was less than helpful. Kinda pissed me off

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