Hornady Critical Defense
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In 1949 when Joyce Hornady set out to design and manufacture a better product for handloaders, not everyone expected him to succeed. With World War II over and the economy returning to peacetime status, it seemed a good time to kick off a fledgling venture, but one catering to handloaders seemed far-fetched to many skeptics.

Incredibly, the company celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2024, proving the naysayers dead wrong. And over those 75 years the company has grown into an industry behemoth that still addresses the needs of handloaders, but also those wanting to purchase quality, already manufactured ammunition.

Located in Grand Island, Nebraska, Hornady is now a legendary company. But it didn’t start out that way.

From humble beginnings, by 1958 the company’s need for space required it to move to its present location, an 8,000-square-foot plant with a 200-yard underground test facility. J.W. Hornady no longer had to drive to a range to test bullets, since he could just walk downstairs to the range and ballistic lab.

By the early 1960s, the company had tripled its manufacturing space to 25,000 square feet, employed 40 people, hired its first marketing director, acquired the most modern machine tools available at the time, had an inventory of Waterbury Farrell presses for further expansion, and was growing at a rate of 30% per year. Joyce Hornady’s youngest son, Steve, joined the company in 1970.

After Joyce Hornady was killed in a plane crash on the way to SHOT Show in 1981, Steve Hornady took the reins of the company. And in the subsequent 43 years Steve has led Hornady to steady growth and its current status as a leader in the ammunition industry.

While the company still manufactures excellent handloading components, ammunition and handloading equipment, it has branched out substantially over the past several years. Everything from apparel and accessories to books, videos, gifts, novelties and top-quality gun storage products can be found on the company’s website.

To celebrate the momentous occasion of its 75th anniversary, Hornady is introducing a bevy of new products for 2024. One such is the company’s new V-Match ammo, which combines exceptional aerodynamics with high-quality components for match-grade accuracy and violent expansion. It’s available in 6mm ARC, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Grendel and the brand new 22 ARC (Advanced Rifle Chambering).

Speaking of the 22 ARC, it’s another of Hornady’s exciting new offerings this year. By using a new 62-grain ELD-VT bullet, the 22 ARC brings performance rivaling the .22-250 to the AR-15 platform.

Equally exciting is the new Hornady ELD-VT bullet. Available four calibers for handloaders, this new offering is said to provide unmatched accuracy and rapid fragmentation for varmint-shooting and other long-range pursuit.

The 5.7x28mm cartridge is also new to the lineup. Using components designed to ensure reliable cycling and optimize powder burn, the new 5.7×28 features a 40-grain FTX bullet in the Critical Defense line and a 40-grain V-MAX in Hornady Black.

The company is also introducing new products in its safe, target and reloading accessories line this year. Take a look at all the 75th anniversary goodness right here.

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  1. It’s available in 6mm ARC, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Grendel and the brand new 22 ARC (Advanced Rifle Chambering).

    6.5 Grendel beat out 6.8 SPC in the vhs betamax ammo battle.

    I cleaned out a localish large retailer of their Hornady 6.8 SPC a few years ago. I haven’t seen any back since then.

    • There isn’t a whole lot of 6.5 Grendel on the shelves these days. Any boxes I’ve seen have usually been extremely overpriced. Hornady is about the only U.S. manufacturer that has consistently(?) produced 6.5 Grendel ammo over the years. I haven’t seen Federal 6.5 Grendel on the shelves in a long time and I don’t think Winchester ever produced any. PPU 6.5 Grendel can be found online (also rebranded under Nemo Arms) along with Russian-made Wolf Military Classic steel-cased (which will eventually dry up).
      So any 6.5 Grendel brass I come across I usually scrounge up…

    • I haven’t seen critical defense in at least a year.Or 556/223 from Hornady. Critical Duty yeah. No chance of ordering it to ILLannoy.

      • Good Quality Ammo, shot a bunch, have a bunch. Thankfully Steve Hornady was no hunter biden.

        TRUMP 2024.

    • ^^This^^

      The question at hand for nearly every business nowadays. I always look for the country of manufacture if possible, and am willing to pay a little more to support domestic business, and American paychecks. I’ve never supported unions (they’re all grifters), but I support keeping American dollars in American hands, and supporting American jobs.

      • I shoot Polish Makarov ammo (Mesko, made in Soviet munitions plant #21) in my Polish pistol (Made in Soviet arms plant #11) all for the glory of the motherland.


        When Wilson Combat gets their Underwood plant running well enough to bring down their Xtreme Defender ammo in 9x18mm Makarov down to something resembling a buck a round maybe I’ll be willing to buy American for it. Meanwhile I can buy Mesko for for like $17/box of 50 from Ammo Supply Warehouse.

        If it was good enough for the Soviet Army it’s good enough for me. I don’t shoot JHP in anything smaller than 9mm Luger.

        • I’m very comfortable spending my $$$ in an American family owned business that sells European or Mexican or whoevers ammo.

      • One reason why I put libertarians. Liberals and the left together. They are the same as the communists and the s0ci@list pr0gressives.

        They all would be very happy if we lost the manufacturing base in the United States. They would be comfortable if the United States had no firearms industry. And we had to import all our guns.

        If it meant destroying Raytheon and the rest of the military-industrial complex. Yeah you bet they would be glad if the US gun industry went and moved away.

        That’s why they hate Trump and the MAGA movement. They’re all internationist. They hate putting America first. They can’t stand it.


        • More than a 100 years ago, the Americans and the Germans basically used same guns to kill each other. And now in the 21st century, the arabs and the jews are using american supplied weapons to kill each other.

          Yes the firearms industry is making a lot of money. And it always has made a lot of money.

    • There are no lead smelting plants in the USA so I figure all the lead used in bullets comes from,, ,,,,Antarctica?

    • May want to load that yourself if you are in any kind of hurry. 40 still gets attention but not like even 5 years ago.

      • And the lead for those batteries came from? Oh that’s right China, again.
        Dead batteries versus all the bullets made in a year.
        ” Bubba , your going to have to get a machine gunm, you ain’t killing batteries fast enough to keep up with the demand.”
        “Damnit Cletus, I’m killing them dead as fast as I can but I’m running out of bullets.”
        If you buy a truck load of apples for $2000 in Oregon and sale the truck load of apples in Arkansas for $2000 the reason your not making any money is because you need a bigger truck.

  2. Excellent ammo, excellent company. Those reading this who are new to shooting, you may find a type of ammo that suits your needs better eventually, but if you fill your carry and home defense guns with Hornady rounds, you’ll be well protected.

  3. “In 1949 when Joyce Hornady set out to design and manufacture a better product for handloaders, not everyone expected him to succeed. With World War II over and the economy returning to peacetime status, it seemed a good time to kick off a fledgling venture, but one catering to handloaders seemed far-fetched to many skeptics.”

    Worse, the nation was literally dumping post-war surplus powder into the ocean to get rid of it…

  4. When people are willing to pay 50% more for a box of 25 rounds than their competitors are selling a box of 50 they can take the cash to the bank and fill up the corporate jets with Al Gore rhythm fuel.

  5. I’ve shot not an insignificant amount of 168gr Black Rifle (308Win) and 325gr XTP (50AE). Both have been nearly flawless for years.
    Had issues with the 50AE ammo on three separate outings in 2023. The slide would stop around .1″ short of battery after clambering each fresh round. A slight nudge was needed to put it into battery.
    Changed recoil springs and throughly cleaned/lubed the BCG/chamber of the DEagle. Didn’t fix the issue.
    The last 50AE range days were a few weeks ago in Georgia, brought a 200rd case of Armscor 50AE along with the usual Hornaday stuff. The whole case of Armscor ran flawless, the Hornaday (40rds) did the usual, .1″ out of battery.
    This Hornaday ammo was purchased around 5 yrs ago in 200rd cases. Only purchased the cases of Armscor as a backup supply, it was too good a price to pass up.
    Seems odd that the DEagle suddenly doesn’t like the Hornaday XTP ammo, yet runs the cheaper Armscor stuff fine.
    This is like a wine snob suddenly demanding ONLY boxed wine.

    • If you smash the boxes more fit in trash can and your neighbors don’t hear all the empty bottles, thinking your a drunk, when the trash truck shows up

    • Some 357ammo had a similar issue where the cylinder wouldn’t be able to close. Turns out for my revolver a medium to heavy crimp is required to allow the rounds to fit just right in the cylinder. Maybe for you some measurement is off somewhere that is just enough of a friction point to not allow a full cycle.

      • That makes sense.
        I’ll have to take some measurements with a micrometer to see what the difference is between the two brands of ammo.

        • Carefully measure the step between the bullet and the outside diameter of the case on both. I’ll bet the ones that are hanging up either have a slightly bigger step that is catching or the crimp is a little smoother on the ones that don’t.

    • James, I had the same problem with Armscor 22LR in my Colt Government model.
      Gun would not go into battery without a tap and after 2 magazines, I gave the remaining brick to a friend with a revolver. I have been running CCI, Federal etc with no issues and never had any issues with the gun until I tried Armscor.

      • If it was just a box or two I would probably just shoot though it.
        I may end up having to purchasing a set of 50AE crimping dies to size it before shooting.

  6. Happy Birthday 🎂! Great bullets and ammo. I’ve only used the rifle ammunition. Accurate and deadly.

  7. I’ve been shooting Hornady stuff for decades. I have one Walther 9mm that does measurably better on Sig V-crowns, but all the rest smile whenever I open up a box that has that big H on it, whether components or loaded cartridges.

    They also produce a very educational series of podcasts/videos on various shooting sports topics. Happy Birthday to a great family owned American company!

  8. I will commend Hornady for their customer service.

    The locking bushing on my Lock’n’Load press had cracked. I emailed a description of the issue and noted the part number from a reference photo on their website. They replied asking for my address. I replied back saying I was in Australia. They said they knew that from my email address and would send the replacement part free of charge. A week later the replacement part arrived in the mail.

    • I drastically cut back on purchasing H ammo after that BS too.
      There were some great deals on Hornaday 50AE and 308Win during the ammo shortage though.
      Same with Bufflo Bore 45 Super. That stuff was selling for less then most quality 9mm range ammo.
      I ended up buying an HK Mark 23 just to have a gun to shoot 45 Super. Bought BBore clean out.
      They stopped taking orders on 45 Super for 6 weeks after my purchase. 😄

  9. i haven’t bought a single box of hornady ammo since the day that they started pushing the jab on their emoloyees. before then I bought there stuff by the case or pallet but not now.

    • We do not know that to keep their insurance or unemployment benefit premiums down they were required by .giv to force their employees to be poisoned, I mean vaccinated.
      It is a vaccine right.
      Like tetanus , or rabies vaccine.

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