Hornady made an important announcement Tuesday by introducing a new type of polymer tip for its rifle ammunition. The Heat Shield Tip will be featured on the company’s new ELD-X [Extremely Low Drag-eXpanding] and ELD Match bullets.

Hornady created the tip after discovering a problem during the testing of another bullet type. The product was almost ready to debut on the market, but something strange popped up when the engineers tested the round’s ballistic coefficient with Doppler radar. The bullet’s drag was increasing substantially as the round passed downrange; some part of the bullet was changing shape midflight, affecting how the slug cut through the air. It was the tips, which were melting at high velocities.

“We dove into the material properties of plastics,” Joe Thielen, Hornady’s Assistant Director of Engineering, said. “What’s their melt temperature? What are they at room temperature? What type of heat transfer characteristics do they have? And we arrived at a material that can handle elevated temperatures for longer periods of time.”

“It’s a material with two-and-a-half to three times the melting point temperature of currently used materials, and it’s a molded plastic part,” Hornady’s Chief Ballistician Dave Emary said. “[With] these, you can get exactly the same point on a bullet — every single time, every single bullet, and every single lot of bullets that you make.”

The ELD-X bullet isn’t just the same old bullet acting as a carrier for the new tip. The slug itself is new, with the capabilities of match-grade ammunition combined with the controlled-expansion required for hunting.

Hornady’s Vice President Jason Hornady said, “We wanted to come up with a hunting bullet that you could shoot a match with.”

To do that, Hornady essentially combined all of its ammunition technologies in one bullet. The AMP bullet jacket is from the match ammo lines, with the core made of the same Interlock technology found in its hunting rounds.


The different components of the ELD-X bullet combine match and hunting ammo’s best qualities.


Hornady’s President Steve Hornady called the ammo the quest for a “ballistic constant,” with each round having the same tip, characteristics, and performance as every other round produced, regardless of its placement in Lot # 1 or Lot # 1,000,000.

Unlike other controlled-expansion rounds, the ELDs are made to continuously expand, not expand to a certain point and stop. Drive one through a moose and the round not only pushes farther into the animal, but cuts a progressively larger wound as it goes.

At 800 yards, ELD shooters can expect 85-90 percent weight retention, one-and-a-half times expansion, and two feet of penetration on average. 

Match shooters will appreciate the Heat Shield tip for its elimination of vertical shot stringing. Since the tips of the bullets are uniform compared to jagged-edged hollowpoints, the drag is consistent across the bullet’s path.

To find out more, visit Hornady’s new products page.


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