Hornady Match ammunition is designed with long range and competition shooters in mind. Here's what makes this ammo special.
Producing large batches of ammunition capable of pinpoint accuracy isn't an easy task. However, in an effort to design the best possible factory produced match ammunition, the engineers at Hornady took everything they knew about bullet manufacturing and combined it with some of the most advanced technology currently available to produce the Hornady Match line of ammo.
Strict quality control is essential for manufacturing ammunition that exhibits the extremely high levels of consistency necessary for match grade accuracy at long range. Among other factors, this requires consistent charges of exactly the right powder for the cartridge, uniformly manufactured brass cases made to the correct specifications, high ballistic coefficient bullets made to an identical standard with a perfect meplat, and proper bullet seating for a consistent overall length.
Interestingly enough though, the engineers at Hornady recently discovered a major area for improvement in their bullet manufacturing process by accident.
A few years ago, they were using Doppler radar to determine the ballistic coefficient of a new hunting bullet they were about to release. However, they made a shocking discovery with the radar tests: the ballistic coefficient of the bullet was actually changing during flight. Since BC is a measure of how aerodynamic a bullet is, having one that changes mid-flight is very bad for accuracy and for determining the bullet trajectory at long range.
After a bit more analysis, the engineers realized the polymer tip on their bullet was melting and deforming due to the heat generated by the friction between the bullet and the air. This problem wasn't limited just to their bullets either: the polymer tips they tested on every other bullet from other manufacturers melted as well.
They eventually developed what Hornady now calls a Heat Shield tip. This tip is much more resistant to aerodynamic heating and will retain its shape in flight.
When all was said and done, Hornady used what they learned from those tests to develop two extremely accurate bullets, both of which incorporate Heat Shield tips: the Extremely Low Drag Match (ELD Match) and the Extremely Low Drag Expanding (ELD-X).
The bullets are very similar in many ways beyond their Heat Shield Tips. Both feature Hornady's Advanced Manufacturing process (AMP) bullet jackets, a secant ogive shape, have a high-performance boattail design, and are loaded to optimal velocity for consistent performance, repeatable accuracy, and a high ballistic coefficient.
However, the ELD-X has a thicker shank and an interlock ring designed to minimize the chances of core/jacket separation and enhance weight retention. Since it's not designed with hunting in mind, the Hornady ELD Match lacks both of these features.
Hornady Match ammo is exclusively manufactured as rifle ammunition. It's currently available in the following calibers: .223 Remington, .224 Valkyrie, 6mm Creedmoor, .260 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, .300 PRC, .300 Norma Magnum, .338 Lapua Magnum, and .50 BMG.
The .50 BMG load uses a 750 grain A-Max bullet and the .223 Remington, .308 Winchester, and .338 Lapua are all manufactured using both ELD Match and boat tail hollow point (BTHP) Match bullet types. The rest of Hornady Match line exclusively uses their ELD Match bullet.
While Hornady Match ammo is designed with competition shooters in mind, it will also perform admirably as hunting ammunition in some cases. This is particularly true for thin-skinned game like deer and pronghorn. However, it's not as well suited for the task as Hornady Precision Hunter ammo, so you should probably not use the ELD Match ammunition for hunting really big animals like elk, moose, and red stag.
Hornady Match ammo is also not lead free, so it's not legal to use for hunting in California. If you live elsewhere in the United States, check your local laws to ensure it's legal to use for big game hunting before taking it afield.
In contrast to Hornady Superformance ammunition, the Match line of ammo is not loaded to obtain the highest possible muzzle velocity. Instead, it's loaded for the optimal pressure and velocity to obtain the best possible accuracy.
That being said, this ammunition excels in its intended role as extremely accurate and consistent ammo for punching paper and banging steel at the range. So, if you're looking for the best stuff to feed your match rifle for competition shooting, check out the Hornady Match line of ammo.