What You Need to Know About Hornady Varmint Express Ammo
YouTube/Hornady Manufacturing

What You Need to Know About Hornady Varmint Express Ammo

Hornady Varmint Express ammunition is specifically designed for predator and varmint hunters. Here's what makes this ammunition special.

Most of the big manufacturers produce ammo that's designed and marketed for predator or varmint hunting. Regardless of the company that makes it, specialized varmint ammo usually shares a few characteristics: high muzzle velocities, devastating terminal performance on all varmints, and minimal pelt damage on larger predators.

Specialized varmint hunting ammo, like the Nosler Varmageddon line, is also usually chambered in popular small bore cartridges like the .22 centerfires and even a few others like the .243 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor from time to time.

Well, the Hornady Varmint Express line is one of Hornady's varmint hunting offerings (the Superformance Varmint being the other). 

Hornady Varmint Express centerfire rifle ammunition utilizes their polymer tipped V-MAX bullet that the company advertises as delivering rapid fragmentation upon contact, high ballistic coefficients, good resistance to wind drift, and match accuracy at long range.

The Hornady V-Max bullet is highly regarded in the hunting world, and its polymer tip helps improve ballistic coefficient while at the same time helping to initiate expansion upon impact.

Hornady currently produces their Varmint Express ammo in most of the really popular varmint cartridges among hunters in the United States like the 22 Hornet, 223 Remington, 224 Valkyrie, 22-250 Remington, 220 Swift, 6mm Creedmoor, and 6.5 Creedmoor.

Hornady also produces a 12 gauge #4 buckshot load as part of their Varmint Express line.

Finally, Hornady also manufactures a rimfire version of their Varmint Express ammo loaded in 17 Mach 2, 17 HMR, 17 WSM, and 22 WMR. These cartridges are loaded with either the V-Max bullet (17 Mach 2, 17 HMR, 17 WSM, and 22 WMR), their NTX bullet (17 Mach 2 and 17 HMR), or their HP Varmint bullet (17 HMR).

This ammunition is not currently loaded in any handgun cartridges.

Regardless of the exact load and bullet type used, the end goal is the same: rapid fragmentation and devastating terminal performance on predators and varmints at practical hunting ranges.

So what makes this ammunition different from Hornady's own Superformance Varmint line of ammo?

First, while the two lines are available in some of the same cartridges, the Superformance Varmint ammo is available in some different cartridges as well as in a few lighter bullet weights. For instance, the blazing fast 204 Ruger cartridge is available in the Superformance Varmint line, but not the Varmint Express line. In that same vein, the 223 Remington is loaded in 35 and 53 grain bullet weights in the Superformance Varmint line while that same cartridge uses 40gr and 55gr bullets in the Varmint Express line.

Second, in cases where the exact same cartridge is available in the same bullet weights in both lines, the Superformance Varmint ammunition is advertised at a higher velocity (normally 100-200 fps faster).

Third, the Varmint Express ammunition is normally a little bit less expensive to purchase than Superformance Varmint ammo.

Fourth, none of the centerfire Varmint Express loads are loaded with non-toxic ammunition. Thus, they are not legal to use in California. If you need lead free varmint hunting ammunition, either use one of the rimfile Varmint Express loads or Superformance Varmint loads that use the NTX bullet.

Basically, the Superformance Varmint ammunition leans towards slightly higher muzzle velocities whenever possible. Though both loads are still quite effective on varmints, the Superformance line will have a slightly flatter trajectory, but costs a little bit more as a result.

Make no mistake: both the lines are perfectly capable of getting the job done on a wide range of North American varmints and predators with impressive terminal results and hard hitting performance. It's just a matter of which one fits your needs the best.

Like what you see? You can read more great articles by John McAdams on the Big Game Hunting Blog. Follow him on Facebook & YouTube and subscribe to his show: the Big Game Hunting Podcast.