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Ten Bullets Through One Hole

Joyce W. Hornady was born in 1907, raised, and educated in the great state of Nebraska. In 1942 he moved with his wife Marval to Grand Island, where he was employed to teach marksmanship to the guard force of the Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant. Joyce opened a sporting goods store the year after WWII ended, and soon got to work building up the business we all remember him for today.

Hunting for a Niche

While the end of the war coincided with a glut of surplus ammunition, Joyce recognized that none of it would be ideal for hunting. Having previously partnered with Vernon Speer to make bullet jackets out of old shell casings, Joyce already knew what he was doing when he bought up surplus ammunition manufacturing tools and equipment from the U.S. government. He set up a Waterbury-Farrell transfer press in an old garage and began making bullets.

Joyce’s first commercially available component bullet was a .30 caliber 150 grain spire point. Although a fine specimen of a bullet, Joyce only grossed $10 thousand during his first year in business in 1949. Sales tripled the subsequent year, and Joyce’s staff grew to four men strong, but business was somewhat complicated by the onset of the Korean War.

Wartime Complications for Hornady

Wartime vastly restricted supplies of the metals Joyce needed to manufacture bullets. In order to stay afloat while supporting the war effort, Joyce focused on producing condenser cans and a few other parts for military use. When the war concluded in 1953, Joyce was thus in good shape to resume growing his business. In 1958 he moved his operation to its current location, then an 8,000 sq ft plant with a 200 yard subterranean testing facility. At this time Joyce could finally afford a staff of dedicated salesmen -- no more need to monitor his company from the road.

Joyce oversaw a radical design change in the early 1960s. By then he produced bullets ranging in size from .22 to .45 caliber, although all of his company’s spire point bullets still sported the traditional conic profile. After steady research and development, Joyce switched over to the secant ogive profile, a streamlined geometry which intrinsically boosts a bullet’s ballistic coefficient. Many of Hornady’s bullets still employ the secant ogive to this day.

Joyce formed Frontier Ammunition, which was intended to load his bullets in spent military casings, in 1964. Such casings started becoming scarce in 1965 as the result of the Vietnam War, so Joyce switched over to new production casings. By this point Joyce’s factory had grown in size to 25,000 sq ft and employed 40 workers, and his business was growing at a rate of 30 percent per year.

In 1965 Hornady introduced the Intergroove bullet, which featured a scored jacket tip to facilitate uniform expansion in a variety of profiles. 1977 brought the InterLock, a feature which mechanically anchors a bullet’s jacket and core together to promote the weight retention requisite for deep penetration. Such commitment to innovation had grown Hornady from a one man show to a multi-million dollar enterprise in only two decades.

Passing of a Legend

Tragedy struck the shooting world on January 15th, 1981, when Joyce and two of his employees lost their lives in a plane crash while en route to the SHOT Show in New Orleans. Grieving, yet eager to continue his father’s legacy, Steve Hornady stepped up as president of Hornady, with Joyce’s widow Maval serving as chairman of the board. Steve still serves as president, and with his son Jason as vice president Hornady is set to remain a family business for years to come.

Hornady Ammo logo
1949; Grand Island, Nebraska
Joyce Hornady
Grand Island, Nebraska
Ammo Made
Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Rimfire
Popular Lines
Critical Defense, Varmint Express, Superformance, Black, Frontier

Hornady Ammo Today

Hornady currently produces a great variety of rimfire and centerfire rifle and pistol ammunition, as well as shotshells, muzzle loading bullets, and reloading equipment. While Hornady offers traditional bullets such as the SP, FMJBT, and BTHP, they’re best known for their uniquely named bullets that boast several technologically advanced features.

A-TIP Match: With its long, precisione machined aluminum tip, the A-TIP Match produces nearly negligible drag in flight for exceptionally tight groupings.

ELD Match: Boasting a combination of features that dramatically heighten its ballistic coefficient including a secant ogive profile, Advanced Manufacturing Process jacket, and Heat Shield tip, the ELD Match is one of America’s preeminent target shooting projectiles.

ELD-X: By combining the aerodynamic features of the ELD Match with an InterLock ring and polymer tip that initiates massive expansion, the ELD-X is at once match accurate and perfectly suited for hunting a variety of game.

GMX: Made entirely of copper, the monolithic and polymer tipped GMX combines high weight retention, deep penetration, and massive expansion.

InterBond: Created via Hornady’s proprietary bonding process, the InterBond’s one-piece lead core and extra thick jacket promote virtually perfect weight retention accompanied by more than double diameter mushrooming.

V-MAX: Specialized for varmint hunting, the V-MAX features a sharp polymer tip positioned over a hollow within its swaged lead core. The tip builds up tremendous energy before unleashing catastrophic fragmentation within its target.

NTX: With its design similar to the V-MAX, the NTX delivers explosive terminal performance yet omits lead from its design to permit hunting wherever toxic projectiles are banned.

SST: With its laser-like trajectory and ability to transfer jarring energy followed by deep, deadly cavitation, the SST is suitable for hunting deer ranging from whitetail to moose.

XTP: Ideal for self-defense and hunting alike, the hollow point XTP features internal serrations, varying jacket thicknesses, and a shielded nose cavity rim to guarantee consistent expansion during penetration.

FTX: With its columnar or pointed polymer Flex Tip, the FTX’s nose cavity resists jamming with debris before it can deliver consistently lethal expansion within a threat or quarry.

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