Hornady Outfitter Ammo

By Joe Ferronato

The powers that be are trying hard to take away lead ammunition; it seems they go after everything I hold dear. What’s next, Zyn? Probably, but that’s a conversation for another time.

With more states implementing restrictions on lead, sportsmen are looking for nontoxic options that still perform. And on the flip side, manufacturers are trying to make the best copper projectiles they can. The problem with copper is that it’s not nearly as dense as lead. To get the same weight as lead with copper, you end up with a very long bullet. Traditionally, rifles with slower twist rates couldn’t stabilize heavy copper projectiles and accuracy would suffer.

Modern, fast twist rates in rifles have changed that. Heavier copper bullets are flying extremely well and offering great terminal performance on target. One of the best we’ve tried is Hornady’s Outfitter line loaded with the CX bullet. I’ve shot these loads in all the PRCs and have seen great accuracy.

The CX bullet I have the most experience with is the 190-grain loaded into the ever-powerful .300 PRC—which, though this may be blasphemy to say, has replaced the .300 Win. Mag. as my go-to .30 cal. The .300 PRC loads have accompanied me to Alaska on a couple trips and performed flawlessly.

I took a Sitka blacktail deer on Chichagof Island with the CX. I know what you’re thinking, that’s a bit much for a blacktail. You may be right, but overkill is underrated, and those damn deer are tough. Not tough enough to withstand the 190-grains of copper, but still tough. I shot the deer twice, he was dead on the first shot but stumbled forward, so he took another that anchored him.

Inspecting the terminal performance of the bullet was quick and easy. There was no mystery that the bullet expanded well, as the exit wounds and internal carnage proved the round did its job. I didn’t recover either projectile because both zipped through deer and buried well into the alpine muskeg.

With a .300 PRC in hand again, I went from overkill to what many may believe is “just enough” on this hunt. Grizzly bears are usually taken with heavy-for-caliber, slow-moving slugs that dump their energy on impact to break animals down. These are usually shot from a .338, .375, or the like. The 190-grain in the .300 PRC is just the opposite: fast flying, and the CX is designed to penetrate and carry its energy rather than dump it on impact. But I trust these bullets, obviously, or I wouldn’t have opted to use them on a potentially dangerous hunt.

The first shot on my bear was heavily quartering to, my preferred angle to break down the shoulder and rip through the vitals. The shot impacted, and the front left shoulder was rendered unusable, upon later inspection I found it to be completely shattered, and the bullet buried into the hindquarter on the opposite side. It traveled through feet of bone, dense muscle, and vital tissue. The bear was dead on its feet, but was still moving, so I kept shooting. The next two shots punched through the vitals and kept going, for all I know, they could still be in orbit. The internal damage was immense.

These CX bullets are designed to perform at any shot angle, on broadside shots where impact is on mostly soft tissue, expect a swift pass through, but they still expand well, creating immense terminal shock that puts animals down fast. They don’t expand as well as a lead-core bullet, but they don’t just pencil-hole straight through like some other copper rounds.

Where these bullets really shine is on quartering shots where penetration matters. A lot of lead-core bullets struggle pushing through heavy-boned animals when hitting bone on at an angle, but that’s not the case with the CX. The monolithic design is purpose-built for penetration, increasing success at more shot angles. After impacting heavy bone, these bullets expand but retain most of their weight, which carries its energy forward and deep into the body cavity.

Hornady offers their Outfitter ammunition loaded with the CX bullet in most all the popular hunting calibers of today. I wouldn’t hesitate to use this ammo on any hunt, and it’s quickly become my go-to—even when our benevolent overlords still let me use lead.

Pros: Accurate, hard-hitting, great penetration, legal to hunt with in lead-restricted areas, chambered in most all popular hunting calibers

Cons: None

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