View Full Version : Trouble with Hornady Match Ammunition...

January 1, 2014, 08:07 PM
So as my username suggests, I am fairly new to long range bolt action rifles. That being said, I have fired and operated a wide variety of different manufacturers/calibers. I just haven't owned one myself until very recently. I just purchased a brand new Weatherby Vanguard S2 in .308 and have already encountered one potential problem.

While searching for a relatively cheap and accurate round I was pointed towards Hornady and ended up buying a few boxes of their Match 168gr BTHP rounds. However, when I went to chamber the first round I encountered some serious resistance when pushing the bolt down (to the point I thought that something might have been wrong with my gun). When moving the bolt forward and backwards its as smooth as can be, but when I actually go to flip the bolt up or down it requires easily three to four times the normal amount force as compared to other factory loads.

Now I stumbled upon this information on their website:

Tight Wall Concentricity:
Concentricity helps to ensure proper bullet seating in both the case and the chamber of your firearm. Higher concentricity also aids in a uniform release of the bullet on firing, for optimal velocity and accuracy.

I don't know if this means that they just make their bullets fit a little bit more "snug" or if this is something I should worry about. Because it really does take quite a bit of effort with these bullets, especially when laying prone.

Essentially I just don't know what implications this carries with it, and if I should be hesitant to shoot this ammo or not. Because with every other factory load I have bought the weight of my hand is almost enough to push the bolt down and it makes a nice sort of clicking sound. With the Hornady's however I really have to push down and it doesn't make any sound.


Thanks guys, I really appreciate the help.


big al hunter
January 1, 2014, 08:27 PM
Tight Wall Concentricity: Concentricity helps to ensure proper bullet seating
This means that Hornady makes the cases larger so they chamber tightly. I would expect what you have observed in your rifle. It should be safe to use. Many hand loaders use the same principles to gain accuracy. The only thing that would stop me from using it is if the bolt was significantly harder to open after firing than before. This is a sign of high pressure.

January 1, 2014, 08:28 PM
I can't answer your specific situation but keep in mind that firearms and ammo are made to specific standards with reasonable tolerances. If you happen to have a rifle with a tight chamber or minimum headspace, you MAY encounter ammo that happens to be close to the upper end of tolerances which may fit your chamber snugly.
First, makes sure you have cleaned your rifle's chamber, bolt, and locking lug recesses. Then lube the backside of the locking lugs and work the bolt a few times(this will prevent galling of the lug/recess surfaces). Now try the Hornady ammo and see if it seems excessively hard to chamber.
Over the years, I've encountered several rifles that failed to chamber certain brands of ammo. Most of my match grade handloads require force to close the bolt.

January 1, 2014, 09:01 PM
If you have chambered other factory rounds and are not having the issue I would suspect something is not right with the Hornady ammo. At the very least I would call Hornady and ask their opinion before firing any.

January 1, 2014, 09:43 PM
It could be a tight headspace rifle,to spec,and just a tolerance stackup.

Another possibility...

I put together a copy of a 1903A4 Springfield WW2 sniper rifle.I used a new Criterion replacement barrel.It was chambered already.
As I dressed the front of the receiver ring square,the barrel screwed in just a touch too far,so I had to set it back one thread.A vintage,yet pristine set of 30-06 reamers with gages was available to use to deepen the chamber.I cut till it accepted the "Go" gage.

Later,shooting it with kraigwy,closing the bolt was hard.

kraig thought maybe my cases were not sized sufficiently(which would be a #1 thing to suspect),but I knew I had used new brass and bumped the die on the shellholder for this batch of ammo.I had also checked the cases in a bushing gage as good.I loaded it to be useful im my Garand,also new and unfamiliar.

I was concerned that I had not cut the extractor notch deep enough,.

I was addressing the extractor when I noticed rifling marks on .
the bullet ogive of the dummy rounds I loaded. .I was loading these to loading manual suggested over all length,using 168 gr hornady match bullets.

The problem was I was forcing the bullet into the rifling..essentially deeper seating the bullets.

Hornady uses a secant ogive bullet...instead of a radius blending tangent into the cylindrical bullet body,there is a corner or chine.

In my rifle,I just needed to seat the bullets a little deeper to solve the problem.

Try rubbing a marker on one of your bullets,chamber a round,then open the bolt back up and extract the round.Look close at the bullet for rifling marks,also,do a before and after length measurement if you have calipers.

As you are a self described noob,please do this safely.

It is possible the bullet will stick in the rifling and actually pull out of the case.A gentle bump with a cleaning rod will fix that

Its not a bad thing to have a short throat rifle,we just have to learn what our rifle likes.

If it is a short throat via the test,it will be friendly to load the skinny nose VLD bullets close to the rifling,like a Berger,and still have them fit in the mag box.

Bart B.
January 2, 2014, 09:56 AM
I don't think Hornady cases are a tighter fit in the chamber. Nowhere in their information is that stated. But their case wall thickness may well be very uniform and that's what I glean from reading what they say. Cases don't need to be a close fit to the chamber walls to shoot very, very accurate anyway.

If you blacken a new round's outside (all over, everywhere) with a black ink marker then chamber it, remove it and see where the ink's been scraped off. That'll show you where the point is that's contacting the chamber. Let us know where that is, then perhaps we can help you fix it.

January 2, 2014, 10:01 AM
I once had some Remington .243 that behaved like that. I called Remington and spoke with a tech rep. He was very helpful and asked for the ammo so they could run it through quality control for testing. They paid for the shipping and sent me some complimentary ammo.
I later got a call back telling me they had isolated a defective die in their manufacturing line and replaced it. They thanked me for brining this to their attention. That was important to them because other people who go the bad ammo but did not contact them are now simply unhappy customers who are bad mouthing Remington.
Stop using the ammo and call or e-mail Hornaday. BTW, Hornaday is known for good customer service, they want to hear from you.

January 10, 2014, 07:34 AM
I also have had this problem with their "Custom" line, it was 7mm, rem mag that wouldn't chamber without force. I knew it wasn't my rifle because i already shot one box of the very same ammo through it.
I called Hornady,whereupon they said send it back, and they sent me a new box. They had their seating die adjusted incorrectly, and it rolled the shoulder barely enough to give hard chambering..
it happens once in awhile... Hornady does have a nice Customer Service and are very accomidating, so good luck and happy shootin dude.

January 10, 2014, 09:59 AM
Also happened with Barns. Call them, they will want it back and will send a replacement. Remember, your experience is very valuable to them for quality control. They will make it right.