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Hornady LEVERevolution Ammo: Revolutionizing Your Hunts [Review]

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By Pete Rogers

The clock was ticking by slower than molasses in January. I had been sitting on a stand in some unknown forest for going on five hours, placed there by the guide while attending a writer’s conference. I seldom have much confidence in this type of outing. I prefer to scout my own places and sit where I feel the deer are most likely to come. Being placed in a stand without any knowledge of the area is – well, not nearly as exciting.

Glancing at my watch, I knew I had about forty-five minutes before the rusty suburban would rattle down the road directly in front of my stand and pick me up. Thankfully, the weather was pleasant, and the blue skies and cool temperatures kept the hordes of mosquitos at bay. We were at The Clinton House, a hunting preserve in the Midlands of South Carolina. Known mostly as a sporting clays and quail shooting preserve, our conference was there, and we were spending the morning sitting on a deer stand.

As I gazed through the swamp land in front of me, movement caught my eye as a buck was walking directly towards me. When I first noticed him, he was about sixty yards out and closing fast. Lifting my Ruger® Blackhawk® in .44 Rem. Magnum, I took a rest on the shooting rail and got ready for whatever the buck decided to do.

At approximately 40 yards, he stopped to survey the surroundings, and I placed the crosshair of my Bushnell® 2X scope on his brisket and applied pressure to the trigger. The concentration of the aim and pressure on the trigger caused me not to notice the report as the Hornady LEVERevolution .225 grain bullet found its mark. The buck whirled around and ran, crashing a mere thirty yards from where he was shot.


Lever-Action Popularity

Regardless of how you pronounce it, LEVERevolution Ammunition by Hornady® revolutionized the shooting industry. In 2005, Hornady did what other ammunition manufacturers refused to do, they reinvented ammunition for some of the most popular cartridges ever produced. While other ammunition and firearm manufacturers were busy dumping millions into now-defunct “new” calibers, Hornady looked at the landscape of the industry and decided to do something about it.

Whether gun writers like it or not, the lever-action rifle is still one of the most popular rifles on the market. Some would argue that the Model 94 Winchester® and the 336 Marlin® are the best-selling rifles of all time. Couple this with the classic .30-.30 Winchester® as the top-selling cartridge of all time, and it is no wonder Hornady decided to do something about it.


For decades, gun writers have said that the bolt gun is the best gun for most shooters. And for decades, consumers have still bought lever-action rifles as their go-to guns. Granted, there are a lot of bolt guns being sold, but the lever gun is the workhorse of the firearm industry. Like a pump-action shotgun, the lever action is tough, reliable, and functional, while still being affordable.

The one big drawback of the lever-action rifle is the tubular magazine that requires ammunition to be loaded nose-to-tail in the tube. This places pressure on one of the most volatile components of the cartridge, the primer. When bullets are stacked in this fashion, it is impossible to place pointed-nose bullets in these guns due to the pressure the trailing bullet would place on the preceding one. You do not want a bullet with full pressure on a primer of the bullet in front of it, that is a disaster waiting to happen. So, the classic cartridges were manufactured with flat and blunt noses to prevent contact directly to the primer while loading and in the magazine. These designs are functional in the safety realm, but do not provide as accurate of a bullet as one that is conical in shape. Experts agree that a pointed-nose bullet flies faster and more accurately than a blunt-nose bullet.


Hornady LEVERevolution

Hornady® set out to change the game with the LEVERevolution®, using a proprietary design Hornady® patented and elastomer Flex Tip® technology of the FTX® and MonoFlex® bullets. For the first time, there are conical-shaped bullets that are safe to use in tubular magazines. By doing so, Hornady was able to produce a bullet that delivers dramatically flatter trajectory for increased down-range performance.

Estimates place many of these loads at an increase of 250 ft/sec. and 40% more energy over the traditional flat-nosed bullets, all while providing safety in the tubular magazine.

The LEVERevolution® bullets are available in 10 popular rifle calibers, including but not limited to the .25-.35 Winchester, .30-.30 Winchester, .307 Winchester, .308 Marlin Express, .32 Winchester Special, .338 Marlin Express, .35 Remington, .444 Marlin, .45-70 Govt. and the .450 Marlin. Some of these offerings are designed more for cowboy action shooters, but the majority are in popular hunting rounds favored by lever-action aficionados.

A personal favorite is the .45-70 Government in the Marlin 1895 GBL, a beefy gun that can handle heavy loads and provide plenty of energy on the biggest of game. It is pure joy to shoot and to hunt with.

Handgun Hunting

But Hornady did not stop with rifle shooters in the LEVERevolution ammunition. They also added a handgun line of bullets, providing handgun hunters an option for more accuracy and down-range performance in traditional flat-nosed cartridges.

A long passionate fan of the .44 Remington Magnum in handguns, I have often touted its performance in handguns in this and other columns. Preferred by most handgun hunters, the .44 Rem. Mag. is the ideal handgun cartridge challenged only by the .41 Magnum and the .454 Casull. Thankfully, the Hornady LEVERevolution are offered in two of these calibers, along with the .357 Rem. Mag and the .45 Long Colt. Only the .454 Casull is not available in the LEVERevolution – yet. Since the introduction of the LEVERevolution, the accuracy and performance of my .44 Rem. Magnum revolvers have increased significantly with numerous animals to their credit at ranges I never imagined. The LEVERevolution has changed the game for handgun hunters and lever-action hunters alike.

Hornady LEVERevolution Review

Whether you are carrying a lever gun in the back of your truck for varmints or toting a bear rifle into the boreal forest of New England or Alaska, fill the tube with Hornady’s LEVERevolution cartridges, and you will not be disappointed.

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