HITS Classifications

The Hornady Index of Terminal Standards (H.I.T.S.) is intended as a guideline to help hunters compare cartridge and bullet combinations. Beginners and seasoned hunters alike will find these standards useful when sorting through online chat room discussions and gun shop “hype” to make sense of an onslaught of varying information.

The index considers variables such as impact velocity, ballistic coefficient, sectional density and bullet weight. Bullet construction is another important factor in determining the best combination. H.I.T.S. is intended for use with hunting bullets, as match bullets may perform unpredictably on game animals.

Remember, H.I.T.S. is merely a guideline to help you choose the proper bullet/cartridge combination. Be sure to consider impact velocity and bullet construction and select a bullet that is appropriate for your situation. Click here to view a quick reference guide of Hornady bullets.

Small Game  

Small Game

less than 500 H.I.T.S.

The basic rule of thumb is that a H.I.T.S. rating of 500 or below describes a bullet/cartridge combination best suited for small game animals weighing less than 50 pounds.

Medium Game  

Medium Game

500-900 H.I.T.S.

A rating of 501 to 900 applies to bullet/cartridge combinations that are applicable for medium-sized game such as deer, antelope, black bear, and caribou, or game weighing 50 to 300 pounds.

Large Game  

Large Game

901-1,500 H.I.T.S.

A rating of 901 to 1,500 specifies cartridge/bullet combinations well-suited for large and heavy, but not generally considered dangerous game. This includes elk, moose, African plains game, red stag, American bison, and other animals weighing between 300 to 2,000 pounds.

Dangerous Game  

Big Five/Very Large Game

over 1500 H.I.T.S.

A rating of 1,501 or greater indicates cartridge/bullet combinations that are suitable for very large game - game that is content hunting you back. There is no weight rating on this category since animals like African lions may weight only 400 pounds.

Calculator  

H.I.T.S. Calculator

over 1500 H.I.T.S.

Choose your most effective cartridge/bullet combination using our H.I.T.S. calculator.