The Anatomy of a Bullet

Joyce Hornady recognized innovation as the product of a quest for perfection, and a belief that the next big breakthrough was just around the corner. Founded on the principle of making better shooting products, that desire has led to a wave of ingenuity ever since.

diagram of bullet

Secant Ogive Design

Pioneered by Hornady® for use in hunting bullets, this technology broke new ground in ballistic engineering and is now used in bullets for everything from match to varmint shooting. The secant ogive is a geometrically developed design that creates the most ballistically efficient profile, yet retains the optimum bearing surface. The combination of the slender point and increased bearing surface results in lower drag, increased stability, flatter trajectories, and amazing accuracy.

Types of Tips

aluminum bullet tip graphicAluminum Tip

This precision machined tip is longer, moving the center of gravity to enhance stability and reduce drag variability.

heat shield bullet tip graphicHeat Shield™ Tip

This tip resists the effects of aerodynamic heating and retains its shape to provide a perfect and consistent meplat (tip).

flextip bullet tip graphicFlex Tip™

Allows for more aerodynamic bullets in tubular magazines. The soft Flex Tip  initiates expansion, even at lower velocities. It penetrates deep with high weight retention.

polymer bullet tip graphicPolymer Tip

This tip increases ballistic coefficient and initiates dramatic expansion upon impact, even at low velocities.

spire point bullet tip graphicSpire Point

Used as hunting bullets, the spire point offers dependable expansion at moderate ranges.

hollow point bullet tip graphicHollow Point

Traditional way of finishing an ogive that allows smaller, tighter points, yielding a more aerodynamically efficient bullet.

flat point bullet tip graphicFlat Point

This hunting bullet design provides controlled expansion with a profile that is safe for tubular magazines.

round nose bullet tip graphicRound Nose

This hunting bullet design is for use at short-to-moderate ranges. When it penetrates game, it is designed to expand and mushroom dependably.

full metal jacket bullet tip graphicFull Metal Jacket

Traditional method of forming economical projectiles that provide reliable feeding in semi- and fully automatic platforms.

Bullet Details

Click on a point for more information

Anatomy of a Bullet
  • The Meplat

    Defined as "the diameter of the end of the tip of the projectile." Careful attention is paid to the meplat because its diameter and uniformity contribute to the aerodynamic efficiency of the bullet.

  • The Tip

    Hornady® is recognized as a world leader in bullet tip development. Although small, the tip has a bigger impact on overall performance than perhaps any other portion of the bullet. Innovations in shape and material have led to breakthroughs in accuracy and aerodynamic efficiency. At extended range, the proper tip can reduce vertical stringing, retain downrange velocity and energy, and initiate expansion.

  • The Jacket

    Using advanced manufacturing processes and decades of bullet engineering experience, we precisely control jacket thickness for optimum controlled expansion. Our AMP® bullet jackets* have virtually zero runout and near zero wall thickness variation.

    *Not found on all bullets.

  • The Core

    Hornady® bullets have three core varieties. First, the traditional swaged lead core provides uniformity and balance for consistent performance and accuracy. Second, the nontraditional lead-free core (NTX) offers a phenomenal option when nonlead bullets are required. Lastly, our coreless monolithic one-piece copper alloy bullets won't separate and deliver deeper penetration.

  • The Cannelure*

    The cannelure provides a consistent crimp location, and works with the InterLock  ring to control expansion. Cannelures are also found in select Hornady  bullet lines where semi-automatic or lever gun use is desired.

    *Not found on all bullets.

  • The InterLock™ Ring*

    The raised InterLock™ ring is embedded in the bullet's core, ensuring the core and jacket remain locked during expansion to retain mass and increase penetration. This is found in many Hornady  hunting bullets, but is not used in match or varmint offerings.

    *Not found on all bullets.

  • The Base

    Hornady® bullets primarily come in two styles: boattail and flat base. A boattail design is used to lower the drag at extended range, while the traditional flat base design is often used for shooting at moderate range.

Shooting Application Legend

shooting application legend



packaging photo - all bullets