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I travelled from Manchester with fellow Englishman Pete Carr (editor of Sporting Rifle) to Frankfurt, meeting our ten other European companions - nine Germans and one Austrian. After 24 hours of travel, we finally reached Grand Island, Nebraska, the home of Hornady.


Missed Prairie dogs - the hunter in me cried... Unfortunately, after some dodgy food somewhere on the trip, I missed out on the first day of fun organised by Hornady - a prairie dog hunt! I soon recovered and caught up on the second day with a private tour of the factory, guided by Jason Hornady, the Vice President and grandson of the original founder of the company, Joyce Hornady.


Office or showroom?


A large industrial unit in the distance could be any large factory or distribution centre but the subtle Hornady logo above the blissfully air-conditioned reception was inviting. Entering the lobby, the sight was jaw-dropping. Every room was beautifully furnished with fine wooden furniture and hundreds of wonderfully presented trophy animal taxidermy specimens from around the world, plus an abundance of local souvenirs and tribal emblems collected by the Hornady family and their employees. Although Target Shooter caters for the non-hunting appetites of our shooting brotherhood, it was hard not to admire the heritage, respect and experience contained within these walls with regard to a worldwide hunting audience, as well as target shooters. Knowing how to make a bullet that will punch out a paper target is one thing but, to stop a charging water buffalo which may endanger the life of a customer is quite another. This company’s owners and employees have walked the walk.


From art to engineering through one heavy (soundproof) door Within this one factory, everything from smelting and purifying the lead for the bullet cores to the production of reloading dies takes place. A two-hour whistle-stop spin around the thousands of square


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Target Shooter Magazine THE WIND


visit Hornady in Nebraska


feet left little time for questions and specifics but an abundance of photo opportunities in the noisier locations made up for it.


The factory was just scaling back up to full production levels after a two week holiday period but judging by the repeat counters on some machines, day and night hold no bounds with a skeleton staff having kept a few `jobs` ticking over. There is a fascinating combination of equipment used, from WW2 bullet forming presses running at 40 finished bullets per minute alongside modern pneumatic equivalents running at three times the speed.


One thing you quickly learn to virtually ignore are the buckets and I mean `BUCKETS` of bullets - everywhere you look, in every state of the manufacturing process. Staggering quantities in all calibres are absolutely everywhere and chaos only seems to descend back to normality at the warehousing stage. A feeling like `Charlie` in the chocolate factory is only crushed by the lack of small orange Oompah Loompas.


Don’t mention the war! The factory location originates from a wartime ammunition plant and along with machine shops and tool works to keep all the machines running, a full testing laboratory is in place, originally created in 1949 to allow ALL bullets to be proven on an underground 200 yard range. Up until this creation, Joyce Hornady had driven out to a local range to test all batches of production bullets so, retreating from the outdoor atmospherics, cut out a lot of unwanted variables. My Hornady reloading manual has been a constant reference from the day I started `rolling my own` (shamefully more well thumbed than some of my university engineering manuals) and to visit the factory and specific room in which it was researched and written was quite a privilege.


Filing cabinets bursting with test data along with `THE` test bench, pressure barrels and actions and a broad selection of firearms are on hand. It isn’t something we have to worry about in the UK but


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