Hornady GMX vs SST: A Detailed Comparison for Shooting Enthusiasts

Video hornady gmx vs sst

In the world of hunting and shooting, one of the crucial decisions involves the choice of ammunition. Hornady, a prominent brand known for its quality and performance, offers a variety of bullet types that cater to different needs and preferences. Two well-known bullets within the Hornady family are the GMX and the SST. This blog will give an in-depth analysis and comparison of these two Hornady bullets, namely the Hornady GMX vs SST.

Hornady GMX 101

Understanding the Hornady GMX

GMX, which stands for Gilding Metal eXpanding, is one such bullet that has made a mark in the circles of shooters and hunters worldwide. This bullet is constructed entirely from a tough alloy known as gilding metal, which is 95% copper and 5% zinc. Being lead-free, GMX is lauded as an environmentally friendly option.

Features and Performance of Hornady GMX

Thanks to the gilding metal construction, GMX bullets are renowned for their superior toughness and devastating terminal performance. They are designed to provide deep penetration and controlled expansion, retaining over 95% of their weight even when striking bone. Furthermore, their streamlined design delivers ultra-flat trajectories, while the boat tail design enhances its stability.

Hornady SST 101

Understanding the Hornady SST

SST, standing for Super Shock Tip, is another popular bullet choice by Hornady. The SST bullet showcases a sharp, pointed polymer tip, which greatly increases the ballistic coefficient and results in flat trajectory, faster velocity, and enhanced accuracy.

Features and Performance of Hornady SST

One of the hallmarks of the SST bullet is its InterLock Ring feature. This mechanical feature ensures the bullet’s core and jacket remain locked during expansion, leading to formidable energy delivery and remarkable tissue damage. Additionally, the polymer tip initiates fast and controlled expansion upon hitting the target. SST bullets are known for their deadly efficiency in game shooting.

Comparing Hornady GMX vs SST

With a basic understanding of the two bullet types by Hornady: GMX and SST, let’s delve into a head-to-head comparison.

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Material Composition

The GMX bullets are crafted entirely from gilding metal, offering an environmentally-friendly, lead-free option. On the other hand, SST bullets do not share this characteristic, as they contain lead in their composition.

Terminal Performance

GMX bullets boast a solid construction that results in deep penetration and controlled expansion. They retain over 95% of their weight, even upon impact. Conversely, SST bullets are designed to deliver high-energy impact, leading to massive wound channels.

Environmental Impact

As mentioned earlier, GMX bullets are an ideal choice for eco-conscious shooters, due to their lead-free construction. SST bullets, containing lead, don’t provide this environmental advantage.


Generally, GMX bullets tend to be more expensive than SST bullets. This difference in cost is likely associated with metal supply-chain-market factors and the 100% copper construction of GMX.

Hornady GMX vs SST: Which is Best for You?

In the end, the optimal choice between Hornady GMX and SST will depend on the specific requirements and preferences of the shooter or hunter.

Those who prioritize environmental considerations may lean towards GMX due to its lead-free composition. GMX bullets could also be preferred by those who need guaranteed weight retention and deep penetration.

On the other hand, if terminal devastation is your primary goal and cost a significant factor, the SST would be an excellent pick. Its swift and explosive expansion upon impact is second to none.

Regardless of the choice, one thing is certain: Hornady consistently delivers high-quality and performance-oriented bullets. Whether you opt for GMX or SST, you’re set for an unmatched shooting experience.

Remember, safety first. Ensure to follow all firearm safety rules when shooting or hunting, and only use ammunition appropriate for your firearm. Happy shooting!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are Hornady GMX bullets good for?

Hornady GMX bullets are specifically designed for hunting and are known for their excellent terminal performance. These bullets feature a monolithic copper alloy construction that offers controlled expansion and deep penetration, making them highly suitable for hunting various game, including medium-sized to large game such as deer, elk, and even dangerous game.

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2. Are Hornady GMX bullets good for deer?

Yes, Hornady GMX bullets are highly effective for deer hunting. With their controlled expansion and reliable penetration, GMX bullets deliver high retained weight and ensure clean, ethical kills. The solid copper construction provides deeper penetration than traditional lead-core bullets and minimizes the risk of fragmentation, thus reducing the chance of unnecessary suffering for the animal.

3. What bullet replaced Hornady GMX?

The Hornady ELD-X bullet line introduced in 2016 is considered the successor to the GMX bullets. The ELD-X (Extremely Low Drag – eXpanding) bullets feature a polymer tip, Heat Shield tip, and exclusive InterLock ring design. They provide long-range accuracy, controlled expansion, and excellent terminal performance, making them an ideal choice for hunters.

4. What is the Hornady SST bullet designed for?

The Hornady SST (Super Shock Tip) bullet is designed for rapid and controlled expansion upon impact. It features an aerodynamic polymer tip that initiates expansion while maintaining the bullet’s long-range accuracy. The SST bullet is commonly used for hunting applications, including deer and other medium-sized game.

5. How does the Hornady GMX bullet differ from the SST bullet?

The main difference between the Hornady GMX and SST bullets lies in their construction and intended applications. The GMX bullets are made of solid copper, providing controlled expansion and deep penetration, making them ideal for hunting larger game and even dangerous game. On the other hand, the SST bullets have a lead-core construction with a polymer tip that offers rapid expansion for medium-sized game and varmints, while still retaining accuracy at longer distances.

6. Do Hornady GMX bullets have any environmental advantages?

Yes, Hornady GMX bullets have several environmental advantages. As a lead-free option, the GMX bullets help minimize the ingestion of lead by wildlife, reducing the risk of lead poisoning, particularly in scavengers and predators that feed on carcasses. Moreover, the all-copper construction ensures that no lead residue is left behind in the environment.

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7. What is the weight retention of Hornady SST bullets?

The weight retention of Hornady SST bullets can vary based on impact velocity and target. Generally, these bullets exhibit a high weight retention, often retaining a significant portion of their initial weight even after expansion. This weight retention contributes to their effectiveness in delivering deep penetration and stopping power.

8. Can Hornady GMX bullets be used for long-range shooting?

While Hornady GMX bullets are primarily designed for hunting purposes, they can also be used effectively for long-range shooting. These bullets have high ballistic coefficients due to their streamlined design, which helps maintain a flatter trajectory, resist wind drift, and retain energy downrange. However, for dedicated long-range shooting, specialized bullets with different design features may offer better performance.

9. Are Hornady GMX bullets suitable for hunting dangerous game?

Yes, Hornady GMX bullets are suitable for hunting dangerous game. Their solid copper construction offers deep penetration, controlled expansion, and high weight retention, making them effective against large and tough animals such as buffalo, grizzly bears, or African game. However, it is essential to use appropriate bullet weights and calibers recommended for the specific game and to follow local regulations.

10. Can Hornady SST bullets be used in a lever-action rifle?

Yes, Hornady SST bullets can be used in a lever-action rifle, provided the bullet profile and weight are compatible with the rifle’s magazine and action. The SST bullets have a polymer tip, streamlined design, and controlled expansion, which make them suitable for lever-action rifles chambered in appropriate calibers for hunting purposes.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>