Joyce Hornady sold his first bullet in 1949, a .30 caliber Spire Point weighing 150 grains. He was using a surplus bullet assembly press in a rented garage, a place his company would grow to become a force in the markets for ammunition and reloading. First and foremost, Joyce was a shooter. His company was born from his desire to build a better product that he could use himself, and it grew rapidly during the first few years, increasing sales by 300% by the second year.
Business was looking up for Hornady Manufacturing – until the Korean War, which created unanticipated shortages of important raw materials. But rather than give up and let the company fold, Hornady won contracts for producing alternative products not associated with ammunition, including aluminum hearts for bracelets and condenser cans for the U.S. government. Once the war ended, the materials that Hornady had used for the cans and the technology he developed to manufacture them were applied to form ultra-thin copper jackets for varmint bullets.
In 1958, the company moved to an 800-square-foot plant in Grand Island, Nebraska, where Joyce added a 200-yard underground range so he could perform onsite quality testing of his products. Hornady Manufacturing continued their pace of rapid growth and expansion into the 60s and 70s – with their ballistics lab supporting U.S. Army ballisticians in their experimentation of aerodynamically efficient bullet designs, eventually leading to the adaptation of the secant ogive (which became the Hornady bullet signature profile and is now used almost exclusively for all bullets made by Hornady).
Joyce Hornady's death in January 1981, on the way to the SHOT Show in an airplane crash, dealt a severe blow to the company. The Hornady family stepped forward to lead the company, and they soon began producing their cartridge cases in house. Today, they enjoy a reputation for manufacturing some of the best brass available.
Hornady Manufacturing continues to expand and innovate, always working to advance bullet technology. They make more than excellent bullets, they also manufacture complete ammunition for pistols, rifles and shotguns – earning true respect for the amount of research and development that goes into their each of their products. Recent additions to their product line include the Hornady TAP and Critical Defense premium ammunition for law enforcement agencies and military use. Hunters are well served by the Hornady LEVERevolution and Dangerous Game ammunition series, which represent some of the most advanced bullet technologies available. They have also ventured into the world of competitive shooting, selling their lines of Custom Match and Steel Match ammo. From the mighty mouse .17HMR to the burly .500 S&W Magnum, Hornady sells ammunition for practically every shooter.
Hornady has been and remains committed to manufacturing high-quality products for shooters of all persuasions, reloaders and armed professionals. Producing with excellence and innovation, Hornady Manufacturing will no doubt continue to be at the cutting edge of ammunition manufacturers.