• Home |
  • Hornady Superformance 30-06 165gr SST Review: Leagues Above the Rest

Hornady Superformance 30-06 165gr SST Review: Leagues Above the Rest

Hornady Superformance 30-06 165gr SST Review

Winchester, Remington, Federal, and Hornady all compete to engineer and design the best hunting bullets. And for some hunters, it can be challenging to keep up with all the advancements in hunting technology.

But if you want to skip all the technical data, strange acronyms, and confusing ballistic tables, then I'd recommend you pick up some Hornady Superformance 30-06 165gr SST.

This round just works. The 30-06 packs a massive wallop to put down deer and elk humanely and the 165 grain SST bullet creates massive exit wounds for exceptional blood trails should the Whitetail not drop in its tracks.

Firearms season is just around the corner, and If you’re looking for good Hornady hunting ammo, check out what we have in stock HERE. Otherwise, keep reading while I tell you about my experience with the Superformance SST.

Hornady Superformance 30-06 165gr SST Overview

Hornady is a phenomenal company (yes, I’m gushing over them). They’re quality standards and engineering are superb, which produces excellent performance downrange.

Joyce Hornady founded the company in 1949 in Grand Island, Nebraska. Unlike other ammo manufacturing companies, Hornady focused on accuracy, dependability, and engineering. When Americans were recovering from WWII and trying to get back to normalcy in the US, Hornady hit the scene offering exceptional hunting bullets at affordable prices.

The Hornady Superformance ammunition line was designed to produce higher muzzle velocities (up to 200 fps faster than competitors) while not increasing chamber pressure or recoil using proprietary powder technology. This ammo is advertised as being temperature stable, meaning your muzzle velocity should be consistent between the sweltering heat of summer and frigid chill of winter.

Loaded with the Hornady Super Shock Tip (SST) bullet, Superformance 30-06 165 grain ammo is sure to put down any big game animal that crosses your tree stand or hunting blind. Characterized by the iconic red polymer tip, these hunting rounds are designed to create immediate expansion when they impact soft tissue.

The combination of increased velocity and massive expansion creates deeper and wider wound channels to drop your prey quickly and keep you from hours of tracking long blood trails.

The Hornady 30 06 165gr SST is perfect for taking down medium and large-sized game and offers you increased muzzle velocity without added recoil. And that's music to most hunter's ears and shoulders!

Our Hornady Superformance 30-06 165gr SST Review

Hornady Superformance 30-06 ammo

It’s no lie; I’m kind of a Hornady fan. I love looking at the designs and performance of ammo, and Hornady rarely disappoints (the ELD-X is also fascinating). The company thinks of everything and then overcomes the obstacles we face at the range and in the fields.

Although Grandpa taught me hunting with traditional soft point ammo like Federal Power Shok (which are all perfectly sufficient), I love all the bells and whistles Hornady Superformance 30-06 165gr SST has to offer. It makes hunting more efficient and arguably more ethical than simpler cartridges like the more affordable Remington Core-Lokt (which I still use).

One of the things I look for in hunting ammunition is versatility. I didn’t get any elk tickets this year, but I have plenty of whitetail tags to fill. The 30-06 Superformance will work for deer, antelope, mule deer, elk, and even moose. It has the energy transfer and design to maximize penetration and expansion, which is what you need to take down big game animals.

The Hornady SST (Super Shock Tip) reminds me of the Nosler Ballistic Tip. However, the Nosler BT seems slightly stronger (and pricier) than the SST. The SST polymer tip is held to the body of the projectile using a cannelure design (similar to crimping) to ensure the tip and bullet stay together while loading.

The company also took the Superformance a step higher with the InterLock ring. This means the core and jacket are locked together using a mechanical process, keeping the two together on impact. This also helps with weight retention (ensuring maximum energy transfer and deeper penetration).

The Hornady Superformance 165gr SST for the 30-06 Springfield has a muzzle velocity of 2,960 fps. The Superformance’s velocity is on the higher side of what we expect from the 30-06 (somewhere between 2,400 fps and 3,400 fps). However, this also depends on the barrel length. Typically, other cartridges drop between 40-50 fps per inch of barrel lost, but the Superformance only drops about 18 fps per barrel inch.

We pretty much expect a higher ballistic coefficient these days. It’s commonplace for ammo manufacturers to focus on wind resistance. The 30-06 165gr Superformance SST has a .447 B.C. and maintains an adequate velocity for expansion at over 500 yards (1,900 fps).

Now, if you’re in California or want to avoid lead, the Superformance GMX is the better Hornady option. The all-copper monolithic design performs similarly to the SST but doesn’t contain lead. Unfortunately, that one’s a little challenging to come by and costs a little more, so, you can also pick up the Winchester Copper Impact HERE.

Lastly, the Superformance SST is a bit pricier than some other options but is still more affordable than something like a Nosler Partition. The Hornady American Whitetail is another viable option if you want something with outstanding performance on a budget. Of course, if you’re into reloading your own ammo, the Superformance has brass casings and Boxer primers.

All in all, I'm extremely happy with the 30-06 165gr Superformance SST and there's no doubt that I'll have it loaded in my Ruger Hawkeye once firearm season rolls around this winter!


What is it Best for?

The Hornady Superformance 30 06 165gr SST is perfect for hunting medium game like whitetail deer, mule deer, and antelope. You can also use it for big game like elk and moose. It's designed to provide higher muzzle velocity without added chamber pressure and recoil, making it excellent for long-range hunting on big game animals across the USA and Canada.


There aren’t many disadvantages to Hornady’s 30-06 Superformance 165 gr SST. However, this isn't the cheapest ammo in the world so I wouldn't use it for plinking or target practice. 

Furthermore, the Hornady SST bullet does have a lead core so it's not ideal for hunting in California or areas that prohibit the use of lead bullets. For hunters in these area's I'd recommend the Hornady Superformance GMX.

If you are one of our readers who needs readily available copper hunting cartridges, we have some manufactured by Winchester HERE.

Pros and Cons


  • Higher muzzle velocity than competitors
  • No additional felt recoil or pressure
  • SST bullet is excellent for expansion and terminal performance
  • Versatile
  • Great for medium to large game


  • It’s a lead core bullet
  • Pricey


Below we've included a spec chart for Hornady Superformance 30-06 165 gr SST ammo for your reference.

Hornady Superformance 30-06 165gr SST Cartridge Specifications


Below is a ballistics table for Hornady Superformance 30-06 165 gr SST ammo out to 500 yards. Please note that these are manufacturer provided data, and actual ballistic performance may not be identical in your firearm.

Hornady Superformance 30-06 165gr SST Ballistics table

Note: Hornady used a 24" test barrel for this data.

Parting Shots

Shot placement, skill, and luck all contribute to bringing home a trophy. But if you want to eliminate as many variables as possible, one thing you can always rely on is Hornady Superformance 30-06 165 gr SST ammo.

You’ll get excellent terminal ballistics regardless if you take a shot at close-range or a 400 yard quartering-away shot. Hornady’s bullet performance rarely disappoints and the Superformance SST definitely can put that trophy on your wall. From large exit holes and exceptional weight retention, the Hornady SST gives shooters an extra advantage in the field.

Furthermore, whether you love the 30-06, 300 Win Mag, or 6.5 Creedmoor, there’s Superformance ammo available to you. Make sure you check out all our Hornady hunting ammo we've got in stock and ready to ship to your door just in time for deer season!


Perhaps you spent last year hunting wild boar in Texas only to realize you should’ve done more research about your ammunition. I don’t want to put you in that sort of predicament again. Read through the answers to our most frequently asked questions and make an informed decision.

Is the Hornady Superformance 30–06 165gr worth buying?

Absolutely. As long as it’s legal for hunting in your area, it’s an excellent hunting cartridge designed to create a massive wound channel and put down game ethically and quickly.

What is the range of a Hornady Superformance 30-06 165gr SST?

The Superformance 30-06 performs well out to just over 500 yards. You’ll get adequate expansion, exit wounds, and performance at that range.

Remington Core-Lokt Tipped 30-06 ammo

Why is a polymer tip good for hunting?

Polymer tips do two things: Prevent the projectile from deforming to quickly, and expand near vital organs. As long as your shot placement is sufficient (shoulder shot/broadside shot), you will see minimal meat damage and reduce the likelihood of tracking blood trails.

What should I buy if the Superformance isn’t in stock?

There are many excellent hunting cartridges available. The Barnes VOR-TX TTSX and the Remington Core-Lokt Tipped are comparable to Hornady SST ammo.

What are SST Bullets?

SST bullets are Hornady’s Super Shock Tipped projectiles. They increase the ballistic coefficient, offer a flat trajectory, and initiate rapid expansion.

Can I handload Hornady Superformance SST?

Yes! The Superformance cartridges are brass and have Boxer primers making them practical for reloading. Furthermore, Hornady makes the reloading data readily available.

What’s the difference between Interbond and Interlock?

Hornady’s Interlock cartridges contain a raised ring inside the jacket to keep the core and jacket together on impact. Interbond bullets have a bonded core and jacket (similar to a Nosler Accubond).

Cassandra McBride
Written by
Cassandra McBride

Ammunition Reviews