6mm 87g Hornady Vmax wet / dry newspaper test


Nov 3, 2012
Recently came into a bulk lot of the Hornady 87g Vmax, which I thought will be great for forming loads in my 243AI and for general pest control work. They have a pretty nice sleek profile for their weight and are designed to work in standard twists - though my barrel is a 1-7”.

To get an idea on how they’ll work on the pigs and goats I applied the fairly standard wet newspaper method, but with a few half inch wads of dry newspaper sandwiched in every couple of inches, including the first layer where the bullet enters. There were also a good few plastic partitions in some of the old brochures and so on that I had soaked for the test.

For the sake of comparison, I fired two Vmaxes into the print, one loaded to around 3100fps and the other to about 2650fps to simulate impacts around 50y and 200y respectively.

For the sake of further comparison, I loaded two 90g Prvi soft points to comparable velocities, to see how the varmint Vmax performed alongside what has shown itself to me to be a fairly solid, standard soft point style hunting bullet. (Those Prvi soft points are awesome on pigs and goats and I have plenty of faith in them.)

Into the bargain I fired a single Hornady BTHP 105g Match bullet into the print, loaded to around 2850fps a 50y impact (I load mine pretty mild - 2850fps may represent a greater impact distance for some.)

The recovered bullets are below.

Top left is the Prvi loaded to the lesser speed, bottom left is the faster Prvi.
Centre is the 105g Hornady Match.
Top right is the slower Vmax 87g, bottom right is the faster one.


This pic was taken 3.5 inches into the newsprint. At this point it has gone through two of the dry layers as well. The Vmax has clearly expanded a lot more quickly...


This pic is about 7” in. The four Prvi and Vmaxes look about on par for “wound channel” about now. The BTHP is expanding quickly at this point.


This mirrors a lot of my experience with the Hornady in a number of calibres and weights. Minimal expansion for the first few inches of penetration, then wide and damaging expansion about half way through its terminal path.

The final analysis of the recovered projectiles in terms of numbers was thus...

Prvi 90g 2600fps
Recovered weight 72g - 80%
Diameter .530”
Penetrated 11.2”

Prvi 90g 3100fps
48g - 53%

Vmax 87g 2650fps
43g - 49%

Vmax 87g 3100fps
32g - 37%

BTHP 105g 2850fps
24g - 23%
10” penetration

As usual, over to you guys for comment and analysis!

For my own part, I wouldn’t hesitate to use any of these bullets on a goat of any size - and even big pigs too though on big pigs and bigger deer I’d be looking for a broadside chest cavity shot and nothing else.

Yep me too. I expected much less penetration.

I think it would be a great one at 6x45 or 6mm Grendel speeds.
Great info Bob. That Vmax and the good old 105 HPBT are solid performers.
Thanks for the info. Those V Max did much better than I expected.

A good mate of mine is using the 87 Vmax exclusively on pigs in his Howa 243 and has dropped some big ones.

I suspect with a well placed shot in the ribs they’ll handle most boars and deer. In fact I’d be amazed if they didn’t.

I would add this latest batch looks slightly different in profile from some old ones I’d seen in the past. I don’t have any of the old ones left with which to make a proper comparison however.
Great test there! Pretty impressed with those V-max, I thought they were much more explosive. I used the 105gr Hornady hpbt on a pronghorn last year. No exit, but did find the jacket under the hide on the far side. Dropped in its tracks.