So before this gets out of hand this is nothing more than a comparison and a critique of the marketing of these two bullets
I was intrigued that on the Hornady site it says the following:
Designed by match shooters for match shooters. With an ultra-low drag tip, our A-Max match bullets feature an aerodynamic secant ogive that delivers flat trajectories with excellent uniformity and concentricity. Find out more...
- Rapid, explosive expansion with limited penetration.
- Recommended muzzle velocity range: 2000+ fps.
- These bullets are not recommended for hunting.
The industry's leading varmint bullet with polymer tip and streamlined design results in ultra flat trajectories. The match grade jacket design provides maximum accuracy at all ranges as well as explosive expansion, even at low velocities. Find out more...
- Rapid, explosive expansion.
- Recommended muzzle velocity range: 2000 to 4000+ fps
I draw your attention to the impact description for both
This confused me as I was always told that AMax were more frangible that VMax
Designed to splatter on steel plates etc.
The marketing description seemed to back this up with the additional "limited penetration" added to the AMax line
However I find from using them in foxes show the opposite with more exits from 52gr AMax (90%) compared to 50gr VMax (15%)
so I wrote to Hornady...
which culminated in a simple direct question:
"Can you tell me what technically differentiates the two products and why AMax particularly are not recommended for hunting?"
"Essentially the biggest difference is the V-max does fragment on impact and it is tested and made to do so. The A-max is a match grade bullet and is not tested for expansion as it is a match bullet,
therefore we cannot recommend using it on large game such as red deer/elk.
There are better options for larger game such as the Interlock or GMX bullets.
We appreciate your business.
Now ignore the "use on game" part for the moment
VMax- Rapid and Explosive Expansion
AMax - Rapid and Explosive Expansion with limited penetration
Tech Support response:
VMax- "Designed to fragment in impact and limited penetration"
AMax - "Not tested for expansion or penetration characteristics"
I seems odd that the only differentiator in their own marketing material is in complete contrast to their own tests and designs.
Especially when they can be bought in such similar weights and profiles
Now I also find that Hornady use AMax in their "TAP Precision" factory cartridges (TAP I believe stands for "Tactical and Protection")
Hornadyle.com - 155 gr. A-MAX
.308 155gr AMax TAP Precision
"The 155 gr. A-MAX® TAP Precision® cartridge offers match accuracy with a high ballistic coefficient providing superior long-range performance. This load demonstrates expansion and fragmentation similar to the 110 gr. load, but with a noticeable increase in penetration and retained bullet weight. This bullet penetrates glass with minimal deflection and exhibits excellent expansion and fragmentation characteristics."
Then I found this:
Hornady 140gr A-MAX
Average Penetration (inches): 12.17
Average Weight Retained (grain): 75.9
Average Weight Retained (%): 54
Average Expansion (inches): 0.597
Hornady 95gr V-MAX
Average Penetration (inches): 6.25
Average Weight Retained (grain): 34.1
Average Weight Retained (%): 36
Average Expansion (inches): 0.470
Why can't a manufacturer stick to a single line of marketing?