Hornady market the ELD-X as the hunting equivalent of the ELD-M target bullet. My first experience with the ELD-X came during the 2018 hunting season. Several clients arrived with ammunition in both hand loaded and factory form .
Performance in 6.5 Creedmoor.
The first animal that fell to the new wonder bullet was an impala ram. The rifle was chambered for the 6.5 Creedmoor. The impala was completely unaware of us as he stood nibbling on a small sweet thorn tree 250 meters from us. It was angling away from us slightly, at the shot the ram dropped in its tracks. We sat watching it for a while, to ensure that it was dead but that proved to be unnecessary. The bullet entered on the left shoulder and was recovered at the junction of the neck and shoulder on the right hand side. Retained weight was 93.4gr (65.3%). Not bad, in fact very similar to the performance of the old 140 Amax, which I have used extensively in the 6.5×55. A few more animals were shot with 6.5mm ELD-X bullets but I failed to recover any more bullets during that hunt. We did however not experience any problems.
Performance in .300 Weatherby magnum.
Then two clients, armed with .300 Weatherby Magnums, arrived. Both were using Hornady factory loads, loaded with 200 gr ELD-X bullets at 2950fps. Between them they shot 30 animals, ranging from springbok to a trophy eland bull. The eland worried me as it was really large, even for an eland, so I told the hunters to keep shooting, after the initial shot, until it went down. The bull was angling away from us, at ± 200m, and the first shot entered behind the shoulder, angling into the chest cavity. A perfect a shot. The bull ran ±100m (which is not unusual) before going down. It was hit once, too far back, while running. It was then shot in the neck, while lying down, and expired. The first shot would have been adequate, there was lots of damage to both lungs, but better safe than sorry. We only managed to recover one bullet, the last one. The bullet broke the spine and lost half its weight. Not bad, considering the size of the animal.
A large gemsbok bull was shot at 192m, standing perfectly broadside. I was watching through my binoculars and, at the shot, a puff of dust erupted from the bull’s skin, in what seemed to be precisely the right spot. The bull ran off with its leg swinging as if broken in the shoulder. To make a long, sad, story short, we found a few drops of blood spread out over the first 800 meters. After that we followed the splayed tracks over broken, rocky terrain at a snails pace. We gave up at dusk and started the long, quiet walk back. The initial shot was taken at 10:00. As we never found that gemsbok it is impossible to know for certain where that bullet hit, but knowing what I know now, I am fairly certain that it broke up in the shoulder and failed to penetrate into the chest cavity.
Another gemsbok bull was shot, again at ±200m. This time the bull was quartering away. At the shot it ran over a rise, when we caught up with it a 100m further on, it was lying down but still alive. The hunter shot it just behind the shoulder from a 100m, the gemsbok got up and started walking away from us. A third shot, again behind the shoulder put it down for good.
We had no real problem with any of the other animals harvested on that hunt, however, both hunters took great care not to hit thick bone. I would not recommend these bullets for any animal larger than a blesbuck, even in the larger calibers.