• Hornady's New LEVERevolution Ammunition in .35 Remington

    When asked to do a write up on the new LEVERevolution ammunition being offered by Hornady I jumped at the opportunity. Being a collector of Savage Model 99's and various other obsolete Savage firearms, the new LEVERevolution line of ammunition is a Godsend to breath new life into these classic firearms. For this particular review I will be using a rather rare Savage Model 170 chambered in .35 Remington to test Hornady's new load for said cartridge.

    Now don't get all excited about seeing clover leaf groups as this isn't a bolt action 400 yard squirrel smoker. The Model 170 is a pump-action rifle with a 22-inch barrel and 1-12 twist rate so I wasn't expecting much right from the start, but I'm a sportsman and wanted to see what these new bullets would do for the every day hunter who wouldn't be carrying a 112BT into a deer stand for a 100 yd shot. Everything about the whole afternoon was an enjoyable surprise (except for the recoil).

    Before I get to the new offerings lets start with what I was using, you already know it was a Savage 170 chambered in 35 Remington, but the optics I chose were another surprise. It was topped with a vintage 4X Savage scope. That's right, a 4X. These scopes were offered as an add-on the same years that the 170 was being offered by Savage. The 100 yd target was a piece of cake but the 200 was more of a put it on the orange spot and shoot kind of theory. It actually surprised me every time I shot and had a look through the spotting scope. I believe my groups could have been brought down a wee bit with a higher powered scope but as I said previously I wanted to see how this set up would run with an ordinary old hunter behind the wheel.

    Now onto the ammo itself.

    The Hornady LEVERevolution ammo impressed me very much for the bench setup I had rigged up to shoot from. My groups weren't going to win any awards, but I thought they would be a lot wider than they actually were. The neat thing about the LEVERevolution ammo is that it has a soft flexible tip that was designed for tube fed lever actions. The Elastomer tip as Hornady calls it bends instead of touching off the next primer in a tube fed magazine, thus setting off a chain reaction and a really bad experience, let alone, the chance of being seriously injured that an accident like that would cause. The company states that Velocity of their 35 ammo is 2225 FPS at the muzzle dropping to 1963 at 100 yards and down to 1721 fps at 200 yards. Energy is an impressive 2198 fps at the muzzle with 1711 at 100 yards and 1315 at 200 yards, still, even at 200 yards it has a lot of muscle for your whitetail buck or your over average North American Black Bear. Its trajectory is flatter than the regular offerings of the normal soft point 35 Remington bullets. With a bullet leaving the muzzle at -1.7 and actually rising another to 3 at 100 yards and only dropping to -1.3 at 200 I consider it and great round for any eastern hunters although not your best bean field rifle for the western gents as it drops to -17.5 at 300 yards. As my first group shows at 100 yards, its an awesome round for any tree stand hunters. As we all know, most of the 35 Remington rifles out there are lever action rifles, mainly Marlin comes to mind when we talk about the 35s. Luckily Savage did chamber one of their models in this excellent round.

    My group at 100 yards was 1.68, I know the bolt shooters will be smirking right now but for us guys that are out in the bush tracking that big buck with a group like that it should only be a one shot kill if we do our homework.

    My 200 yd groups were of course spread out a lot wider and I'm sure if I had opted for a variable 3-9X scope I could have tightened up these groups but I wanted to use what Id use if I had been actually hunting and not out to prove a point. Here are my 200 yd groups, my first group was very satisfactory but my second opened up a wee bit due to the fact that my shoulder is now black and blue from a box of these rounds, not kidding, if you ever wanted a 170 in 35 Remington be ready for some hard nights after a day at the range, these suckers kick hard. I actually felt the scope touch the front of my forehead on the flyer you see marked, I think I was beginning to get a bit gun shy by the end of the 200 yard shots and caught myself pull to the right on the shot marked flyer.

    The 1st 200 yd group went 2.3 which is nothing to sneeze at considering it only opened up another .70 with another 100 yards added on.

    The 2nd group at 200 as you can see opened up a bit more on me, by the way, each shot was taken with only about 30 seconds to one minute of cooling for the barrel. The 2nd group came out at 2.38 with a fourth shot that was a flyer and I didn't count it.

    All in all Id have to say that Hornady was not lying when they pumped these shells up in a big advertising blitz and made good on everything they claim about them. There is no doubt in my mind that these groups would have been all over the target if I had been using the old flat-nosed offerings that were the only ammo available for the lever actions and their tube fed magazines of yesterday. As a last word Id like to ask you guys to make sure your safe out there on the range, these new shells are said to be safe in tube fed rifles but just cause they say they're safe doesn't mean you can let down your guard.

    Additional Photos:

    The author's Savage Model 170 pump-action rifle chambered in .35 Remington.

    Ammo Review Reminder:
    While we always include accuracy and results in our testing of any ammunition, we want to remind our readers that each individual firearm will have it's own unique preference when it comes to ammo. For that reason we remind you not to read too much into the accuracy results for ammo tested in a particular firearm or judge it solely based on what the targets look like. The author could have been having an off day, the conditions could have been poor, or possibly that particular firearm just didn't like that particular ammo. For that reason we suggest you place more weight on the included bullet run-out and/or chronograph data (when available) which is a better gauge of the consistency and quality of the ammunition.

    Hornady Manufacturing Company

    3625 West Old Potash Hwy
    Grand Island, NE 68803
    Phone: 308-382-1390

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