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Hornady

Joyce Hornady's bankers thought the idea was far-fetched, to say the least. Bullets? Making bullets for reloaders? What kind of business was that? A person could go broke in a hurry. The Hornady Sporting Goods Company was a business they could understand; bicycles, tennis rackets, team uniforms, basketballs, baseball bats and gloves. Now, that was a business. But bullets … no, there was no future there. And so it was that J.W. Hornady learned the entrepreneur's first lesson: "A banker is someone who'll lend you an umbrella only when the sun is shining."

In 1949, with World War II over, with the economy returning to peacetime status, with shortages beginning to recede, with Americans anxious to get on with normal lives, Joyce Hornady started a new business. The nation was optimistic. Hornady was especially optimistic. He knew, he absolutely knew, there were thousands of shooters who wanted what he'd wanted: accurate, deadly, dependable bullets they could afford to reload. "Accurate, deadly, dependable" described his products so well that it became the new company’s first advertising slogan.

Photo of original Invoice

Hornady, the son of a pastor, was named for a prominent Methodist bishop, Bishop Joyce, who oversaw church affairs in Colorado and western Nebraska. The resourcefulness Joyce later put to use in his business was evident from his childhood on. His father died from an abscessed tooth—something modern medicine would cure in a moment—and he learned early on to share responsibilities helping his mother and his siblings make do on a tiny pastor’s widow’s pension. Nevertheless, he learned to shoot, he learned to hunt—and he loved both.

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