Norma 203B Powder Now Available
Norma 203B has been nearly impossible to obtain in the USA in recent years. Expressly formulated for the 6mmBR cartridge, many consider the elusive Norma 203B powder to be the “Holy Grail” of propellants for this popular chambering. It also works well in cartridges for which Varget, VV N150, or Reloder 15 is suitable.
Now, with Black Hills Shooters Supply (BHSS) as a distributor, Norma is finally making 203B available again for American reloaders. Consumers can’t buy direct from BHSS, but retail vendors can place wholesale orders with BHSS, which has 472 pounds of Norma 203B as of 4/7/2008. Powder Valley has Norma 203B in stock right now at $19.00 per pound, and Grafs.com has it for $21.99 per pound (item NP203B1).
Industry scuttlebutt says that Norma 203B is the same as Alliant Reloder 15. While both are crafted by European powder-maker, Bofors, we’re told that 203B is not identical to Reloder 15. At Shot Show, this editor put the question directly to Norma’s CEO, Torb Lindskog: “Is Norma 203B the same as Reloder 15?” Lindskog answered: “The two powders are very similar, yes. But there are some differences–they are not exactly the same. We like to think our powder is more uniform.”
We’ve tried 1998 vintage Norma 203B in a 6BR and it was very similar to Reloder 15 in appearance, but the Alliant powder yielded slightly higher velocities. What we noticed shooting a 6BR with Norma 203B was a HUGE accuracy window. With 105gr bullets, the powder shot very well at a wide variety of charge weights, from mild to max. Plus, ES and SD were extremely low. Average 5-shot Extreme Spread was 8 fps, with three 5-shot groups measured. Norma 203B did display greater temp sensitivity than Varget, however. If you want to try Norma 203B for yourselves, don’t hesitate — call Powder Valley, (800) 227-4299, or other stocking retailer before the current supply is exhausted. It could be many months before the next shipment arrives.