July 28th, 2017

Extreme Ammo: 5000 Ft-Lbs from the .500/.416 Nitro Express

300 .300 Winchester Win Magnum Mag Swedish Norma Cartridge of the Month Norma USA

When you need the ultimate in “knock-down” power, bigger is better. One of the most potent hunting rounds ever created is the mighty .500/.416 Nitro Express. For those who yearn for “More Power”, this is true “Extreme Ammo”.

Kreighoff unveiled the .500/.416 Nitro Express 3 ¼”, based on the proven .500 Nitro Express case, with a nice, long neck for good bullet tension, a good taper for easy feeding… and enough case capacity. The result was a winner — the .500/.416 NE pushes a 410-grain bullet at 2,325 fps, for just under 5,000 ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle.

On the Norma website is a collection of Cartridge of the Month Articles, currently numbering 29. Here’s Norma’s run-down on an ultra-powerful big game cartridge, the .500/.416 Nitro Express.

300 .300 Winchester Win Magnum Mag Swedish Norma Cartridge of the Month Norma USA

The .500 / .416 Nitro Express

Text by Norma Staff Writers
The history of double rifle cartridges is a long and colored one. These cartridges were largely designed around the heavy-for-caliber cup-and-core round-nosed and full-patch bullets of yesteryear, and the guns were regulated for relatively close shooting. Almost all of the designs were rimmed cartridges; the rimmed case giving just about the best headspacing available. While the rimmed cartridges didn’t work very well in the repeating rifles, they work just fine in the single-shot and double rifles.

There are some double rifles chambered for the rimless and belted cartridges, but the rimmed cases offer the easiest and most positive extraction. The reputation and performance of the .416 Rigby (and later the .416 Remington) were undeniable, and while there are doubles chambered for these cartridges, Kreighoff saw the wisdom of a rimmed cartridge using a .416″-diameter bullet.

Early in 1996, Kreighoff unveiled the .500/.416 Nitro Express 3 ¼”, based on the proven .500 Nitro Express case, with a nice, long neck for good bullet tension, a good taper for easy feeding under duress, and enough case capacity to mimic the performance of the rimless .416s. The result was a winner — the .500/.416 NE pushes a 410-grain bullet at 2,325 fps, for just under 5,000 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. This ballistic formula has been used on the largest game on earth with great results, and in a double rifle, will allow for the reliable, immediate second shot that double rifle shooters have come to appreciate.

Photo courtesy Namibia Hunting Safaris.
Namibia Hunting safari

The .500/.416 NE bridges a huge gap between the .450/400 and the .450 NE, and offers a shooting experience closer to the .450/400, while giving plenty of power for hunting any and all dangerous game. I think that the .450/.400 and .500/.416 make a great choice for the traveling sportsman. When comparing the two, the .500/.416 offers a bit more frontal diameter (.416” v. .411”) and a considerable increase in velocity (2,325 vs. 2,050 to 2,125, depending on manufacturer), so it boils down to whether you desire a bit more reach-out-and-touch-‘em or the lesser recoil of the lighter cartridge. What I see in the .500/.416 NE is a double rifle cartridge with a performance level on par with the highly familiar .416 Rigby, yet available in the quick-handling double rifles. [Norma’s African PH .500/.416 NE ammo, loaded with excellent Woodleigh projectiles, is an excellent choice.]

Cartridge of the Month Norma USAIf you haven’t checked out NormaUSA’s website, you should. There you’ll find Norma’s Cartridge of the Month Archive. This great resource provides a detailed history of popular cartridges, along with a discussion of these cartridges’ hunting and target-shooting uses. There are currently 29 Cartridge of the Month articles, including the popular 6.5 Creedmoor.

Also on Norma-USA.com you’ll find information on Norma cartridge brass, bullets, powder and factory ammo. The site also offers a video archive plus links to Norma Reloading Data.

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