Here’s good news for short-range benchrest shooters. The two most popular powders for the 6PPC, Vihtavuori N133 and Accurate LT-32, are now in-stock at Powder Valley Inc. (PVI). In fact, Powder Valley even has the hard-to-find 8-lb jugs of N133. If you need LT-32 or VV N133, visit PowderValleyinc.com.
– PVI has 1-lb containers of LT-32 for $24.90
– PVI has 1-lb containers of N133 for $30.35
– PVI has 8-lb jugs of N133 for $196.50.
Consider Norma Powders for Large Cartridges
Can’t get H4350 or H4831sc? If you need slower-burning powders for your .260 Rem, .284 Win, 7mm WSM, or magnum caliber, consider Norma powders. While the popular Alliant and Hodgdon medium-to-slow burn-rate powders are still very hard to find, you can get similar Norma powders from many vendors right now, no waiting.
Powder Valley has Norma 204, 217, MRP, and URP in stock. MidwayUSA.com has 204, 217, MRP, and URP in stock. MidsouthShootersSupply.com has Norma 204 in stock. The Lapua Burn Rate Chart (shown below) places URP in the burn range of H4350 and Vihtavuori N150, and Norma says “burning rate for URP is close to our 204 but on the quick side.” Norma 204 is slower than H4350 but a little faster than H4831sc. MRP is close to the original H4831. Download Chart as PDF.
Norma 217 does not show on the Lapua chart, but it is a good powder for the heavy magnums. Norma says that “Norma 217 is slightly slower than the discontinued MRP2. It was developed for the 30-378 Weatherby from start. Matches the .338 Norma Mag and .338 Lapua Mag perfect with heavy bullets. It is also a good candidate for [overbore cartridges] such as 7mm Rem Mag[.]“.
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Norma is making a big push to expand its presence in the North American market. As part of this effort, Norma is introducing seven (7) new types of cartridge brass for 2014. We’re pleased to report that Norma-USA will be importing top-quality brass for the 6.5 Grendel, and 6.5 Creedmoor, two popular target cartridges. In addition, for 2014, Norma will offer 7mm RUM, 7mm Blaser Magnum, 300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK), .300 RUM, and the .338 Blaser Mag. The Norma brass we have shot in other chamberings (6 PPC, 6mmBR Norma, 6XC, .243, 7mm RSAUM) has all been excellent, giving good accuracy. Case weights were very consistent and the neck-wall thickness was very uniform, particularly with the PPC and BR brass. The new 300 BLK brass is an important offering for AR shooters. (NOTE: You can also make 300 BLK cases from Norma or Lapua .221 Fireball brass).
Though the annealing “shadow” may not be as visible as with Lapua brass, the case necks of Norma brass cartridges are indeed annealed near the end of the manufacturing process. This assures more consistent neck tension — something critical to accuracy. Most of the new cartridge brass offerings should be be available at vendors by early April, 2014. You can get Norma brass from Bullets.com, Grafs.com and Midsouth Shooters Supply, as well as many other online vendors.
New Norma-USA Brass Offerings for 2014:
7mm Blaser Magnum
300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK)
.338 Blaser Magnum
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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We know many readers have been searching high and low for components and high-quality ammunition, particularly for popular chamberings such as the .308 Winchester. Well Santa delivered something nice for you .308 shooters. Bullets.com received a large shipment of Norma-brand Tac .308 ammo. This is good stuff — Norma brass loaded with a quality 150gr Norma FMJ bullet. This Tac-308 ammo is now in stock and On Sale for $53.50 for fifty (50) rounds at Bullets.com. If you can find this elsewhere, you’ll pay $65.00 or more per box. And remember, you’ve got quality Norma brass that will last for many reloadings after the ammo is fired. When you consider the value of the brass for reloading, this deal is even more attractive.
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Norma USA has released the new Norma Reloading Manual Expanded Edition. To mark Norma’s 110 years in the ammunition industry, Norma is publishing its second reloading handbook (the first was released in 2004). The Norma Reloading Manual has been updated with new cartridges, components, and recipes. This hard-back book now covers hundreds of cartridges for hunters and target shooters. Load data (using Norma bullets and powders) is presented for most American cartridges and many European cartridges. In addition, you’ll find an extensive discussion of the history and science of smokeless powders. The new Norma Reloading Manual is designed for all handloaders — from novice to advanced. Inside the book you’ll find solid reloading advice, plus a history of Norma, one of the world’s leading producers of brass, bullets, and loaded ammunition. If you employ Norma brass or bullets or use Norma powders, this new Reloading Manual can be the “go-to” reference book on your loading bench. Priced at $34.99, the Norma Reloading Manual is available from Norma-USA’s authorized dealers. It is not yet listed on Amazon.com, but we to see it there within a few months.
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In response to our Bulletin story about the availability of Norma powders at Midsouth Shooters Supply, one of our Forum members asked: “I’m having trouble finding Reloder 15 for my 6.5×47 Lapua — should I consider running Norma 203B instead?” As we’ve explained before, these two powders, both made by Bofors in Europe, are very, very similar. Here are some hard numbers that should demonstrate how virtually identical these powders really are.
Target Shooter Magazine writer Laurie Holland compared Norma 203B and Reloder 15 using data from QuickLOAD. Laurie also checked load manuals to see how listed charge weights varied for the two propellants. Laurie concluded there was very little difference between Norma 203B and Reloder 15.
Norma 203B vs. Alliant Reloder 15 Commentary by Laurie Holland
Running [203B and RL15] through QuickLOAD doing a ‘charge table’ run for a 130gn Berger VLD at 2.700 COAL in 6.5X47 Lapua, gives very similar positions in the table [for both powders]. The charge required to achieve 62,000 psi estimated pressure varies by a mere 0.2 grains between the pair, Norma 203B being the heavier of the two. The estimated Muzzle Velocity (MV) also varies by a mere 2 fps, RL15 estimated to produce 2,946 fps MV compared to 2,944 fps for N203B at 62,000 psi (with the parameters I used).
If they aren’t the same thing, they’re so close as to make no difference and as Forum Boss points out, they’re made by the same people (Bofors) in the same plant.
[The Berger Reloading Manual includes data for both powders] for the .308 Winchester and heavier bullets (185 to 230 grains). Maximum charges and claimed MVs are not always identical, but are so close as to be marginally different production lots of the same thing, or maybe the result of minor testing variations.
.308 Win Max Charge Weights in Grains (RL15 / N203B) (Berger Manual)
MVs [for the four bullet types] are close but not identical, the largest difference being for the 210s which shows RL15 producing 2,428 fps MV v 2,383 for Norma 203B.
Norma 203B Chemistry
According to the Norma Reloading Handbook #1, Norma 203B has the following composition:
2.0% surface coating
4.6% Various chemicals
3,957 J/g specific energy
890 g/l specific density
For comparison, the 7.5% NG component compares to 15% in Viht N500 series powders and 10% in Ramshot TAC / Big Game / Hunter.
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If you haven’t visited the Norma website recently, you should click over to www.norma.cc/en/ (the ‘en’ is for English version). There you will find Norma’s “Ammo Academy”, a technical resource that provides information on: Ballistics, Powder Storage, Barrel Wear, and Bullet Expansion. In addition, the Ammo Academy now links to Norma’s Reloading Data Center, where you’ll find loads for nearly 70 cartridge types including: .223 Rem, .22-250, 6mmBR Norma, 6XC, 260 Rem, 6.5-284, 6.5×55, 7mm-08, .270 Win, .284 Win, .308 Win, .30-06, 300 Win Mag, .338 Lapua Mag and dozens more.
The Ammo Academy’s Ballistics section contains some fascinating technical facts:
After the trigger is pulled, it takes around 0.005 seconds before the firing pin reaches the primer.
From the firing of the primer it takes 0.0015-0.002 seconds until the bullet exits the muzzle.
When the bullet leaves the muzzle, the hot gases surround and overtake the bullet, continuing the acceleration for a few centimeters.
Because the barrel is always angled slightly upwards, the bullet’s flight starts about 3-5 cm below the line of sight.
Norma also offers some good advice about Powder and Cartridge Storage:
To maintain the product quality for as long as possible, you have to keep the powder in a suitable place under suitable conditions. Where possible, store the powder at a constant temperature, ideally between 12 and 15°C (54°F to 59°F), and a relative humidity of 40–50%. If the air is too dry, it will dry out the powder, which will cause the pressure to be higher, thus affecting performance. Also make sure that you close the powder container properly afterwards. Cartridges should be stored under the same ambient conditions to maintain their quality.
Norma announced that Paul-Erik Toivo will take over as CEO of Norma Precision AB, replacing Torb Lindskog who is retiring after 17 years at Norma’s helm. Toivo is a well-respected executive with decades of international industrial experience. He has held senior positions within Cloetta, and the SAKO- Metso- and latest the Isku concerns. Toivo states that Norma, a division of RUAG, is looking to expand its market in the United States: “We will intensify the efforts to grow in the world, and especially in the US. The cooperation with our sister company within RUAG Ammotec will also be strengthened”
Torb Lindskog retires after leading Norma for 17 years. “I am very grateful for these fantastic years at Norma, together with wonderful colleagues and I now look forward to a somewhat less hectic routine, even though I will be part of the Norma board, and keep my Presidency of AFEMS (Assoc. of European Mfgs. of Sporting Ammunition) until 2015. I wish both Norma and Paul-Erik all the best for the future.”
Norma Precision AB, which is part of the Swiss RUAG concern, has annual revenues of 270 Million Swedish Kroner ($41,068,890 USD). With a workforce of 190 employees, Norma markets cartridge brass, bullets, powders, and loaded ammunition. All production, from raw material to finished product, takes place in Åmotfors of Värmland, Sweden.
News Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Norma has released a fascinating video showing how bullet, brass, and ammunition are produced at the Norma Precision AB factory which first opened in 1902. You can see how cartridges are made starting with brass disks, then formed into shape through a series of processes, including “hitting [the cup] with a 30-ton hammer”. After annealing (shown at 0:08″), samples from every batch of brass are analyzed (at multiple points along the case length) to check metal grain structure and hardness. Before packing, each case is visually inspected by a human being (3:27″ time-mark).
The video also shows how bullets are made from jackets and lead cores. Finally, you can watch the loading machines that fill cases with powder, seat the bullets, and then transport the loaded rounds to the packing system. In his enthusiasm, the reporter/narrator does sometimes confuse the term “bullets” and “rounds” (5:00″), but you can figure out what he means. We definitely recommend watching this video. It’s fascinating to see 110-year-old sorting devices on the assembly line right next to state-of-the art, digitally-controlled production machinery.
Video tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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We all know that reloading components are in very short supply these days — bullets, brass, powder — you name it. Every day we get calls and emails from guys trying to find these items. Here’s a tip for those of you who need high-quality brass: Midsouth Shooters Supply carries Norma Brass, and Midsouth has this brass for many popular cartridge types IN STOCK now. Here’s a partial list of unprimed Norma brass available for purchase at Midsouth as of April 12, 2013:
NECO a vendor of specialty reloading products include QuickLOAD software, recently revealed some impressive 6.5 mm bullet offerings — a new CNC-turned solid brass 107gr bullet and the hard-to-find Norma 130gr bullet (in both naked and moly-coated versions).
Solid Brass DaVinci 6.5mm Bullets
The new solid brass NECO DaVinci Match Grade 6.5mm burner is an interesting High BC VLD-style design. Precision-machined on Swiss CNC machines, these bullets show exceptional dimensional and weight uniformity. And you won’t ever need to “tip” these bullets. The DaVinci 107-grainers feature a precision-drilled drilled hollow point and machined meplat. The DaVinci 107s are made from high-grade free machining brass. This is softer than copper but much harder and more durable than lead. If you’re wondering about the milled grooves in the body of the bullet, those are there to reduce the bearing surface area — a common design feature on solids. NECO is claiming: “Great lubricity resulting in less pressure than a solid copper or a jacketed bullet.” We haven’t tested this milled bullets yet but we hope to try them out soon in a 6.5×47 we have in the works. Initial tests by the manufacturer have soon good accuracy.
Thanks to a promotional offer from NECO, these new .264 caliber, 107gr bullets are more affordable than most other lathe-turned designs. Now through January 14, 2013, a 100-ct box of solid brass DaVinci 6.5mm bullets is $75.00. That’s not cheap, but it’s not outrageous when you considers some jacketed match bullets now run close to $50.00 per box. Currently only 107gr DaVincis are for sale, but NECO plans to offer 120gr 6.5mm solids in the future.
Norma 6.5mm 130gr Match Bullets
In Europe, High Power-style shooting with 6.5mm rifles is extremely popular. In Germany and throughout Scandinavia, thousands of shooters compete in matches with 6.5×55 target rifles, notably the Sauer STR 200. One of the most popular projectiles is Norma’s 130gr match bullet. NECO now sells this bullet design in both naked (Golden Target) and moly-coated (Diamond Line) versions. Diamond Line 130s are moly-coated by Norma at the factory under license with NECO.
Both naked and coated Norma 130-grainers are affordable, priced at $34.95 per 100ct box, or $164.95 per 500ct box. Shooters have praised Norma’s 6.5mm 130gr match bullets. Check out these user reviews from MidwayUSA.com:
“Bullet has an excellent Litz G7 BC and a shorter ogive than the 130gr Bergers, making them more magazine friendly. Experience in my 26″ 1:8 barrel shows peak accuracy around 2900 fps with H4350, with another small node around 2960 fps.” — Paul, Sellersberg, IN
“Bought a box of 500 since the Berger 130s were in short supply due to competition season. First impressions: very well made, consistent weight, ogive, and bearing length. Loaded some up for my Savage 6.5×47 Bartlein 1:8″-twist 28″ and during load development at 200 yards I could shoot very small groups… with .409″ nice 5-shot clusters on a windy day. They seem to like just kissing the lands and you do not have to hot-rod them. Will buy another box of 500, these are very good mid range competition bullets and will use them in my next club match. Highly recommend!” — Steve, Nashville, TN
To see a 6.5×55 Sauer STR 200 rifle in action, watch the video. In this ‘Stangskyting’ competition, shooters have just 25 seconds to hit the target [at] 200-300m distance as many times as possible. In the video, a shooter named Børklop, using his Sauer STR 200, puts 16 rounds on target in just 25 seconds. (He starts with a round in the chamber and cycles through three, 5-round magazines). Børklop’s performance, with just a sling and iron sights, is impressive. Note that Børklop manipulates the Sauer’s bolt with his thumb and index finger, while pulling the trigger with his middle finger.
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions
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On the Norma website, in the products area, you’ll find dozens of illustrated cartridge profiles. Many of these have been augmented with “Caliber Histories” providing background information, both historical and practical. These entries will benefit those interested in the origins and development of popular hunting and match cartridges. Many of the “Caliber Histories” also include information on bullets and twist rates.
CLICK HERE to access the Hunting Products page on Norma’s website. There, on the left, you’ll see a vertical list of 58 different cartridges. Click on any cartridge name and you’ll see an illustrated “overview”. For most (but not all) listed cartridges, there is also a gray tab labeled “Caliber History”. Click that tab to see a cartridge diagram and a few paragraphs explaining the cartridge’s lineage and design features. For example, the .280 Remington Caliber History explains: “This cartridge was constructed in 1957 for Remington’s model 740 Autoloader. It is basically a .30-06 necked down to accept 7mm bullets, but the shoulder was moved forward a little in order to prevent the cartridge from being loaded into .270 Win. rifles by mistake.” Many of the Caliber History entries offer recommended bullet weights and barrel twist rates. Shown below is the 6.5×55 Swede’s Caliber History:
Article tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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As you may know, Norma is working hard to make its products more readily available in the USA. Norma has put a new distribution system in place, and quality Norma ammunition and cartridge brass is now carried by many major vendors. Leading the way is Midsouth Shooters’ Supply, which now stocks a full selection of Norma brass and a large inventory of Norma loaded ammunition. Most of the Norma cartridge brass types now come in 25-unit boxes. This allows you to try out the Norma brass without breaking the bank. For example, 25 pieces of Norma 6mm PPC brass (item 013-10260105) costs just $20.25. You can “buy it and try it” without a big up-front investment.
SAVE 5% on Norma Brass and Ammo Orders! Midsouth Shooters Supply has announced a special discount just for Accurateshooter.com readers. Just enter PROMO CODE 6mmNORMA during check-out to get 5% off select Norma merchandise. Listen to the Audio clip below to learn more about this special discount!
HOW TO GET 5% OFF CLICK “PLAY” to hear Midsouth’s Michael Ryan explain how to use the 6mmNORMA Promo Code. Save 5% on your order!
Target shooters will be pleased to find Norma cartridge brass in these accurate calibers: .222 Rem, .223 Rem, 6mm PPC, 6mmBR, 6XC, .260 Rem, 6.5×284, .308 Win, .300 RSAUM, and .300 WSM. Varmint Hunters should consider these other offerings: .204 Ruger, .220 Swift, 22-250, and .243 Winchester. Big game hunters will find a huge selection of cartridge types — everything from .25-06 to .375 H&H. Of course Norma offers nearly all the popular deer-hunting cartridges, such as 6.5×55, .270 Win, .270 WSM, 7mm-08, 7mm Rem Mag, .280 Rem, .30-06, and .300 Win Mag.
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