The Lone Ranger used silver bullets… now you can too. Well, they’re not really silver, but they look like silver and they are lead-free. Norma’s new ECOSTRIKE™ bullet features a copper core with a proprietary silver-color plating to reduce fouling. Why is Norma offering a lead-free bullet? Well, in some locations, such as California, the use of traditional, lead-core bullets has been highly restricted. The Ecostrike give hunters the opportunity to shot hard-hitting, deep-penetrating projectiles, even where lead-cored bullets are banned. Norma explains: “The Ecostrike is designed to give… penetration deep enough to reach the vital organs even on large animals. The controlled expansion and a very high retained weight guarantee a consistent behavior and deep penetration.”
Being totally lead-free, Ecostrike bullets are California-compliant, and they can be used in other regions where lead ammo is restricted. Currently, Norma plans to offer Ecostrike bullets in four popular calibers: 7mm (.284), .308 (7.62 mm), 8mm, and 9.3 mm. Spanning the range from 7mm up to 9.3 mm, Ecostrike bullets will be available for the most popular big game cartridge types. Norma also plans to produce loaded ammunition featuring the new Ecostrike bullet.
“Silver Bullet” Bullion cartridges are produced by the NW Territorial Mint. The Norma Ecostrike bullets contain no silver, just copper and a proprietary plating. But they do look like silver bullets.
Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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In January, during SHOT Show, Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia inked a contract with Norma to produce ultra-high-quality .284 Winchester and 6mm Dasher brass. This was great news for competitive shooters. The .284 Win is the caliber to beat in F-0pen competition and the 6mm Dasher holds most of the records in the 600-yard benchrest game.
We’ve just learned that the new Norma .284 Win brass is in production and should be available in five to six weeks. Shiraz tells us: “Production is in full swing in Sweden and the picture below shows the very first .284 Win case that came off the line. They [.284 Win cases] are in testing and we expect to have them here in USA by the end of April.”
Bullets.com should start taking pre-orders in the near future. Shiraz explained: “As far as pre-orders for the Norma .284 Win brass go, we are waiting for final pricing. When we have that, we will make the .284 Win brass active on our Bullets.com website and will take orders. Those orders will be shipped in the order they were received.”
NOTE: This is just a QuickDESIGN drawing, NOT the Norma brass blueprint. Dimensions may vary slightly, so do not use this to spec reamers or other tools. Wait until you can measure the actual brass.
What about 6mm Dasher Brass from Norma?
Dasher fans will have to wait a little longer. Shiraz Balolia says: “It may be months for the Dasher brass. We will keep on them, but if I were to guess, it will be late summer 2015″.
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Need quality .22 LR rimfire ammo at an affordable price? Consider Norma. Most folks think Norma only produces centerfire ammo and cartridge brass. As a result, people haven’t been looking for Norma rimfire ammo. Their loss is your gain. Accurate, reliable Norma .22 LR ammunition is in-stock right now at leading online vendors. This is good quality ammo, made in Europe. Watch video review below.
Summary by .22 Plinkster (see 4:30 time mark): “I’m pretty impressed with it … I think it’s a really good deal. For six dollars and fifty cents [per box] you can’t go wrong with a box of this ammo. Out of a good bolt gun, this ammo will drive tacks.”
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Bullets.com has contracted with Norma to produce 1,000,000 pieces of .284 Winchester and 6mm Dasher brass (500,000 of each type). This is big news for competitive shooters. The .284 Win cartridge is a proven winner in F-Class competition and the 6 Dasher is a record-setting mid-range benchrest cartridge. It’s tough to beat the Dasher at 300-600 yards, and the .284 Win is probably the most successful cartridge for F-Open shooters.
Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia (left) and Norma Managing Director Paul-Erik Toivo “ink the deal”.
Shooters should be excited about these new offerings. Bullets.com’s contract with Norma calls for advanced production methods to make sure the new brass is truly “match-grade” and long-lasting. To ensure that primer pockets stay tight for many firings, the caseheads on the new brass will be double-stamped for improved hardness and strength. Additionally the new brass will go through an additional draw stage to ensure ultra-uniform casewall thickness. With these extra manufacturing steps, this new 6mm Dasher and .284 Win brass should be the best brass Norma has ever produced, as Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia explains in the video below:
Shiraz Balolia Explains the Qualities of the New Brass
Shiraz reports: “Normally, Norma has about 25 steps of quality control (QC) during the production process of brass. They told us that our first shipments will have almost 30 steps to make sure that the brass is absolutely flawless when it leaves the factory.”
For illustration only — actual specifications may be slightly different.
6mm Dasher without Fire-Forming Hassles
Until now, if you wanted to shoot a Dasher, you had to go through the time-consuming and laborious process of forming brass from the parent 6mmBR Norma case. You had to blow the shoulder forward, either through fire-forming or hydro-forming. Now that’s all changed — you will soon be able to take perfect 6mm Dasher brass out of the box, and “load and shoot”.
The Deal is done. New Norma .284 Win brass will start arriving in the USA in March, 2015, while the new Dasher brass is expected in late summer 2015.
IMPORTANT — The above diagrams were made 4 years ago with QuickDESIGN. They are for illustration purposes ONLY. These are NOT reamer prints, and there may be small differences compared to the Norma .284 Win and 6mm Dasher brass ordered by Bullets.com. Do NOT spec reamers based on the above illustrations. Wait ’til we have the actual Norma brass to measure.
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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 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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USAMU Service Rifle shooter/instructor SSG Brandon Green set a new national record this past week, shooting a 500-33X in the individual Aggregate, National Match Course (NMC) with metallic sights. Green was near-perfect in the 200-yard Rapids, shooting an amazing 100-9X. Green was shooting a Tubb 2000 bolt-action rifle chambered in 6XC. He set the new record using Norma factory ammo. Yep, this was factory 6XC ammo, right out of the box.
National Record Score Card of SSG Brandon Green
SSG Green is the current NRA High Power National Champion and Interservice Rifle Champion. He and the rest of the USAMU rifle team have trained hard for the 2014 season. Yet Brandon joked about his record-setting performance, noting that the record was shot with his “back-up” gun. On his Facebook page, Brandon posted: “500-33X NMC. Not positive, possibly a record [Editor: Yes it was.] Not too bad for a #2 gun.” Not too bad indeed, Brandon. Congratulations on this achievement. This bodes well for Green’s goal to win a second straight National High Power Championship at Camp Perry this summer.
Note: After setting a National Record with 500-33X during the individual match with his Tubb 2000, SSG Green followed with a 498 the following day using a Service Rifle during the team match. Remarkable.
File photo of Green with Service Rifle (posed publicity photo).
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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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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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