October 6th, 2010

Hornady’s New 285gr .338 Bullet Wins HG at IBS Nationals

Hornady plans to release a brand new 285gr, .338-caliber match bullet within the next few weeks. This bullet, which boasts a mind-blowing 0.735 G1 BC, has already proven itself in competition. At the 2010 IBS 1000-yard Nationals in September, Scott Fletcher won the Heavy Gun (HG) group title shooting the new Hornady 285gr BTHPs. Scott’s 4-match, 10-shot per target group Aggregate was 9.148″. Scott was shooting a large wildcat, the .338 Sloan. That cartridge is nearly identical to the new .338 Norma Magnum*, which could be described as a “chopped” .338 Lapua Mag — shorter with less case capacity.

Weight is unlimited in the 1000-yard Heavy Gun class. Weight soaks up the recoil of big cartridges like the .338 Norma Magnum, making them manageable to shoot. The Big 30-Cals have long dominated this HG category, but some shooters like Fletcher are experimenting with some really big cartridge/bullet combinations, in pursuit of class-leading ballistics. We don’t know how fast Fletcher pushes his prototype Hornady 285s, but that 0.735 BC has to give the bullets awesome performance in the wind.

Artist’s concept — No photos of the new bullet are available.

.338 285grain Hornady

New Manufacturing Process Produces Bullets with Near-Zero Run-out
According to Hornady’s Chief Ballistic Scientist Dave Emary, the new 285-grainer is a VLD-style, secant ogive projectile with a standard, drawn-copper jacket and lead core. This is a BTHP, NOT a plastic tip bullet like Hornady’s A-Max designs. Emary says, “This bullet was originally developed for the military. It has just about the lowest drag possible with conventional bullet construction and ogive design.” The .338-caliber 285gr bullet is the first of two new super-low drag bullets Hornady will be releasing before the end of the year.

The new 285gr bullets are built with a new manufacturing process that improves jacket concentricity to previously unattainable levels. Emary says: “Measured along the entire jacket, these bullets have extremely low eccentricity. We measured zero to a couple ten-thousandths total run-out along the whole jacket. As a result the bullet has show truly outstanding long-range performance, with sub-half-MOA accuracy at extreme ranges.” Hornady Project Engineer (and 1K shooter) Joe Thielen added: “These bullets are specifically designed and built for long-range use, and the jackets are the some of best I’ve ever seen.”

When will the new bullets be available? End of the year at the latest. Emary says the 285s should be available “before the end of November”. When we asked Hornady Marketing guru Steve Johnson, he said “Soon. They’ll be out soon.” When pressed as to “how soon”, Steve responded: “The release is imminent… imminent”.

*The .338 Norma Magnum was originally developed by the American sport shooter Jimmie Sloan as a long-range sport shooting wildcat cartridge. It was designed to shoot the .338-caliber, 300gr Sierra MatchKing projectile from actions/magazines too short for a .338 Lapua Magnum. Sloan licensed the design to the Norma group. Both the .338 Norma Mag and the larger .338 Lapua Mag are derived from the .416 Jeffreys, but the .338 Norma Mag fits in a shorter action.

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