.338 Norma Magnum
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|.338 Norma Magnum|
Side by side comparison of the .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge to the .338 Norma Magnum cartridge.
|Place of origin||Sweden|
|Designer||Jimmy Sloan, Norma|
|Parent case||.416 Rigby|
|Case type||Rimless, bottleneck|
|Bullet diameter||8.60 mm (0.339 in)|
|Neck diameter||9.40 mm (0.370 in)|
|Shoulder diameter||14.50 mm (0.571 in)|
|Base diameter||14.87 mm (0.585 in)|
|Rim diameter||14.93 mm (0.588 in)|
|Rim thickness||1.52 mm (0.060 in)|
|Case length||63.30 mm (2.492 in)|
|Overall length||93.50 mm (3.681 in)|
|Case capacity||6.95 cm3 (107.3 gr H2O)|
|Rifling twist||235 mm (1 in 9.25 in)|
|Primer type||Large rifle magnum|
|Maximum pressure||440.00 MPa (63,817 psi)|
The .338 Norma Magnum was originally developed as a long-range sport shooting wildcat cartridge by the American sport shooter Jimmie Sloan with the help of Dave Kiff, owner of Pacific Tool and Gauge, who made the reamers and headspace gauges. Barrels were supplied by Satern Rifle Barrel Company. Vvarious twist rates were tried with 5R rifling. It was designed as a way to optimize shooting the 19.44 g (300 gr) 8.59 mm (.338 in) caliber Sierra HPBT MatchKing projectile from actions and magazines that lack the length to handle cartridges exceeding 91.44 mm (3.60 in) in overall length. Later the design was purchased by the Swedish ammunition manufacturer Norma. The .338 Norma Magnum cartridge was C.I.P. certified on 26 May 2010 and thus became an officially registered and sanctioned rifle cartridge.
The .338 Norma Magnum prior to C.I.P. certification had a shorter cartridge overall length (91.44 mm (3.60 in)) compared to the cartridge overall length of the .338 Lapua Magnum (93.50 mm (3.681 in)). The .338 Norma Magnum loaded with 19.44 g (300 gr) .338 caliber Sierra HPBT projectiles will have these projectile less deeply seated compared to the .338 Lapua Magnum when both cartridges are loaded to 91.44 mm (3.681 in) overall length. To achieve this the .338 Norma Magnum cartridge utilizes a shorter case (about 63.30 mm (2.492 in)) with less taper and a slightly sharper shoulder angle with a slightly longer neck, resulting in about 6.5% less case capacity. However the cartridge overall lengths of the .338 Norma Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum are currently (2013) determined at 93.50 mm (3.681 in) by the C.I.P. rulings for these cartridges.
U.S. government market survey and ammunition availability
On June 17, 2008, the U.S. government issued a market survey to support a requirement for a Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) to possibly replace the currently fielded Bolt Action SOF Sniper Systems MK 13 (.300 Winchester Magnum) and the M40 and M24 (7.62×51mm NATO) chambered to safely fire factory produced "non-wildcat" .338 caliber ammunition. This means the .338 Lapua Magnum and .338 Norma Magnum or derivatives of these cartridges would be two likely candidates for the cartridge part of this market survey and winning future U.S. government contracts.
The .338 Norma Magnum was designed to improve upon the .338 Lapua Magnum when loaded with 19.44 g (300 gr) Sierra very-low-drag bullets in magazines and actions that restrict the .338 Lapua Magnum's maximum cartridge overall length.
In long range precision sport shooting rifles, which the .338 Norma Magnum cartridges were designed for, the chamber and throat area of the barrel are often custom made by a gunsmith for a particular cartridge, meaning the rifle (system) is consciously constructed for optimal use with a particular cartridge case and projectile combination. If projectiles with differing dimensions are to be used this will generally erode such a custom made system's accuracy potential. This makes objective comparisons between cartridges hard, since cartridges are essential parts of a larger rifle system.
Since the .338 Lapua Magnum can be loaded to its C.I.P. overall length or even somewhat longer, the practical difference between the two cartridges gradually becomes negligible. Some manufacturers of .338 Lapua Magnum actions, magazines and rifles have indicated that they intend to offer products that will allow the use of .338 Lapua Magnum cartridges that can handle overall lengths that exceed the current C.I.P. .338 Lapua Magnum maximal overall length standard of 93.50 mm (3.681 in).
As of February 2009, the .338 Norma Magnum is still a very new cartridge with little commercial availability. However, it is available for purchase.
In May 2017 the United States Special Operations Command, in conjunction with the United States Marine Corps issued a sources sought notice for 5,000 Lightweight Medium Machine Guns (LWMMG) chambered for .338 Norma Magnum polymer-cased ammunition. The aim is to identify a machine gun with a 24 inches (610 mm) long barrel weighing 24 pounds (10.9 kg) or less, which offers sufficient accuracy out to 2,000 metres (2,187 yd) to engage area targets and vehicles.
The .338 Norma Magnum chambering is offered for these factory rifles:
- Remington Modular Sniper Rifle (MSR). This is a switch chambering and barrel sniper rifle that can also fire .338 Lapua Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, and 7.62×51mm NATO cartridges.
- General Dynamics Lightweight Medium Machine Gun (LWMMG)
- Christensen Arms BA Tactical Rifle and Christensen Arms TFM Rifle
- .300 Norma Magnum
- .338 Lapua Magnum
- .338 Remington Ultra Magnum
- .338-378 Weatherby Magnum
- .338 Chey Tac
- .338 Edge
- .338 Xtreme
- List of rifle cartridges
- 8 mm caliber
- The 19.44 g (300 gr) .338 caliber Sierra HPBT MatchKing projectile was not available when the .338 Lapua Magnum was originally designed (it was optimized for shooting 16.2 g (250 gr) projectiles) and .338 Lapua Magnum cartridges intended for military use are generally loaded with shorter 16.2 g (250 gr) projectiles.
- C.I.P. TDCC datasheet 338 Norma Mag.
- US Special Operations Considers A ".338" Sniper Rifle Accessed 2009-03-22. Archived 2009-04-19.
- Precession Sniper Rifle - Solicitation Number: H92222-09-PSR Accessed 2009-03-22. Archived 2009-04-19.
- Commercially non-existent cartridges are termed "wildcats"
- U. S. American Precision Sniper Rifle Accessed 2009-03-22. Archived 2009-04-19.
- Jamison International website
- USSOCOM & USMC Take First Steps Toward Adopting a .338NM Lightweight Medium Machine Gun
- "Remington Modular Sniper Rifle (MSR)". Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
- Norma Ammunition Homepage
- Snipers Hide Forums discussion of the new cartridge
- Tactical Gun Fan Blog talks about the US Military's deliberation between .338 Lapua Magnum and the .338 Norma Mag.
- C.I.P. TDCC datasheet 338 Norma Mag.