338 Norma Review By Ward W. Brien
There are many .338 caliber cartridges on the market today. There is the 338x57 O'Connor, .338 Lapua Magnum, .338 Winchester Magnum, .338-06, .338 Remington Ultra Mag, and Shawn Carlock's .338 Edge… However, there is one 338 cartridge that is relatively new and impressing all who have had the opportunity to shoot it, and that’s Jim Sloan’s 338 Norma.
One of the Cadre with the 22” barreled .338 Norma. Notice the smile.
Mr. Sloan, (Texan Ballistic Guru) designed the 338 Norma loosely based on the 416 Rigby case and it is specifically designed to shoot the 300 grain Sierra Match King in a Remington 700 Long Action; without deep seating the bullet. The reason that the 338 Norma carries that title is because Mr. Sloan and Norma worked out an arrangement to have Norma manufacture the cartridge for entities inside the United States. As such, Mr. Sloan receives a small residual payment for his contribution.
I first heard of this cartridge through a rifle maker I knew who had heard whisperings about the cartridge and tracked Mr. Sloan down to discuss it. I yawned several times during our conversation, but concurred that if the cartridge was as good as he said it was, that I would take them to Ft. Benning with me as a vendor. I thought that it would be interesting to have it on the Burroughs Firing Range for the shoot day, especially since the line would be filled with .338 Lapua‘s.
The riflemaker agreed to build two, one with a 26” barrel and the other with a 22” barrel. Soon, they were delivered to the tops of the Rockies where I shot them at an elevation at and above 8,000’. They performed exceptionally well, shooting very small out to about 1,000 yards with loads developed at sea level.
The barrels utilized were built by Krieger Barrels, Inc. The twist rate was 1:9.4 and the 300 grain Sierra Match King’s chronographed from the 22” with a velocity of 2,690 feet per second. That got my attention…
I was very impressed. So, off to Ft. Benning I went. On the firing line, the cartridge again shot exceptionally well, and in my opinion, outperformed all other weapon systems and cartridges on the line.
The 338 Norma and the 338 Lapua side by side.
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