There is always something new brewing around Norma Ammunition and this year is set to be a banner one when it comes to state-of-the-art hunting loads.
With companies like Norma, superlatives often are understatements since they do things so well and so routinely that it is really news when they kick the game upward to the next level. And that’s what they are doing right now.
For Norma, with the introduction of two new bullet designs to their loaded ammunition line, they are covering basically all the bases shy of thick-skin, dangerous game hunting (and they already have a comprehensive line of the big stuff).
New for this year are the TIPSTRIKE and ECOSTRIKE bullets. The TIPSTRIKE is a basic cup-and-core bullet that takes full advantage of high tech design and manufacture combined with mechanical jacket features to deliver a projectile that puts animals down quickly, very quickly. In other words, it is the ultimate of its genre. ECOSTRIKE is an all-copper/nickel, non-lead bullet that, again, takes full advantage of the most precise, high-tech design and manufacture to deliver top performance.
When a company takes two ultra-modern bullets and loads them into precision ammunition the way Norma does, hunters win big-time.
“ECOSTRIKE is developed to give unequalled accuracy in all circumstances,” Norma reports. “Its controlled expansion and a very high retained weight assures consistent behavior and deep penetration at short and long distances.
“Accuracy is optimized through unique design and precise production methods. The bullet has patented nickel-plating, which minimizes barrel fouling.”
“One shot and the hunt is over,” Norma reports. “With TIPSTRIKE you keep all the excitement, but avoid all unnecessary drama. The effect is instantaneous just like the reward…. The constant pursuit of being a responsible hunter has been achieved.
“TIPSTRIKE is developed for stopping power combined with a penetration deep enough to reach the vital organs of the game. The polymer tip assures the expansion and gives a devastating shock effect, due to the construction of the bullet jacket. To maintain a high retention weight, the jacket is reinforced with a mechanical lock, thus making TIPSTRIKE an outstanding bullet for driven hunts and other forms of hunting where an immediate stop is crucial.”
Norma stresses that for the “perfect ending” to the hunt, “know your game, know your terrain. STRIKE will do the rest.”
Regardless how well thought-out and executed products may be, the proof is in the hunt. Do they perform as intended in real animals in the real world?
The answer was a resounding “yes,” if the results of a driven game hunt in the Czech Republic this past fall is any measure.
A group of scribes from Europe and the U.S. joined Norma representatives not far from Prague where driven hunts primarily for wild boar were conducted in several different forest areas for a couple of days of drives.
For the hunt, it was nice to hook-up again with Thierry Daguenet from France. We shared a hunting trip together in Poland a few years back. And, of course, Norma’s Ron Petty from the U.S. was part of the expedition.
“We want to be the best bullet maker in Europe,” said Norma Managing Director Paul Erik-Toido. “Bullets have to be sexy.”
To streamline travel and other administrative details, I opted to use a loaner rifle rig on the hunt. Turned out to be a nice Remington Model 700 with synthetic stock, chambered for the .308 Winchester. The short action Model 700 is a really handy hunting rifle. It carries easily and is a sweet shooter, especially when chambered for the .308 Winchester.
Before going on our first drive, we went to a local range, attached a Kahles Helia 5 1-5x24i scope to the Remington and then sighted-in. The sighting-in went quickly and smoothly, thanks to the combination of an accurate rifle, top-notch ammo and great scope.
The rifle was sighted dead-on at 50 meters, and it took only two adjustments to get it there. A two-shot confirmation “group” was but a single oblong hole in the target, so all was well. The lighted red dot in the reticle would prove to be especially helpful when the boars started running.
During the hunt, we engaged game on a number of drives in various locations. Because of the hilly nature of the terrain in the forests hunted, the drives tended to be rather long – longer than drives in flatlands. That was fun.
Driven game hunts serve a wildlife management role in that they help keep the numbers of specific types of animals in balance. Which is a factor that puts a bit of an added challenge to them.
Depending on the situation in a given area, specific types of animals are targeted. Sometimes that might be big boars, while in other areas it might be younger wild pigs. Efforts often are deliberate to avoid taking mature sows, which are with young piglets.
And, drives also can focus on females and younger members of other species like red deer, fallow deer or mouflon. This particular hunt happened after the season for roe deer, so none of them was taken.
Typically the drivers on such hunts are local hunters or members of local hunting clubs. Once shooters are in-place, the drivers, with their dogs, make noise and move through the forest with the intent of pushing the game past the shooters.
Which brings us to THE crucial element of driven game hunts: safety.
Common to driven game hunts in Europe or Scandinavia is a pre-hunt instructional session that is conducted by the hunt master, who outlines how that particular hunt will be conducted, what to do and not to do.
Then, as each shooter is positioned, he or she is told where their specific field of fire is – directions from where they are standing that they can and cannot shoot. The whole idea is to avert having anyone accidentally shoot another shooter, any of the drivers or their dogs.
And, everyone involved, sometimes including the dogs with orange collars, wears blaze orange so all are visible to the others. It works great and is all part of the highly structured forms of hunting in Europe.
Also, typically there are the post-hunt ceremonies that include the playing on hunting horns of “taps” for the animals taken and honoring of those hunters who have been successful.
In the mountainous area hunted on this trip, there were two or three drives a day.
Every member of the contingent took game on the trip and bullet performance was superb.--Steve Comus
Following are some of the TIPSTRIKE and ECOSTRIKE loadings that are available:
- .308 Winchester: 170-grain TIPSTRIKE, ballistic coefficient 0.454. Velocity 2,625 fps. Energy 2,602 ft/lbs.
- .30-06 Springfield: 170-grain TIPSTRIKE, ballistic coefficient 0.454. Velocity 2,790 fps. Energy 2,937 ft/lbs.
- .300 Win. Mag.: 170-grain TIPSTRIKE ballistic coefficient 0.454. Velocity 3,150 fps. Energy 3,747 ft/lbs.
- 7x65R: 140-grain ECOSTRIKE ballistic coefficient 0.443. Velocity 2,822 fps. Energy 2,476 ft/lbs.
- 7x64: 140-grain ECOSTRIKE ballistic coefficient 0.443. Velocity 2,986 fps. Energy 2,772 ft/lbs.
- 7mm Rem. Mag.: 140-grain ECOSTRIKE ballistic coefficient 0.443. Velocity 3,117 fps. Energy 3,021 ft/lbs.
- .308 Win.: 150-grain ECOSTRIKE ballistic coefficient 0.42. Velocity 2,822 fps. Energy 2,653 ft/lbs.
- .30-06 Springfield: 150-grain ECOSTRIKE ballistic coefficient 0.42. Velocity 2,953 fps. Energy 2,905 ft/lbs.
- .300 Win. Short Mag.: 150-grain ECOSTRIKE ballistic coefficient 0.42. Velocity 3,248 fps. Energy 3,515 ft/lbs.
- .300 Win. Mag.: 150-grain ECOSTRIKE ballistic coefficient 0.42. Velocity 3,280 fps. Energy 3,584 ft/lbs.
- 8x57 JRS: 160-grain ECOSTRIKE ballistic coefficient 0.43. Velocity 2,690. Energy 2,571 ft/lbs.
- 8x57 JS: 160-grain ECOSTRIKE ballistic coefficient 0.43. Velocity 2,789 fps. Energy 2,764 ft/lbs.
- 9.3x62mm: 230-grain ECOSTRIKE ballistic coefficient 0.42. Velocity 2,641 fps. Energy 3,563 ft/lbs.
- 9.3x74R: 230-grain ECOSTRIKE ballistic coefficient 0.42. Velocity 2,559. Energy 3,345 ft/lbs.
Check out the entire Norma line of ammunition at the SCI Convention in booth 1919.