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Norma: The First Name in Precision Ammunition

Swedish ammo manufacturer Norma offers a full range of products for hunters, competitive and recreational shooters, and self-defense applications.

Norma: The First Name in Precision Ammunition

Norma's .380 Auto MHP 85 gr and 9 mm Luger MHP 108 gr ammo.

The Norma name is synonymous with premium ammunition, but not all shooters and hunters are aware of the breadth of products which Norma offers. The company has long been known for its precision rifle ammunition but Norma also makes exceptional centerfire hunting ammunition. The company also offers target ammunition for plinking or competitive shooting as well as an innovative new self-defense pistol bullet that has become a top choice for concealed carry. No matter the discipline or the firearm Norma likely offers something for every shooter. Let’s take a closer look at the company and all they have to offer.

Norma’s History

Norma Ammunition was officially founded in Sweden in 1902, which means that Norma has been supplying the world with premium ammunition products for well over a century. Brothers Lars, Johan, and Ivar Enger founded the company in Oslo, Norway but were compelled to establish manufacturing in neighboring Sweden and settled on the town of Amotvors, Varmland, which was just 12 miles from the Norwegian border. Incidentally, the name Norma wasn’t a family or provincial name but rather the title of an opera by Italy’s Vincenzo Bellini. Lars Enger was such a fan of Bellini’s opera and borrowed the name for his new ammunition brand.

Scandinavia has a long tradition of hunting and competitive shooting, but Norma’s primary products were military loads. It wasn’t until the 1950s that Norma started exporting ammunition for hunters. This early Norma hunting ammunition proved to be extremely reliable and consistent, and since Norma ammunition was built with premium components to exacting standards accuracy was better than many competitors. One of the brand’s earliest fans was Roy Weatherby who needed reliable ammunition for his powerful magnum cartridges and relied on Norma to produce premium ammunition for Weatherby rifles. Roy Weatherby had a reputation for only building premium products, and his powerful Mark V rifles introduced a whole generation of shooters to Norma products. During the mid-twentieth century, Weatherby worked closely with Norma ammunition engineer Nils Kvale. Kvale designed several cartridges during his time with the company including the .308 and .358 Norma Magnums, both of which are powerful and effective hunting cartridges for a wide range of big game.

In 2002, RUAG Ammotec AG purchased Norma. Under RUAG’s guidance, Norma flourished: by 2011 the company offered 106 different loads and produced 30 million rounds of ammunition.

Norma Hunting Line

In June of 2018, I was knee-deep in a coastal Mozambique swamp listening to the sounds of a herd of about fifty cape buffalo sloshing through the dark water just ahead of me. The buff was hidden by saw grass blades that rose to ten feet, but I could see the animals standing like black monoliths just beyond the green wall of vegetation.

Norma: The First Name in Precision Ammunition
The author Brad Fitzpatrick with his cape buffalo.

Guide Julian Moller and I eased forward so that we could see through the veil of grass. On the near edge of the herd was a single mature bull with sweeping horns and heavy, sloping shoulders. I was carrying Julian’s .375 H&H Magnum rifle loaded with his favorite Norma African PH round with 350-grain Woodleigh Weldcore soft points, and when I fired on the buffalo the shot hit him hard, staggering him as the herd roared off in a rush of water into the rising Mozambican sun.

Two backup shots were fired as insurance although there was no doubt that the Norma load had finished the bull. That was a meat buffalo and not a trophy so it was butchered in the field and separated for transport to different villages in Mozambique’s Coutada 11 hunting area. During the butchering process, I found the Norma bullet’s wound channel, which crossed through both lungs and stopped on the off-side shoulder just under the skin: excellent performance in an animal weighing three-quarters of a ton and built like a Sheridan tank. The two monolithic .375 H&H bullets that had been fired as backup to the initial shot hadn’t penetrated a third as deeply as the Norma round.

Norma Dedicated Hunting Ammunition

The type of performance I experienced on my Mozambique buffalo hunt is why Norma ammunition is the top choice of discerning hunters the world over, whether they’re chasing record-book whitetails in the Heartland, dangerous game like buffalo and grizzly bear in dense brush, or mountain game in the Rockies or Himalayas. Today Norma offers a full scope of centerfire hunting bullets in their Dedicated Hunting Lineup which are suitable for any game anywhere in the world.

One of the most versatile hunting bullets in Norma’s lineup is their new BONDSTRIKE. As the name suggests, BONDSTRIKE bullets have a jacket and core that are bonded for consistent performance at close ranges and high velocities or on heavy game, but the bullet’s streamlined boattail profile and polymer tip maintain high ballistic coefficients and make this streamlined bullet suitable for taking shots at extended ranges.

The new ECOSTRIKE bullet is Norma’s version of a monolithic hunting bullet, and it outperforms the competition by offering a polymer tip and internal cavity to initiate expansion, a proprietary plating system, a unique waist design that minimizes drag, and a streamlined profile that promotes consistent shot-to-shot accuracy. Whether you live in an area that requires lead-free ammo or simply like the performance of a premium monolithic bullet the ECOSTRIKE is a fantastic option for any game.

Norma’s TIPSTRIKE ammunition is a great choice for a wide variety of game. These flat-base bullets combine a rapidly-expanding hunting bullet with a mechanical lead lock that ensures maximum penetration. The result is a bullet that’s accurate, generates devastating shock on impact, and still penetrates deeply enough to reach the vitals on heavy game. It’s a great combination bullet for hunters who pursue light game like antelope and thin-skinned deer yet want a bullet that penetrates deeply enough for larger, tougher game like elk and bear. Norma designed the tip so that it would move backwards into the bullet upon impact to initiate expansion which ensures that the bullet’s energy is transferred into the body cavity for fast, efficient kills.

EVOSTRIKE is another lead-free bullet option for hunters and is specifically engineered for optimal performance on small to medium game animals. The hollow polymer tip ensures excellent accuracy and initiates expansion and the bullet’s dual-core design produces extreme shock. The front tin core of the bullet features radial perforations that result in maximum expansion and a massive transfer of energy. The rear tin core is stabilized and provides deep penetration, which ensures consistent performance.

Norma: The First Name in Precision Ammunition
Norma's WHITETAIL ammunition

Norma’s WHITETAIL ammo is the company’s first load designed specifically for America’s favorite big game animal. The bullet’s soft lead nose and thin jacket produce massive internal shock and rapid results on game. It’s perfectly designed for hunting deer at a wide variety of ranges, but this ammo is also great for pronghorn antelope, hogs, and even sheep and exotics. What’s more, WHITETAIL ammunition is quite affordable.

Dedicated Precision and Home Defense Lines

Norma has earned an enviable reputation for producing premium hunting ammo, but the company also offers products for personal defense and competitive shooting.

On the Dedicated Precision side, Norma manufacturers both Diamond Line and Golden Target ammunition for dedicated competition shooters. These products are designed for use in the world’s toughest long-range matches and are comprised of premium components including consistent charges of the best propellants and match-grade brass and primers. The molycoated bullets provide shot-after shot consistency even at extended ranges. If you’re looking for a more affordable option for target shooting but still want premium Norma features look to the Golden Target line. This ammo isn’t loaded with all of the same premium components as Diamond Line ammunition, but it’ll still outperform many competing loads at a lower price point.

Norma: The First Name in Precision Ammunition
Norma .380 Auto MHP 85 grain ammunition

The home defense ammunition market continues to expand, and Norma offers two loads engineered for personal protection. The company’s award-winning MHP (Monolithic Hollow Point) load was introduced in 2020 and has already become a popular option for defensive shooting. Available in .380 ACP (85 grain) and 9mm (108 grain), MHP ammunition is skived to initiate expansion, and four petals produce a wide wound channel and generate threat-stopping energies. Norma also offers Safeguard JHP ammunition which provides consistent performance from an array of personal defense handguns, and their Range & Training and Tactical ammunition are ideal for honing your shooting skills with your favorite carbine or pistol.

In addition to their loaded product lines, Norma also offers a wide range of premium reloading components for both handgun and rifle shooters.

The Norma Difference

Hunters and shooters have relied on Norma ammunition for over a century, and Norma’s current lineup of products offers any load for any game and any hunting situation. But the company is also offering premium target ammunition that’s capable of winning the toughest matches as well as premium personal defense ammunition, and that means there’s something in Norma’s ammunition lineup for you. Norma ammunition has never let me down when I needed it most, and it outperforms rivals ammunition in most every regard. Not familiar with Norma ammunition? You should be, because with their expansive product line and growing footprint in the U.S. hunting and shooting marketplace Norma might offer just the load you’ve been looking for.

For more info and to view current ammunition offers visit: normashooting.com

Norma: The First Name in Precision Ammunition
Norma .380 Auto MHP 85 grain ammunition
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