by Richard Mann - Wednesday, November 4, 2015
The Oryx might be Norma's most popular bullet. It's at least Norma’s best-known bullet here in the States. Oryx bullets are bonded bullets with a gilding metal jacket and lead core. Like most bonded bullets they reach their terminal shape very soon after impact. Oryx bullets also open very wide—on average they deform to about twice their original diameter. This, combined with a high percentage of weight retention, makes them one of the deepest penetrating bullets that Norma manufacturers.
In the fall of 2011 I traveled to the little town of Åmotfors, Sweden to visit the Norma factory. The trip also included a moose hunt, so I took along a .270 Winchester. In Sweden it is common to hunt moose with dogs, and that was the plan. On the first morning, as the fog rolled through the evergreen forest, I would have not been surprised to see a Viking warrior. Instead, a mature cow moose slipped in ahead of the hounds and I put a 150-grain Norma Oryx in her shoulder as she was quartering to me. She ran about 60 yards and I heard her pile up. In short order, the hounds found her.
That night over moose roast I discussed bullets with our hunt master, a competitive rifle shooter who has taken more than 300 moose. He told me he has tried every big game bullet Norma manufacturers, as well as most of those built in America. Obviously, he could hunt moose with any bullet he wants—but he preferred the Norma Oryx. When I asked him why he said just about any big game bullet, if properly placed, will kill a moose—but he had not seen a bullet capable of putting them down as fast as the Oryx typically does. It's hard to argue with a hunter who has that much experience.
It used to be the only Norma ammunition you could find with any regularity in the Untied States was loaded for European cartridges. And Norma bullets to handload were as rare as a 300-inch elk. With the establishment of Norma USA, that changed. Now many big box outdoor stores carry Norma ammunition, component bullets, brass and even gunpowder. This is good news for American hunters, because Norma does not make junk. The company's bullets are crafted ahead of 100 years of experience and the brass the ammo is loaded in is some of the best available anywhere.
If there is a down side to Norma ammunition, it’s the cost. On average you’ll pay about $2 to $2.75 per shot ($45 to $50 per 20 round box) for Norma Oryx ammunition. But with that expenditure comes the assurance that the bullet will work as intended and land where it's aimed. I’ve tested Norma Oryx ammunition in a variety of cartridges and sub-MOA accuracy is the rule, as opposed to the exception.
Norma USA offers Oryx loaded ammunition for the most of the common big game cartridges between .243 Winchester and .375 H&H. Offerings include oddities like the 6.5-284 and several Weatherby cartridges.
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