300 Norma Mag – Ballistics and Caliber Comparison

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700-12.652.92 2171 0.825 2406
800 -15.67 3.42 2067 0.967 2180
900-18.943.94 1966 1.116 1972
1000-22.474.49 1868 1.272 1780
1800-62.569.93 12262.872767
1900-69.3810.7311703.123 699

The 300 Norma Magnum (shortened to 300 Norma Mag or even just 300 Norma) is the hottest new precision long range round of ammo – especially in the special operations military sniper world.

300 Norma Mag

In this article, we’re going to explore:


300 Norma Mag Background

The 300 Norma was selected by SOCOM for the new Advanced Sniper Rifle (ASR) competition because of its impressive external ballistics.

You may be asking, “Isn’t every round selected because of its ballistics?” Well, yes and no.

As you may know, there are three types of ballistics, internal, external, and terminal.

  • Internal ballistics refers to what is going on inside the firearm
  • External ballistics refers to what is going on between the gun and the target
  • Terminal ballistics refers to what happens when the bullet interacts with the target

Often rounds are chosen (by an individual, police department, or military group) because of their size, weight, internal ballistics, and/or terminal ballistics.

Internal ballistics is important when things like minimizing recoil or maximizing barrel life are important. And terminal ballistics are an important factor when there are concerns about self-defense or hunting “stopping power.”


Cartridge Size

The size of a cartridge is important if the user is trying to maximize capacity or minimize the size of the firearm’s action. The weight of a cartridge is important when many rounds must be carried for long distances/periods of times.

The 300 Norma mag is based off of the 338 Norma Mag case necked down to accept a .30 caliber bullet. It is also based off of the same parent cartridge as the 338 Lapua mag….the 416 Rigby. This means that a bolt with a large face is needed which often means a large action (and a large/heavy rifle).


300 Norma Mag Ballistics

The 300 Norma Mag launches a 220gr .308 bullet at just over 3,000 fps. That’s 4,400 ft/lbs of energy!

The 300 Norma Mag really shines when it is shooting either the 230gr Berger Hybrid bullet – this bullet has an out-of-this world 0.743 Ballistic Coefficient (BC)!  (If you’re looking to learn about BC, check out Chapter 10 of the Long Range Shooting Handbook)  When loaded up to 3,000 fps, this bullet from the 300 Norma Mag will stay supersonic out to 1,500 meters!  This is as far as a much heavier 300gr SMK shot out of a 338 Lapua can make it before it goes subsonic!  Even though the 300 Norma will only have 80% of the energy of the 338 Lapua at that distance with those bullets, it can still make it there accurately, with considerably less recoil.  Another benefit to the 300 Norma Mag is the overall length is shorter than the 338 Lapua Mag – it is effectively the same length as the 300 Win Mag.

It shoots flatter and has less wind drift than it’s closest counter-parts, the 338 Lapua and the 30 Nosler.

However, it is a larger diameter cartridge than the 30 Nosler (bigger bolt face/action and less magazine capacity), it falls behind on the terminal ballistic energy of the 338 Lapua (until it catches up close to 2,000 yards), and, perhaps my biggest criticism, it is not a uniform cartridge…. it is not used by other groups in our military nor any other military.

So, the 300 Norma is a wonder-round on paper. And, it is lighter recoiling than the 338 Lapua. However, I’m not convinced that it is wise to chase the latest/greatest and best performing round. After all, there’ll always be something that comes along later that will boast better external ballistics. And when that happens, the military (especially) shouldn’t race to adopt the new round at the cost of new rifles, new ammunition supply, and training.

Let’s see the 300 Norma Magnum’s ballistics out to 2,000 yards:


YardsDrop (MOA)Wind (MOA)VelocityTime (Seconds)Energy (ft/lbs)
500-7.311.9923890.562 2911
600 -9.86 2.45 2279 0.690 2649
700 -12.65 2.92 2171 0.825 2406
1200-30.42 5.67 1681 1.611 1442
1300-34.86 6.30 1594 1.794 1296
1400 -39.65 6.97 1510 1.987 1163
1900-69.38 10.7311703.123699

That may or may not look impressive to you. Let’s compare it to some other calibers for perspective.


300 Norma Cartridge Comparisons

Below, we’ve compared the 300 Norma Mag to the cartridge it is trying to replace, the 338 Lapua Mag.

However, many of you may be interested to see how the 300 Norma Magnum compares to other cartridges such as the 30 Nosler. We’ve made a full comparison for you (complete with charts!) here: 300 Norma Mag vs 338 Lapua Mag vs 30 Nosler


300 Norma vs 338 Lapua

338 Lapua Magnum is the king of long range precision cartridges. Or, at least it was… we’ll have to see if the 300 Norma Mag takes over the 338 Lapua as the premier long range cartridge.

The 338 Lapua Mag packs a wallop (at both ends) whereas the 300 Norma has less recoil, and less energy at the target until the fat 338 slows down enough at around 2,000 yards where the energy of the two bullets is close to the same.

Let’s look at some stats to compare.

As you can seen, the velocities of the two cartridges are about the same. Note, however, that the 300 Norma is shooting a lighter bullet than the 338 Lapua. You may not think that this is a fair comparison, but the 338 Lapua is meant to shoot bigger bullets.

The 300 Norma gains on the 338 Lapua at 2,000 yards because the more efficient smaller bullet maintains its speed better.


300 Norma vs. 338 Lapua – Velocity
Bullet WeightVelocity at 100 ydsVelocity at 1,000 ydsVelocity at 2,000 yds
300 Norma Mag230 gr2859 ft/s1868 ft/s1122 ft/s
338 Lapua Mag250 gr2868 ft/s1800 ft/s1060 ft/s


The same speed with different weight bullets is why you see the difference in energy of the two rounds.  Up close, the 338 Lapua has 10% more energy than the 300 Norma. But, as the 338 Lapua slows down at extreme distances, the energy starts to even out between the two rounds.


300 Norma vs. 338 Lapua – Energy
Bullet WeightEnergy at 100 ydsEnergy at 1,000 ydsEnergy at 2,000 yds
300 Norma Mag230 gr4171 ft/lbs1780 ft/lbs642 ft/lbs
338 Lapua Mag250 gr4562 ft/lbs1800 ft/lbs623 ft/lbs


The best advantage that the smaller and more efficient bullet of the 300 Norma has is how little it drops and is blown by the wind at distance. Typically heavier bullets resist the wind better than lighter bullets. However, if the lighter bullet gets to the target faster, then it doesn’t have as long to be affected.


300 Norma vs. 338 Lapua – Drop/10 mph Wind
Bullet WeightDrop at 1,000 ydsWind at 1,000 ydsDrop at 2,000 ydsWind at 2,000 yds
300 Norma Mag230 gr-22.47 moa4.49 moa-76.70 moa11.55 moa
338 Lapua Mag250 gr-23.07 moa4.92 moa-81.69 moa12.85 moa



300 Norma Mag Ammo

300 Norma Mag Brass

300 Norma Mag Bullets

300 Norma Mag Rifles

The 300 Norma is currently only available in high-end tactical style sniper rifles or custom rifles.

There are two major manufacturers that make 300 Norma Mag rifles: Barrett Firearms and Accuracy International

I used to be a huge fan of Accuracy International until I learned of their politics and started gaining experience with Barrett products other than their semi-auto 50 cal (not a fan). Now I recommend Barrett over AI.

Accuracy International makes an AX series rifle in 300 Norma Mag with a 27″ barrel:

Barrett MRAD Rifles

Barrett MRAD Conversion Kit – 300 Norma Fluted Barrel

Christensen Arms 300 Norma BA Tactical



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    • george fournier
      Posted July 9, 2019 8:20 pm

      You really should compare the 250 gr Badlands SICBM in the 338LM to the Berger 230 in the 300NM. The 250 can be pushed at 3050 fps with a higher BC than the Berger, making the 300LM look like a BB gun.

    • Jonathan
      Posted July 22, 2019 12:46 am

      Hi Ryan,
      Thanks for the read. I have your book. It’s great.
      Could you elaborate on the politics of AI?

    • Paul
      Posted August 17, 2019 6:12 pm

      The 230 grains in 30 caliber has a sectional density of .3464. The 250 grains bullet has a sectional density of .3126 and a lower ballistic coefficient than the 30 caliber bullet you use to illustrate your example. This is not an apples to apples comparison. Not even close since the Lapua can use a 300 grains bullet and a 250 grains bullet in .338 caliber is really equivalent to a 208 bullet in 30 caliber. See where I’m getting ?

      In order to make an apples to apples comparison, the .338 caliber bullet should have the same sectional density…That bullet would have to weigh 276 grains…Anything between 275 and 280 grains is fine for comparison’s sake. These heavier bullets can be pushed at over 2800 fps and have exceptionally high ballistic coefficients. They beat the 300 Norma on all counts at all ranges except for recoil. If your interest is to portray the practical efficient side, then the comparison you use is acceptable but only in illustrating recoil, far from it in total capability. It is easy to view your article as biased in favor of the 300 Norma Mag, not to take anything away from its practicality and usefulness, the 338 Lapua is still a far superior round. More pertinent information is needed in order for your article to provide good comparative and informative values. As a writer, you are obligated to provide sound information, not incomplete biased information.

      • Paul
        Posted August 17, 2019 6:25 pm

        My post isn’t to take anything away from your other accomplishments which are clearly shown by your credentials nor is it to ignore the most commonly used weights in these two calibers. It does seem to me that the 300 Norma mag, being a new round is heavily marketed at the expense of its competitors true qualities which should be present in an article discussing or comparing them to others. I read far too many articles boasting of “better” ballistics between one or another, usually the 7mm VS the 30 Cal. They’re mostly all done in the same vein and the bullets they use are a far cry from an apples to apples comparison and one wonders why…

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