ECOSTRIKE 7mm Remington Magnum

Norma-USA

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"At 100 meters its precision is impeccable - Norma ECOSTRIKE is the only thing I am putting in my rifle from now on."

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In advance of the upcoming moose hunt, we had the unique opportunity of being the first in the world to test Norma’s new copper bullet, ECOSTRIKE, in a 7mm caliber Remington Magnum. ECOSTRIKE has been available on the market in calibers such as 9.3x62 and .30 for some time, but it is now taking a step forward with other calibers. We stopped by Norma's factory in Åmotfors on the way to the hunting grounds in the forest of Jämtland County.

In advance of the upcoming moose hunt, we had the unique opportunity of being the first in the world to test Norma’s new copper bullet, ECOSTRIKE, in a 7mm caliber Remington Magnum. ECOSTRIKE has been available on the market in calibers such as 9.3x62 and .30 for some time, but it is now taking a step forward with other calibers. We stopped by Norma's factory in Åmotfors on the way to the hunting grounds in the forest of Jämtland County.

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“Let’s put it like this. It depends on what you are going to hunt and at what distance you want the greatest effect. For example, our classic bullet, Oryx, may have been the most effective at both close and long range, but there is always an alternative that performs in a desired way at both distances. So you always have a choice among the variety of bullets we offer,” Anders Brolund said.

“Our new STRIKE range of bullets is expanding fast, both for short and long ranges where the aim is to obtain a knockdown effect in hunting situations when the bullet has to have a strong shock effect that drops the animal, if not on site then not far away,” Brolund said and continues:

“Sometimes you get a really good hit, but it may sit so well that it goes into the lungs, which is a bit too easy on the bullet. In that case, the full effect does not occur until it is gone somewhat farther into the animal. For example, if it hits bone, it will have a full effect immediately. With ECOSTRIKE, our experience is that the entrance hole is usually double the size of the exit hole, which means it opens as fast as it promises to.”

The Great Challenge
“During development of the STRIKE family, the .30 caliber was by far the most difficult bullet to get right since the breadth inside the caliber is very large. It is a bullet that has to handle both high and low velocities, which poses a challenge, especially for the Ecostrike bullets” Anders Lööf said and added “ Copper is a bit sensitive, so when it begins expanding everything happens at the same time. But we are very pleased with the result.”

Ban on Lead
An increasing number of countries and areas have instated a ban on lead for hunting ammunition, Germany among them.

“We hope it will be a success in Germany, where the ban on lead is progressing fastest,” Brolund said, and continued to say “At the fairs we visited this year, the biggest issue we have talked about is the debate about lead in meat. The danger of eating game that might contain traces of lead has been brought up. It is something that I myself do not believe to be true, but I think more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious and are reading more before they choose a bullet.”

Bullet Development
Thomas Åberg joins the guided tour. He has been the ballistic manager at Norma for the past four years. He shoulders primary responsibility for the ballistic department. He has a habit of leaving nothing to chance, something he learned from his past in the world of forensics where he worked as a firearms forensics examiner at the Swedish National Forensic Centre for twenty years.

“Developing a new bullet almost always begins with the marketing department wanting a new bullet with special properties. We go through these properties to see what they are looking for. Then we conduct some form of evaluation about whether such a bullet can be made,” Thomas says. “Once an evaluation has been carried out and the targeted bullet can in all likelihood be manufactured, we enter into something we call Phase 1.”


Thomas tells us that Phase 1 means the project manager has been delegated responsibility for the new bullet. They begin creating the new bullet with the ballistic department and the designers together, based on experience in order to create the functionality that the marketing department is looking for.

Anders Lööf is part of the design team during Phase 1. He has worked at Norma for almost three years, both with case and bullet manufacturing, but he is now a ballistic technician and developer.

“There are four people on our team at this phase and we work more or less full time on one and the same project. We have a technical specification and a desired objective. One person does the design and others make prototypes while I do test firing and perform evaluations together with the rest of the group,” Lööf said.

This process can run from one month to over a year depending on the product and its objective.
“We try to develop the form and also test powder types, primers and so on. We even have technical equipment that measures and simulates things such as the bullet’s flight characteristics in order to save time and obtain guidelines more quickly since everything has to be tested in reality,” Lööf said.

When the team realizes during Phrase 1 that they have designed the bullet that the marketing department requested, the project moves forward and the bullet enters Phase 2.

With Thomas Åberg at the fore, the ballistic department is fully responsible for this phase.

“At this point we do testing to see whether the bullet keeps its promises, that it expands like the marketing department wants it to, and that it maintains required precision,” Thomas said.

Testing is very comprehensive. They fire at least 500 to 600 rounds, including nearly 100 expansion tests. And if the bullet does not expand as it should, say at every twentieth round:

“Then it goes right back to phase 1 and back to the drawing board.”

Leaving nothing to chance
When the new bullet has cleared all tests during Phase 2 it is ready for Phase 3: Evaluation of hits in living tissue.

“We have decided to conduct these tests in strict hunting situations around the world, and we only use professional hunters. Trusted and trained gamekeepers with extensive experience in hunting, choice of game hunted and how the bullet impact should subsequently be evaluated,” Thomas Åberg said.

As a workplace, Norma is permeated by experience and seriousness but, above all, pride. These people know what quality is and never neglect it. And that may be precisely why so many people stay here until retirement.

After having been given a tour of the factory, the shooting tunnels and the loading stations, you realize what an enormous amount of labor goes into their work. Something that gives you a completely different sense of respect for what you take for granted: the ammunition you load into your rifle.

“The goal is to leave nothing to chance. Naturally, the desired properties of the new bullet determine the appropriate testing, which is comprehensive, time-consuming and costly. But at Norma we deliver premium products and we do what we can to live up to that,” Åberg said in conclusion.

Norma ECOSTRIKE 7 mm Rem. Mag. for moose hunting
Staffan Johansson from the hunting magazine Vildmarken is the first one to evaluate ECOSTRIKE using a 7mm caliber Remington Magnum with his Blaser R8 Professional Success. Staffan hunts together with his family and friends just west of Östersund in Jämtland County. A place thought to have one of Sweden’s densest moose populations.

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I noticed a certain difference already during shooting trials, even if it was imagined; a different cracking sound when firing compared to previous lead ammunition. The ammunition is loaded for a velocity of 950 meters per second (3116 feet per second). Despite that, the recoil is almost non-existent, which is part of the charm of a 7mm Rem. Mag. with a mounted silencer.

A first shot with a Norma Jaktmatch, then loading with 3 ECOSTRIKE bullets. The precision at a distance of 100 meters is beyond reproach, with three hits next to each other, a few centimeters above the first hit from the first shot using the practice ammunition.

On location in Jämtland
During the first day of moose hunting, expectations are naturally running very high. But since hunting moose can so often be like blind hunting, your anticipation levels out as the fifth hour in the tree stand approaches. But as the sound of a dog barking draws closer, you grow anxious and quickly forget the preceding hours.

One of the dogs, a Hällefors elkhound, is going after a moose that it cannot seem to stop. Just a moment ago I got a report about it being a cow, which are protected in this area. And suddenly I hear a crashing noise behind me and a stately cow runs at a moderate speed by my stand, with the dog a few minutes behind. I am one nature experience richer.

The roar of a shot is heard not far from here, coming from the spruce grove where the stand is located. At the same time the barking hound flushes out a moose bull that quickly tries to flee the hunting ground.

DAY TWO: I get a stand next to a ravine with a view over a clearing and thicker woods above me. I sit several kilometers from where a dog handler goes in, but I can happily follow them with the Tracker app on my phone. But I soon have to put my phone aside when a clattering noise rises from the dense brush above me.

A lone female crashes out of the woods. I coolly observe that it is a heifer as she lumbers down the hill. No dog nearby, which gives me the opportunity to enjoy her company until it is time to shoot.

The shot is fired. She makes clear signs and in the sight I see a well-visible hole in her shoulder. Believing that she will not move far, I advance and take no more shots. But the heifer ambles over the hill where it is very steep on the other side. I report it on the radio and it does not take long before the dog handler, Roger, shows up with his bitch Vilda. I point to where I shot the moose and confidently say, “I think she’s behind the crest.”


I go to the shot site, where Roger commands the dog to mark then releases her. The dog is standing ninety meters away from my position in the stand and Roger informs me that the moose is lying down, which confirms my gut feeling but it is still nice to have it confirmed.

The drive is soon broken off and I head down to meet the heifer again. She is lying under a spruce, shot in the shoulder as I thought. However, she had stood at a slight angle and the bullet exited just behind the opposite shoulder. It was a good hit in the lungs and the machinery was pretty battered.

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On location at the slaughterhouse, I document the wounds from the shot. As Anders Brolund from Norma stated, the entrance hole was actually larger than the exit hole. And it discharged its effect inside the animal to continue penetration along a straight path.

The inside of the shoulder was somewhat bloodshot, but that is not strange since she walked nearly fifty meters away from the shot site.

I have shot moose and other large game with other bullets, made shoulder hits and mortal hits, but rarely with such a strong sign from the shot, which confirms the ECOSTRIKE’s promised shock effect, even if she did not fall on site.

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ALL-AROUND BULLET
I have shot three times since the moose hunt; a fox, a fallow deer and a wild boar have fallen at the tip of my Blaser R8. All of them have fallen at the shot site, with bullets that expanded successfully without unnecessary damage to the meat.

"Norma ECOSTRIKE is the only thing I am putting in my rifle from now on."
//Staffan Johansson, Magasin Vildmarken

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