This flat-shooting ammo is put to the test on a northeast Wyoming deer hunt
After years in the making, Swedish ammunition maker, Norma, announced a new line of ammo called Kalahari that is built around a new lead-free bullet of Norma’s design. Norma engineers told us they were unwilling to offer it to hunters until they were completely satisfied with its performance.
The Kalahari bullet is a monolithic hollow-point bullet designed specifically for African plains game, medium-sized game in the United States and even elk. Like other lead-free projectiles, the Norma Kalahari is lighter in weight than a typical lead-core bullet of the same size. To help prevent copper fouling in the bore, the Kalahari has a proprietary bullet coating.
During the test phase of the Kalahari bullet, Norma found that upon entering the target, the hollowpoint would open up to six petals. Before exiting, the six petals would peel back, causing deep penetration, maximum expansion and great wounding effect.
Because of complications relating to the new packaging of the Kalahari ammo, the first samples did not arrive in the U.S. until late October 2011. The sample Kalahari ammo in .270 Winchester and .30-06 arrived a little late for the fall hunting seasons but were right on time for field testing on a November deer hunt in Wyoming.
TWO SAVAGE TEST RIFLES
Two Savage Model 116 Weather Warrior rifles were used to field test the new Kalahari ammunition. I had ordered a new Model 116 rifle in .270 specifically to test the new .270 Winchester ammo, and I mounted a Cabelas EURO 3-9x scope on it, using Burris two-piece bases and Millett Angle-Lok rings.
The other rifle I used for testing the ammo was my own Model 116 rifle in .30-06 caliber, with a Trijicon AccuPoint 3-9x scope in Leupold STD mounts. This particular rifle has been the test model for several types of new bullets and ammunition, so it was a logical choice for this effort. Thanks to its stainless steel finish and synthetic stock, it has survived many hunts during which the weather was not exactly conducive to keeping a rifle looking pretty.
Not only has this Savage Model 116 rifle been a tough competitor, it has also retained its reputation for good accuracy. Through all the bullet and ammo testing it has been involved in, it shoots light 130-grain bullets, as well as the heavier 180-grain bullets. Best of all, it is also not finicky about whether the bullet has a lead core or is one of the new lead-free versions.
By Richard Folsland