Norma .243 Tip Strike Varmint
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- Last updated: 15/01/2018
Although I am an avid reloader, I’ve not reached anorak status yet, I still like to have a few factory loads handy, for two reasons. Firstly, there are occasions when I have run out of home loads and secondly when taking clients’ deer stalking; if they are using the ‘estate rifle’ obviously they cannot use my home loads!
With this in mind, I also find myself looking at various factory loads, to ensure that I am using the best available for my requirments. Norma already produce an excellent range of ammo for the .243 Winchester, loaded with a wide array of bullet-styles and weights, so I was surprised and intrigued when their 76-grain Tip Strike Varmint arrived.
These have been developed for the UK market, primarily for fox shooters! For those of you with the ‘any other lawful quarry’ condition on your FAC, they are very suitable for other pests and predators. In boxes of 20, they are packed in 2 x 10-round plastic liners, that conveniently break in half to fit in your pocket! The brass is the usual high quality and fire formed well in my .243 Ackley Improved (AI) chamber. The bullet has a distinctive orange tip that is blunt at the point, overall length averaged at 2.682”; from an average of 10-rounds, they measured 2.680 to 2.684”.
According to the data, the bullet gives 3445 fps/2003 ft/lbs, with an extreme spread of 23 fps; not bad! That’s not slow and to my surprise, when fired in my 243 AI, that rose to 3537 fps/2124 ft/lbs, so what the figures would look like coming from a relatively tight .243 Win chamber I can only guess; most likely bloody quick. If nothing else, this only goes to show the importance of not believing what’s printed on the box and chronoing them through your rifle!
The test rifle was my Remington 700 .243 Ackley with a 24” Pacnor barrel. The Tip Strikes shot very well, comfortably putting in groups under ½” and one 3-rounder just made a single ragged hole. However, after two groups, the barrel had to be left to cool, as the groups soon opened up to nearly 4”. So well-spaced out single shots are the order of the day!
They are definitely not for shooting quarry for the table, as the results on a fox and several crows I shot where dramatic to say the least! Initially, I had thought they may be suitable for small deer as well as pest species but my advice is don’t waste the venison! To conclude, for the shooter looking for a well put together, potentially accurate varmint round for the .243 give them a go, but they do not cross over well to deer shooting, even if you do end up with some good brass for reloading.
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