Velocity. It kills stuff. It flattens trajectory. It looks good in your ballistic calculator and is what separates firearms from primitive weapons like spears and bows and arrows.
Chasing velocity has been the mission of many wildcatters – from Savage inventing the first calibre to break the 3000 fps barrier; to P.O. Ackley with his case design modifications for extra speed. Wildcatter Roy Weatherby built his empire on ultra-high velocity cartridges for better knock down power on game. Good propellants to maximise velocity and minimise excessive barrel wear in ultra-overbore cartridges have become easily accessible over the last three decades, leading companies such as Nosler, Weatherby and Remington to take part in another race for market share.
The 404 Jeffries case has been the base for many high-performance cartridges. Winchester based their WSM line on an ultra-short version of this case. Remington based their Ultra-Magnums on this cartridge, with most requiring 375 H&H length actions to fit.
Starting with the 26, Nosler have released their line of magnums based on the 404 case. All fit inside a 300 win mag magazine and use a standard 300 win mag bolt face – big pluses for anyone wanting to convert an existing rifle to a Nosler chambering.
The 26 Nosler is ultra-high velocity. Almost 4000 fps with a 6.5 100 grain projectile is achievable – this makes for a very flat trajectory! Even with high BC match projectiles the 26 Nosler will get 3200 fps or more. This equates to almost 100 inches less drop at 1000 meters than a 338 Lapua. If sighted in at 250 meters, there’s only 8 inches of drop and 5 inches of drift in a moderate wind at 400 meters.
At this stage Nosler are the only guys who make rifles or cases in this calibre. The big advantage of this case is that it will fit into any 300 win mag length action though, so nearly any rifle can be converted to this ultra-high velocity cartridge. The gun pictured is a custom built Weatherby Mark V in 26 Nosler, topped with a Leupold Mark 5 5-25×56.