6.5 – 284 Norma
The 6.5-284 Norma is a cartridge primarily used by target shooters due to its excellent long-range performance. It is based upon the 284 Winchester cartridge with the neck diameter reduced to fire .264” diameter projectiles and was formally recognised as a cartridge in 1999.
The 6.5-284 Norma has a rim diameter smaller than the body of the case – this is known as a rebated rim. The 6.5-284 has the same rim diameter and holds almost as much powder as a 30-06, but the case is considerably short in length. This gives more room in the magazine for the long, very low drag 6.5 projectiles.
Because it is such a specialty long-range cartridge, very few factory rifles and ammunition are manufactured in 6.5-284. Savage produced their Model 12 in this cartridge and plenty of gunsmiths build 6.5-284 Norma chambered rifles, including the Stolle action custom rifle we have on the shelf right now. Lapua manufacture un-primed brass and many projectile manufacturers make projectiles. Some of the better examples are the Nosler RDF and Hornady ELD Match projectiles for extreme long-drag; Nosler Accubond LR for deep penetration on larger game and the Hornady V-Max for explosive terminal performance.
When firing the 140grain Nosler RDF projectiles the 6.5-284 Norma has a very similar range and wind deflection to a 300 win mag, but with a lot less recoil. Due to the high sectional density of .264 projectiles deep penetration on larger game is possible. The longer throats of the 6.5-284 Norma chambers are not suited to the lighter bullet weights – it can take a lot of load development to get lighter projectiles to shoot well.
Overall, the 6.5-284 Norma is an excellent cartridge. It is a better design and considerably more velocity than either the 260 Remington or the 6.5 Creedmoor, though it does require a longer action (the 284 case was designed to be used through a short action, but don’t). It doesn’t have the performance of the 26 Nosler, but you can fit an extra round in the magazine. It’s similar to the 6.5 PRS in velocity so there is a good argument to be had why the 6.5-284 Norma is a better cartridge so I’m open to any comments on this contentious point.