The U.S. government’s main contracting website reports that the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM or SOCOM) intends to award a contract for a new type of armor-piercing ammunition. The USSOCOM recently announced it will award a one time, sole-source supply contract to Black Hills Ammunition Incorporated to meet its requirements for the .338 Norma Magnum ammunition due to limitations firing the XM1162 in indoor ranges. The new rifle sniper cartridge with an armor-piercing bullet is used against exposed and sheltered enemy personnel and light armored vehicles when fired from long range precision sniper rifles.
The .338 Norma Magnum is a cartridge first introduced in 2008 and came into production in 2009, designed by Norma of Sweden. The XM1162 is an advanced version of .338 Norma Magnum cartridge developed for the Advanced Sniper Rifle System. The .338 Norma Magnum was originally developed as a long-range sport shooting wildcat cartridge by the American sport shooter Jimmie Sloan with the help of Dave Kiff, owner of Pacific Tool and Gauge, who made the reamers and headspace gauges. Later the design was purchased by the Swedish ammunition manufacturer Norma. The .338 Norma Magnum cartridge was C.I.P. certified on 26 May 2010 and thus became an officially registered and sanctioned rifle cartridge.
U.S. Special Operations Command has set the wheels in motion for a new Advanced Sniper Rifle to replace the organization’s current Precision Sniper Rifle setup. It appears SOCOM will continue using a modular, bolt-action, multi-caliber rifle design; but will switch up calibers on the ASR. Though 7.62×51 NATO will remain in use, .300 Norma Magnum, and .338 Norma Magnum will replace SOCOM’s current .300 WinMag, and .338 Lapua cartridge selection. Black Hills Ammunition is working closely with the government to lend “surrogate cartridges” to companies interested in developing an ASR contender.
Black Hills Ammunition is an American ammunition and reloading supplies manufacturing company based in Rapid City, South Dakota. Black Hills is popular among Cowboy Action Shooters (see SASS, the Single Action Shooting Society) because they produce ammunition in a number of obsolete calibers, such as .44 Russian, .38 Long Colt, .44-40 and others. The exclusive distributor for Black Hills Ammunition in the United Kingdom is Edgar Brothers. Black Hills Ammunition supply all match 5.56 ammunition for the US Military’s Service Rifle Teams and provide specialty ammunition for specific military operations.