It all started in 1946, when John Nosler was hunting moose with a .300 H&H. He hit the beast and hit it square. However, the bullets did not penetrate the animal deeply enough to reach vital organs. This meant a long and painful death for the animal.
On his way home from the hunt, John started thinking about creating a bullet that would perform consistently – no matter the size of the game nor the shot angle. The result was a dual-core bullet that would eventually become the first Nosler Partition in 1948. On the next hunt, the moose was killed with one shot, and Nosler was born.
Part of the problem is just how rounds were made in those days. Jacketed bullets for the most part employed single lead alloy cores surrounded by single copper alloy jackets. Military rounds featured a closed front and opened base. They were full metal jacket rounds and they could definitely penetrate – even an entire animal. The problem was they didn’t expand very much. Hunting rounds, on the other hand, were completely backward from this, with a closed base and an opened front. They would open, but not penetrate enough through tough muscle and bone, often breaking apart inside the animal. This was the root of Nosler’s problem.
Like many innovators of his era, Nosler set about figuring out how to engineer the perfect round for his personal needs. What Nosler wanted was a round that preserved its integrity at high velocities after expanding easily at lower velocities. He achieved this with a custom jacket with two distinct lead cores. One lay in the nose, with expansion ending at the partition between the two lead cores. The partition was comprised of solid copper, built much like a full metal jacket round.
Nosler tested his first round in 1947, and the results were nothing less than revolutionary for the world of big game hunting.
Originally, Nosler handmade his own rounds with jackets turned in a private lathe. In 1948, he first began selling the rounds commercially, culminating in the founding of Nosler, Inc. In 1958, the company moved to a 6,000-square-foot facility in Bend, OR. It stayed here until 1982, when it moved to its current location.
Expansion was often the calling card of Nosler’s innovations. More consistent expansion has long been associated with Nosler rounds. What’s more, Nosler pioneered innovative core bonding techniques – meaning decreased separation between jacket and core. The plastic Nosler Ballistic Tip combines a hollow point round’s expansiveness with the Spitzer boat tail shape. Other manufacturers created their own version of this industry-revolutionizing development, such as the Hornady V-Max.
Proprietary Nosler Calibers
In 1988, the founding Nosler sold the manufacturing facilities and intellectual property to his son. This includes the five proprietary cartridges the company is perhaps best known for, including:
- 22 Nosler: This .22 (.224") round was introduced in January 2017. It is a standardized centerfire round fully authorized by SAAMI. While it’s similar to the 223 Remington and 5.56 NATO cartridges, it promises a quarter more case capacity and moves 300 feet per second faster.
- 26 Nosler: This .26 (6.5x66mmRB) centerfire round debuted in November 2013. It is the first proprietary round rolled out by Nosler, with the goal of updating the 6.5mm cartridge, leveraging modern ammunition technology for higher velocity and flatter trajectories.
- 28 Nosler: The .28 is a 7mm (.284") caliber centerfire that is more or less a shorter version of the 7mm Remington Ultra Magnum round. It is designed, in part, with the weight-conscious hunter in mind, allowing him to load up lots of rounds at less weight.
- 30 Nosler: This .30 (.308") caliber centerfire round travels faster than a .300 Weatherby Magnum. It was released in January 2016.
- 33 Nosler: The .33 (.338") caliber Nosler proprietary round is likewise a centerfire round. It is faster than the .338 Lapua Magnum round by 25 feet per second, while at the same time burning 18 percent less powder. Its length is identical to the .338 Winchester Magnum, but burns less powder.
John Nosler died at his home in Bend, Oregon, on October, 10, 2010. His personal story is an inspiring one, with all the hallmarks of what makes America great. He dropped out of high school in 1929, in part due to the stock market crash, and scored a job in a Ford factory. At the age of 19, he invented a crankshaft quickly adopted as the standard by Ford. Gary Lewis, author of the biography John Nosler: Going Ballistic, once went shooting with the man at the age of 92. He claims the elderly Nosler landed two rounds nine inches apart at a distance of a thousand yards.
Nosler Bullets: A History of Innovation
John’s groundbreaking impact extrusion method of manufacturing allowed him to produce bullets with extremely concentric jackets ideal for versatility. It led to a long line of innovative products including the Nosler Solid Base (introduced in 2008) and Ballistic Tip for medium and large game, as well as the Ballistic Tip Varmint bullets to give varmint hunters that same aerodynamic quality.
Nosler Ballistic Tip was introduced in 2014. The polymer tip makes it an ideal round for hunting mid-sized game like antelope, deer and wild boar.
While not as iconic as American brands like Smith & Wesson or Remington, Nosler has no shortage of prestigious awards under its belt. In 2007, its founder received the distinction of receiving the inaugural NRA Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award. Nosler Model 48 rifles received the 2007 Field & Stream Best of the Best Award. The company has likewise received awards from Gray's Sporting Journal, American Rifleman, Outdoor Life, the Outdoor Channel, Guns and Shooting Online and Sporting Classic.
As the years passed, Nosler continued to revolutionize the market with ammunition like the Partition-HG, Custom Competition and Nosler AccuBond. In 2006, the Nosler Rifle Model 48 was released, named for the year John began selling the iconic Partition. The following years saw steady success, with the creation of the all-copper E-Tip, 30 Nosler, and the awarding of the NRA’s Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award for his innovation in bullet design worldwide.
Current head of Nosler, Bob Nosler sits on the board of the NRA and has since 2012. When you spend money with Nosler, you can rest assured that you’re spending money with an organization that values your Second Amendment freedoms.
Nosler sells a full suite of products for the serious sporting enthusiast. This includes bullets, brass, ammunition, and rifles – which many active and serious sporting enthusiasts are sometimes surprised to learn Nosler makes.
Nosler’s foray in the world of rifles dates back to the very beginnings of the company. Because the Nosler brand puts such an emphasis on quality and performance, they wanted rifles designed specifically to test their ammunition. However, the company did not make their specialized performance rifles available to the public on a commercial basis until the release of NoslerCustom Limited Edition Rifles in 2005.
These rifles boast extreme quality at an affordable price point, which is made possible by a combination of efficient assembly techniques and hand craftsmanship.
This success and dedication to quality firearms and ammunition continues on to this day, and can be expected from every product you purchase from the Nosler brand.
History of Nosler Ammo originally appeared in The Resistance Library at Ammo.com.