First Look: The .28 Nosler

By Chuck Hawks

For 2015 Nosler, located in Bend Oregon, introduced a new 7mm Magnum cartridge, the .28 Nosler. It is based on the non-belted .26 Nosler case (itself based on a cut-down Remington Ultra Mag case) necked-up to accept 7mm (.284") bullets. Here is part of Nosler's press release about their new baby:

". . . the .26 Nosler has achieved such renowned success that adding another member to the cartridge family became an obvious decision. Please welcome the .28 Nosler as the most powerful 7mm cartridge commercially available today.

The .28 Nosler shares the same parent case as the .26 Nosler, as well as the COL of 3.340 inches, allowing this cartridge to be operated in a standard length action for lighter weight and shorter bolt throw when compared to magnum length actions.

Of course, Nosler will be supporting this new cartridge with Nosler brass, Trophy Grade ammunition and naturally, their full line of M48 rifles in 26 inch barrel configurations."

The .28 Nosler is offered in the M48 Custom Long Range (2015 MSRP $5830), Patriot (2015 MSRP $2895) and Heritage (2015 MSRP $1895) bolt action repeating rifles. Nosler M48 rifles are only built to order; see the Nosler website ( for details.

The .28 Nosler should fit standard length magnum actions with magnum diameter bolts. However, due to the cartridges very fat body (the case head is .550 inches, with very little body taper) an extra wide magazine is required. The rebated rim is .534 inches inch diameter to allow use with belted magnum bolt faces. The shoulder angle is 35-degrees.

Is the .28 Nosler really the "most powerful 7mm cartridge"? That depends on whose factory loads (or handloads) you compare. The .28 Nosler's case capacity happens to be the same as the 7mm Shooting Times Westerner, so if both cartridges are loaded to the same maximum average pressure (MAP) and fired in barrels of the same length, their external ballistics will be identical. The 7mm Remington Ultra Mag uses a larger capacity case and, loaded to the same MAP, has the potential to outperform the .28 Nosler, although not by a lot.

Like the 7mm STW and 7mm RUM, the .28 Nosler is seriously over-bore. With full power factory loads or equivalent reloads, expect barrel life to be short.

The published factory load ballistics for the .28 Nosler are impressive. Here are the velocity/energy and trajectory data for the Nosler 160 and 175 grain factory loads from the muzzle to 400 yards, which is well beyond the Maximum Point Blank Range (+/- 3 inches) of the cartridge.

160 grain AccuBond:

  • MV / ME: 3300 fps / 3883 ft. lbs.
  • 100 yards: 3114 fps / 3444 ft. lbs.
  • 200 yards: 2930 fps / 3049 ft. lbs.
  • 300 yards: 2753 fps / 2693 ft. lbs.
  • 400 yards: 2583 fps / 2371 ft. lbs.

Here are the trajectory figures, based on a 200 yard zero:

  • Muzzle: -1.5 inches
  • 100 yards: +1.1 inches
  • 200 yards: +/- 0 inches
  • 300 yards: -5.1 inches
  • 400 yards: -14.9 inches

175 grain AccuBond:

  • MV / ME: 3125 fps / 3806 ft. lbs.
  • 100 yards: 2983 fps / 3457 ft. lbs.
  • 200 yards: 2841 fps / 3136 ft. lbs.
  • 300 yards: 2704 fps / 2840 ft. lbs.
  • 400 yards: 2570 fps / 2567 ft. lbs.

Here are the trajectory figures, based on a 200 yard zero:

  • Muzzle: -1.5 inches
  • 100 yards: +1.2 inches
  • 200 yards: +/- 0 inches
  • 300 yards: -5.5 inches
  • 400 yards: -15.8 inches

To take advantage of the cartridge's MPBR (+/- 3"), sight-in the .28 Nosler 160 grain factory load to hit 2.39 inches high at 100 yards. It will them be 3.0 inches high at 260 yards and 3.0 inches low at about 326 yards.

With either factory load, the .28 Nosler is well adapted for hunting both Class 2 and Class 3 big game at long range. Its killing power remains adequate for Class 3 animals to well beyond 400 yards. However, few hunters can reliably put the first shot into the animal's vitals at such distances when shooting in the field. If an animal is so far away that the bullet will drop more than three inches below the line of sight, given your load and zero distance, don't shoot. It is always better to stalk closer or wait for a better opportunity. Don't let a "hunt of a lifetime" become an embarrassing disaster by failing to recover a wounded game animal.

In addition to loaded ammunition, Nosler is offering empty brass and, of course, their wide range of 7mm bullets to reloaders. .28 Nosler cases can easily be formed by necking-up .26 Nosler brass. When reloading, use large rifle magnum primers and the slowest burning powders, such as Alliant Reloader 25, Hodgdon Retumbo, Hodgdon US869 and Ramshot Magnum, to approximate factory load velocities. The specified maximum average pressure is 65,000 psi.

As with any new cartridge, the long term success of the .28 Nosler will depend on its acceptance by the major rifle makers and ammunition companies. Among the various 7mm Magnums, to date only the Remington and Weatherby versions have managed to achieve long term popularity Like the .28 Nosler, both are standard length cartridges. Whether the .28 Nosler can beat the odds, as the 7mm Remington and Weatherby Magnums have done, remains to be seen.

Note: An expanded article about the .28 Nosler can be found on the Rifle Cartridges page.

Back to Rifle Information

Copyright 2015 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.