.20 Nosler – a New Cartridge that is Not Yet Announced?!

SAAMI has accepted cartridge and chamber drawings of a couple of new cartridges. Both are Nosler cartridges. One is the recently announced .22 Nosler, which we covered in a separate article. And the next one is a .20 Nosler, which is a cartridge not yet officially announced by Nosler as of today (06/16/2017).

If you remember, the .22 Nosler is a .224 caliber cartridge with a case body similar to that of 6.8 SPC but with a rebated rim of .378 diameter. The case thickness allows to fit the cartridge into 6.8 SPC magazines and the rebated rim makes it fit the standard AR-15 .223/5.56 bolt face. So to switch to this caliber all you need is a different barrel and 6.8 SPC magazines.

Judging by the drawings, the .20 Nosler is based on the same rebated rim case as the .22 Nosler. However, it is not quite a necked down .22 Nosler. If you look closely, you’ll see that it has slightly different shoulder and neck height.  Obviously, both cartridges are aimed at the varmint hunting market. The .20 Nosler should be able to offer impressive ballistics for a cartridge fitting into the AR-15 platform. I assume it will be offered with some of the following .204 caliber Nosler bullets:

The most notable of current .20 caliber cartridges suitable for the AR-15 is perhaps the .204 Ruger. Probably, the .20 Nosler will offer a comparable percentage of muzzle velocity increase over the .204 Ruger as does the .22 Nosler over the .223 Remington.

Interestingly, Pacific Tool & Gauge already offers chamber reamers for the .20 Nosler as a new product in their catalog.

Hrachya H

Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying design, technology and history of guns and ammunition. His knowledge of Russian allows him to translate and make Russian/Soviet/Combloc small arms related information available for the English speaking audience.
Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at Hrachya@staff.thefirearmblog.com


  • codfilet

    I’ve made a personal vow to myself, never to buy a gun in a caliber I don’t already have.

    • Jared Vynn

      That works if you already have an established collection.

      • codfilet

        I do.

  • No one

    Hopefully less of a disappointment than .22 Nosler

  • lucusloc

    So, we got the 6.8 to fit into an AR platform, which already had a standard .223, but the 6.8 needed new mags, so it was not a “direct” conversion. Ok, so now you have guys totally invested in the new cartridge, to the point they are ditching their .223 mags. But wait! they want a .22 caliber cartridge now! But they cant go back to .223, that would require new mags! Lets design a whole new .22 cartridge that uses the new mags! Makes total sense! (Yes, I see the new cartridge has more case volume which will likely mean higher velocity, but is it really all that different?)

    • Varmit

      It meks the bunny more ded.

    • noob

      Try shooting at level III body armor with it? it might be interesting to see what the effective range of a SAW in this .22 or .20 Nosler would be

      • Alex Agius

        Well xm193 out of a 20 inch will defeat level 3

        • iksnilol

          40mm out of a 9 inch will defeat level 4.

          • Ebby123

            I can find no fault in your logic. You win (10) internets.

    • Raptor Fred

      6.8 PRI mags that’s how it works. 6.8SPCII is a neat cartridge finally done right. REMINGTON! All of the wildcats hold true promise and advancement compared to the venerable 5.56 cartridge. Now how much ? mmm well not that much in actual killing ability. But the ballistics look good. If anyone wants to get squared away on WTH I’m talking about, check out AR Performance , http://ar15performance.com/6_8_spc_ii . I personally like the 30 Herrett SPC that to me is a real advancement. But I have .308 bolt gun that can kill all the things dead-err with similar projectiles of same or larger grain weight.

      • lucusloc

        Yeah, that’s kinda my point, none of these new cartridges are really all that different.

        Don’t get me wrong, I love me some wildcats. In spaces where there is no dominant and popular cartridge, like big bore AR, a new wildcat may have that special something to make the platform really grab popular interest.

        But this is small bore AR. We already have a ton of popular cartridges for pretty much every niche. We have popular and available cartridges in everything from .17 to .30, many of them optimized for the platform. So really, what are these new cartridges supposed to do? Grant you 5% better terminal ballistics? At the cost of all new equipment, compatibility and scarce availability? What happens when advancements in powered can get us another 3% improvement at the cost of changing the case geometry again? Reinvest in all new equipment again?

        This is a classic case of letting perfect be the enemy of good enough. .223 is perfectly fine, and will fill all the roles that this new cartridge would fill more than well enough to get the job done. Sure this cartridge takes advantage of modern advancements in cartridge technology to wring out just a bit more performance, but the price to get there is way too high for most consumers. It just is not worth the switch.

        At best this will become one of those boutique cartridges for competition shooters. Like big bore AR, you may occasionally see it on shelves, but it will never be popular enough to become anything more than a footnote in discussions.

    • Ebby123

      I think it makes pretty good sense as the 22NOS is a special purpose hunting cartridge, whereas the 6.8SPC (I know its in the name) was designed as an infantry class cartridge.

      Its a very different scenario to have jimbob buy a new upper for stomping prairie dogs than it is to retrofit the largest military on earth with non-backwards compatible mags, etc.

      Personally, I’m kind of excited about the 22NOS. I want to see what an M885A1 projectile can do out of a 22NOS against NIJ LVL III and LVL IV armor. Speed kills!

  • Rimfire

    The perfect solution too a question nobody ever asked! Since their .22 is just flying off the shelves why not create another dead horse right away. I like their bullets, the cartridges not so much

  • Ryan Cross

    Where is my 50 Nosler garsh darn it?

    • iksnilol

      Won’t come out until people are invested in the .49 Nosler.

  • Cal S.

    Great, yet another caliber that will reignite the PDW debate…

    • The_Champ

      Pretty sure this is aimed at hunters only.

      • noob

        once you buy some, it’s up to you where you aim it

  • Edeco

    I are excite.

  • Anonymoose
  • Raptor Fred

    Hey there is also a .35 Nosler in the SAAMI data bank. I love me some .358 Winchester for thick wood hog and deer hunting. Totally underrated cartridge . This may be a champ too. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e59beb125de4f97d5920adc817a55e3c7fd3b94afab4e882e215b244537bc8b7.png

  • mazkact

    Innovation is great for our hobby/lifestyle. All of this is fun but I need real differences before I commit to another caliber. I’ve purposely trimmed down my usual suspects firearms/cartridges , the ones that get a lot of range time down to ten and these are the ones I handload for. The real range horses are really down to four calibers. The older I get the simpler I like things. I am interested in seeing just how much different this is than .204 Ruger but then I never felt the need to go with it either, lots of different loads to be loaded in .223 Rem.

  • Veteran for Trump

    So when do we get the 1mm. Needle Gun?

  • Mike Crumling

    Glad to see they’re getting away from something based on the 404 jeffery.

  • iksnilol
  • El Duderino

    I’ll wait for the .10 Nosler. 3 grains at 5,500fps and disposable barrel sleeves!

  • Ebby123

    Dear TFB,

    PLEASE get your hands on a 22 Nosler rifle and load up some M885A1 projectiles. I want to see how many planets that thing can punch through!

    Seriously, a video test of 22NOS/M885A1 VS LVL-III and LVL-IV armor would make my year. For science, of course.

  • frrst245

    the worst thing about SPC is getting good mags.

  • Blake

    I’d love to see what the 62gr Unmussig bullet would do in this thing
    (but I assume that it would be a bolt-action only load…)