I love 7mm PRC. I built a custom 7mm PRC two months before the cartridge was ever even announced to the public, and have been shooting it constantly. I’ve learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work well for this platform.
7mm PRC is a unique cartridge. The more experience I have with it, the more I realize that it matches some rifles extremely well, and others less well. Because of that, I’m going to be straightforward in this post in saying some rifles that I simply can’t recommend for 7mm PRC.
Why You Can Trust This Review
- I have reviewed many dozens of hunting rifles to compare the best rifles at each price point.
- No rifle maker pays me for my opinions, which is why Backfire is one of few places you’ll see NEGATIVE as well as positive reviews. Most reviewers only talk about the good things because they want to please the manufacturers.
- I’ve been shooting 7mm PRC since before the cartridge was even announced. I own two 7mm PRC rifles.
- I have a somewhat rounded face, which research shows increases public trust in a person. Just kidding on this one 🙂
Later in this post, I’ll discuss some things to specifically look for in choosing a 7mm PRC rifle, but first, let’s dive in to some cool guns.
Option #1: Ruger American Go Wild!
The Ruger American has become a beloved rifle at the low end of the market. Compared to dozens of other cheap rifles I’ve reviewed for the Backfire Youtube Channel, the Ruger American is one of the only ones that I’ve found to shoot reliably accurate groups. However, one early reviewer of the RA in 7mm PRC did have some accuracy issues.
The “Go Wild!” edition of this gun adds a few features such as burnt bronze Cerakote on the barrel and action, a camo-printed stock, and a muzzle brake. The biggest upgrade to the “Go Wild!” models is the magazine, which is far more reliable than Ruger’s old rotary mag. The feeding still isn’t 100% perfect, but it’s a substantial improvement over the standard Ruger American.
Overall, the Ruger American Go Wild is an excellent choice for a budget 7mm PRC rifle. You’ll likely have good accuracy, the manufacturing consistency is reliable, and you’ll have a durable gun that will last a long time. Plus, you can always upgrade the stock down the road because there is a robust accessory market for the Ruger American.
However, I the increased price of the Go Wild edition of this rifle puts it in a price point that competes with the Bergara B14 Hunter, Tikka T3x, Franchi Momentum, and CVA Cascade. Once those rifles are released in 7mm PRC, I would easily adjust my recommendation to move to one of those options that I think are better rifles in this price bracket.
It’s important to note that while the Ruger American is the only budget 7mm PRC rifle I can recommend right now, it’s NOT the only budget option out there. The Mossberg Patriot has also been released in 7mm PRC, but I wouldn’t touch it with a 39.5′ pole. Later in this post, I’ll discuss the rifles I DON’T recommend in 7mm PRC.
Option #2: Savage 110 Ultralite
Savage was one of the first rifle makers to embrace the 7 PRC. While many companies announced support at the launch of the cartridge, Savage is actually shipping rifles and brought it to no less than 11 different models immediately.
The Savage 110 Ultralite is universally very accurate. The real selling feature of the rifle is that it utilizes a Proof Research carbon fiber barrel. That’s a very high-end precision barrel for a rifle in a factory rifle. It felt like I couldn’t miss when I did my full review of the Savage 110 Ultralite.
The knock on the Savage 110 Ultralite is that it uses a clumsy Savage action and an unreliable plastic magazine and mag catch. I was once told that a Savage 110 Ultralite is a “$1,000 barrel attached to a $400 gun.” It’s a funny comment, but honestly it’s a very functional stock. It has an adjustable cheek piece and length of pull, and is decently rigid in the forend. Plus, because so many stocks are inletted for the Savage 110, it’s a piece you could replace with a carbon fiber stock at some point in the future and you’d have an extremely fine rifle.
Still, if you can look past the Tupperware stock, you’ll have a sinfully accurate rifle that is incredibly lightweight for a reasonable price. When I purchased the Savage 110 Ultralite a few years ago, I got it for $1,195, but now they run closer to $1,500. Still, it’s a fair price for what the rifle is.
Here is a full list of rifles that Savage will be releasing in 7mm PRC:
- 110 Ultralite (HD or Camo) – $1,649 – $1,699
- 110 High Country – $1,239
- 110 Timberline (Right or left hand) – $1,239
- Impulse Big Game – $1,449
- Impulse Mountain Hunter – $2,437
- 110 Apex Hunter XP (Right or left hand) – $709
- 110 Apex Storm XP – $819
Option #3: Browning X-Bolt
The Browning X-Bolt line is a very compelling option for 7mm PRC. X-Bolt rifles are always styled to look cool, and I’ve found the manufacturing quality to be very reliable. Plus, they use a quality action with some cool features like the ability to pull the bolt back while still in safe.
If I were buying an X-Bolt in 7mm PRC, I would definitely look to their “SR” line. The “SR” line means “Suppressor Ready”, so you’ll get the muzzle threaded 5/8×24, and barrels that are 4″ shorter. Both of those are a great match for 7mm PRC, which does well in a shorter rifle, and also having a threaded barrel can help to reduce recoil by adding a brake or suppressor. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the SR line yet available in 7mm PRC.
But no rifle is perfect. Here are a few issues I have with X-Bolt rifles:
- Metric Patterns – They stubbornly still thread many parts of the rifle using metric patterns, which means you can’t add a suppressor or brake without an adapter. (Note: Their SR models have standard 5/8×24 muzzle threads, but still use metric threads in other areas).
- Lawyer Triggers – Browning puts very heavy triggers in their rifles. It’s ironically called the “Feather Trigger.” I would not buy an X-Bolt without also buying a Timney replacement trigger for the X-Bolt. It’s a 2-minute install and you’ll have a much better gun.
- Price – Price points aren’t competitive anymore. It’s tough to recommend an X-Bolt when you can get a Bergara B14 with a much stiffer stock and better action, or a Savage Ultralite with a high-end carbon fiber wrapped barrel for the same price.
Option #4: Fierce Carbon Rogue
Fierce Firearms is a smaller rifle maker who creates all of their firearms in Utah. They stick out to me for a few reasons: (1) They are experts with carbon fiber so they’re rifles are usually very light, and (2) they make the coolest looking rifles on the market.
The Rogue is a hybrid rifle. It has a carbon stock and carbon-wrapped barrel. It has modern touches like a picatinny rail for mounting a bipod, and QD flush cups. Yet, it has a more traditional grip rather than a vertical pistol grip.
In my review of the Carbon Rogue, I found it to be accurate, extremely well-built, perfect at feeding, and it looks great. It’s a premium rifle at just over $2,000, but it can honestly compete with a full custom rifle that costs twice as much.
Option #5: Fierce Mountain Reaper
Fierce Firearms has been one of my favorite manufacturers of high-end rifles for a while. They seem to understand that shooters want cool-looking, lightweight, shootable rifles.
While Fierce has had their Reaper model for quite a while, it was a little heavy. Now, they’ve started making the Mountain Reaper which takes all the best features of the Reaper, but puts them in a lightweight package.
It has a magnesium chassis, a titanium action, and weighs less than 6 lbs in many chamberings. Fierce rifles generally mitigate recoil well due to their stock designs and Limbsaver recoil pads, but I still might recommend a muzzle brake or suppressor to shoot 7 PRC in this light of a package. The recoil of the 7 PRC
The Fierce Mountain Reaper is available in 7 PRC with 20″ and 22″ barrels with a 1:8 twist, and personally I’d pick the 20″. My custom 7 PRC uses a 20″ barrel and I’m happy to see 2,950 fps with 150gr copper bullets for hunting.
Option #6: Put a 7mm PRC Barrel on a Rifle You Already Own
The fastest and cheapest way to start shooting 7mm PRC is to simply rebarrel one of your existing rifles. If you have a suitable rifle, such as a Tikka T3x, Bergara B14, Remington 700, or even a Ruger American, you can get a prefit barrel ordered and just screw it on. Done!
There are a few caveats, though. You’ll need a properly sized bolt face (the front part of the bolt that grabs on to the cartridge). The 7mm PRC uses the same bolt face as a 7mm Remington Magnum, 300 Win Mag, or a 300PRC or 6.5 PRC. If your rifle is already chambered to use that magnum bolt face, you’re set.
If your rifle doesn’t have that bolt face, you can either order a new bolt, or some actions have replaceable bolt faces which are cheap and easy to change out.
The next issue is you’ll need to make sure the rifle action is long enough. 7mm PRC has a cartridge overall length of 3.34″, so a long action is needed. If your rifle was chambered in .30-06, 300 Win Mag, 7mm Rem Mag or any other long-action cartridge, you’re set on this regard as well. If your rifle was configured for long action, you’ll probably also have a long enough magazine length for the cartridge as well.
Next, you’ll need a barrel. I like working with Preferred Barrel Blanks. They are already doing prefits for the 7 PRC, and have gone through a few reamers to find one that’s really reliable in a cartridge with extremely tight tolerances. I also found that they had many chassis options and other components available, which was nice.
Once you get your barrel, it’s just a matter of torquing it on in 5 minutes and you’re ready to go!
Option #7: Remington 700 Long Range
Remington absolutely destroyed its brand as a rifle maker over the last 20 years. Frankly, I was surprised that the owners of the new “Rem Arms” manufactured rifles even decided to bring the brand back. It seemed to me that the brand reputation was so destroyed that it would have been easier to start from scratch under a new name.
Yet, the reports I’ve heard so far from gun industry professionals that I trust has been positive. I still haven’t had my hands on one to review for the Backfire Youtube channel, but I’m eager to see if they’ve turned things around. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Prices for the new Remington in 7mm PRC are expected to be around the $1,000 price point.
Option #8: Christensen Arms MPR (And other models)
MPR stands for “Modern Precision Rifle.” It is a modern chassis design with adjustability in the stock, M-lok everywhere for attachments, and a pistol grip. It’s the type of rifle that most advanced shooters want.
I’ve reviewed a Christensen MPR on the Backfire Youtube channel and gave it mixed results. The mag well was so loose that I couldn’t believe it wasn’t a defect in the particular rifle I was using. The accuracy was okay, but not notable for a rifle in this price point. Plus, it was a little heavy for taking out into the woods.
In talking with other shooters, the MPR is a little polarizing. Some people get a good one that shoots very well and rave about it. I’ve talked with many others who have had poor accuracy or build quality issues.
Christensen is also chambering their other rifle models in 7 PRC, including:
- Ridgeline FFT – Order it from Midway USA –
- Mesa FFT – Order it from Midway USA –
- Traverse – Order it from Midway USA –
- ELR – Order it from MidwayUSA – A 7.5lbs rifle for long range shooting.
- MHR (coming soon)
Option #9: Gunwerks Magnus Rifle System
If you are willing to shell out the big bucks (a little less than $6,000 for the bare rifle), then Gunwerks would be happy to take your money. They make extremely fine hunting rifles for shooters who value accuracy and a system that makes long-range shooting more streamlined.
Personally, if I were to spec out a new Gunwerks rifle today, I’d go with a Magnus rifle with these specs. I am naturally drawn to the lightweight hunting rifles, so I may be tempted to go with a Clymr, but after holding and playing with a Clymr stock, I found the comb was just too low to get a decent cheek weld. I can’t imagine paying that much for a rifle and having a stock that doesn’t fit.
The Magnus stock is only half a pound heavier, but provides much better ergonomics.
Gunwerks was very quick to jump on the 7mm PRC cartridge. They had their own 7 LRM cartridge for many years that was extremely similar to the 7 PRC’s design, so it wasn’t difficult for them to begin manufacturing the new cartridge.
Rifles in 7mm PRC That I Do NOT Recommend
- Mossberg Patriot – I bought a Patriot in 308. Shot some of the worst groups I’ve ever seen out of a rifle (over 5″ at 100 yards). Sent it to Mossberg for repairs and it came back shooting terrible again. Then I got a second Mossberg Patriot in 308. It also is incredibly inaccurate. I know some people have a good experience with theirs, but TWO lemons AND I sent it in for repairs and I still can’t get it to shoot? Can’t recommend.
- Savage Impulse (and Mountain Impulse) – I’m a big fan of the straight pull. It’s a really cool feature on a rifle; however, I’ve shot Savage’s Impulse twice and found it to be very clunky and heavy. Even their Mountain Impulse that is supposed to be a lightweight rifle is still a little obese for mountain hunters.
- Christensen MPR – So much of this rifle speaks to me. I love a folding stock, modern stock design with adjustable comb, and a carbon fiber design; however, I didn’t get great accuracy on the ones I’ve reviewed, and found the build quality to be okay at best. It’s an amazing design, but I don’t feel it has the polish of a gun in this price point.
What Guns Will NOT Be Available in 7mm PRC?
Surprisingly, some gun makers are noticeably absent from the list above.
The following gun makers have no imminent plans to add 7mm PRC to their lineups:
- Bergara – They told me it will likely come first in the Bergara Premier line, and then will eventually go into their less expensive guns. No models have been released yet in 7mm PRC.
- CVA – No news thus far.
- Springfield – No plans for 2020 Waypoint coming any time soon in 7mm PRC. I asked them at Shot Show and they were actually really rude about it. Totally gave me the cold shoulder for even bringing it up.
- Sig – No plans for a 7mm PRC Sig Cross coming any time soon.
- Tikka – Tikka/Sako have not announced any support for the 7mm PRC yet. Their reasoning is that they are members of CIP (basically a European version of SAAMI), which has not yet approved the 7mm PRC cartridge. I spoke with Hornady and they said they’ve already sent all information to CIP to get approved, but they work slowly.
- Weatherby – No news thus far.
- Howa – No news thus far.
List of Currently Available Rifles in 7mm PRC
The following table has a full list of the rifles that are currently announced and imminently available in 7mm PRC. There are over 20 rifle manufacturers who have announced they’ll be supporting the cartridge, but I haven’t yet seen listings for some of the volume manufacturers yet.
|Mossberg Patriot Predator
|I have two Mossberg Patriot rifles and they both shoot giant groups at 100 yards. I do not recommend.
|Ruger American Go Wild
|If you’re looking for something under $1,500, this is probably the way to go for a 7mm PRC rifle right now. Ruger is pumping these out pretty fast and they should be hitting the shelf.
|Browning X-Bolt Speed SR
|This is the only model of Browning X-Bolt I recommend, because it’s threaded 5/8×24. Budget an extra $200 for a replacement Timney Trigger, because the stock trigger is VERY heavy.
|Savage 110 Apex Hunter XP
|Look for models with Cerakote instead. Savage doesn’t have a good blueing process which often causes surface rust on the barrel.
|Savage 110 Apex Storm XP
|Remington 700 Long Range
|Order from MidwayUSA
|We’ll see if the new Rem Arms can pull off a decent build quality. They have a lot of work to do before I can trust a Remington rifle again.
|Savage 110 High Country
|Savage 110 Timberline
|Savage Impulse Big Game
|Just the rifle itself weighs 9 lbs. I don’t understand who they designed this rifle for.
|Christensen Mesa FFT
|Available Now from MidwayUSA
|Savage 110 Ultralite
|This is the best rifle Savage makes. Very accurate.
|Order from Brownells
|Order from Brownells
|Savage Impulse Mountain Hunter
|I don’t like the Impulse. Even the “mountain” version is very heavy, and the action is cumbersome.
|Order from Brownells
|Really cool platform. I reviewed this on the Backfire Youtube channel.
|Excellent, and available. See my review here
|Fierce Carbon Rival
|Order from Cabelas
|Excellent gun. Good stock lines. Lightweight. Remington 700-style action.
|Fierce Carbon Rage
|Order from Cabelas
|Essentially the same gun as the Rival, but you get an upgraded action that is similar to a Sako.
|Order from Cabelas
|Very cool gun. A little heavy, but that’ll help mitigate recoil.
|Fierce Mountain Reaper
|Order from Fierce
|Probably the coolest bolt-action rifle on the market.
|Order from Gunwerks
|Gunwerks is EXPENSIVE! I like their Magnus stock, but I don’t like the Clymr stock because the comb is low and it doesn’t have an adjustable cheek piece.
What to Look for in a 7mm PRC Rifle
Indulge me for a moment as we look at some of the very unique aspects of the cartridge, and what kind of rifle we would ideally have to take advantage of those unique features.
- Built for Long Range Shooting – 7mm bullets, if all else is equal have the highest BC’s of any other caliber in the most common bullets for hunting. Because of the high BC’s, you’ll have great resistance to drop and drift–making this a long-range shooter. Pick a rifle platform that matches that capability with a good adjustable comb and modern stock design to help you stretch this thing out.
- A Good Track Record of Attention to Detail and a Good Warranty – 7mm PRC uses very tight chamber tolerances. Several manufacturers I’ve worked with have spoken to me about struggling to not have their guns go over pressure if they slightly undersize the chamber, or having brass not fit properly. The PRC line can be tough for gun makers to get right, so pick a manufacturer with a good track record of customer service and attention to detail.
- Built for a Hybrid of Hunting and Range Shooting – One of the unique things about 7mm PRC is how versatile it is. The faster twist enables it to shoot heavy bullets suitable for hunting larger game, but its balance of speed and recoil also makes it a good fit for target shooting. Pick a rifle platform that allows you to take advantage of both–lightweight for hunting, but stock fitment features (like adjustable cheek piece and a good trigger) to make it do well on the range.
- 20″ or 22″ Barrel Lengths – Some shooters may want long 26″ barrels to take advantage of all of the speed available, but hunters generally want shorter barrel lengths to make the gun more packable. The 7mm PRC is well-suited to shorter barrel lengths because it has a moderate powder supply, and a fat case. For me, I went with a 20″ barrel, because I usually shoot suppressed and like the “handiness” of a short gun.
- Quality Recoil Pad, Threaded Muzzle – I’m picky about recoil pads. It makes a big difference in the felt recoil, but so many manufacturers use cheap, junky products. Because the recoil is on the upper end of what most adult shooters can shoot well, having a good recoil pad and a threaded muzzle so you can add a suppressor or muzzle brake, can make a big difference.
- Not Overly Light Weight – Because 7 PRC is built for longer range shooting and it has noticeable recoil, I’d suggest not going into an ultralight platform under 6.5 pounds unless you’ll be using a muzzle brake or suppressor.
List of Rifle Makers Supporting 7mm PRC
The following list comes from Hornady of rifle makers who have announced support for 7mm PRC rifles.
Factory Mass-Market Rifle Makers
- Christensen Arms
- Fierce Firearms
- JP Sauer and Sohn
- Seekins Precision
- Proof Research
Custom and Premium Rifle Makers
- Allterra Arms
- Altus Shooting Solutions
- Best of the West
- GA Precision
- Hill Country Rifles
- H-S Precision
- Horizon Firearms
- McWhorter Custom Rifles
- Short Action Customs
- Stuteville Precision
- TS Customs
- West Texas Ordnance