7mm PRC: Complete ballistic data (recoil, trajectory, energy)

Hornady has an incredible track record with cartridges over the last 20 years: 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 300 PRC, 17HMR. The list goes on. In fact, I’d guess that 60% of the new hunting rifles in most gun stores today are chambered in a cartridge designed by Hornady.

The 7mm Precision Rifle Cartridge is a long-action centerfire rifle cartridge designed to shoot 180 grain bullets at 2,950 fps. It is intended for long-range shooting due to its ability to utilize high BC bullets, and is also uniquely suited for hunting large animals such as elk.

Pros and Cons of the 7mm PRC

  • Ideal for elk hunters who want extended range capabilities
  • Tough to beat for shooting at short ELR distances such as 1,000 yards (though the 300PRC will certainly outperform at distances around 1 mile)
  • Laser-like trajectory can drop less than 20″ at 400 yards
  • Incredible resistance to wind deflection due to its ability to shoot high BC bullets at fast speeds
  • Shoots some of the highest BC bullets on the market. Being a 7mm, having a suitable max COAL, and using a fast twist rate, it can handle even the longest 7mm bullets.
  • Likely to have industry-wide adoption for chamberings in popular rifles if this cartridge should follow the success of the other PRC cartridges.
  • Works well in shorter barrel lengths due to the fat case with a modest length and overall case capacity.
  • May take years before ammo becomes easily available. 300PRC was announced 4 years ago, and it is one of the hardest cartridges to find on shelves.
  • Recoil is on the upper end of what most adult shooters can tolerate to shoot accurately without a muzzle brake or suppressor.
  • Long-action cartridge adds 1/3 lbs to some rifles, and doesn’t allow for as short of barrels

Comparing 7mm PRC to Similar Cartridges

The 7mm PRC is similar to a 7mm Rem Mag, but it can shoot heavier bullets with higher BC’s, has no belt which causes problems for reloaders, and slightly less case capacity so longer barrels are not necessary. Think of it as a modernized 7mm Rem Mag.

CartridgeBullet WeightMuzzle VelocityMuzzle EnergyAction LengthCaliber
28 Nosler18031003,840Long0.284
300 PRC2252,8003,916Magnum0.308
Gunwerks 7 LRM1803,0253,657Long0.284
300 Win Mag1803,0003,597Long0.308
300 WSM1803,0003,597Short0.308
7 PRC1802,9503,478Long0.284
6.8 Western1752,8403,134Short0.277
7 SAUM1802,8253,189Short0.284
7mm Rem Mag1802,8253,189Long0.284
280 AI1802,7603,044Long0.284

The Precision Rifle Cartridge line is now broad enough that for many hunting uses, shooters will have a tough time deciding between the 6.5 PRC, 7 PRC, and 300 PRC.

As you can see from the above table, the 7mm PRC is most similar to the Gunwerks 7 LRM. In fact, Aaron Davidson, CEO of Gunwerks, jokingly said that the new 7PRC is the 7LRM. Obviously, there are many technical differences between the two, but they do fill a nearly identical hole in the market.

Personally, I have said for a long time on the Youtube channel that my ideal hunting cartridge would be a 7mm shooting 180 grains at 3,000 fps. That’s exactly what the 7PRC is, but it is by no means the only cartridge that offers those specs.

My prediction? The 7mm PRC will beat the following cartridges in sales over the next 20 years: 280AI, Gunwerks LRM, and the 7mm Rem Mag. Personally, I like all three of those cartridges for different reasons, but I think this new cartridge will become so popular over the next few years that those cartridges will quickly fade in the rearview mirror. Obviously, the 7mm Rem Mag isn’t going to just vanish in the next 10 years. It’s an incredibly popular cartridge, but over time, I expect the 7 PRC to overtake it.

The following table compares the 7 PRC to several other cartridges using Hornady’s Precision Hunter line of ammunition.

Energy at 200Max Effective Range (2,000 fps)Drop at 400Drift at 400Bullet WeightMuzzle Velocity
7 PRC (175gr ELDX)2840770237.31752975
7 PRC (195gr Berger EOL)289172025.57.01952825
7 PRC (160gr CX)256369023.58.51603000
300 Win Mag281256126.111.32002820
7mm Rem Mag251968423.238.51622940
280 AI235961524.9991622850
6.5 PRC227068622.638.21432960
270 Win223359423.4711.61452970
308 Win206238832.512.81782600
7mm-08 Rem184445029.311.81402800
The goal of this table isn’t an “apples to apples” comparison. Later in this post, I’ll show the 7mm Rem Mag with a 180 grain bullet like the 7mm PRC. I’m trying to mimic Hornady Precision Hunter ammo with this table.


The recoil of the 7mm PRC produces 27.7 ft-lbs of energy at a recoil velocity of 14.1 fps. That is more recoil than a .30-06 but less than a .300 Win Mag. It is on the upper end of what most large adult shooters can comfortably tolerate.

When I first shot the 7 PRC in a lightweight rifle, I was surprised by the stout recoil; however, adding a muzzle brake or a suppressor tames the rifle dramatically. I shot a coyote yesterday with the 7 PRC and had no problem seeing the bullet impact the coyote and the aftermath without losing my view of the target in the scope due to recoil.

CartridgeBullet WeightMuzzle VelocityRecoil EnergyRecoil VelocityPowder Charge
28 Nosler180310035.816.083
300 PRC2252,80035.415.976
7 LRM1803,02530.514.873
300 Win Mag1803,00028.714.369
300 WSM1803,00027.914.166.5
7 PRC1802,95027.714.169
6.8 Western1752,84024.413.267.5
7 SAUM1802,82523.813.163.5
7mm Rem Mag1802,82523.412.962
280 AI1802,76022.312.662
6.5 PRC1472,91016.211.150

7 PRC Cartridge Design

Before SAAMI drawings of the 7 PRC were released, I fully expected the 7 PRC to follow the industry-wide trend of overbore hot-rod cartridges. I thought for certain it would have more powder capacity than a 7 Mag so Hornady could advertise the new cartridge “beating” the old standard.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the cartridge is quite mild. The 7 PRC has very slightly less case capacity than the 7mm Remington Magnum, but also has a twist rate and neck length capable of shooting much heavier bullets than are common in a 7 Mag.

CartridgeH20 CapacityMax COALCase LengthShoulder AngleHead DiameterNeck Length
28 Nosler983.342.59350.5340.2756
300 PRC963.72.58300.5320.3076
7 LRM82?2.514300.5280.382
300 Win Mag833.342.62250.5320.2639
300 WSM772.862.1350.5350.2979
7 PRC783.342.28300.5320.2868
6.8 Western752.9552.02350.5350.2765
7 SAUM742.8252.035300.5340.3108
7mm Rem Mag823.292.5250.5320.2712
280 AI653.332.525400.4720.3455

Bullet Weights

The 7 PRC is designed around the 180-grain ELD-Match bullet; however, some people will certainly point to the fact that the 7mm Rem Mag has been able to shoot 180-grain bullets for many decades. The specified twist rate for each cartridge dramatically impacts the ability for a firearm to spin a bullet fast enough to stabilize a long bullet in flight.

Shooters will gravitate toward heavy-for-caliber high-BC bullets in the 7mm PRC. I have a table showing the highest BC 7mm bullets, but here are a few bullets likely to be popular in the 7mm PRC:

  • 175gr Hornady ELD-X
  • 160gr Hornady CX
  • 180gr Hornady ELD-M
  • 195gr Berger EOL
  • 183gr Sierra MatchKing
  • 180gr Berger VLD Target
  • 180gr Berger VLD Hunting
  • 175gr Berger Elite Hunter
  • 175gr Nosler Accubond

Below are the specified twist rates for many similar cartridges to the 7 PRC. A faster twist in the rifling of a barrel allows the bullet to spin more quickly to stabilize longer (and consequently heavier) bullets.

CartridgeTwist RateBullet Weight Range
28 Nosler1:9120 – 185
300 PRC1:8.5175 – 250
Gunwerks 7 LRM1:9180 (Factory)
300 Win Mag1:10125 – 220
300 WSM1:10125 – 220
7 PRC1:8160 – 195
6.8 Western1:7.5 (Browning), 1:8 (Winchester)110 – 175
7 SAUMVaries120 – 185
7mm Rem Mag1:9.5120 – 185
280 AI1:8 (Varies)120 – 185

Converting Your Rifle to a 7 PRC

Backfire was the first publication to put together a 7 PRC as soon as the SAAMI specs for the cartridge were released. Building a rifle with no reloading data and no established manufacturing was a challenge, but now you can easily get a rifle rebarreled for 7 PRC.

I highly recommend Preferred Barrel Blanks for this job. I had them make me a short 20″ carbon fiber-wrapped barrel chambered in 7 PRC. I’m getting impressive velocities despite the short length, and the accuracy has been insanely good–one of the most accurate rifles I’ve ever shot.

Be cautious when rebarreling a rifle into any of the “PRC” cartridges. Due to the extremely tight tolerances of these cartridges, I’ve seen MANY manufacturers struggle with delivering barrels that spike pressures or have brass that doesn’t fit right. The #1 reason I recommend Preferred Barrel Blanks is because they’ve sorted through those issues and can deliver problem-free prefit barrels.

The cool thing is that Preferred Barrel Blanks does prefits for just about any action you already have. You can get a new barrel for your Ruger American, Tikka, Bergara, Savage, etc. Or, you can of course use a custom action like a Terminus, Defiance, etc. As long as it’s a standard long-action, you should be just fine putting a 7 PRC barrel on it.

If you’re new to this, just call Preferred Barrel Blanks at (435) 635-6900 and tell them you read about them on Backfire and you want a 20″ carbon fiber-wrapped prefit barrel like the one they made for me. When it gets mailed to you, you screw it on and you have a 7 PRC! Simple as that. Below is a picture of the 7 PRC that Preferred Barrel Blanks built for me (Note: I also bought a MDT HNT26 chassis from them, which they had in stock).

This is my 7 PRC custom rifle build. It uses a Defiance Anti action in a standard long action length, a carbon-fiber-wrapped 20″ barrel from Preferred Barrel Blanks, an MDT HNT26 chassis, a Triggertech Special trigger, and a Leupold Mark 5 3.6-18×50 scope. It’s pricey, but also the finest rifle I’ve ever shot.

Factory Rifles Offered in 7 PRC

I have a complete article on the best rifles available now in 7mm PRC.

As soon as the cartridge was officially announced, Hornady announced many rifle makers that will be producing factory offerings for the 7 PRC.

Factory Mass-Market Rifle Makers

  • Christensen Arms
  • Fierce Firearms
  • JP Sauer and Sohn
  • Mossberg
  • Remington
  • Ruger (in 2023)
  • Savage
  • Seekins Precision
  • Springfield Armory (in 2023)
  • Proof Research

Custom and Premium Rifle Makers

  • Allterra Arms
  • Altus Shooting Solutions
  • Best of the West
  • GA Precision
  • Gunwerks
  • Hill Country Rifles
  • H-S Precision
  • Horizon Firearms
  • McWhorter Custom Rifles
  • Short Action Customs
  • Stuteville Precision
  • TS Customs
  • West Texas Ordnance

I was somewhat surprised by the list of firearms manufacturers who are not yet jumping on board with the 7 PRC. Tikka, Browning, and Bergara are conspicuously missing from the list and yet they all chamber for the 6.5 PRC.

Since this new cartridge has been announced, I’ve talked with my contacts at many of the major rifle manufacturers and have been surprised by how many of them are extremely frustrated with working on PRC chamberings in their rifles. There have been many changes to the reamer specs of the other PRC cartridges, and the tight tolerances make manufacturing difficult.

Reloading for the 7 PRC

I’ve done a significant amount of handloading and reloading for the 7 PRC over the last few months. Using dies from Whidden, I got to work.

Initially, I expected H1000 or Retumbo to be the best powders for the 7 PRC since they are fan favorites of the 7 Mag. I quickly saw that the 4 fewer grains of case capacity in the 7 PRC made these powders not ideal. So far, my favorite powder for reloading the 7 PRC is H4831SC using standard large rifle primers.

The challenge of loading for any of the PRC cartridges is the extremely tight tolerances. Even fairly experienced reloaders sometimes struggle to get reloaded brass to fit properly into the rifle.

Obviously Hornady makes dies for the 7 PRC, but I personally am not a fan of their dies. The only other company I’ve seen with die sets is Whidden Gunworks. They sent me their full-length bushing resizing die and micrometer seating die and I’ve been amazed with the quality. Seriously, it’s by far the nicest die set I’ve ever owned–and I’ve tried just about every brand out there.

Loading the 175gr ELD-X Bullet in the 7mm PRC

Important Note: This is anecdotal testing. Your results may vary. Unlike a load data book from one of the ammunition companies, I am not measuring pressure with a computer. I’m just looking at the brass for symptoms of being over-pressure, but sometimes those symptoms don’t show up until a cartridge is significantly overpressure as could be measured by a computer. This is for academic purposes only. Do not rely on my anecdotal testing for your rifle. If ya do… you might blow your face off.

First, let’s take a look at H4831SC powder loaded with a 175gr ELD-X bullet. This is using CCI Large Magnum primers, and shooting out of a 24″ test barrel.

Powder ChargeVelocity (fps)Notes
61gr H4831SC2,754
61.5gr H4831SC2,806
62gr H4831SC2,823
63gr H4831SC2,918
64gr H4831SC2,950Over Pressure from Here on Out, But No Visible Signs
65gr H4831SC2,975
65.5gr H4831SC2,995
66gr H4831SC2,988
66.5gr H4831SC3,010Lightly compressed load
67gr H4831SC3,037Visible Pressure signs

Next, I loaded H1000. Unfortunately, the chronograph (Labradar) glitched out and didn’t record all the velocities, but I did at least shoot the following two that were recorded. Note that BOTH of these are a compressed load, so you couldn’t really go much faster than this with H1000.

This is again shooting the 175gr ELD-X bullet out of 24″ test barrel with a large magnum CCI primer.

Powder ChargeVelocity (fps)Notes
68gr H10002,912Compressed load
69gr H10002,958No obvious pressure signs, but I didn’t feel I should compress further.

Last, I shot Accurate Magpro powder with the same 175gr ELD-X and CCI large magnum primer out of a 24″ test barrel. Here’s what I found.

Powder ChargeVelocity (fps)Notes
66gr Magpro2,700
67gr Magpro2,756
68gr Magpro2,789Over Pressure from Here on Out, But No Visible Signs
69gr Magpro2,836
70gr Magpro2,848
71gr Magpro2,928
71.5gr Magpro2,942Still a decent amount of case capacity left.

I also received some information from a gentleman in Canada who built a 7PRC. Here’s what he reported using a 175gr ELDX, Federal 215M primers, and Reloder26 powder. Here’s that data using his 24.5″ barrel:

Powder ChargeVelocity (fps)Notes
63gr Reloder 262825Most accurate group
63.5gr Reloder 262850
64gr Reloader 262895
64.5gr Reloader 262935
65gr Reloader 262940
65.5gr Reloader 26ErrorGiven Hornady’s target load of 180gr at 2,950fps, this is likely a max load.
66gr Reloader 263,020
66.5gr Reloader 263,030
67gr Reloader 263,100Over Pressure from Here on Out, but No Visible Signs
67.5gr Reloader 263,112
68gr Reloader 263,128Recoil increased noticeably
68.4gr Reloader 263,141Leakage around primer, VERY overpressure

After seeing these numbers, I’m most interested in pursuing H4831SC for this cartridge. H1000 ran out of space for powder before I reached max velocity. Magpro had a lot of case capacity left, but wasn’t getting the velocity I’d hope to see without just burning a ton of powder.

Personally, my load for the 175 ELD-X in the 7mm PRC will be 64gr of H4831SC, which should yield around 2,925fps. I believe that should be a max load but still safe in my rifle, efficient loading, and impressive speed.

It seems that the cartridge was designed to compress the load right at the point where you’d reach pressure with these common powders.

Interestingly, I loaded 61.2 grains of H4831SC in a 7mm Remington Magnum, and a 7mm PRC. I used the same primer, and the same 175gr ELDX bullet. However, the 7mm PRC shot on average 105 fps faster.

There is still quite a bit more case capacity left with Magpro (my guess would be you could go to 77 grains before it compresses), so that could be an option for max velocity, but you’d be going through quite a bit more powder to get there.

Loading the 195 Berger EOL Bullet in the 7mm PRC

For this load, I chose the 195 Berger EOL and loaded it to max COAL of 3.34″. I used CCI large magnum rifle primers, and lovingly caressed each bullet before sending it on the ride of its life. I’m still using the same 24″ test barrel by Preferred Barrel Blanks for this cartridge.

Powder ChargeVelocityPressure Signs
64gr H4831SC2,850fpsNo pressure signs
65gr H4831SC2,911fpsOver pressure (Ejector mark)
Powder ChargeVelocityNotes
64gr H10002,652No pressure signs
65gr H10002,710No pressure signs
66gr H10002,792No pressure signs, compressed load
67gr H10002,839No pressure signs, compressed load
On the right is a 7mm PRC case, shown next to a 6.5 PRC.

Loading the 150gr Hornady CX Bullet in the 7mm PRC

Note that with these loads, I switch to a standard large rifle primer–not a magnum primer.

Powder ChargeVelocityNotes
64gr H4831SC3,121
65gr H4831SC3,131
66gr H4831SC3,198Possible Pressure Signs
60gr H43503,197Pressure Signs
61gr H43503,291Pressure Signs

I personally worked up my load using the 150gr Hornady CX bullet, but now Hornady has announced a new 160gr CX bullet with a much higher BC and only one band instead of the two bands on the 150gr CX. I will likely switch to that bullet once it becomes available.

Surprisingly, the factory ammunition for the 160gr CX bullet offers the same 3,000fps muzzle velocity as the 175gr ELD-X bullet. I expected it to go a little faster in the CX due to the lighter weight, but copper bullets can also increase pressures, so it seems that Hornady wasn’t able to get any increased speed out of it.

History of the 7mm PRC

Hornady officially announced the cartridge on October 26, 2022 at the NASGW Expo. The 7mm PRC was approved by SAAMI on June 7, 2022 and the public introduction was released on June 16, 2022. Backfire’s Youtube channel was the first publication to break the story of the cartridge’s SAAMI approval, and Backfire was also the first group to build a 7mm PRC and show it to the public.