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 80% 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.

Hornady revealed in an interview on the Backfire Youtube channel that they plan to officially announce 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 is also the first group to build a 7mm PRC and show it to the public.

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 drops less than 20″ at 400 yards
  • Incredible resistance to wind deflection
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Long-action cartridge adds 1/3 lbs to some rifles, and doesn’t allow for as short of barrels
  • Needs a 24″ or 26″ barrel to take advantage of the extra powder, but if you put a 7mm PRC and a 7mm Rem Mag both in a 20″ barrel, the 7mm PRC would still shoot faster.

Building the First 7mm PRC in the World

As soon as the SAAMI specs for the 7mm PRC were announced, I immediately got to work building one. Since Hornady won’t announce the cartridge until the end of October, and since I talked to many different component makers who made me custom items to make the build possible, I can confidently say that this is the first public 7mm PRC rifle build in the world. I’m sure there are hundreds in existence at some of the big rifle makers, but they are under NDA until the cartridge is made public.

Big thank you to Preferred Barrel Blanks for making me a barrel as soon as I got a reamer in, and also to MDT for sending out an Oryx chassis for the build. If you’re building a 7mm PRC, contact Preferred Barrel Blanks and they can make you a prefit.

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

Important Note: This is anecdotal testing in my personal rifle. 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 70k or 75k psi–which is an unsafe pressure. 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 H4831SC2,950
65gr H4831SC2,975
65.5gr H4831SC2,995
66gr H4831SC2,988
66.5gr H4831SC3,010Compressed load
67gr H4831SC3,037
68gr H4831SC3,025
69gr H4831SC3,113Obvious 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 Magpro2,789
69gr Magpro2,836
70gr Magpro2,848
71gr Magpro2,928
71.5gr Magpro2,942Still a decent amount of case capacity left.

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 66.2gr of H4831SC, which should yield exactly 3,000fps. I believe that should be a max load but still safe in my rifle, efficient loading, and impressive speed. I did all my testing with a CCI Large Magnum primer, but I have not yet tested standard large primers to see which is better.

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)
66gr H4831SC2,949fpsWAY over pressure (Don’t even think about it)
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.

7mm PRC Compared to Other Common Cartridges

Please note that the table below isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. This is mimicking Hornady Precision Hunter ammunition, but that means the 7mm Rem Mag is using a much lighter bullet than the 7mm PRC, for example, since we don’t yet know any velocity numbers for the 7mm PRC for that load, and if Hornady will release a heavier 7mm ELD-X for this cartridge.

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
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.

Comparing the 7mm PRC to Similar Cartridges

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

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 kill the following cartridges: 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.

7 PRC Cartridge Design

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

Recoil

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 barely less than a .300 Win Mag. It is on the upper end of what most large adult shooters can comfortably tolerate.

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

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
  • 180gr Hornady ELD-M
  • 195gr Berger EOL
  • 197gr Sierra MatchKing HPBT
  • 190gr Berger Long Range Hybrid Target
  • 185gr Nosler RDF
  • 183gr Sierra MatchKing
  • 180gr Berger VLD Target
  • 180gr Berger Hybrid 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.

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 PRC1:8Likely 150 – 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

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8 Comments

  1. Will be interested in seeing which manufacturers chamber this round. Hopefully more options than what the 6.8 Western.

  2. Dr. Christoph Pirker says:

    Dear Jim,

    since I´m a fan of your youtubes, my question to you:
    do you know the 7mm Blaser Magnum?
    https://bobp.cip-bobp.org/uploads/tdcc/tab-i/tabical-en-page36.pdf

    I´m hunting with this cartridge with 145 gr TTSX on red stags till 250 kg untill 300 m:
    it works. At 300 m my Blaser R8 shoots on 2 cm with these bullets.

    cheerio, Christoph

    Christoph Pirker
    DE Scheidegg/Bavaria

  3. George Holt says:

    Jim, I’m wondering why you did not include the Winchester 284, in your comparative with the lineup. The 284 as used by benchrest shooters at 1000-yard matches uses a 180-grain bullet in along action. Those shooters could use the information that Hornady is providing herein
    George Holt

  4. Kent Rockwell says:

    Jim,

    I reload, and finding 300 PRC and 6.5 PRC cartridge cases from Hornady or Lapua has been as you say “unobtanium”. Starline Brass has plans to produce these cases in the future. 300 PRC and 6.5 PRC ammo has challenging to find too, but is finally showing up with Federal and Sierra joining Hornady. With the ammo and reloading components markets starting to normalize, when do you think 7mm PRC ammo and reloading components will be available this year?

    You have stated several times you would not use 6.5 Creedmoor or 6.5 PRC for large game like elk. Based on the 7mm PRC data you shared, would you use the 7mm PRC for elk and large North American game?

    Really enjoy your channels and content.

    Thank you,

    Kent

    1. Jim Harmer says:

      I ABSOLUTELY would use 7mm PRC on elk. In fact, it may be about the best choice on the market for my personal preference.

  5. What action and barrel are you using?

  6. Hi Jim,

    Thank you for all the proactive information gathering you’ve done for the community. I reload and would be VERY interested in learning more about being able to use less powder to achieve higher velocities with the the same bullet in 7 PRC vs 7 rem mag. Maybe you could do a future video on it?

    Cheers!

  7. Tom Schoofs says:

    Hi Jim,

    I’m a big fan of the channel and look forward to more on the 7mm PRC. I have the 6.5 PRC and 300 PRC, and I’m sure a 7mm PRC will be in my future. I’m a big fan of the 7mm. To me it’s in the Goldilocks zone. This spring I built a 7mm REM Mag with a long throat in a 28 inch barrel 1:8 twist from McGowen Barrels. I was hoping to optimize the cartridge . ( I know you prefer shorter barrels especially for hunting). This setup is for long range target shooting. I’ve been playing around with Berger 190g Long Range Hybrid Targets. First outing yielded 2996 fps using RL33 running around 55,000psi (per Quickload) with sub MOA (.694 @ 5 shots) groups. I’m still working on a load.

    Looking forward to seeing what the 7mm PRC can do by comparison. If it performs like my 6.5 PRC and 300 PRC, I’m guessing it will be a winner too.

    Thanks for your content.

    Cheers!