6.5 PRC vs 7 PRC vs 300 PRC: A ballistics comparison (plus hands-on experience)

The “PRC” line of rifle cartridges has been incredibly popular over the last few years. Lately, it feels like half of the rifles in the store are one of the PRC cartridges, but which one should you pick? Let’s take a deep dive.

All three of the PRC rifle cartridges are based off the .375 Ruger’s beltless case. They sit on a magnum bolt face given their .532″ head diameter, and find headspace on their 30 degree shoulders.

If you’re a football fan, think of the 6.5 PRC like a wide receiver–thin, light and fast. Think of the 7mm PRC like a runningback–powerful, efficient, and capable of doing many jobs on the field. Think of the 300 PRC like a linebacker–brute force but quick on his feet and hits like a freight train.

To really understand these cartridges, let’s first see a comparison of their stats. To make it a fair comparison, these numbers are all using Hornady’s Precision Hunter line of ammunition.

CartridgeBullet WeightBulletMuzzle VelocityBCMuzzle EnergyRecoil EnergyRecoil Velocity
6.5 PRC143ELDX2,9600.6252,78319.112.0
7mm PRC175ELDX2,9700.6893,49826.414.1
.300 PRC212ELDX2,8600.6633,85136.916.7

6.5 PRC

  • Short Action Length
  • Comparable to 6.5-284 Norma
  • Low Recoil – 48% less than the .300 PRC, and 27% less than the 7 PRC.
  • Smaller Caliber – Not ideal for hunting elk-sized game.
  • High BC Bullets
  • Highest Rifle/Ammo Availability

7mm PRC

  • Long Action Length
  • Comparable to the 7mm Rem Mag
  • Moderate Recoil – tolerable for most adults using a lightweight rifle.
  • Mid-size Caliber – 7mm bullets are perfect for hunting elk
  • Highest BC Bullets
  • Very Poor Rifle/Ammo Availability (Still new)

.300 PRC

  • Magnum Action Length
  • Comparable to the .300 Win Mag
  • Very High Recoil – Usually chambered in a heavy rifle and a brake/can is used.
  • Large Caliber – 30 caliber bullets have 26% more frontal area than a 6.5mm
  • Higher BC Bullets
  • Good Rifle Availability, but Ammo is Hard to Find
6.5 PRC shown next to the 7mm PRC and the .300PRC.  All three rifle cartridges are on top of a rifle outdoors.

Ballistic Performance in Hornady Precision Hunter Ammo

In order to take an apples-to-apples comparison of these three cartridges, let’s look at the Hornady Precision Hunter ammunition for each cartridge.

Energy at 200 YardsMax Effective Range (2,000fps)Drop at 400 YardsDrift at 400 YardsELDX Bullet WeightMuzzle Velocity
7 PRC 2,840 ft-lbs770 yards23″7.3″175 gr2,970 fps
6.5 PRC2,270 ft-lbs686 yards22.63″8.2″143 gr2,960 fps
.300 PRC3,153 ft-lbs670 yards24.72″7.1″212 gr2,860 fps

The Purposes of Each PRC Cartridge

6.5 PRC – This cartridge was designed for PRS rifle competitions where there was a limit of 3,200fps. 6mm bullets were first tried, but they couldn’t achieve as high of a BC. 7mm bullets were also tried, but they couldn’t achieve 3,150fps in a short-action cartridge. 25 and 277 calibers were also considered, but there wasn’t a robust library of bullets to choose from. Thus, the 6.5 PRC was born. I wrote a full Cartridge Profile of the 6.5 PRC here.

7mm PRC – This cartridge was just announced in November 2022, but many shooters have wanted a 7mm version of the PRC line of cartridges in order to take advantage of the extremely high BC 7mm bullets. My full profile on the 7mm PRC can be found here. See my favorite rifles chambered in 7 PRC here.

.300 PRC – The .300 PRC was created for very long range shooting with long, heavy bullets with high BCs. The cartridge was selected by the US Department of Defense for its extended long range sniping program. One design consideration was the ability to not only hit steel at a mile, but to hit it with enough authority to make a clear impact on the target. When lighter bullets hit steel at this distance, it can be tough to see the impact from a distance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

7 Comments

  1. Lawrence Z. says:

    I have been shooting a 22-250 6mm rem and 7mm rem mag and 30-06 for many years.40 plus years! And they have done what I have needed them to do.
    As long as you stay within there limits.
    But if I was to start hunting and shooting today .
    Would probably pick all three of the PRC family.
    The 7PRC looks like a winner.
    Cheers

  2. DoD is no longer pursuing 300PRC, they went with 300 Norma.

  3. Capt Robert M Bunker says:

    What’s the difference between a 7mmStw and the 7PRC. From what I see my STW is faster, I don’t see any advantage to the 7PRC? Just curious

    1. Jim Harmer says:

      If you’re just wanting raw speed, the STW would be a better choice. The 7 PRC is about balance.

      1. What balance? Let me know. I have an stw

  4. How does the suppressed recoil of the 7PRC compare to a unsuppressed .270 win?

  5. BigFish1Day says:

    I personally would like a 7mm 147 gr pill in a 6.5 PRC case. But with the introduction of the 7 PRC, I don’t think I’ll ever see that one.