6.5 PRC vs 7 PRC vs 300 PRC: A head-to-head comparison

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 PRC175ELDX3,0000.6893,49826.414.1
.300 PRC212ELDX2,8600.6633,85136.916.7

6.5 PRC

  • Low Recoil – 48% less than the .300 PRC, and 27% less than the 7 PRC.
  • Small Caliber for Hunting – Most experienced hunters prefer larger caliber bullets for big game like elk.
  • High BC Bullets – 6.5mm bullets can have high BCs, but generally not as high as the 7mms nor the .300 caliber bullets.
  • Short action length
  • Comparable to 6.5-284 Norma

7mm PRC

  • Moderate Recoil – tolerable for most adults using a lightweight rifle.
  • Mid-size Caliber for Hunting – 7mm bullets are commonly used even on the largest of game.
  • Highest BC Bullets – 7mm bullets have the highest BCs on average, which means less wind deflection and less bullet drop.
  • Long action length
  • Comparable to the 7mm Rem Mag

.300 PRC

  • Very High Recoil – Usually chambered in a heavy rifle and a brake/can is used.
  • Large Caliber for Hunting – 30 caliber bullets have 26% more frontal area to cut meat than a 6.5.
  • Higher BC Bullets – There are many high BC bullets available in .308 caliber, but generally not as high as the 7mm bullets.
  • Magnum action length
  • Comparable to the .300 Win Mag

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.

Note that I’m guestimating what I think the 7mm PRC cartridge will look like in Hornady Precision Hunter ammunition since it hasn’t been released yet; however, I think I’m probably pretty close based on the load data for the other two cartridges compared to how they are loaded in this ammo.

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 gr2,975 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.

7mm PRC – This cartridge hasn’t yet officially been announced by Hornady at the time of writing, so it’s difficult to say what the history is behind this cartridge, 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.

.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.

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