The 6.5 PRC is the most recent in a long line of 6.5mm cartridges. Famed for long distance accuracy, many shooters have settled on one or another version of the venerable 6.5mm for hunting and long distance shooting.
Let’s take a deeper look.
The 6.5mm rifle cartridge, in general, is really nothing new. There is a rich history with different 6.5mm rifle cartridges that goes back a very long time. For example, the 6.5mm Mauser, also known as 6.5X55 or 6.5 Swede, was developed all the way back in 1893.
That cartridge was known as a great shooting cartridge with a pretty flat trajectory. And once the cheap surplus rifles began to flood the united states in the 1950s, the hunting market saw the opportunity they presented.
Many of those rifles were then sporterized and turned into hunting rifles with excellent results. That cartridge is still popular today.
Or we could talk about another, newer, 6.5mm rifle cartridge.
Fast forward to 2007, and we see the invention of 6.5mm Creedmoor with its excellent downrange trajectory. I recently had the chance to take a few mile long shots with a 6.5 CM AR-10 Rifle made by my good friends over at Palmetto State Armory and it stretches out with ease and accuracy.
The 6.5 Creedmoor continued to prove the excellence in downrange trajectory for precision shooting, but was there room for improvement?
This is the point in the story where the 6.5 PRC comes into play.
6.5 PRC History
6.5 PRC, or Precision Rifle Cartridge, is a rifle cartridge designed by Hornady (in cooperation with GA Precision) to perform better at longer distances than other cartridges.
The 6.5 PRC’s parent case is the 300 Ruger Compact Magnum, and the cartridge was officially rolled out during the 2018 SHOT Show. I was there, but sadly don’t have any video content for this release.
6.5 PRC Ballistics
Out of a 24″ barrel, the 6.5 PRC travels 2,960 FPS with 2,782 FT/LB of energy at the muzzle. At 300 yards, velocity slows to 2,519 with 2,014 FT/LB of energy. The 143 grain projectile only drops 6.4 inches at 300 yards.
This 6.5 PRC ballistic chart shows Hornady 143 grain ELD-x Precision Hunter with a ballistic coefficient of .625 and a 100 yard zero:
|Muzzle||100 YDS||200 YDS||300 YDS|
The 6.5 PRC ballistic chart shows Federal 130 grain Terminal Ascent with a ballistic coefficient of .532 and a 100 yard zero:
|Muzzle||100 YDS||200 YDS||300 YDS|
6.5 PRC Uses
The 6.5 PRC is an excellent long range rifle cartridge. It is popular on the precision rifle series of competitions as well as a big game hunting cartridge.
The PRC can be used to hunt game up to elk in size with relative ease as long as the right ammunition is used. Some hunters have reported using 6.5 PRC for moose, but that is not recommended for most conditions.
6.5 PRC Guns
Our industry has a love/hate relationship with new items. Sometimes things catch on and change the entire industry for the better (like the P365 did), and other times the industry is split right down the middle.
The 6.5 Creedmoor for example, is one that has a cult like following with a similar number of people who hate the cartridge. For every person who exclaims that the 6.5 CM was the end all cartridge, there is at least one who points out the .30-06 Springfield as being the superior big game hunting cartridge.
Now with 6.5 PRC, we have those folks who are Creedmoor fans, who don’t see the point of the newer Precision Rifle Cartridge, as well as the .308 Winchester and 30-06 fans who don’t see the point of either.
Even though there is this mixture of a reaction to this cartridge, there are quite a few guns chambered in it.
A few that come to mind immediately who manufacture bolt guns for this round are Ruger and Savage. Here is a video of a release of the 6.5 PRC Ruger Hawkeye:
And as it happened with the other 6.5mm cartridge, this one too will continue to catch on.
6.5 PRC Ammo
Even though we’re currently in the middle of a massive ammunition shortage, as of this writing, there are a few different manufacturers who make this long range cartridge.
Obviously, the designer, Hornady, is one of them. But they’re joined by a couple of others like Federal Premium and Winchester.
And as the cartridge catches on more and becomes more popular, more ammo makers will jump on board to help bring prices down.
The 6.5 PRC is an excellent long distance cartridge. Whatever other similar rifle chamberings can do, this one can likely do better. Time will tell how far it goes in terms of catching on, or if this is just a novelty.
I personally think it’s here to stay.