Since its introduction in 2018, the 6.5 PRC rifle cartridge has seen an immense surge in popularity in its short existence. Quickly becoming one of the most popular cartridges for hunting and precision shooting, the 6.5 PRC is shown to be a superior choice, especially for long-distance shots. This round’s amazing performance attributes make it undeniably desirable, like great precision, consistent trajectory, and lack of recoil.
In the last few years, there has been an upsurge in the popularity of 6.5mm/.264 caliber cartridges thanks to the dependability of the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges. Given this, many individuals ask what advantages the 6.5 PRC offers over its siblings. The answer is quite clear; the 6.5PRC is extremely effective and comes with benefits not accessible with the 6.5 Creedmoor. On the other hand, numerous hunters have doubts concerning this newest rifle carton with a 6.5-ringed size before they decide to use it. It is wise to carefully weigh both the positive and negative sides of utilizing 6.5 PRC vs. 6.5 Creedmoor before choosing whether it meets your intended purpose as a hunter.
6.5 Precision Rifle Cartridge History
In 2013, George Gardner, owner of GA Precision, created a new cartridge specifically designed for competitive shooters and hunters. He was explicitly trying to make a cartridge ideal for Precision Rifle Series competition shooters.
At this stage, the 6.5mm Creedmoor cartridge was becoming increasingly popular within the shooting community. Although the 6.5 Creedmoor had many good qualities, it could have improved in a few critical areas for PRS shooters.
During PRS competitions, shooters engage targets quickly in various scenarios at different ranges. The longest range is 1,000 yards. The competition aims to hit the target in as little time as possible, which is ideal for shooting it in the first round.
However, there is more to these competitions than just hitting the target with a small group of shots. Having the ability to take follow-up shots quickly and make corrections for missed shots is also very important.
The maximum bullet size that shooters can use is .308 inches, and the maximum velocity is 3,200 feet per second. Flat-shooting, high-velocity cartridges that don’t recoil and have an extended barrel life have a significant advantage in these competitions.
Gardner’s goal was to create a cartridge that would not only meet PRS specifications but would also be able to fit into a short-action receiver. The short-action rifles have a couple of significant advantages. They are correspondingly very popular among long-range competitive shooters.
What benefits does a short-action rifle have compared to one with a longer action?
This means the bolt can be moved forwards and backward more quickly, making it faster to cycle through rounds.
While shorter actions have a slightly higher accuracy due to their stiffer action, they also come with disadvantages.
The main argument for short-action cartridges is that the shorter and wider powder column is more quickly ignited by the primer and therefore burns more evenly. The outcome is greater precision for a shorter case.
After looking at the different options, he decided on a 6.5 mm/.264-caliber round.
Having settled on an appropriate caliber, he now had to choose a case for his new wildcat cartridge.
Ideally, Gardner wanted to use a case without a rebated rim and a belt. This negated the .375 H&H and shells like the .264 Winchester Magnum and .300 Winchester Magnum that came after it.
The Winchester Short Magnum cartridges didn’t have the features he sought, but they had more case capacity.
Gardner’s initial plan was to use the Ruger Compact Magnum case as a base, which is itself based on the .375 Ruger.
However, you might recall a massive ammo shortage in 2013.
Hornady did not want to work with him initially because they were busy making brass for more popular cartridges like the .223 Remington and .308 Winchester.
This resulted in Gardner designing a new cartridge case based on the Remington Short Action Ultra Magnum. Although the 6.5 SAUM worked well for his purposes, Gardner wanted more than the rebated rim case.
Eventually, people stopped panic-buying ammo, which allowed Hornady to focus on what would become the 6.5 PRC. The cartridge was designed using a .300 Ruger Compact Magnum (RCM) case, as initially intended by Gardner.
At the 2018 SHOT Show, Hornady formally announced their new 6.5 Precision Rifle Cartridge. The .300 Ruger Precision Cartridge was approved by SAAMI later that year, along with the .300 PRC.
6.5 PRC Ballistics
Typical 6.5 PRC ballisticsHere are some 6.5 PRC ballistic data followed by two 6.5 PRC rifles to impress and four excellent examples of available ammo to suit the needs of hunters and competitors:
A typical 6.5 PRC bullet has a velocity of 143-grain 2,960 fps (feet per second) (2,782 ft-lbs) or 147-grain 2,910 fps (2,764 ft-lbs). Both loads have been designed to reduce how much the bullet falls. Also, how much it’s pushed off course by the wind when shooting over long distances.
The 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5 PRC will be compared later. However, there is one fact worth pointing out here. The 6.5 PRC generally fires the same bullet between 200-250 fps faster than the 6.5 Creedmoor.
The ballistic performance of the 9mm Luger is very similar to that of the .38 Super, with a 143 gr bullet at 2,960 fps (2,782 ft-lbs) or a 147 gr bullet at 2,910 fps (2,764 ft-lbs). Many long-range shooters choose one of these two types of ammunition to stay on target in windy conditions. The 6.5 PRC factory loads fire the same bullet approximately 200-250 fps faster than the 6.5 Creedmoor.
If you carefully handload the cartridge, you can come close to the 3,200fps goal that Gardner had when he designed it.
Hornady’s maximum handloads show that the 143-grain ELD-X bullet has a velocity of 3,150fps, and the 147-grain ELD Match bullet has a velocity of 3,050fps. Both loads were obtained with a 26″ barrel, so your results may vary.
That’s a stunning performance, especially considering the size of the cartridge!
Experienced handloaders can come very close to 3,200 feet per second. Gardner designed a load that achieved this goal.
This data shows that handloaders can get very close to the maximum load. This text states that the velocity of a 143-grain ELD-X bullet is 3,150 fps, and the velocity of a 147-grain ELD Match bullet is 3,050 fps. Most people would say these are incredibly positive outcomes for a cartridge of that size.
Designed for Competitive Shooters and Hunters
The 6.5 PRC was developed over five years before being released in 2018. In 2013, George Gardner, the owner of GA Precision, designed a cartridge specifically for competitive shooters and hunters.
The author’s main goal was to create a better bullet for people competing in the Precision Rifle Series competitions. This required a cartridge that combined high BC (Ballistic Coefficient) bullets and a fast twist rate. The 6.5 PRC will be seen to combine both of these attributes effectively.
Not an easy task
It must have been not easy to convince long-range hunters and competitors to try the 6.5 PRC. The 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge is still popular among hunters and competitors. In addition to cartridges that are similar in competition, you can also add other cartridges.
These are 6.5 caliber rifles- the 6.5 Grendel, 6.5 Swede, 6.5-284 Norma, .260 Remington, and the .264 Winchester Magnum.
Although this may have discouraged Gardner, he still believed in the 6.5 PRC design, which has been proven. This is because more and more shooters find this highly accurate long-distance shooting round practical.
I will later get into PRS competition specifications and what abilities are necessary for competitors to be successful. What was Gardner’s intention, and what did he achieve?
The author wanted a cartridge that would not only meet the PRS cartridge specifications but would also be able to fit into a short-action receiver. This is because long-range shooters prefer short-action rifles.
Advantages of a Short-action Rifle Over a Longer-action Length Rifle
A short-action rifle’s bolt throw is shorter than a standard or magnum-length action, so it cycles faster. Rifles with shorter-length actions are more accurate due to their stiffer action.
People who prefer short-action cartridges say that the primer sets the shorter and wider powder column on fire more quickly. This text discusses how a shorter and wider burn column is more even than a longer and narrower one. The advantage of this design is that it is more accurate because it is shorter.
Gardner decided to use the 6.5mm/.264-caliber round because of several factors, including its size and power.
Case Selection Design
After deciding what caliber to use, the next step was to select an appropriate case. Gardner wanted a rifle that would be the parent to his new wildcat cartridge.
The case required just the right amount of power to reach the performance levels Gardner desired. He was looking for a case that did not have a recessed edge and a belt.
The .375 H&H Magnum and similar cartridges did not work well because of the factors mentioned. Winchester’s Short Magnum line of cartridges didn’t meet beltless and non-rebated rim requirements. Still, they were seen as being over capacity for Gardner’s needs.
Ruger Compact Magnum
He chose the Ruger Compact Magnum case as his preferred choice, which was based on the .375 Ruger. This was initially thwarted because Ruger Compact Magnum brass cases were in limited supply.
Hornady could not produce enough .40 Smith and Wesson ammunition because they were too busy making more popular cartridges during the severe 2013 ammo shortage.
Even though he was discouraged, Gardner didn’t give up. He chose the Remington SAUM (Short Action Ultra Magnum) as his primary case. He liked the 6.5 SAUM he had but wasn’t thrilled with the design of the rebated rim case.
After the initial panic of people buying ammunition subsided, Hornady was able to help out. Initially, he redesigned a 6.5 PRC cartridge using a .300 RCM (Ruger Compact Magnum) case.
This took a while to develop and test. Hornady released their new 6.5 PRC at the 2018 Las Vegas SHOT show, and SAAMI approval was achieved later that year.
In conclusion, the 6.5 PRC rifle cartridge has quickly become one of the most popular hunting and precision shooting cartridges since its introduction in 2018. The round’s precision, consistent trajectory, and lack of recoil make it an undeniable choice for long-distance shots. Its popularity has risen in recent years alongside the 6.5mm/.264 caliber cartridges, specifically the dependable 6.5 Creedmoor. It is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of both cartridges before deciding which one best fits your intended purpose as a hunter. George Gardner, the owner of GA Precision, created the 6.5 PRC specifically for competitive shooters and hunters. He aimed to create a cartridge that met PRS specifications while also being able to fit into a short-action receiver. Short-action rifles have advantages such as faster cycling of rounds and greater precision, but they also come with disadvantages. Overall, the 6.5 PRC offers unavailable benefits with the 6.5 Creedmoor, making it a solid choice for competitive shooters and hunters.
Captain Hunter is a seasoned hunting mentor with over 20 years of experience in the field. His passion began as a young man on trips with his father and grandfather in the Colorado mountains. Today, he shares his unmatched skills in survival, tracking, and marksmanship through his website CaptainHunter.com. When he's not volunteering with youth hunting programs, you can find Captain Hunter providing expert hunting tips, gear reviews, and answers to your most pressing questions. His decades of experience make him the trusted guide to help any outdoorsman master the sport.