30 Apr Cartridge Talk: The New 6.5 PRC from Hornady
Cartridge Talk: The new 6.5 PRC
We have built and tested a few rifles chambered in the 6.5 PRC. We are extremely pleased with the accuracy of the factory Hornady 143 ELD-X ammunition. Another great feature is that the recoil is very low relative to the muzzle velocity and energy the cartridge produces. This makes the 6.5 PRC an ideal candidate for carry-weight hunting rifles for deer and sheep.
The 6.5 PRC is 2.95” long in Hornady’s 143 ELD-X offering. This means it is too long for a standard short action 308 length magazine box. The Winchester 70 WSM action is an ideal candidate to build on since it offers a magazine box length of 3.0” and the loading/ejection port are also the correct length to rapidly eject loaded and fired cases. We use the Defiance XM action length for this cartridge on our full custom rifles. The XM action also delivers a 3.0” magazine box length and correct ejection port length to function perfectly in the 6.5 PRC, with the added benefits of precision machining, better triggers, better accuracy, and a wider selection of stock styles.
So, before rebarreling one of your rifles to this cartridge, make sure your magazine box is long enough internally and that you have a magnum bolt face.
Let’s talk performance.
The 6.5 PRC is about 250 feet-per-second faster than the 6.5 Creedmoor. With the high ballistic coefficients of modern hunting bullets that increases downrange energy by quite a bit.
The following chart compares drop, energy, and wind drift at 500 yards, for the 6.5 PRC 143 ELD-X, 6.5 Creedmoor 143 ELD-X, and the 270 WSM 145 ELD-X, based on a 200 yard zero, 10 mph full-value wind, and using factory box velocity data.
Cartridge Distance Ft-lb Energy 10 mph FV Wind Drop
6.5 PRC 500 Yards 1630 12.69” 35.77”
6.5 Creedmoor 500 Yards 1336 14.45” 43.63”
270 WSM 500 Yards 1683 14.09” 33.50”
While the 270 WSM slightly outperforms the PRC in drop and energy, the 6.5 PRC has noticeably less recoil, less wind drift, and we believe it will be the more accurate of the two rounds. The 270 WSM is a very good cartridge but we have found it to be very finicky with factory ammo and very sharp in recoil.
The primary advantage to the 6.5 PRC over the 6.5 Creedmoor is that it has more energy. So, if you are hunting big Canadian Whitetail, Mule Deer where the shots are long, or need the cartridge to occasionally cover duty as an Elk rifle, the PRC may be the best choice as a pure hunting rifle. For a low recoiling cartridge perfect for deer sized game and also great for high volume long range shooting on steel, the 6.5 Creedmoor still reigns supreme.
If you have a Winchester M70 WSM that you are not using, our Use What You Have program is the perfect way to turn it into a 6.5 PRC! Or give us a call to start your full custom rifle build on the Defiance XM Deviant action set up just the way you want it!