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!

  • Ducker
    Posted at 21:59h, 17 August

    Are there or will there be any manufacturer’s making rifles for this cartridge or do you have to build a custom rifle only

    • Matt Bettersworth
      Posted at 08:42h, 26 August

      Great question. I suspect Ruger will offer it first. Winchester could easily get on board since they have the right action length. Otherwise a build on a M70 WSM or Defiance XM action may be required.
      I don’t think Hornady would launch it if only the custom market was going to offer it.

  • Paul Treadwell
    Posted at 16:06h, 04 September

    How does the 6.5 PRC compare to the 6.5 x 284 Norma? I’ve heard the 6.5 x 284 Norma has the slight edge but even better BC. I guess the only issue with the 6.5 x 284 is having a major ammo company get behind it? Unless reloading, appears Nosler and HSM may be the only places to purchase 6.5 x 284 ammo?

    • Matt Bettersworth
      Posted at 08:51h, 15 September

      Hi Paul.
      I answered this last week but my interface still shows unanswered so if you did not receive it I apologize.
      You are spot on with your assessment. They are almost identical in ballistics. Both require a 3″ magazine box length although a standard long action also works well with the 6.5X284.
      Please let me know if I can be of any service.
      Thank you,

  • Larry Senf
    Posted at 11:03h, 08 September

    How about rechambering a Savage 10 in 6.5 Creedmoor to 6.5 PRC? Is that doable and what would you charge to do it?

    • Matt Bettersworth
      Posted at 08:54h, 15 September

      Hi Larry. I answered this last week but it still shows unanswered on my interface so I apologize if it did not go through.
      You need a magnum bolt face and a 3″ magazine box designed for a WSM style cartridge. So, I don’t think this will work. A great way to get a 6.5 PRC is to take Winchester 70 in a WSM chambering and simply rebarrel to 6.5 PRC. The action, magazine box, and follower are all correct.
      Please let me know if I can be of any service.
      Thank you,

  • Eddie
    Posted at 05:05h, 24 September

    I have rechambered a Winchester and Howa short mag actions to 6.5 wsm and from what data I have read so far the 6.5WSM looks to better to me. My Winchester conversion averaged 3300 fps with a spread less than 15 feet per second. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Matt Bettersworth
      Posted at 08:58h, 03 October

      Hi Eddie.
      We found the 6.5 WSM to be extremely pressure sensitive and a bit unstable at higher velocities. It sounds like yours is working ver well though.

  • dave duncan
    Posted at 10:11h, 04 October

    Can you take a parkerhale 3006 to 6.5 prc

    • Matt Bettersworth
      Posted at 14:50h, 07 October

      Hi Dave.
      No, it will not feed the cartridge and you need a magnum bolt face.
      To date, the only factory action we have found that works well is the Winchester Model 70 in a WSM caliber.
      The Ruger Compact Magnum actions should also work but we have not tried one yet.

  • Todd Lehigh
    Posted at 14:01h, 10 October

    I have a Sako in 270 wsm.
    Can you turn this jnto an awesome shooting 6.5 prc gun?
    I am sold on the 6.5 prc even though I already own a 6.5 creedmoor

    • Matt Bettersworth
      Posted at 10:03h, 13 October

      Hi Todd.
      Unfortunately the magazine box on the Sako WSM is not quite long enough. It is about 2.86″ long and we need 3.0.
      So far, only the Winchester 70 WSM and Ruger Compact Magnum actions seem to be long enough.
      Thanks for asking.

  • John
    Posted at 12:24h, 15 October

    Have you guys built the 6.5 PRC on a short action 700 with Wyatt’s box? Just curious if loading/cycling rounds is problematic?

    • Matt Bettersworth
      Posted at 13:23h, 16 October

      We have taken all the measurements and it is a no go. Feeding will be terrible and getting the case to eject out of the shorter ejection port will also be sloppy.
      We have also looked at the Sako, Browning WSM’s, as well as the Ruger Compact Magnums. All are too short.
      Thus far, only the Model 70 WSM and Custom intermediate actions like the Defiance XM have worked.

  • Jr ruthkowski
    Posted at 15:46h, 18 October

    I think the 7 08 gets overlooked.. it is I believe the best cartridge for whitetail. .

    • Matt Bettersworth
      Posted at 18:46h, 19 October

      It is excellent. Great for whitetail and lots of other medium sized game. It does get overlooked for sure. These days, if it is not new, it does not get any press. The one thing that is a legitimate improvement with the 6.5 Creedmoor is that the case dimensions are designed to really work well with modern, high BC bullets and still fit in a short magazine box. The 308 based cases, like 243, 7-08, 260 Rem, and 308 don’t quite do this as well. But, this is only an issue if you are shooting those types of bullets. All of the factory 7-08 ammo is great and lethal on deer.

  • TZ
    Posted at 19:42h, 20 October

    Will a 6.5-284 rechamber to 6.5prc?

    • Matt Bettersworth
      Posted at 18:46h, 23 October

      Hi Ty. Generally no. The 6.5X284 has a standard bolt face while the PRC needs a magnum.
      Also the feeding requirements for the PRC are such that neither a short action or a long action will work very well. You need the intermediate length with a 3″ magazine box.
      I hope that helps.