New precision rifle cartridges always makes shooters scratch their heads, and the rise of the PRC rifle cartridge is no different. Is it worth buying a new rifle? What benefit does this new caliber bring to the table? Can I find ammo for the new cartridge? Is there going to be high-quality ammo? Will this caliber stick around? How will the PRC cartridge benefit competitive shooters, target shooters and hunters? These are all valid questions you should ask yourself before pulling the trigger on a new rifle.
In the last few years, we have witnessed the uproar in the PRC cartridges from Hornady. The 6.5 PRC and 300 PRC have proven to be outstanding cartridges for hunting and long-range shooting. The PRC cartridge offers excellent accuracy and boasts impressive power, making it well-suited for taking down a wide range of big-game animals. Furthermore, long-range hunting has been revolutionized with the introduction of precision rifle cartridges. With the recent release of the 7mm PRC, it is shaping up to be another market competitor. But what sets these apart from calibers that have been around for years?
Each PRC caliber brings similar attributes to cartridges that have been around for years. 6.5 PRC vs 6.5 Saum, 300 PRC vs 300 Win Mag, and 7mm PRC vs 7mm Rem mag. Although the case designs are similar, Hornady has tailored the cartridges to favor the heavy-for-caliber bullets that have recently been introduced.
With the development of these new bullets, Hornady has been forced to design new cartridges that maximize case capacity without being too long to fit in magazines.
This was a question on Rokslide the other day, and it was a good one! Yes, making a 225-grain 300 WM ammunition SKU is possible, but the SAMMI spec cartridge overall length is 3.403" for 300 win mags. To make the overall length that short, the 215+ grain bullets would protrude deeply into the case affecting the case capacity. 300 PRC on the other hand, has a Sammi spec Cartridge overall length of 3.575. By setting the length that long, they know that Tikkas will not be capable of being chambered in 300 PRC, but they can focus on the utmost performance out of Remington and Savage rifles.
7mm PRC is another caliber that Hornady changed the cartridge length to optimize different actions. Instead of considering the longer action length, they wanted to focus on shorter actions like Tikkas, Thompson center, and even the medium Remington footprint actions (see medium action article here).
On the 7mm PRC, they have set the Sammi spec length to 3.090". By shortening the case but still giving the cartridge .234" freebore, factory ammo producers can seat heavy 7mm bullets further out giving the caliber more case capacity. This optimized case capacity will result in higher velocities than other similar-length cartridges.
As we can see from the numbers, the PRC lineup brings new designs to the table that combine cartridge and bullet lengths to fit the action lengths. Some shooters may not believe that the PRC lineup will stick around, but with the advancements listed above, these cartridges will be viable options for years to come!
Hopefully, in the coming years, we will see more factory ammunition on the shelf so all customers can find value in the PRC lineup.