6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge) Hornady® introduced this new Short Magnum cartridge in the fall of 2017. Gone are the days when such announcements were limited to the SHOT Show.
Factory ammo offerings in both a “Match” version (with 147gr ELD) and a “Precision Hunter” version (with 143gr ELD-X bullet). You can bet that in the future, Hornady will offer 6.5 PRC brass separately for hand-loaders, but it takes time to fill the pipe line with ammo and meet the initial demand. 6.5 PRC brass is available right now from GA Precision at $86.00 per 100 cases. GA Precision’s George Gardner, who helped develop this cartridge, has posted: “It’s a non-rebated short mag based on a short RCM [Ruger Compact Magnum] case.” It has 3-4 grains less capacity than the 6.5 RSAUM, so, the difference in ballistics will likely be 30-50 fps deficit as compared with the RSAUM.
The 6.5 PRC Match is aimed at the PRS (Precision Rifle Series) crowd and long-range tactical shooters. Hornady says the 6.5 PRC is, “designed to achieve the highest levels of accuracy, flat trajectory, and extended range performance in a sensibly-designed compact package. Utilizing moderate powder charges that result in repeatable accuracy, low recoil, and reasonable barrel life, the 6.5 PRC produces high velocities for target shooting with performance well beyond 1000 yards.”
New 6.5 PRC is a short magnum that requires a magnum bolt face. It’s dubbed the “big brother” to the 6.5 Creedmoor, the 6.5 PRC fits in short or medium actions with a standard magnum bolt face (.532”). Much of the Creedmoor appeal is it’s ability to function in the AR-10 platform. The PRC will have non of that.
Ballistics charts from Hornady’s 6.5 PRC page shows a muzzle velocity of 2910 FPS. That’s not much better than a 6.5 Creedmoor (which can push 140s over 2800 fps), and the venerable 6.5-284 pushes similar bullets at about the same velocity as the new PRC. The 6.5-284 utilizes a standard bolt face and you can get Norma and Lapua brass for it. The PRC will work better than a 6.5-284 in a short-action magazine. An awful lot of 6.5-284 fans put them on 30-06 length actions so they can seat the bullets out — that may be what Hornady is thinking with the new cartridge…
It looks like this is an attempt to attract some of the PRS crowd and help Hornady visibility in that highly popular arena. Unfortunately for Hornady there is a trend among top PRS competitors toward smaller cartridge with less recoil. The benefits of less recoil are probably more important to those shooters than a flatter trajectory, which has a cost in both noise and recoil.
Reality is there is a market for everything, there will be some shooters who are very excited about this new offering. GA Precision, Gunwerks, PROOF Research, Stuteville Precision and Seekins Precision are among those already chambering for this cartridge. Truth be told, everything in the ballistic equation is a trade off. A flatter trajectory and shorter time of flight have value too.
6.5 PRC Ammunition for Hunters — Also New for 2018
Hornady will also sell a version of 6.5 PRC ammo design for hunters, naturally that is about the bullet selection being appropriate for the application. After looking this cartridge over and where it fits in the market place, it might have been better for Hornady to partner with Ruger and call it the 6.5 RCM, since that’s really what it is. This cartridge seems a little like the reason that Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors… try to please everyone and by so doing sell more product.