The 6.5 Precision Gun Cartridge Series: An Ultimate Guide

VD September 09 2021

There was a time when the majority of rifle enthusiasts were not aware of the term six-point-five, but this particular bore diameter is popular for the past two centuries. The metric cartridges never had the strongest of the followings in America. Still, the ballistic success and the marketing of the 6.5 Precision Gun Cartridge (PRC) have brought this bore diameter to popularity. Many hunters have started to see the benefits of combining a fast twist rate and the ballistic coefficient bullets.

Those who haven't experienced the 6.5 PRC wonder what distinguishes it from the older 6.5 mm cartridges like 6.5 Grendel, the 6.5 Swede, and the 6.5-284 Norma. It is a magnum version of the 6.5 Creedmoor, offering several advantages to the Creedmoor cartridge. It is designed to achieve a flat trajectory, high accuracy levels, and extended range performance in a compact package.

6.5 PRC History

This cartridge was made for use in the Precision Rifle Series (PRS) rifles. In 2012, Hornady was approached by George Gardner from GA Precision to create a cartridge that can meet the requirements of the competitors. It is worth noting that the PRS matches rules don’t allow any cartridges that shoot more than 3,200 fps, so all the bullets have to be .308 caliber or much thinner than that.

The idea was to make the cartridge that leverages quick action to aid the shooters who quickly worked through PRS match in cycles. The short movements slightly increase the rigidity of the action, and this can surely increase inaccuracy. According to George Gardner, the 6mm's have lower BCs, 7mm's have higher BCs, while the lack of bullet selection in .25 and .270 made him settle for the 6.5 PRC.

The Hornady 6.5 PRC features

The 6.5 PRC has been developed and nominated for the Precision Rifle Series and is based on the .300 Ruger Compact Magnum that is relatively unknown and is specially necked down to hold the 6.5mm bullets. Compared to the 6.5 Creedmoor, it offers a 250-fps velocity boost. Therefore, the 143-grain ELD-X bullets can be driven by it to higher than 2,950 fps.

The primary idea of Creedmoor was to work with the AR-15 magazine correctly, but the 6.5 PRC has been produced for cylinder rifles. The case measurement is 2.030", whereas the overall expansion is 2.955," and it manages the 0.532" case head diameter, which is quite the same as the magnum H&H cases.

Many people argue that 6.5-284 Norma gives almost the same ballistics as 6.5 PRC, but this is only true on paper. While 6.5-284 Norma comes close to produce such figures, yet to go to such projectiles, the bullets are required to be seated out a little more than what might be allowed by a short-action magazine. The twist rate of the barrels is found to be 1:8", thus giving an excellent stabilization for the longer bullets. With a 30-degree shoulder of a beltless cartridge, you will surely be getting a superb headspace, but you additionally get a more extra opening in the case.

6.5 PRC Ballistic data

6.5 PRC is undoubtedly a very impressive round, since due to the extended distances, it can produce incredible energy, while it can also shoot fast and flat. Its maximum effective range is approximately 730 yards. It is a distance at which most of the bullets slow down below 1,900 fps causing it to fail to expand. For the elk-sized game out to 510 yards, it can produce 1,500 ft-lbs of energy, while for the deer-sized game to 810 yards, it can produce 1,000 ft-lbs.

The maximum hand loads that Hornady has published reveal that with a 143-grain ELD-X, the velocity is 3,150 fps, and with a 147-grain ELD match bullet, the velocity is 3,050 fps. These loads are possible to obtain with a 26" Barrel, which is undoubtedly quite impressive with a cartridge of this size.

Comparable Cartridges

The 6.5 PRC works best with the 6.5-284 Norma, 6.5 SAUM, and the 6.5 Weatherby RPM when it is about the caliber and ballistics. When we compare this to the standard cartridges, it can shoot 200 fps quicker than a 6.5 Creedmoor and has downrange energy just like a .270 Winchester.

When the PRC was announced, there was one complaint in the industry that there is nothing unique about it because many cartridges out there in the market have similar properties. These include 6.5 SAUM that may shoot 50 fps faster, while the 6.5 PRC and 6.5 Weatherby RPM are so much identical that they are called twins. 


6.5 PRC has become one of the most popular cartridges offering some significant advantages to the hunters and can fill a specific niche among the 6.5mm cartridge family. Although a considerable number of hunters and shooters have quickly adopted this new cartridge, the small benefits it offers over established calibers don't justify making a switch. The selection of ammunition for this cartridge will keep improving in the future if the cartridge's popularity grows. Therefore, you need to get a 6.5 PRC by all means if you want to wring out the performance from a certain caliber.


Is 6.5 PRC considered suitable for a big game?

Over the recent years, the 6.5 Creedmoor has been able to take down the hunting world by storm, but the majority of hunters consider both the 6.5 PRC and Creedmoor for a deer as well as any other similar-sized game.

Which is the best powder for a 6.5 PRC?

Many people must have tried Retumbo, H1000, and Magnum for the 143 ELD X. H1000 indeed offers the best velocity with decent accuracy at around 3K velocity. When it is about the best accuracy, then Retumbo is the ideal choice.

Is 6.5 PRC created for a short or a long action?

The 6.5 PRC sits precisely between the short as well as the long action in the overall length. It is able to give up 0.155" of the brasses powder capacity for the caliber bullets in short measure. The maximum length is 2.955”.