The 6.5 PRC ar­rives


Outdoor Life - - CONTENTS - BY JOHN B. SNOW

The 6.5 PRC from Hor­nady might seem like a new car­tridge, but it has been a long time in the mak­ing—since 2013, in fact. The driv­ing force be­hind its de­vel­op­ment was Ge­orge Gard­ner, owner of GA Pre­ci­sion, who was look­ing to cre­ate a hard-hit­ting long-range round for both hunters and com­pet­i­tive shoot­ers, par­tic­u­larly those in the Pre­ci­sion Ri­fle Se­ries.

Ac­cord­ing to PRS rules, car­tridges can­not have muz­zle ve­loc­i­ties in ex­cess of 3,200 fps. In ad­di­tion to that re­stric­tion, Gard­ner also wanted to run the car­tridge through short-ac­tion re­ceivers. Th­ese two pa­ram­e­ters are why he de­cided on a

6.5 mm/.264-cal­iber round.

“I wanted the high­est BC bul­let you can push at 3,200 in a short ac­tion,” Gard­ner says. “The 6s can be pushed that fast, but they have lower BCS. The 7 mils have higher BCS but can’t be pushed at 3,200 fps in a short-ac­tion. The lack of bul­let se­lec­tion in the .25 and .270 ruled those out—so that’s why I set­tled on the 6.5.”

When look­ing at a par­ent case for a 6.5 short mag, Gard­ner had three choices. He dis­missed the Winch­ester Short Mag­num fam­ily right away be­cause its case ca­pac­ity was larger than was needed. The Ruger Com­pact Mag­num, which is made by Hor­nady, was his first pick. But back in 2013, when he ap­proached Hor­nady to make a 6.5 short mag, they passed be­cause they were al­ready mak­ing as much brass as they could to sat­isfy the de­mand for ammo dur­ing the pan­icbuy­ing years. That left Gard­ner with the Rem­ing­ton Short Ac­tion Ul­tra Mag. He was able to lo­cate sev­eral hun­dred thou­sand pieces of 7 mm SAUM brass, and so the 6.5 SAUM/4S was born.

Com­pared to the 6.5 PRC, the 6.5 SAUM is about 50 fps faster, but the case has a re­bated rim, which adds cost and can make re­li­able feed­ing more of a chal­lenge.

The SAUM isn’t go­ing away, but Gard­ner be­lieves the PRC will prove more pop­u­lar.

“The PRC is just more com­mer­cially vi­able,” Gard­ner says. “It works with a greater va­ri­ety of pow­ders and a broader range of guns, and is a lit­tle more ver­sa­tile than the 6.5 SAUM.”

Fac­tory Of­fer­ings

Hor­nady is of­fer­ing two fac­tory loads in the 6.5 PRC. A 147-grain ELD Match and a 143-grain ELD-X hunt­ing bul­let. From a 24-inch bar­rel, the two loads have pub­lished MVS of 2,910 fps and 2,960 fps, re­spec­tively.

But what about that 3,200 fps thresh­old Gard­ner was aim­ing for? Hand-load­ing is the an­swer. Us­ing 57.0 grains of Reloader 26, Gard­ner is able to drive the 147-grain ELD Match at 3,100 fps from a 26-inch bar­rel with no signs of pres­sure.

For shoot­ers and hunters look­ing for a well-bal­anced, ef­fi­cient, and ef­fec­tive long-range round, the 6.5 PRC is tough to beat.


PRC and re­cov­ered from a mule deer taken at 445 yards last fall. A 143-grain ELD-X fired from a 6.5

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