What to Love About the 7 mm PRC

Did we really need another 7 mm cartridge? What’s so great about the new 7 mm PRC, anyway?

by posted on March 4, 2024
Deering Hornady 7Mm Prc

My go-to deer rifle is a 7 mm-.08; I like that it’s capable, relatively common (I’m not big on cartridges you can’t easily find at every sporting goods store) and low-recoil. I also own a 7 mm Rem Mag that’s mostly a safe queen, because I seldom hunt anything that my 7 mm-.08 or my .30-06 can’t handle. So, it’s fair to say I’m a fan of the 7 mm family.

I’ve also done a good bit of long-range shooting with the 6.5 PRC, and if you don’t know the background on that one, a few years ago, Hornady started introducing PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge) cartridges like the 6.5 PRC and the .300 PRC as long-range-capable rounds with high ballistic coefficients. They’re specifically designed to launch heavy-for-caliber bullets efficiently and precisely, and so far, they’ve been very popular in long-range competition and hunting. The new 7mm PRC is designed to fill the gap between the 6.5 PRC and the .300 PRC as a sort of mid-sized, do-everything round. It’s being called the modern version of the 7 mm Rem Mag. And yeah, maybe I’ve gotten sucked right into the hype, but this round really is good at just about anything big-game wise.

To make the 7 mm PRC, Hornady took the .300 PRC case (which originated from the .375 Ruger case) and made the neck smaller, allowing a smaller-diameter bullet to be fired from a case with the same base size. Because there’s a similar amount of room for powder as there was in the original case, but you’re shooting a smaller projectile, you can push bullets faster. The 7 mm PRC is a necked-down and shortened version of the .300 PRC, and because it’s slightly shorter, it fits in a standard long action as the 7 mm Rem Mag does. But it’s faster and retains its velocity and energy better across distance because it’s designed for use with Very Low Drag (VLD) bullets that are long and heavy.

In addition, the 7mm PRC is SAMMI-specced with a twist rate of 8 inches, compared to the 7 mm Rem Mag’s 9 (generally). That alone means the 7 mm PRC can be launched faster. And today’s bullets are far superior to those we had available in the 1960s when the 7mm Rem Mag was introduced—the 7mm Rem Mag guns on the market just don’t have the twist rate, among other things, to make the most out of today’s technologically advanced bullets. The good news is you can swap the barrel out on your 7 mm Rem Mag or .300 Win Mag to a 7 mm PRC barrel and safely shoot the new cartridge if you don’t want to buy a new gun.

This is all very techy, and you can dive deep down a ballistic rabbit hole if that’s really your thing. I’m no ballistician and I’m not going to dig into case capacity and bullet seating depth and other technical aspects. What you really need to know is this: The 7 mm PRC shoots long, heavy, VLD bullets at fast, stable speeds, out of a standard long action. Put even more simply, this round is well-suited to hunting at longer-than-average ranges because its high ballistic coefficient (BC) means the projectile has less drop than what you can squeeze out of many other cartridges.

I got a good bit of trigger time in with the 7 mm PRC last fall, shooting Hornady’s 175-gr. ELD-X bullet in the company’s Precision Hunter ammo. I did not chronograph the rounds, but Hornady lists muzzle velocity at 3,000 f.p.s. with 3,497 ft.-lbs. of energy and velocity at 500 yards, which is approaching the outer edges of long-range hunting distances for most shooters, at 2,347 f.p.s. with 2,141 ft.-lbs. of energy and 34 inches of drop. That might not mean a lot to you, but it’s an indication that the projectile retains its speed and energy longer than many other cartridges allow for. I took two big-game animals this fall (a bull elk and a mule deer) each with a single shot from my 7 mm PRC, at distances around 200 and 300 yards respectively, and each dropped where they stood. That said it all for me. Recoil is reasonable, and minimal bullet drop helped give me confidence shooting at longer distances than I normally hunt at where I live—and the terminal performance speaks for itself.

So, did we need another 7 mm cartridge? I mean, not technically. If you own a 7 mm Rem Mag or a .308 Win or any number of more-than-capable cartridges that have been around forever, you can hunt just about any big-game animal in North America confidently. But this new cartridge does fill a nice niche for long-range shooters who want something bigger than the 6.5 PRC but smaller than the .300 PRC that can handle today’s technologically advanced projectiles and really take advantage of their speed and accuracy potential. In the 7 mm PRC, Hornady has given us just that and created what might be the next great do-it-all cartridge. If a new big-game or long-range competition rifle is on your list, you would do well to consider the 7 mm PRC as a versatile option. Hornady currently offers three different loads, and many rifle manufacturers are making the guns to shoot them, so take your pick. And happy shooting!

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