The 300 Precision Rifle Cartridge (or 300 PRC) is about to be the hottest new cartridge, especially in long range shooting and hunting circles… the world just doesn’t know it yet. Now, to be fair, I regularly warn against adopting the latest new “fad” cartridge. After all, there’s always a new cartridge coming out that promises to do what no other cartridge has done before. Usually, the claims are true (mostly), but I rarely think it is worth chasing the newest thing. https://vimeo.com/294885189 First, you could be an early adopter only to have the cartridge fade away and you’re left with a rifle for which you can’t find ammunition. Or, if there is ammo available, it’s expensive and hard to find. I’m a big fan of using a cartridge that can easily be found at a local sporting goods store – you never know when you’ll be at a shooting match or on a hunt and need more ammo (thanks for losing my ammo, TSA). When the 300 Norma came out, I was outspoken about questioning whether it was smart for the military to adopt it for the ASR program. Part of my concern was that it might have been a new “fad cartridge,” the other part was that I didn’t think there were enough performance benefits to outweigh the giant 338 Lapua-sized action needed (especially when other calibers where fairly close in performance…e.g. 30 Nosler). Also, even the 6.5 Creedmoor which has well proven its worth, didn’t win me over until recently. Now, I’m on the 6.5 Creedmoor bandwagon!
So, why do I think that the 300 PRC is going to be a winner? Essentially, it is the next step up from the 6.5 Creedmoor in design and performance and it resolves issues with other similar cartridges without any of the negatives of the 300 Norma.
300 PRC Background
The 300 PRC is effectively a name brand for the 30-375R cartridge. Hornady took the 375 Ruger Compact Magnum and necked it down to accept a 30 caliber bullet. This provides some great advantages – good enough to have me an absolute fan of the 300 Precision Rifle Cartridge even though it just came out. According to inside sources at Hornady, one of their motivations for coming to market with the 300 PRC was to avoid the unsafe conditions presented by the 300 Norma when shooting at angles. Apparently, the load density of the 300 Norma resulted in some inconsistent pressures. Just as I warned earlier about adopting the latest fad, the 300 Norma has ALREADY been passed up by a Tier 1 special operations group. That’s right, they just selected the 300 PRC for their new rifles in lieu of the 300 Norma. (some have wondered if this is early speculation….nope, I can confirm the actual order) This advice goes both ways: don’t adopt a fad like a 300 Norma because it might be replaced very soon. But, maybe don’t replace it with another fad? It’s too soon to tell on either account.
300 PRC Ballistics
The SAAMI spec drawings note that the 300 PRC will be able to push a 225 grain bullet at 2,800 fps. At the range, I shot Hornady TAP Precision 300 PRC 225gr ELD Match ammunition. Using my Lab Radar doppler chronograph (this thing is absurdly awesome), I measured a consistent 2840 fps out of a 24 inch barrel on my Barrett MRAD. Frank Green of Bartlein Barrels says that 2,900 fps is easily attainable with 225gr bullets from a 26″ barrel.
As a note, Bartlein arguably makes the BEST barrels available. If you’re in the market, you can snag a Bartlein barrel at Brownells. Based on the results, the performance of the 300 PRC bridges the gap between the 338 Lapua and the 300 Norma. This was very interesting to us – the 338 Lapua was the king of long range tactical shooting and the 300 Norma took off as a lighter and faster bullet out of the same case. As I’ve noted, I am not a fan of the 300 Norma. Sure, it has awesome ballistics on paper, but it requires the XL action of the 338 Lapua and it’s not that much better than alternatives. Enter the 300 PRC. As you can see from the chart below, it has better energy on target and drops less than the 338 Lapua Mag past 1,000 yards and it recoils a LOT less. It is also a much smaller cartridge so it’s easier to carry and the rifle can be smaller and lighter. [et_bloom_inline optin_id=”optin_3″] Also note that although the 300 Norma out performs the 300 PRC, it’s not by much. I’ll take the 300 PRC any day over the 300 Norma. Not how the 300 PRC (red line) is in-between the 338 Lapua (green line) and the 300 Norma (blue line) in performance (and is slightly closer to the 300 Norma). It does all this in a smaller and lighter recoiling package. Want the absolute best performance? There are rounds that out-perform the 300 Norma. But, want a great balance of everything? I’m loving the 300 PRC. In the graph below, the solid lines are the ballistic path (drop) and the dashed lines are the energy.
Green = 338 Lapua Mag Red = 300 PRC Blue = 300 Norma
Here’s some data on a 225 grain Berger Hybrid bullet traveling 2900 fps out of the 300 PRC:
|Range (yards)||Drop (in)||Drop (moa)||Drop (mrad)||Wind. (in)||Wind. (moa)||Wind. (mrad)||Veloc. (fps)||Energy (ft-lbs)||Time (sec)|
So, why get a new caliber for essentially a few percentage points better performance than the 300 Win Mag? Great question. I loathe belted magnums. It may not be a real issue to have a belt on a cartridge, but it is definitely a perceived one that I don’t like. 🙂
Also, the length of the 300 Win Mag case as compared to its overall length doesn’t allow for longer/higher BC bullets to be loaded out as far as they like to be. The 300 PRC, on the other hand, is a non-belted magnum that can push the same weight bullets slightly faster without reaching dangerous pressures. Also, the cartridge design is begging for the high ballistic coefficient bullets that will stick out longer due to their longer sleeker design. Not sure what ballistic coefficient is or why it matters? You should check out a copy of the bestselling Long Range Shooting Handbook!
Even though the 300 PRC is fairly close to another cartridges, it is superbly accurate by design. In this way, it is much like its little brother, the 6.5 Creedmoor. The case dimensions and chamber are just begging for accuracy. If you can see a reason to chose the 6.5 Creedmoor over other similar calibers, then the 300 PRC is going to be a great step-up for you. NEW INFORMATION IS COMING IN DAILY ABOUT THIS CARTRIDGE – WATCH THIS SPACE FOR UPDATES!
300 PRC Rifles
More and more manufacturers are adopting the 300 PRC – this is great news for the cartridge!
The first rifle (we know of) in 300 PRC was the Barrett MRAD. However, Ruger now offers a Ruger Precision Rifle in 300 PRC, Bergara offers 4 models of rifles in 300 PRC, and Christensen Arms and Cooper firearms also offer multiple models in 300 PRC.
300 PRC Ammo
Hornady currently makes two loads in 300 PRC, a 225gr Match-grade offering and a 215gr Hunting load.