Updated: Mar 4
Well wouldn’t you know it, there’s a hot new caliber hitting the market and as expected, it’s a Hornady. Hornady has been leading the hunting/sporting market for several years with exceptional cartridges like the 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, and 300 PRC. Their latest innovation, the 7mm PRC, seems destined to change the future of long-range big-game hunting once again.
I get asked almost daily what calibers I recommend for hunting big game. If you’re a customer of mine you likely know my top three; 7mmMag, 6.5 PRC, and 28 Nosler (in no particular order). All three of these calibers are exceptional loads for the ethical harvest of big-game animals including deer, bear, and elk. All three hit hard and have very manageable recoil making them comfortable and practical for a wide range of hunters. These three will always be among my top recommendations, and many in the long-range hunting industry will agree, but we can’t ignore what's happening over at Hornady with this
It’s said to be an improvement over the classic 7mmMag and some even say it’s destined to replace it altogether! Can this be true? Will the 7mmMag be replaced? Only time will tell what the future holds for one of the most popular long-range hunting calibers ever created. I know a lot of 7mmMag loyalists who will go down with that ship but there’s a lot of buzz about this new round so let's dive in.
The 7mm PRC is new this year. Introduced this past June when the SAAMI specs were released it’s turning a lot of heads and is being called the “modern-day 7mmMag”. The 7mm PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge) is a long-action cartridge designed to shoot 180-grain ELDM bullets at 2,950 fps. In a nutshell, it will hit harder, shoot flatter and carry more kinetic energy down range with a little more felt recoil than the 7mmMag. Is it an improvement over the 7mmMag? Well, that’s up to you to decide but it's hard to argue with the improved ballistics.
It’s worth noting that when we’re discussing the top long-range hunting calibers on the market today we’re really splitting hairs. They all have excellent terminal performance and they all carry more than enough kinetic energy for the ethical harvest of big-game at extended ranges. That being said, the 7mm PRC appears to be a marked improvement over the 7mmMag, and for many hunters that increase in performance is significant and relevant enough to warrant an upgrade.
In my opinion, a lot of hunters overly focus on muzzle velocity when kinetic energy down range, more specifically at 1,000 yards, is a better metric to focus on for long-range hunters. Knowing down-range kinetic energy tells us the “effective range” for any given caliber. For example, many popular hunting cartridges like the .270, 6.5 Creedmoor, and 30-.06 run out of gas and fall below 1,000 ft. lbs. threshold around the 600 – 700-yard mark. And while that’s a long way for sure, many western hunters want a caliber that’s still pushing significant energy to 1,000 yards. 1,000 ft. lbs. at 1,000 yards is a general rule I use when evaluating calibers for the purposes of long-range hunting. With most popular hunting bullets the 7mmMag is still pushing about 1,000 lbs. of energy between 800 - 900 yards but the 7mm PRC has much-improved energy at long-range (1499 ft. lbs. @ 1,000 yards!) and that’s a critical factor for me. Below you can see the difference just at the muzzle.
Another important factor for me is recoil. I don’t care for a lot of recoil because I like to stay in the scope and be able to spot my shot whenever possible. As you can see from the table below the 7mm PRC has more recoil than the 7mmMag but it’s still going to be within the acceptable range for most shooters.
There is still much to be written about this new cartridge. In summary, I think the 7mm purists are going to like it, especially those looking for something new. It’s faster, flatter shooting (drops less than 20” at 400 yards), hits harder, and is still comfortable to shoot when compared to the 7mmMag.
At ‘The Best Of The West’ we’re building the 7mm PRC right now and customers are lining up to get their hands on them. If you love the classic, you have to respect this latest innovation and it will no doubt follow in the footsteps of the ever-popular 6.5 PRC and 300 PRC.
Shoot us a call for more information!