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7mm PRC – A Work of Art, or More of the Same?

7mm PRC – A Work of Art, or More of the Same?

It appears that lately, a new cartridge has been introduced every week. While perhaps not quite that often, shooters and hunters are seeing new rounds hit the shelves at an unprecedented rate, and that’s a good thing. In the past, cartridges were designed to meet fundamental needs, such as more power or quieter reports.

With the outlines created during these golden years, we now have the canvas to paint within those lines to fine-tune things for nearly any given shooting situation or shoulder.

Some might argue this gallery began with the introduction of the 6.5 PRC, or as I like to call it, 6.5 Creedmoor Magnum. Said in jest, this moniker is exactly what Hornady had in mind when they created it. By widening the case for a larger powder charge, Big Red built a platform to launch its heavier 6.5mm bullets at blistering speeds without a sizeable increase in recoil.

7 PRC Overview_FM (6) - mossbergofficialsite

Many adopted it as a long-range hunting round, while others took advantage of the higher BC bullets to beat the wind in target applications. Everybody seemed happy, except when it was time to fire that sixth shot through a smoking hot barrel or engage in an elk-sized game at distances beyond 500 yards.

The answer to power without heat has always sat in larger bore diameters, with .30-cal being the American Standard for more than 100 years. For whatever reason, we just love 7.62mm bullets, and nothing gets us more excited than big cartridges packed with these hard-hitting pills. In an effort to “fix” the classic 300 Winchester Magnum and give 6.5 PRC shooters a cooler-running round with more downrange energy, Hornady later introduced the 300 PRC.

Mossberg Bear Hunt_FM (20) - mossbergofficialsite

This un-belted .30-caliber magnum outperforms its predecessor in every department except recoil. Launching a 225-grain bullet in excess of 2800 feet per second is not for the squeamish, especially without a muzzle device to help manage all of that kick. To that end, many shooters were finding that although the barrel could handle ten rounds in rapid succession, many times, their shoulders could not. However, in a hunting scenario, seldom is more than one shot required, and that’s pretty much only if you miss.

Both rounds lived on to handle their respective tasks famously and were well-received in the shooting and hunting communities. The only “gripe,” if you will, is from those who deeply enjoy both activities, as they’ll need to either pick a favorite child or purchase and maintain two rifles. That’s all well and good if you have the time and energy to put in hundreds of hours a year hunting, and it is the only activity you enjoy between match seasons. However, your average schmuck isn’t doing that and will naturally gravitate to multi-purpose cartridges.

When it comes to these guys, I am your schmuckiest of schmucks, which is why I got excited when the 7mm PRC was announced.

With 7mm being nearly right between 6.5 and 7.62, it’s easy to see what Hornady was going for here, and although cartridge design is literal rocket science, some easy-to-see principles still shine through. When you make a case that holds a powder charge and bullet size that is roughly in the middle, you’ll balance out the good and meh properties of the cartridges that it lands in between. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that.

If we compare Hornady’s Precision Hunter loads, the numbers suggest the same. The 6.5 offers a muzzle energy of 2782 ft./lbs. while the 300 yields 3850. Assuming all things are equal with the rifles firing them, the 7 PRC’s  3498 ft./lbs. of muzzle energy will generate a level of free recoil that is somewhere in between while favoring downrange energy due to its 30-cal-like sectional density. Additionally, the 7mm version of the ELD-X bullet has a BC that surpasses both the 6.5 and 30-cal, creating a free lunch of sorts.

Working with this cartridge for over a year, I can speak to its shootability, as it feels like a massage when compared to the 300 while beating wind that would blow a 6.5 into the next county. Load testing proved that it could go the distance as I found that I could fire fifteen shots without a mandatory cooling period, even though the thin-barreled Mossberg Patriot Predator.

7 PRC Overview_FM (5) - mossbergofficialsite

I can’t complain about the energy delivery either, as back in May, I had the opportunity to harvest Alberta black bear with the new rifle and cartridge. During that trip, I cleanly dispatched two amazing specimens, each with just a single shot. The larger of the pair broke the eight-foot mark while the “baby” was still a respectable seven-footer.

The 7 PRC isn’t the latest string-along marketing item but rather a field goal for those who don’t feel the 6.5 of 300 best represents their needs or lifestyle. Gun owners who enjoy a plethora of shooting activities owe it to themselves to try it, and the Mossberg Patriot Predator is an excellent platform to do so with only a marginal investment.

This leaves enough cash left over for tags, training, or whatever else you enjoy spending your money on. If you are like me, you won’t even need to purchase a second optic; just pull the one off of your previous hunting rifle. I doubt it’ll need it from the back of the safe anyway. 

About the Author

Frank Melloni

Frank Melloni entered the firearms industry in 2011 after competing in History Channel's Top Shot. Since then, he founded Renaissance Firearms Instruction, a New York-based firearms training company. With a team of over 10 instructors, Frank teaches various disciplines such as defensive shooting, long-range precision, and reloading. He contributes written and visual content to renowned publications like American Rifleman, Guns & Ammo, Ballistic Magazine, and Tactical Life. Additionally, Frank hosts The Athlon Outdoors Reloading Zone video series. In his free time, he competes in USPSA, IDPA, and long-range rifle competitions, as well as enjoys hunting, camping, hiking, and mentoring new shooters.
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