Hornady Mfg. has released the .300 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge), a beltless non-rebated .30-caliber magnum center-fire rifle cartridge designed for extreme performance at long range.
The .300 PRC is not simply a necked-up version of Hornady’s other recent introduction, the 6.5 PRC, which is based on the .300 Ruger Compact Magnum. The .300 PRC is based on the .375 Ruger Compact Magnum; in effect it is a .30-375. Maximum cartridge overall length is 3.700" (minimum length is 3.575”). Case length is 2.580” (rim to case mouth).
Word is the cartridge is being evaluated by the U.S. Navy to supersede the .300 Norma Magnum, which was selected as the Advanced Sniper Rifle Cartridge for SOCOM. But head diameter of the .300 Norma is .588", same as the big .338 Lapua Magnum, which was based on the 107-year-old .416 Rigby Magnum (.589 head diameter). That’s too big to fit within conventional center-fire rifle magnum bolt faces. Conversely, the .300 PRC, based on the .375 RCM, features a head diameter of .532”, same as the .300 Winchester Magnum. Thus the .300 PRC uses a standard magnum bolt face.
What’s more, the 2.580” case creates capacity for 75-80 grains of powder to push heavy .30-cal. bullets at high velocity. So it has the capacity to win shooting matches, kill most big game of the world and also kill many existing .30-cal. magnums. In short, it offers .300 Win. Mag. performance with a shorter maximum COAL, so bullets may be seated farther out of the case to maximize performance.
Does the shooting world need another .30-cal. magnum? To answer that question, tally the .300 PRC’s characteristics.
The .300 PRC features a cartridge/chamber design geared for precision shooting using a standard magnum bolt face. Its beltless case creates an optimum body taper, shoulder angle and neck length, and deliberate chamber clearance in the throat. Its case capacity is designed for use of specific propellants to ensure temperature stability; uniform pressure and velocity; and the ability to use every bit of case capacity. It is designed to deliver adequate and consistent barrel life. The cartridge accommodates modern long-range and traditional bullets; and its overall length allows bullets to be seated out from the case body to ensure proper throat length.
Now consider the fact there has never been a SAAMI-standardized, factory-produced .30-caliber magnum cartridge with all the preceding attributes.
Yes, the cartridge already is SAAMI-standardized—Hornady made sure of that prior to release to speed the cartridge’s adoption. SAAMI lists a maximum average pressure (MAP) of 65,000 PSI, same as the 6.5 PRC. With a 3.7" maximum COAL, the .300 PRC will fit, feed and function in existing long actions. Rifles I have seen and used include bolt-action models built by GA Precision and H-S Precision, built for Hornady. Quinlan tells me detachable box magazines currently available for the .300 PRC include offerings from AI, Accurate Mag, H-S Precision and MDT.
I was part of a press junket that traveled to FTW Ranch in Barksdale, Texas, in September to test and evaluate the cartridge.
Hornady factory offerings released today utilize modern, long-range bullets—the 225-gr. ELD-M and 212-grain ELD-X—traditionally available only to the handloading community.
In the Hornady factory load, the 225-gr. ELD-M travels at an advertised muzzle velocity of 2860 fps and features a G7 ballistic coefficient of .391 (G1 is .777). In pre-release testing in September, our group noted average velocity of 2876 fps with the load. At that speed, at 1,000 yards velocity is still 1835 fps. Energy is a whopping 1,682 ft.-lbs. Time of flight to reach that 1,000-yard mark is a mere 1.305 seconds.
Of course to zero the GA Precision rifles we used, our group fired the new cartridge at 100 yards. Then we progressed quickly to 500 yards, 800 yards, 1,000, 1,400 and 1,800 yards. Accuracy using the Hornady 4DOF (four degrees of freedom) ballistic calculator (available free from Hornady and on the Android and App stores) ensured unbelievably consistent first-hit capability at all distances. Simply put, this thing acts like magic so long as the shooter does his part.
In Texas, I used a 225-gr. ELD-M to shoot a hog in fading light. Distance was 433 yards. Point of aim equaled point of impact between the shoulder blades—and one dead hog. But while the ELD-M may be adequate for much game, hunters should be interested in the 212-gr. ELD-X with a G7 BC of .336 (G1 is .673).
Like the 6.5 PRC, the .300 PRC should meet demand for increased accuracy in today’s trending sport of long-range shooting. Time will tell if the .300 PRC captures the hearts (and dollars) of hunters and shooters. I think it should.