7 mm PRC: Hornady's New Precision Rifle Cartridge

posted on October 26, 2022
Hornady7mmprc 1

Hornady’s crusade to spread the long-range gospel continues with an addition to its trend-setting Precision Rifle Cartridge family. Today’s formal announcement of the 7 mm PRC yet again leverages the advantages of driving comparatively long, high-ballistic-coefficient (BC) bullets via faster rifling twists. That treatment spawned a huge multi-disciplinary success in the 6.5 mm PRC (2018), and the follow-up .300 PRC (2021) was created for military trials and is now gaining traction with extreme big-game hunters.

It’s clear Hornady felt there was a spot for an in-between-bore PRC, one that delivers 20 percent more energy than the 6.5 mm Creedmoor with three-quarters the kick of the .300-cal. Beyond those basics, there’s no denying a legion of 7 mm and .284-cal. fans proud of the trajectory-downrange energy-shootability matrix of their personal favorites. Those loyalists will soon find the newest PRC ticks off all the boxes and perhaps is the most efficient 7 mm ever devised.

For comparison (factory loads with highest available BC bullets) from 24” barrels zeroed at 200 yards; recoil based on a 10-lb. rifle:

  • 7 mm PRC
    • Twist rate: 1:8”
    • Muzzle velocity: 3,000 f.p.s.
    • Energy at 500 yards: 2,041 ft.-lbs.
    • Recoil force: 23.8 ft.-lbs.
    • BC: 0.631
    • Trajectory at 500 yards: -35”
  • 7 mm Rem. Mag.
    • Twist rate: 1:9.5”
    • Muzzle velocity: 2,940 f.p.s.
    • Energy at 500 yards: 1,772 ft.-lbs.
    • Recoil force is 20.85 ft.-lbs.
    • BC: 0.631
    • Trajectory at 500 yards: -36.9”
  • .28 Nosler
    • Twist rate: 1:9”
    • Muzzle velocity: 3,125 f.p.s.
    • Energy at 500 yards: 2,254 ft.-lbs.
    • Recoil force: 29.84 ft.-lbs.
    • BC: 0.648
    • Trajectory at 500 yards: -31.3”
  • .280 Ackley Improved
    • Twist rate: 1:10”
    • Muzzle velocity: 2,840 f.p.s.
    • Energy at 500 yards: 1,681 ft.-lbs.
    • Recoil force: 19.5 ft.-lbs.
    • BC: 0.631
    • Trajectory at 500 yards: -39.3”

Of note, the 7 mm PRC’s 3.340” overall length fits standard long-action receivers, which typically weigh up to 1.5 lbs. less than similar magnum-length rifles.

Like its forerunners, the 7 mm PRC will have to find its footing within a caliber niche rife with excellent choices. Nonetheless it stands out as the only SAAMI-approved 7 mm or .284-cal. options currently offering both a 1:8” rifling twist rate and a chamber throat long enough for today’s long-ogive, ultra-BC bullets. Following the development track that produced 6.5 mm Creedmoor and the earlier PRCs, much attention focused on case configuration. Non-belted, it headspaces on a 30-degree shoulder (same as the 6.5 mm Creedmoor) that feeds smoothly through most actions. At just 2.28”, the case body is shorter and a bit fatter than competing “super 7s,” a design known for propellant-burning consistency compared to elongated bodies with excess powder capacity. All of those attributes raise expectations for optimum accuracy plus longer barrel life and reduced muzzle blast. True to PRC genetics, SAAMI drawings for the 7 mm show a minimal .2846” freebore diameter, which virtually eliminates any chance of bullet yaw before it touches the rifling. SAAMI max pressure rated at 65,000 p.s.i. equals many recent introductions, including the other PRCs.

Mindful of the PRC track record, firearm companies have been quick to jump on board. Models confirmed for the new chambering include the Mossberg Patriot Predator and Savage Ultralite, Impulse, Timberline and Apex. Many more, from both production and custom brands spanning the spectrum in pricing and features, will be announced shortly. Though it remains to be seen when those rifles will actually hit retail outlets, such varied and popular applications are bound to ignite consumer interest and give this newcomer an uncommon head start.

For Hornady’s part, the company says 7 mm PRC ammunition is currently entering the distribution chain. For now, there are three loads: Match 180-grain ELD Match; Precision Hunter 175-grain ELD-X; and Outfitter CX 160 grain. The last two give hunters a choice. The aerodynamic, Precision Hunter ELD-X is known for yielding superb accuracy and rapid terminal expansion. That expansion footprint—though proven effective in dozens of calibers—doesn’t suit all hunters in all scenarios, but no worries, because the copper-alloy CX should inspire confidence among those pursuing elk, moose, bears and other big uglies. It is an upgrade of the long-running GMX and is likewise new to the Hornady roster.

With so many stakeholders, the 7 mm PRC from Hornady has to be one of the top new-product stories for 2023. Count on American Rifleman to provide more detailed info and data in the coming months.


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