October 26, 2022
Ever since the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) published the specs for Hornady’s new 7mm PRC cartridge a few months back, the Internet has been buzzing with speculation. Now that the cartridge has officially launched, it’s time to quell the rumors, answer the questions, bust the myths, and provide the facts.
Much as it pains me to admit it, the 7mm PRC does just about everything better. I’ve been shooting, handloading for, and hunting with it for more than a half a year now, and I’m sold on it. Let’s take a look at just what the 7mm PRC is and does. Fundamentally, it’s a standard-length cartridge that fits into .30-06-length actions. However, the 7mm PRC’s case is not belted, so it’s bigger in diameter than the classic “Seven Mag.” and holds plenty of gunpowder.
Having a shorter cartridge case than a 7mm Rem. Mag. but with the same overall length, the 7mm PRC leaves a lot more “head height” for long, super-sleek high-BC bullets that protrude way out of the case mouth. This makes it ultimately compatible with the best long-range bullets on the market—without the need for custom magazine-lengthening work performed by a gunsmith.
Another critical piece to the 7mm PRC puzzle is fast-twist rifling. It’s spec’d with a rate of 1 turn every 8 inches. Enabling it to stabilize super long, aerodynamic bullets in every atmospheric condition on the planet.
Hornady blessed the 7mm PRC with the same chamber design parameters and match-grade tolerances possessed by the ultra-accurate 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, and .300 PRC. Likewise, factory-loaded ammunition is created to exacting, match-grade specifications. As a result, rifles chambered in 7mm PRC are almost sure to shoot well.
Recoil is zesty in light rifles without muzzle brakes, but not intolerable. With a muzzle brake or—better yet—suppressor mounted, it’s mild. My 10-year-old daughter used it on her bear and didn’t even mention recoil.
Initially, Hornady is offering three distinctly different factory loads. Most deer hunters will gravitate to the 175-grain ELD-X bullet loaded in Hornady’s Precision Hunter line. It is pushed to about 2,975 fps in 24-inch barrels, making it a top-notch long-range load for deer- to elk-size game.
I gravitate to the brand-new, designed-for-the-cartridge 160-grain monometal CX 7mm bullet in Hornady’s Outfitter ammo line. Outfitter cartridges are outstanding for use in the harshest climates and on anything bigger than deer.
Although it will never completely replace the grand old 7mm Rem. Mag., and may never overshadow the super-popular 28 Nosler, the 7mm PRC is in my opinion (and on paper) the best 7mm magnum hunting cartridge ever designed. It’s efficient. It’s ultimately compatible with the best extreme-range projectiles on the market, and as a result has unprecedented long-range reach.
It’s inherently accurate—obscenely so. It pounds big-bodied game with authority. It’s well-mannered and easy to handload. It’s the ultimate turn-key solution for performance-minded open-country hunters.