January 30, 2020
By Lynn Burkhead
Since the introduction of the Hornady 6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge), the rifleman’s world has been taken by storm yet again by another 6.5mm cartridge.
That’s understandable when you consider what’s been created with the new cartridge offering. By necking down the .300 Ruger Compact Magnum case, the engineers at Hornady created what Guns & Ammo’s Tom Beckstrand describes as a “magnumized” version of the ever popular 6.5 Creedmoor.
Put simply, this new round holds more powder, increases velocity, is an accurate flat shooter at long distances, and delivers quite a punch downrange. For the competitive shooter, the round delivers magnum performance at long ranges without wearing barrels out too quickly. For the hunter chasing deer and other big game, it means flat shooting, good accuracy, and better terminal end performance in a buck or bull’s boiler room.
Since the Hornady 6.5 PRC introduction, gunmakers have been scrambling to embrace the cartridge, as well as meet the growing demands of consumers who are wanting more rifle options to choose from. Here's a look at what some of those new options are for 2020.
Bergara B-14 Ridge
Quality, accuracy and affordability are hallmarks of Bergara’s rifles including the Spanish gunmaker’s B-14 series. With the B-14 Ridge model, shooters will find a 24-inch barrel, a threaded muzzle, a weight of 7.6 pounds, a matte blue finish, a 1:8 twist rate, a hinged floor plate magazine with a 2-round shell capacity, a SoftTouch finish on the American style synthetic stock, and a Bergara Performance Trigger. With Bergara’s legendary barrel making prowess, this tack driver is a bargain for hunters seeking a great rifle that will last for many years on backcountry hunts and predawn treks to a deer stand. MSRP: $1,055
Browning X-Bolt Pro
With its second-generation carbon fiber stock, Browning is unveiling the 6.5 PRC model of the X-Bolt Pro in 2020. The X-Bolt Pro’s Cerakote Tungsten finish, 24-inch stainless steel fluted barrel, easy to handle contours, and the rifle’s threaded muzzle break all add up to make this new caliber choice from Browning one to carefully consider. And when you keep in mind that the Utah gunmaker has introduced the 6.5 PRC caliber this year in other rifles like the X-Bolt Long Range Burnt Bronze, the Target McMillan A3-5 Ambush, the Hell’s Canyon Long Range, the Hell’s Canyon Long Range McMillan, and the Hell’s Canyon Speed among others, and there’s much to like from Browning this year if you’re a fan of the 6.5 PRC round. MSRP: $2,269.99
Christensen Mesa Titanium
A midyear introduction, the Christensen Arms Mesa Titanium bolt action in 6.5 PRC brings a premium quality rifle at an easy to digest price point. The special edition offering from the renowned Utah gunmaker features a titanium receiver, a 22-inch featherlight contour stainless steel barrel with a natural bead blasted finish, a removable seamless radial brake, and a metallic gray carbon fiber stock featuring some really cool looking black webbing effects. Checking in with a weight of just 6.1 pounds, this Christensen Arms rifle has a 1:8 twist rate and comes complete with the company’s Sub MOA guarantee. Bottom line, this rifle is perfect for the big game hunter looking for a little more punch and reach in the backcountry. It’s also the perfect addition to a deer hunter’s arsenal, whether it’s from a treestand overlooking a big green field or a box blind guarding a long sendero in the South Texas brush country. MSRP: $1,795
Christensen Ridgeline Titanium
Like the Mesa Titanium mentioned above, this Ridgeline Titanium 6.5 PRC Rifle is another tack driving introduction from Christensen Arms. With a precision machined titanium receiver, a removable titanium radial brake, and a metallic gray stock with black webbing, there’s much to like about this sharp looking rifle. With a 22-inch barrel, 1:8 twist rate, an overall weight of just less than 6 pounds, and Christensen Arm’s Sub MOA shot guarantee, this is a high-end rifle featuring custom-like ability at a price that won’t break the bank. MSRP: $2,495
Known for their years of extensive muzzleloader building expertise, CVA is evolving to new heights as it enters the centerfire rifle market in 2020 with the Cascade bolt action. Available in several calibers including the 6.5 PRC, the rifle features a matte blue barrel and charcoal gray stock or a Cerakote Flat Dark Earth barrel coating and Veil Camo stock. With a fiberglass-reinforced SoftTouch finish synthetic stock, barrel length of 24 inches, a 1:8 twist rate for the 6.5 PRC, a Crushzone Recoil Pad, spacers to customize the fit with the adjustable stock, a 70-degree bolt throw, and a flush fit detachable magazine, there are plenty of great features with the Cascade. So many that it’s easy to see CVA’s 50-years of gun making excellence built in. MSRP: $657.95
Howa Walnut Hunter
With terms like carbon fiber, synthetic stocks, ergonomic grips, and weatherproof finishes seeming to dominate the rifle market these days, hunters that want to combine stylish good looks, a wooden stock, and a modern caliber are sometimes out of luck. Unless they are considering the Howa Walnut Hunter model, that is, a rifle that features a beautiful wooden stock in the 6.5 PRC caliber. Add in a 1:8 rate of twist, 24-inch barrel, weight of 7.4 pounds, a Sub MOA group guarantee, and a lifetime warranty and the Walnut Hunter is certainly a rifle to consider in 2020 if you still like the looks and feel of real wood. MSRP: $629
Mossberg Patriot Predator
Ok, the Mossberg Patriot Predator might not be a new rifle for 2020, but the 6.5 PRC addition to the lineup is. With a 4+1 capacity, 24-inch fluted and threaded barrel, a Picatinny Rail for optics mounting, a 1:8 twist rate, a matte blue barrel finish, a synthetic stock in Flat Dark Earth, and an overall weight of 6.5 pounds, the specs of this rifle are familiar to many. But the ability to fire a 6.5 PRC round in this popular rifle from the longtime American gunmaker should certainly catch some new attention in 2020. MSRP: $459
Ruger American Rifle
Ruger’s American Rifle has made quite a name for itself in recent years with a host of user-friendly features that deliver accuracy, durability and affordability in a variety of calibers. With the addition of the 6.5 PRC to the lineup this year — complete with the rifle’s Go Wild Camo I-M Brush Stock finish and Cerakote finish on the barrel and receiver — there’s much to like about this rifle including its 24-inch threaded barrel length, weight of 7.1 pounds, 13.75-inch length of pull, twist of 1:8, and 3-shot single stack magazine. Add in the price tag and this new Ruger rifle is sure to be a winner in the crowded 6.5 PRC market. MSRP: $629
Savage 110 Ultralite
With the user-friendly adjustability that Savage Arms’ 110 series is already known for, it would seem a difficult task to improve on an already popular gun. But the American gunmaker teamed up with PROOF Research to create a barrel specific to this purpose driven rifle, creating another winner in the 110 lineup, this time in 6.5 PRC. Checking in at less than 6 pounds, the 24-inch long carbon wrapped stainless steel barrel has a 1:8 twist. With a spiral fluted bolt, drilled and tapped receiver, grey AccuFit stock, threaded muzzle, and 1.5- to 4-pound user adjustable AccuTrigger, this rifle should be a tack driver for those heading to the bench or the field. MSRP: $1,499
TC Arms Compass Utility Bolt Action
Simple and sweet. The new do-all, no-frills TC Compass Utility model from Thompson/Center gets the job done accurately at a great price point. Available in multiple deer-hunting friendly caliber options, these rifles feature barrel lengths checking in at just under 22 inches and have a twist rate of 1:10. With a 3-lug bolt design, a 3-poisiton safety, a flush fit rotary magazine, TC's 5R rifling design, Sub MOA 3-shot group delivery, and TC’s limited lifetime warranty, there's little doubt that Thompson/Center has hit another rifle making homerun in 2020. MSRP: $359