In 2018, Hornady introduced the 6.5 PRC, or Precision Rifle Cartridge, as big brother to the 6.5 Creedmoor. The 6.5 PRC is based on the little known .300 Ruger Compact Magnum, necked down to accommodate 6.5mm bullets.

Examine a PRC round and you’ll notice how short and fat the case is, and how far the bullet protrudes from the brass. By design, the distance from primer to the cartridge’s front edge (right at 2 inches) is shortened to ensure proper seating of a long, high ballistic-coefficient bullet in a short-action bolt magazine.

By far the most popular load for the 6.5 PRC is Hornady’s Precision Hunter with 143-grain ELD-X bullet, though more PRC loads are coming to market as the cartridge gains popularity. The Hornady load, which drives the 143-grain pill at about 2,960 fps, is actually 200 to 260 fps faster than the 6.5 Creedmoor. Because of its higher velocity, the 6.5 PRC shoots flatter and bucks the wind better than the Creed, all the while delivering 400 to 450 ft-lbs. more energy than its little brother.

West Texas Field Test

Since the 6.5 PRC is designed to shine at long ranges, I topped my CZ 600 Alpha rifle with a suitable world-class scope: Trijicon’s 4X-16X AccuPoint. Ammo choice was the Precision Hunter 143-grain ELD-X. After arriving at the ranch in Texas, I took this rig to the caliche range, set a target at 100 yards and started shooting.

I fired 6 shots, tweaking the scope as I went. Recoil was comfortable and negligible, noticeably less than my .30-06. Two more shots and the bullets printed the target a ½-inch apart and 1.8 inches high over the bull’s-eye. Nice. This setup would be dead-on at 200 yards and about 6.4 inches low at 300. If an animal is farther than that, I hold off and try to get closer.

This ranch was on the eastern edge of the Trans-Pecos region, 80 miles west of Del Rio. There are whitetails out here, but not as many as you’ll find farther east in Texas. And these desert bucks have smaller racks. When I got a camera image of a mature 130-class 8-point, which I figured was top-end for this area, I started hunting him.

He showed up 3 days later, in the afternoon, following does through the scrub brush. I hoped for a broadside shot, but the best I got was quartering-on. I pinned the Trijicon’s crosshair on the buck’s fore-shoulder and pressed the trigger. He dropped like a pile of rocks and never flinched.

Later at the skinning shed, I plucked the remains of the ELD-X bullet from under the hide of the off-shoulder. Perfect mushroom with some 90% retained weight.

6.5 PRC for Hogs

The next afternoon I was hunting a doe when one of the biggest feral hogs I have ever seen, 300 to 350  pounds if he weighed an ounce, came a-grunting through the brush. He was black as tar, long and dense. I settled the crosshair behind his ear and touched off the shot.

You never want a giant boar hog with sharp cutters to run off into the brush. This one didn’t, so no hair-raising track job was needed. The pig dropped on the spot, and once he stopped kicking, I checked him out. I had pulled the shot back a few inches and center-punched the critter smack in his shoulder armor. That the 143-grain ELD-X bullet could drop and anchor this mini tank on the spot was super impressive. You’ll see this hog hunt and the buck on an upcoming new episode of BIG DEER TV this fall.

If I have one regret, it’s that both shots in Texas were 120 yards or so, so I wasn’t able to gauge how the 6.5 PRC performs at longer ranges. That’s okay because I’ll take my favorite new cartridge out to the plains of eastern Montana and Nebraska this fall, where a 250- to 300-shot at a buck is possible and perhaps likely.

If you’re looking for a new round for hunting deer and hogs the 6.5 PRC deserves a serious look.