300 PRC vs 300 Win Mag
Ballistics Performance Comparison of 300 PRC vs 300 Win Mag Cartridges
If you’re interested in long range shooting, chances are you’ve come across the .300 Precision Rifle Cartridge (.300 PRC) and the .300 Winchester Magnum. While the .300 PRC is new to the market, the .300 Win Mag has stood the test of time. The .300 PRC does have extra velocity and power, but the cost is more recoil and a shorter barrel life. While both cartridges will hold up well against elk-sized game, there are some key differences between them that might make you choose one or the other.
The following ballistics tables show a side by side comparison of the 300 PRC vs 300 Winchester Magnum based on bullet weight and performance metrics including velocity, energy, usage and recoil.
300 PRC 225 gr vs 300 Win Mag 180 gr Cartridge Comparison Table.
|300 PRC||300 Winchester Magnum|
|Bullet Velocity (Muzzle)||2,810 ft/s||3,070 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 100 yds||2,692 ft/s||2,871 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 200 yds||2,577 ft/s||2,681 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 300 yds||2,465 ft/s||2,499 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 400 yds||2,356 ft/s||2,323 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 500 yds||2,250 ft/s||2,156 ft/s|
|Bullet Energy (Muzzle)||3,945 ft⋅lb||3,767 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 100 yds||3,620 ft⋅lb||3,294 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 200 yds||3,318 ft⋅lb||2,873 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 300 yds||3,036 ft⋅lb||2,496 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 400 yds||2,773 ft⋅lb||2,159 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 500 yds||2,528 ft⋅lb||1,858 ft⋅lb|
|Usage @ 0 yds||Toughest Game||Toughest Game|
|Usage @ 100 yds||Toughest Game||Toughest Game|
|Usage @ 200 yds||Toughest Game||Toughest Game|
|Usage @ 300 yds||Toughest Game||Toughest Game|
|Usage @ 400 yds||Toughest Game||Toughest Game|
|Usage @ 500 yds||Toughest Game||Large Game|
|*Cartridge ballistics, usage and recoil figures taken from Sportsman's Warehouse rifle ballistics and rifle recoil tables. Recoil score based on weighted average of recoil energy and recoil velocity normalized between 1 and 10.|
Bullet weight will impact velocity, as a heavier bullet is likely to move through the air more slowly. Keep in mind that we are comparing a 225 grain .300 PRC against a 180 grain .300 Win Mag. Even with this weight discrepancy, the velocities are very comparable, and the advantage shifts at different distances. Out of the muzzle, the .300 Win Mag is in the lead with an additional 260 ft/s over the .300 PRC. By 300 yards, the .300 Win Mag is only flying 34 ft/s faster than the .300 PRC, and the .300 PRC actually outstrips the .300 Win Mag at 400 yards by 33 ft/s. At 500 yards, the .300 PRC is flying 94 ft/s faster than the .300 Win Mag. Since these are both regarded as long-range cartridges, these later velocities are extremely important to compare.
While a heavier bullet might slow down the velocity, it increases the energy and the ultimate stopping power of the cartridge. The .300 PRC outstrips the .300 Win Mag at every distance, and the advantage only increases at longer ranges. Out of the muzzle, the .300 PRC has a modest advantage of 178 ft-lbs. At 300 yards, that advantage has increased quite a bit to 540 ft-lbs. At 500 yards, the .300 PRC is traveling with a full 670 ft-lbs more energy than the .300 Win Mag. This additional energy at long ranges is important particularly for big game hunters who intend to take their targets outside of 300 yards.
The increased energy of the .300 PRC helps it to have a flatter trajectory than the .300 Win Mag. Let’s compare a 200 grain .300 Win Mag against a 212 grain .300 PRC, both zeroed at 200 yards. At 300 yards, the .300 PRC will drop 6.8”, compared to 7” from the .300 Win Mag. At 400 yards, the .300 PRC will drop 19.4” compared to 20.1” for the .300 Win Mag. At 500 yards, the .300 PRC will drop 38.3” over the .300 Win Mag’s 39.9”. This difference is not huge, but the advantage does go to the .300 PRC.
We see a bit more advantage for the .300 PRC when we look at wind drift, the extent to which a 10mph crosswind will impact the bullet’s trajectory. Using the same weights as above, we see the .300 PRC drift 1.9” compared to 2.2” for the .300 Win Mag at 200 yards; the .300 PRC will drift 4.4” compared to the .300 Win Mag’s 5.0” at 300 yards; and at 500 yards, the .300 PRC drifts 12.7” while the .300 Win Mag drifts 14.7”.
With the extra energy and heavier bullets, it’s not a surprise that the .300 PRC has a stronger recoil. The .300 Win Mag is already considered to have a fairly tough recoil, and the .300 PRC adds about 13% more energy on top of that. The .300 PRC does shoot from a heavier rifle, which can help make recoil more manageable. Recoil can impact your ability to shoot your gun accurately and have stamina over a long day of shooting, so make sure you are prepared to manage the extra recoil and actually need the additional power before leveling up.
Both the .300 PRC and the .300 Win Mag are long range, big game cartridges. The .300 Win Mag has a long history as a celebrated big game cartridge. Still, the .300 PRC does offer increased energy and velocity at longer distances. While these two cartridges are equally capable of taking even the largest game, the .300 PRC offers you more distance options thanks to its increased power, heavier bullets, and higher ballistic coefficients.
Price & Availability
The .300 Win Mag is a longstanding, tried and true cartridge that has been popular for a long time. While the .300 PRC does have its dedicated users, it’s a newer cartridge and still more niche. This means that while there are plenty of factory options from many manufacturers for the .300 Win Mag, there are just a few companies producing .300 PRC, and at a higher cost. You will be able to find quality rifles chambered in either cartridge.
The .300 PRC uses heavier bullets than the .300 Win Mag. You can usually find factory loads of 150-210 for the .300 Win Mag, while the .300 PRC is most commonly found in 212 or 225 grains, though you can find lighter bullets as well. This is due to the longer bullet of the .300 PRC, which has an overall length of 3.7” compared to the .300 Win Mag’s 3.34”. But, the case length of the .300 PRC is actually a bit shorter, at 2.58” compared to 2.62”. This gives the .300 PRC quite a bit more head height, which allows for the heavier bullets.
The .300 PRC also has a smaller freebore diameter, which means less room for the bullet to yaw upon firing. This helps make the .300 PRC a slightly more accurate cartridge: while both are highly accurate, the .300 PRC is designed to be the next level of accuracy.
The .300 PRC needs to be chambered in a magnum length rifle action, while the .300 Win Mag is small enough for a standard length action. This means that the .300 PRC is going to require a bit more gun than the .300 Win Mag, which can add up if you’re going to be trekking across the backcountry on long trips with your rifle. The barrel on a .300 PRC rifle will wear out a bit faster than the barrel on a .300 Win Mag thanks to its increased capacity, which might be a concern if you are a target shooter firing a large number of rounds. If you’re primarily using the rifle for hunting, it will still take you many years to wear out the .300 PRC barrel.
Which Caliber is Best?
The .300 PRC has the extra energy and velocity needed to take even the largest game at 500 yards and more. However, it is less readily available and has a greater recoil than the .300 Win Mag. If you don’t need the extra power and flatter trajectory of the .300 PRC, the .300 Win Mag might be a more comfortable option that still takes your game with ease. Ultimately, the choice between calibers will depend on each hunter and their specific goals.
Disclaimer: Sportsman's Warehouse assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions of the information on this page. Although we strive to provide the most accurate information as we can the information contained in this page is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.