6.5 PRC vs 300 Win Mag
Ballistics Performance Comparison of 6.5 PRC vs 300 Win Mag Cartridges
The 6.5 PRC (for Precision Rifle Cartridge) and the .300 Winchester Magnum may both be big-game hunting cartridges, but the 6.5 PRC is a new, hot on the market cartridge while the .300 Win Mag is an old classic. The 6.5 PRC joins the 6.5 caliber family with ballistics a little under the .300 Win Mag, but also a recoil that’s significantly tamer. Which caliber is right for you will depend on your unique hunting goals and needs – so we will analyze key factors of how each of these calibers really functions.
The following ballistics tables show a side by side comparison of the 6.5 PRC vs 300 Winchester Magnum based on bullet weight and performance metrics including velocity, energy, usage and recoil.
6.5 PRC 147 gr vs 300 Win Mag 165 gr Cartridge Comparison Table.
|6.5 PRC||300 Winchester Magnum|
|Bullet Velocity (Muzzle)||2,910 ft/s||3,100 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 100 yds||2,775 ft/s||2,877 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 200 yds||2,645 ft/s||2,666 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 300 yds||2,518 ft/s||2,464 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 400 yds||2,395 ft/s||2,271 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 500 yds||2,275 ft/s||2,087 ft/s|
|Bullet Energy (Muzzle)||2,764 ft⋅lb||3,521 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 100 yds||2,514 ft⋅lb||3,033 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 200 yds||2,283 ft⋅lb||2,604 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 300 yds||2,069 ft⋅lb||2,224 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 400 yds||1,871 ft⋅lb||1,889 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 500 yds||1,689 ft⋅lb||1,595 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||Large Game||Large Game|
|Usage @ 500 yds||Large Game||Large Game|
|Recoil Energy||15.7 (143gr)||26.2|
|*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.|
The .300 Win Mag starts out with a bit of an advantage over the 6.5 PRC when it comes to speed, but the 6.5 PRC overtakes it.. Keep in mind that we are comparing a 147 grain 6.5 PRC against a 165 grain .300 Win Mag, and added weight can slow a bullet down. Even despite this, our heavier bullet is shooting faster – at least for a little while.
Right out of the muzzle, the .300 Win Mag is taking an advantage of 190 ft/s over the 6.5 PRC. By the time we get to 300 yards, the 6.5 PRC is moving 54 ft/s faster than the .300 Win Mag. By 500 yards, that advantage has expanded to 188 ft/s. So, if you’ll be shooting inside of 300 yards, the .300 Win Mag is faster, but past that the advantage goes to the 6.5 PRC.
As with velocity, the .300 Win Mag starts with the advantage, but loses it at longer distances. This time, it takes the 6.5 PRC until the 500 yard mark to pull ahead. Here, the added weight on our tested .300 Win Mag gives it an advantage in packing more of a punch over the lighter bullet.
Out of the muzzle, the .300 Win Mag is flying with an additional 757 ft-lbs of energy, a significant advantage over the 6.5 PRC. By 300 yards, this advantage has narrowed to just 155 ft-lbs as the 6.5 PRC maintains far more of its energy than the .300 Win Mag. By 500 yards, the 6.5 PRC has pulled ahead with an additional 94 ft-lbs of energy over the .300 Win Mag. Once again, if you’re looking for added power, you’ll find it in the .300 Win Mag up to 500 yards, and in the 6.5 PRC past that point.
Both the 6.5 PRC and the .300 Win Mag hold up well at longer ranges, and trajectory is a huge part of making sure that you can make accurate shots over long distances. Let’s take a 143 grain 6.5 PRC and a 165 grain .300 Win Mag, both zeroed at 200 yards. At 300 yards, the 6.5 PRC will drop 6.4”, while the .300 Win Mag will drop 6.1” – very comparable. At 500 yards, the 6.5 PRC will drop 36.2”, compared to the .300 Win Mag’s 36”. We can thus see that inside of 500 yards, these calibers are very similar in terms of bullet drop.
We can also measure how each bullet is impacted by a 10mph crosswind. At 300 yards, the .300 Win mag will drift 6.1”, while the 6.5 PRC will drift 4.5”. At 500 yards, the .300 Win Mag will drift 18.2”, while the 6.5 PRC will drift just 13.2”. The energy of the 6.5 PRC is able to help it shoot straighter in windy conditions, even though they have similarly flat trajectories in normal conditions.
Recoil is where we see a significant difference between these two cartridges. Remember, recoil isn’t just about comfort – it also impacts your ability to shoot your gun accurately and hit your target, as well as your ability to shoot a second round quickly. The .300 Win Mag has always been known as a heavy recoiling cartridge, and it has significantly more recoil than the 6.5 PRC. For how comparable their ballistics are, and especially with the 6.5 PRC’s advantage at longer ranges, this could be a significant factor.
Both the 6.5 PRC and the .300 Win Mag can be used to take any game in North America. The 6.5 PRC is more able to stand up to windy conditions, which could be useful if you plan to hunt in mountainous or other windy areas. It also maintains higher energy at longer ranges, which may allow you to take large game from longer distances. But still, the .300 Win Mag is no slouch and can certainly keep up with the 6.5 PRC within 500 yards.
Price & Availability
Here we see a major factor against the 6.5 PRC: it’s a new cartridge and it is not readily available. Very few manufacturers are producing factory loads, meaning it is harder to acquire and more expensive. If you’re traveling, you’ll need to call ahead to make sure you can access ammunition, or find a way to order online or bring it with you. On the other hand, the .300 Win Mag is a classic cartridge. It is readily available with many manufacturer options, and plenty of rifles chambered in it. The good news is that both the 6.5 PRC and .300 Win Mag have reloading components that are easy to find.
The .300 Win Mag and the 6.5 PRC both have the same rim diameter of .532”. However, the .300 Win Mag has a longer bullet, with a bullet diameter of .308” compared to the 6.5 PRC’s .264”. The .300 Win Mag therefore has a larger case capacity, at 93.8 grains H20 compared to the 6.5 PRC’s 62.0 grains. Still, the 6.5 PRC can be loaded to a slightly higher maximum pressure of 65,000 PSI compared to 64,000.
While ammunition is not yet readily available for the 6.5 PRC, there are a good number of rifles chambered in it from a variety of manufacturers. There are many quality rifles, even if you won’t find the plentiful supply of options from essentially every manufacturer as with .300 Win Mag. The 6.5 PRC is chambered in a short action case, while the .300 Win Mag is chambered in a standard/long action, which means you may be able to find smaller rifles to shoot the 6.5 PRC.
Which Caliber is Best?
If you want to stick with an old classic with plenty of ammunition and rifle options, that’s the .300 Win Mag. If you want added power inside of 300-500 yards, the .300 Win Mag is again your best bet. However, if you want to shoot longer distances, and want a lighter rifle with a flatter trajectory to brave the elements, the 6.5 PRC has the advantage. It’s still a new cartridge now, but if it continues to gain in popularity, options for it will only become more readily available.
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.