Another cartridge hits the scene!
Hornady released its 300 Precision Rifle Cartridge (PRC) in the fall of 2018. This rifle cartridge is based on the 375 Ruger, and is basically a necked-down version of it. I gotta hand it to those engineers who keep finding effective ways of manipulate bullets.
The 300 Winchester Magnum is one of the most well-known (not to mention ridiculously popular) hunting cartridges around. The 300 Win Mag and its 30-cal brethren have been around for so many decades, and with good reason. So you might ask yourself: why did Hornady decide to introduce a new 30 cal (aka 7.62mm) cartridge when there are already many of them out there?
Originally designed by a member of Hornady’s team over a decade ago, this cartridge was thought up as a platform for launching long, heavy, match-grade bullets from a 1,000-yard bench rest. Well, that was the initial idea. Its uses are not limited to bench rest use or 1,000 yards. Far from it – literally. The company’s engineers went to work, creating a cartridge which would best facilitate the 30 cal’s attributes.
The unique design of this cartridge makes for consistently accurate and aerodynamic bullets. It is constructed in such a way that the muzzle velocity is increased. When you a are talking about long range shooting, this makes all the difference. With the proper muzzle speed, it could fly straighter and truer for longer.
I am not a ballistics expert, but I have heard it said that once you pass that 1,200-yard mark or close to that, a bullet’s velocity begins to drop at considerable rates, and its own independent ballistics sort-of take over. Something to that effect. This is why teams put so much thought into the cartridge angles, bullet design and weight, and the amounts of powder used to launch the projectile.
Hornady is currently selling two versions of their 300 PRC: the 225 grain in their “Match” series, and and the 212 grain in their “Precision Hunter” series.
You could go to any gun shop, online or offline, and purchase 300 Win Mag or 300 RUM cartridges, for instance. There is nothing wrong with those two examples of a 30 cal, but some shooters claim the older models won’t necessarily be able to make the most of heavier, longer bullets. This is precisely why Hornady decided to create the 300 PRC. They saw a need and wanted to supply the cartridge which will answer it.
The main reason why Hornady’s new 300 PRC is making news is because it is new.
The 300 magnum cartridges I mentioned above – and others in the 30 cal category – can indeed be used in a wide range of scenarios, and they will work just fine (most likely, unless there is something wrong).
If you are getting into the long-range precision game, though, you need a cartridge which compliments your system to a greater degree, and which has the potential for providing you with the best results, in a consistent manner. This is where the 300 PRC comes in, according to its makers. This is what makes it different.
Is the 300 PRC all hype? Hornady is marketing this new cartridge as one that can do more, but honestly it probably isn’t that different than other 300 magnum cartridges which we know and love. By all means, don’t take anyone’s word for it. The only way you can know if your system works better with such cartridges is to shoot them. No amount of reviews or testimonials will replace a positive or negative shooting experience.
The price of these new cartridges is $45 or so, and they come in the standard 20 units per box.
The cartridge has just been released, but some companies already have designated 300 PRC rifles out there.
300 PRC Rifle
Barrett’s Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) long-range sniper system is based on their celebrated Barrett Model 98B, a rifle which was first produced in 2008. The MRAD was first introduced in 2013, and it is capable of quick caliber changes while using the same chassis. Also, the addition of a folding stock, cheek rest, and adjustable buttstock make it very desirable and versatile.
Recently, late in 2018, Barrett was awarded a government contract to produce MRAD systems chambered in Hornady’s 300 PRC for the Department of Defense. This is still early in the works, but it seems that Hornady’s new cartridge is already making a name for itself. The 300 PRC needs some more time on the civilian market, for sure, and this co-op (so to speak) with Barrett is a great way for it to gain positive attention. Will it live up to the hype? We will have to wait it out and see.
Right now, Barrett is offering 300 PRC conversion kits for the existing MRAD platform. Two models are currently available:
- 300 PRC stainless fluted 26” barrel conversion kit
- 300 PRC carbon fiber wrapped 26” barrel conversion kit
The MSRP for these kits is not up yet, but judging by the price of their previous conversion kits, it would be approximately $1500 for stainless, and about $2400 for carbon fiber. But that’s just a guess.
Is the 300 PRC different than other 30 cal cartridges out there? For many shooters and hunters, the answer may be a simple “nope, it isn’t.” After all, we’re talking about a 300 magnum round based on the 375 Ruger, which itself is based on older types of 300-esque cartridges that have been around for many decades.
Just as a consideration: lots of different wildcat cartridges (in the 300 as well) have come out over the years. Many times they don’t stick around, or perhaps they gather a hardcore group of shooters who use a specific system which complements that wildcat.
The 300 PRC is no wildcat, but it will still come down to the public. Marketing isn’t everything, and neither is a government contract. If the public doesn’t see a significant return on its investment, I don’t think they will continue to purchase and fire these rounds.
The military will also have its say, of course, but civilian settings and military settings differ greatly. Also, like it or not, sometimes there is a lot of politics involved in getting these government contracts. Maybe not in every single one of them, but there is no denying that there are times when that is just how things work.
Good luck, 300 PRC!