Left to right: 300wsm, 7-270wsm, 7 rsaum, 7-6.5prc
In the past six months, one of the most requested cartridges for new builds, has been the 6.5 PRC necked up to 7mm (7-6.5PRC). So let's texamine if this new wildcat is something that you should consider.
It seems to me, that we have gone a full circle. The 7 RSAUM gets necked down to 6.5mm, the neck gets little shorter, the body gets little slimmer and the 6.5PRC is born. Now, we are taking this "new" cartridge, and we are necking it back up to 7mm! Why? The short answer is brass. As we all know, Lapua makes overall the best brass. Lapua and Peterson made 6.5PRC brass is readily available while 7saum brass is either hard to find, or it is not of good quality. RSAUM brass is made by: Remington- super soft, and inconsistent in weight and quality. Norma-good quality but on the soft side and hard to find. And then we have -ADG made brass. Very well made/uniform, able to withstand high pressure loads, but kinda expensive and hard to get.
Both the PRC and the SAUM can hit the upper accuracy node of the 284Win improved variants such as the 284KMR and 284 Shehane with ease. The PRC has a little advantage when it comes to speeds between 2920-2950fps due to its slightly smaller case capacity. The case fill and the pressure generated, seem to be ideal for such speeds. The RSAUM seems to perform best around 3000fps. I have had quite a few SAUM barrels, and they all shot good at that speed. I must say though, anything over 2950fps was pretty hard on the Norma brass.
Bullets, primers, powders:
Berger 180, 184 hybrids and 180vld are proven to be the best bullet for both cartridges.
RE16, RE 23, H4350, H4831SC, VV 160, 165, and the new 555 are all good powder options.
Primers: best by far are the Russian Tula KV 7.62N aka Wolf
Federal 210M, 215M and CCI BR2 are also good.
So, should you switch from a 284Win to a 7-6.5PRC? I'd say yes, the PRC will give you better ballistics, with not much more recoil. Brass is easy to find and seems to last for several firings.
If you have a 7saum, or a 7-270wsm and have plenty of good quality (ADG or Norma) brass, then in my opinion switching to 7-6.5prc doesn't make any sense. After all, there's absolutely nothing ground breaking in the design of this cartridge. The improved versions look interesting , but not enough in my opinion to justify the cost of dies barrels and time.
Just my few cents
I have shot competitively 22LR for two decades. Started shooting prone with sling, but eventually transitioned to small bore f class.
My sling rifle was built by Howard Pitts. It had a .960" straight, tight bore Lilja barrel, Anschutz 54 action epoxied in Eliseo chassis, 6" bloop tube, and Eliseo tuner. The rifle was super accurate but not suitable for SBFC (small bore f-class). The targets used in SBFC are so small, that accuracy alone is not enough to be competitive at regional and National level matches. A purpose build system is required. The rifle must be stable in the bags, comfortable, because matches are usually 160 shots for record plus sighters, and it has to be capable of being shot fast when needed. With that in mind, I decided to build the ultimate SBFC rifle for myself. For advice on reamer, barrel and chamber specs I reached out to best in the business. Howard Pitts ( Pitts Precision) told me to go with Calfee 2 reamer and Benchmark 3 groove barrel. Jim Murphy (F class centerfire and rimfire National Champion) suggested that I get Stiller 2500X receiver. Jerry Stiller recommended Shilen Ratchet barrel, and gave me tips on the chambering. I already knew that I was going to use Masterclass stock and hardware because I really like the ergonomics and look, so the final specs of the pictured rifle are:
-Masterclass Lowboy stock pained midnight blue. The barrel channel and bottom of fore end were re-enforced with carbon fiber.
-Stiller 2500 X action
-Two stage CG Jackson trigger
-Shilen Ratchet barrel
-KMT (Kovan Myers Tuner)
-Nightforce ATACR 7 x 35 scope in March rings.
Jerry Stiller told me that on average, one out of six barrels will be a "hummer". Given the life of a small bore barrel (tens of thousands of rounds) and the cheaper cost (compared to centerfire) of barrel blanks that's actually not as bad (expansive) as it sounds. With that being said, I got lucky because the first barrel that I chambered shot lights out. What's interesting about this barrel, is that it clocked initially at the "worst" possible position- 3 o'clock. I decided to shoot it as is, then to index the bore at 6 o'clock and shoot it again. The barrel shot good at both bore positions , but when indexed at 6, the group sizes were little smaller and more consistent. That's maybe due to the fact, that the blank was pretty straight to begin with. I plan doing a lot of testing (tuner weights, sizes, settings )as soon as get the ammo I ordered, and will post the results, so stay tuned.
In conclusion , SBFC is a lot of fun, but can also be super frustrating if half- assed. Get the best equipment and ammo you can afford, and lets make SB F- Class Great Again!