Behind the Bullet: .300 PRC

posted on December 6, 2021

I’m old enough to remember when Hornady was a company that made component bullets for reloaders—the 165-grain Hornady Interlock in my .308 Winchester was, and is, a wonderful whitetail load—with a small but expanding line of factory-loaded ammunition under the Frontier brand. To say all that has changed is an understatement, as with Steve Hornady at the helm the company has bloomed into a major force in the ammunition and cartridge development facets of the gun industry.

Hornady Precision Hunter 212-grain .300 PRC Ammunition

Their engineering team is second to none, and has cooked up a number of excellent cartridge designs, including the 6.5 Creedmoor, .204 Ruger, .17 HMR and the .375 Ruger. With the explosion in popularity of long-range shooting—in no small part to the accuracy, effectiveness and low-recoiling 6.5 Creedmoor—Hornady has seen the wisdom in developing faster cartridges for hunting, target shooting and competition alike. The 6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge) will better the velocity of the Creedmoor by 250 fps, and is appreciated by both hunters and competitive shooters. The most recent development is the .300 PRC, and it is a serious competitor in both fields.

Based on the proven .375 Ruger case—itself a unique design with no parent cartridge, which mirrors the ballistics of the celebrated .375 H&H Magnum—necked down to hold .30-caliber bullets of very high ballistic coefficient (BC) values, the .300 PRC is a beltless cartridge with a steep 30-degree shoulder for positive headspacing and excellent chamber concentricity. The lack of a belt allows the shoulder to be used for headspacing, avoids the case stretching issues associated with belted cartridges and improves feeding from fixed magazines. The .300 PRC uses a case measuring 2.58 inches and an overall length of 3.700 inches, which immediately points to the fact that the cartridge is designed to utilize those long, sleek and heavy .30-caliber bullets. The .300 PRC uses a 0.532-inch diameter case head—the same as the H&H family of cases and the parent .375 Ruger as well—presumably for ease of bolt face construction.

Hornady .300 PRC Ammunition Next to Pocket Knife

The .300 PRC is more than just another iteration of one of the numerous .300 Magnums; it was designed to work best with the long bullets that shine at the longest ranges, like the 212-grain Hornady ELD-X, 225-grain ELD Match and the 250-grain A-Tip Match. The case body has very little taper, to maximize powder capacity, and a neck of one caliber in length which will give the proper tension to hold those long bullets in place. Comparing the Cartridge Maximum Overall Length (COL) of 3.700 inches to the case length, there is room to have the bullet extend 1.12 inches from the case mouth, perfect for those bullets mentioned above.

In order to stabilize those long bullets—the 250-grain A-Tip Match measures 1.858 inches long—Hornady recommends a 1:8-inch twist rate, and a barrel no less than 24 inches in length is a solid recommendation. Looking at the load data for the .300 PRC, the 178- to 180-grain bullets are about as light as one should look to use in the big case, so the common deer bullets like the 150- and 165-grain choices are pretty much off the table, and that’s not a bad idea for those of us who decide to hunt with the .300 PRC.

The .300 PRC will send those 180-grain bullets at a muzzle velocity at somewhere around 3150 fps—depending on the load which works in your rifle—which is pretty much on par with the .300 Weatherby, and even a bit slower than the .300 Remington Ultra Magnum. But it is the ability to drive those really long and heavy .30s which sets the .300 PRC apart; the case design and twist rate are tailored for the long range game. Hornady’s factory ammunition choices consist of the 212-grain ELD-X in their Precision Hunter at a muzzle velocity of 2860 fps and the 225-grain ELD Match at a muzzle velocity of 2810 fps. The 250-grain A-Tip can be loaded at a velocity of 2650 to 2700 fps, and if you haven’t tried that bullet yet in your precision rifle, you really need to. Manufactured to ridiculous tolerances, and packaged directly off the machine in consecutive order, the A-Tip is one of the most consistent and accurate match bullets I’ve ever had the pleasure of shooting.

Hornady .300 PRC ELD Match and Precision Hunter Ammunition

The .300 PRC’s length dictates that it will be best served in a magnum-length action, though there are many who insist it can be crammed in a long-action receiver. If the .30-06 Springfield and .300 Winchester Magnum—with their 3.340-inch length cartridges—define what’s optimum for the long actions, and the .375 H&H and .300 Remington Ultra Magnum which have a COL of 3.600 inches need a magnum-length receiver, so does the longer .300 PRC.

I don’t think there’s any doubt that shooters and hunters are enamored with .300 magnums; look at the lineup over the last century which runs from the .300 Holland & Holland Magnum to the .300 Weatherby to the .308 Norma Magnum and .300 Winchester Magnum up through the .300 RUM, .30-378 Weatherby Magnum, .300 Winchester Short Magnum and .300 Ruger Compact Magnum. Hornady’s .300 PRC is a logical evolution of the .300 magnum concept, as it delivers those bullets which give the best long-range performance in an economical manner.

Hornady .300 PRC Precision Hunter Ammunition

Currently, the three Hornady loads are all that’s available in factory-loaded form, with two hunting loads and one match load. Clearly, the best way to serve the .300 PRC is through handloading, which can take full advantage of a wonderful selection of projectiles from a wide number of manufacturers. Grab a set of good dies, some large rifle magnum primers and some really slow burning powder like Alliant’s Reloder 25, Reloder 26, and Hodgdon’s H1000 and RETUMBO.

If you want a cartridge fully capable of doing double duty as a long-range target choice as well as something which will handle almost anything on the North American continent, the .300 PRC checks all the boxes. Keep your eye on this one, as is gaining popularity rapidly.

Looking for previous installments of our "Behind the Bullet" series? We've got you covered.
.350 Rigby Magnum
.450 Nitro Express
.17 Hornet
7mm STW
6.8 Western
.375 Ruger
.223 Remington
• 6.5x55 Swedish
.416 Remington Magnum
.300 Winchester Short Magnum
28 Nosler
6.5 PRC
.22 WMR
.458 Winchester Magnum
.22 Hornet
.280 Ackley Improved
.240 Weatherby Magnum
.458 Lott
 .264 Winchester Magnum
 .348 Winchester
 .33 Nosler
 .260 Remington
 .30-30 Winchester
 .416 Rigby
 .358 Norma Magnum
 .22 LR
• 7mm-08 Remington
 8mm Remington Magnum
 .338 Federal
 .224 Valkyrie
• .338-06 A-Square
 9.3x62mm Mauser
• .257 Weatherby Magnum
• .45-70 Government
• .300 H&H Magnum
• .25-06 Remington 
• .30-06 Springfield
• 6.5 Creedmoor
 .300 Remington Ultra Magnum
• 7mm Remington Magnum
• .470 Nitro Express
• .280 Remington
• .300 Winchester Magnum
• .270 Winchester
• .222 Remington
• .45 ACP
• .404 Jeffery
• .44 Remington Magnum 
 .41 Remington Magnum
• .243 Winchester
• .338 Winchester Magnum
• .357 S&W Magnum
• 6.5-284 Norma
• 8x57 Mauser
• .38 Smith & Wesson Special
• 7x57mm Mauser
• 9mm Luger
• .35 Whelen
• .454 Casull
• .375 H&H Magnum
• .45 Colt
• .22-250 Remington
• 10mm Auto

• .308 Winchester


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