Analysis: 6.5 PRC - Inside MDT

Posted by David Henry on 2023 Nov 2nd

Analysis: 6.5 PRC - Inside MDT

I know we've all heard of the 6.5 Creedmoor, but what's the 6.5 Precision Rifle Cartridge (PRC)? Well, the PRC was a joint effort between GA Precision and Hornady to build the next super cartridge for the Precision Rifle Series (PRS). When the cartridge was developed, everybody was using 6.5 Creedmoor and was trying to push more speed for less drop and better wind-bucking capabilities. Thus, the genesis for 6.5 PRC. The cartridge gives a 250 fps boost over the 6.5 Creedmoor with the same 140-grain bullets to push that bullet around 2950 fps.

Additionally, the 6.5 PRC was developed to run in short-action rifles with cases measuring 2.030" and an overall length of 2.955". The cartridge's barrels were then specifically designed around a one-in-eight twist rate, giving optimal stabilization for longer bullets. 6.5 PRC factory-loaded ammo can be found from Norma, Hornady, and many others. Lapua is also offering premium brass for hand loaders. Frankly, the 6.5 PRC has a ton of untapped potential. Whether you want to run the lighter-weight 135-grain bullets or run up to the heavy 156-grain, the 6.5 PRC has enough case capacity to push it at blistering speeds with a flat trajectory and low recoil.

My rifle—which I'll describe later—shoots 139-grain Lapua Scenar L at roughly 3200 feet per second. Let's wrap our heads around that! With my rifle, that's only 5.8 mils of elevation at 1000 yards. This is one of the flattest shooting rifles I own, and with the kinetic energy of the 6.5 bullet, you'll see your impact on a plate or splash if you miss. Unfortunately for the original designers, PRS competitors have moved to lower recoiling 6 mm cartridges, which allows them to spot their shots and even watch trace through the scope.


For me, the 6.5 PRC still has an excellent future. Its velocity and kinetic energy delivered downrange, coupled with short-action compatibility, makes it desirable. With all of today's available aftermarket selections, your options are unlimited. My build has a heavy barrel and is intended for long-range shooting (not the PRS type shooting—but if you wanted to go out with your buddies and shoot steel at a mile, the rifle is more than capable of doing that.) The 6.5 PRC is used in some of the best ELR competitions out there. The cartridge can reach the velocities needed to push that bullet past a mile. Another option is to use a lightweight titanium action and build a flat-shooting hunting rifle. I've seen people building rifles with barrels as short as 20" with the 6.5 PRC. With those short barrels, lightweight stocks, and titanium action, they have one of the lightest and handiest rifles. It is commonly thought that putting a short barrel on a cartridge will result in a loss of velocity—which is true; it's physics. But on a 6.5 PRC that's already pushing several hundred feet per second faster than a 6.5 Creedmoor, your ballistics equal that of the smaller cartridge.

Savage Elite 110. Savage makes several rifles chambered in 6.5 PRC to include the straight-pull Savage Impulse Elite Precision rifle.

You don't have to take my word for it; try out the 6.5 PRC for yourself. A great factory option is the Savage Impulse Elite Precision rifle chambered in 6.5 PRC. It has a 26-inch stainless barrel and a factory-installed brake and sits in an MDT ACC chassis. This would be a great jump into a long-range cartridge.


My personal build is a switch barrel custom rifle using a Zermatt Arms action sitting in an MDT XRS chassis. I ordered a pre-fit barrel from Altus Shooting Solutions in Florida. For simplicity, I only need to switch the bolt face to a magnum one and then insert the MDT magazine, and then I am good to go. I did some testing—both suppressed and unsuppressed—and the cartridge worked great both ways. With a fast, sharp recoil, it was easy to get back on the target. The nice thing about this setup is the switch barrel. I can switch it from .223 Remington to a 6.5 PRC in a matter of minutes and have a fun trainer or a capable long-range competitor.

Tikka T3 chambered in 6.5 PRC. MDT HNT26 Chassis System, 20 inch carbon fiber barrel from Oregon Mountain Rifle Company.

A future build will be a lightweight action like the Falkor Defense LW7 mated to an MDT HNT26 carbon fiber chassis and a short carbon fiber barrel. For the optic, I might go with the 3.6-18 Leupold Mark 5 HD. What would you build? Jump on to the MDT website for all the accessories you need to build your next 6.5 PRC.



I have 20+ years in the automotive industry- first managing shops in the northwest for over 13 years and now as a factory rep for Hunter Engineering. I love my family, my faith, and my firearms. I've shot competitively in the PRS southwest region for two years. I also compete in long-range AR-15 competitions at least once a month and am an avid reloader. I have written for Ballistic Magazine's 'Ballistic Best' precision rifle edition for two years. My other hobbies include photography, videography, woodworking, and knife making. You can find me on Instagram @davidinthesun


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