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Handloads: 6.5 mm PRC For Big Game

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The 6.5 mm PRC boasts higher velocities and more downrange energy than the 6.5 mm Creedmoor, and with the proper projectile, this cartridge can humanely dispatch big game, even at extended distances. That’s the concept behind Berger’s 156-grain Extreme Outer Limits Elite Hunter bullet, which is exceptionally heavy for caliber and offers a G1 BC of 0.679.

6.5 mm PRC specsA handful of companies make dies for 6.5 mm PRC, but I found Forster’s to size the case just enough for smooth chambering without completely losing its fireform. Also, these dies are now zinc-plated to better resist corrosion. Although data is not yet abundant for this bullet, Quickload suggests a starting charge weight of 53.5 grains of VihtaVuori N565 with a maximum charge weight of 59.7 grains. When using Hornady cases, I found that anything more than 57.5 grains resulted in a compressed load, but at 56.5 grains, the bullet just touched the powder column when seated to an OAL of 2.900″. Magnum primers are not recommended for this powder, and I’ve had no problem using the Federal 210. This recipe produced an average group size of 1.28″ during 100-yard testing and resulted in manageable recoil. During this test, my chronograph recorded a muzzle velocity of 2,727 f.p.s. with a paltry 6.6 standard deviation and only 14 f.p.s. of extreme spread.

This load will need only 9.75 m.o.a. of come-up to impact a 500-yard target. At that range, expect 1,533 ft.-lbs. of energy—still within the threshold to responsibly down game as large as elk. Best of all, it does a terrific job of bucking the wind.


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