After being introduced, the 6.5 Creedmoor quickly proved its worth in long-range target shooting and overtook the 308 Winchester as the top choice for long-distance shooters. So, several other 6.5 mm calibers have been developed, including the relatively new 6.5 Precision Rifle Cartridge (PRC).
In this 6.5 PRC vs 6.5 Creedmoor comparison, we pit these two calibers head-to-head in several categories to see which one comes out on top and help you decide which one is right for you.
Keep reading to discover which caliber dominates the distances best because the results will surprise you.
As I mentioned, we’re comparing each caliber in several categories, nine to be exact; that way, there has to be a winner. This isn’t soccer or hockey, so we won’t end in a draw.
However, before we start the battle, let’s discuss a few similarities and differences between the cartridges.
It wouldn’t be difficult to get these two rounds mixed up at the range as the 6.5 Creedmoor would easily fit into a 6.5 PRC rifle, so I don’t recommend shooting them side-by-side because that would cause serious injuries or even kill the shooter, and those standing nearby.
The biggest difference between the two cartridges is that the 6.5 PRC has a larger case, which holds more powder and increases the pressure but decreases the barrel life of your rifle. The 6.5 PRC is very similar to the 6.8 Western if you’re familiar with the size of that round.
If you’re looking for even higher case capacity, check out the 26 Nosler compared to the 6.5 PRC.
Since both of these rounds were developed for the same reasons, it’s no surprise the cartridge specs are incredibly comparable, much like the 260 Rem vs 6.5 Creedmoor.
Now that we’ve got the details squared away let’s begin the battle to dominate the distances.
Round one is to determine which has the least amount of recoil. But lots of recoil and long-distance shooting go hand-in-hand, right?
Well, that might have been the case pre-6.5 Creedmoor, but it’s quickly changing.
Less recoil is what most shooters, myself included, prefer because it allows us to be more accurate and reduce flinching in anticipation of the recoil.
Not to mention, it’s much less painful to keep shooting when your rifle doesn’t bruise your shoulder on shot number one.
So, which round has less recoil?
The 6.5 PRC impacts your shoulder with 21.6 ft-lbs of recoil. However, the 6.5 Creedmoor has 17 ft-lbs of free recoil.
The first time I shot a 6.5 Creedmoor, I was blown away by the lack of recoil, granted the rifle I shot had a muzzle brake, but it still doesn’t have much recoil.
When shooting them side-by-side, you probably won’t notice much difference, but the 6.5 Creedmoor takes an early lead.
The trajectory is the bullet’s flight path to the target. At close ranges, it’s a relatively flat line; however, as we increase the distance from the target, it begins to look like an arch.
The bullet’s trajectory plays a vital role in long-distance accuracy. I’ve never met someone who prefers shooting a round with more arch over a flat-shooting bullet.
A flat trajectory allows you to compensate less for bullet drop, allowing you to be more accurate with less math.
Out to 500 yards, these rounds are basically identical. However, the 6.5 PRC has a slightly flatter trajectory.
When zeroed at 200 yards, the 6.5 PRC drops 6.1" at 300 yards and 34.6" at 500 yards.
When zeroed at 200 yards, the 6.5 Creedmoor drops 9.6" at 300 yards and 48.9" at 500 yards.
It’s when we pass 500 yards that the 6.5 PRC drastically outperforms the 6.5 Creedmoor.
Since we’re looking to name the dominator of the distances, the 6.5 PRC wins this category thanks to its flatter trajectory at extended ranges.
Many things factor into the accuracy of a given round, such as the shooter, recoil, trajectory, scope, rifle, and shooting conditions.
And there’s no arguing that these two rounds are incredibly accurate. Both are very capable of sub-MOA groups (Minute of Angle, 1 MOA = 1" at 100 yards). 3/4 MOA and 1/2 MOA groupings with quality factory ammo are achievable for the average shooter.
The ballistic coefficient (BC) is a numerical expression of the aerodynamics of a bullet. Or, in English, it’s how well a bullet cuts through the air and resists wind drift.
Most shooters want high BC bullets that slice through the wind more easily because they tend to be more accurate.
Heavy bullets generally have a higher BC because it takes more wind (force) to push them right or left (change the flight path) of a heavier bullet than a lighter projectile.
The ballistic coefficient also varies based on bullet design and other factors that are beyond the scope of this article.
6.5mm caliber bullets are known for having an incredibly high BC because their long and slender design is incredibly aerodynamic, making them ridiculously efficient at resisting wind deflection.
Once again, the 6.5 Precision Rifle Cartridge edges out the 6.5 Creedmoor.
Stopping power doesn’t matter to long-distance shooters, and as a hunter, I think it’s an overrated statistic because a well-placed shot with most calibers will result in meat in the freezer.
But I understand that not all shots are well-placed, which is why stopping power comes up time and time again.
While I don’t have a numerical formula for stopping power, (I never was much of a math guy, that’s why I married the math teacher’s daughter) sectional density is how many shooters judge how well a bullet will penetrate.
Because the 6.5 PRC and 6.5 Creed shoot similar bullets, they have very similar SD values ranging from 0.25 to 0.30, depending on the exact bullet weight and design.
I guess this is closer to a soccer match than I initially thought; however, because the 6.5 PRC factory loads push the projectile faster than factory loads of the 6.5 CM, I would argue that it has more stopping power, especially when long-range hunting.
The 6.5 PRC wins another category.
If you’ve read the other categories, it’s obvious that the 6.5 PRC is the better big-game hunting cartridge.
While the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges make a solid whitetail deer hunting round in states like Texas when shooting under 500 yards, the 6.5 PRC cartridges are capable of ethically harvesting mule deer and elk at much longer ranges (up to 800 yards) due to the increased stopping power and flatter trajectory.
The 6.5 PRC wins another section and looks to be dominating this comparison.
Neither of these rounds is what I consider an excellent home defense option. They are much better than a knife but still have a high potential for over-penetration, and I don’t recommend using a bolt-action hunting rifle for defense unless it’s your only option.
Both calibers are available in the AR platform, so you do have a semi-auto option, but I stand by using a shotgun for home defense.
However, in the spirit of the competition, the 6.5 Creedmoor is less likely to over-penetrate; therefore, it’s the one I would grab if these two calibers were my only options.
The 6.5 Creedmoor takes this section by a slim margin.
The biggest drawback of the 6.5 PRC is the availability and price of ammo and rifles.
6.5 PRC ammo is difficult to find, and when you do find it, be prepared to fork over your paycheck, as it will likely cost you over $2 per trigger pull.
As far as 6.5 PRC rifles go, they’re not ridiculously priced. You can find Savage 110 Apex Hunter, Ruger American, and Weatherby Vanguard bolt-action rifles for well under $1,000. Or, if you’d like to step up to a Tikka T3X Lite or Christensen Arms Ridgeline, you can spend $1,500-$2,500 on a new rifle.
The price of 6.5 CM rifles is nearly identical to 6.5 PRC rifles. You can spend as little as $600 on a Remington 700 or as much as you want on a custom 6.5 Creedmoor rifle.
The 6.5 Creedmoor wins this section thanks to the abundance of ammo and lower prices compared to the 6.5 PRC.
Handloading is a great way to save money on ammo and still shoot high-quality rounds.
Both rounds are reloadable; however, the brass for 6.5 Creedmoor is much easier to find and less expensive than 6.5 PRC brass.
Once again, the 6.5 Creedmoor wins the category by a small margin and some might say a technicality.
The 6.5 Creedmoor was created to be the ideal long-range rifle cartridge in 2007 by Hornady.
Hornady didn’t have high hopes for this new cartridge, but to its surprise, the 6.5 CM took the long distances shooting sports world by storm.
Shooters everywhere began shooting it, and today, it is still one of, if not the primary choice of many long-distance shooters.
The 6.5 PRC is still a new round by most standards. It was introduced in 2018 at Shot Show.
The 6.5 Precision Rifle Cartridge is based on the .300 Ruger Compact Magnum and was intentionally designed to perform better than the 6.5 Creedmoor.
The 6.5 PRC is designed for short-action rifles while maintaining a performance comparable to some of the big boys.
While it’s still not as popular as the 6.5 Creedmoor, its following is growing.
With the 6.5 PRC winning 5/9 categories, you might think it’s the winner, and in most instances, it would be. However, unless you’re consistently shooting over 500 yards, the 6.5 Creedmoor will be your best bet simply based on ammo availability.
What good is a long-distance rifle if you don’t have any ammo for it?
So, even though the 6.5 Creedmoor only won 4/9 sections, I say it won the most important sections and is the winner of the 6.5 PRC vs 6.5 Creedmoor battle.
If you’re upset with my decision, reach out to the ammo manufacturers to let them know they need to produce more 6.5 PRC ammo. Until I see more for a reasonable price, I stand by my decision.
6.5 PRC vs. 6.5 Creedmoor: 6.5mm Long Range Battle originally appeared on Ammo.com