6.5-284 Norma vs 6.5 PRC: Cartridge Clash

6.5-284 Norma vs 6.5 PRC: Cartridge Clash

Both the 6.5-284 Norma and 6.5 PRC are exceptional rounds offering flat trajectories, great wind-bucking capabilities, heavy bullets that penetrate well and mild recoil.

Long before the current long-range shooting craze swept the nation, rifle cranks had a soft spot for .264-inch/6.5mm bullets. With their long profile and high ballistic coefficients, the 6.5s could buck the wind and shoot well at extreme ranges. So when the rebated-rimmed .284 Win. was released in the 1960s, it wasn’t long until wildcatters decided to experiment by necking-down the .284 case to hold 6.5mm bullets.

The resulting cartridge, the 6.5-284, which was eventually standardized by Norma, provided plenty of powder capacity in the .284 case to push a 140-grain 6.5 bullet at velocities exceeding 2,900 fps with the right powder. The high B.C. bullets offered relatively flat trajectories, and recoil was quite manageable.

Hornady helped set the current 6.5 renaissance in motion with the introduction of the 6.5 Creedmoor, and it recently introduced the 6.5 PRC. Based on a necked-down .300 Ruger Compact Mag. case, the 6.5 PRC offers a short-action 6.5 that generates magnum-caliber numbers without excessive muzzle blast, barrel wear or recoil.

The 6.5-284 Norma cartridge had a significant head start on the 6.5 PRC, and there are more factory loads available for the 6.5-284 from Norma, Nosler and HSM. Hornady is the only company currently offering factory loads for the 6.5 PRC, and currently there are two options: the Precision Hunter load with 143-grain ELD-X bullets and a Match load with 147-grain ELD Match bullets.

However, the Hornady ammunition is significantly less expensive than factory 6.5-284 Norma ammo. You can expect to pay between $40 and $70 per box for factory-loaded 6.5-284 ammo—with the average price being $55 per box. You’ll spend only about $35 per box on Hornady’s 6.5 PRC, about 80 cents less per shot compared to the 6.5-284.

While handloaders can get top performance from the 6.5-284, factory loads for it are reeled in a bit. When compared side-by-side, the factory figures for the 6.5 PRC beat the 6.5-284 Norma number’s significantly. Hornady’s 143-grain ELD-X load achieves a velocity of 2,960 fps from the muzzle while Nosler’s Trophy Grade 140-grain AccuBond load is closer to 2,750 fps.

This 6.5-284 load drops four more inches than the PRC at 400 yards, and it’s 10 inches below the Hornady load at 500 yards. The difference in velocity also makes a significant difference in retained energy. The 6.5 PRC carries almost 450 ft.-lbs. more punch than the 6.5-.284 at 500 paces, although it’s worth noting the Nosler load generates less recoil and blast.


Both are short-action cartridges, with the advantages this design brings, but the PRC doesn’t have a rebated rim like the 6.5-284, which some regard with suspicion in terms of reliable feeding. That will tip the scales for some shooters.

The 6.5 PRC is a new cartridge, and not all new cartridges fare well (take, for instance, the PRC’s parent cartridge). The 6.5-284’s parent cartridge faded away long ago, and one would have expected the 6.5-284 to meet the same fate, but it soldiers on and in fact is experiencing a bit of a renaissance. To wit, Savage is now chambering it, as is Nosler. Other companies, including custom shops, have or are chambering it, so guns are out there.

There are fewer factory rifles chambered in 6.5 PRC, but there are a lot of companies that have either added 6.5 PRC offerings or plan to in the future. The list includes Sauer, Montana Rifle, Savage, Seekins Precision, Proof Research and others.

In terms of effectiveness on game, both are exceptional rounds that offer flat trajectories, great wind-bucking capabilities, heavy bullets that penetrate well and mild recoil, so you’re a winner regardless of which round you ultimately choose.

Recommended for You


New 30-06 Springfield Elite Match Ammo from SIG SAUER

Rifleshooter Online Editors - April 03, 2019

SIG SAUER adds to its Elite Match ammo line with the 30-06 Springfield.


Thompson/Center Arms Adds Stock Options to Rimfire Line

Rifle Shooter Digital Staff - April 16, 2019

Thompson/Center Arms rimfire rifles are available with Traditional Hardwood and Flat Dark...


.17-Caliber Reloading Data and History for 5 Cartridges

Layne Simpson - June 05, 2019

Some history and reloading recipes on five popular .17-caliber cartridges, including the .17...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Springfield Armory Saint Victor

The SAINT' Victor Rifle delivers a lightweight and agile rifle solution while maintaining effectiveness at extended engagement distances.

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand and Neal Emery of Hornady highlight the 6MM Creedmoor ammo.

RS Sako Finnlight II

The new Sako Finnlight II sports an innovative stock and Cerakote metal paired with the terrific 85 action.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


Anschutz Establishes U.S. Branch, Separates from Steyr

RifleShooter Online Staff - June 10, 2014

On June 2, 2014, Anschutz announced the start of a subsidiary branch in the United States.


Review: Savage Arms MSR 15 LR

David Fortier - May 17, 2019

The new MSR 15 Long Range in .224 Valkyrie reaches out with authority.


.22 Nosler vs .224 Valkyrie

Brad Fitzpatrick - May 02, 2019

For decades, things were quiet on the .22 centerfire front. Starting in 2017, shooters were...

See More Stories

More Ammo


Winchester Twins: The .264 and .338 Magnum

Craig Boddington - May 24, 2019

Winchester's .264 and .338 magnums were both born 60 years ago but took very different paths.


Winchester .350 Legend Review

Brad Fitzpatrick - July 24, 2019

The new Winchester .350 Legend is an effective straight-wall whitetail round with low recoil...


SIG SAUER Introduces 120gr Supersonic 300BLK SBR Elite Copper Duty Ammunition

Rifle Shooter Online Editors - February 12, 2019

SIG SAUER, Inc. introduced its newest 300BLK ammunition ' the 120gr supersonic 300BLK SBR...

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.