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.

6.5-284 Norma vs 6.5 PRC: Cartridge Clash
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.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/rifleshooter/content/photos/6.5Normavs6.5PRC.jpg”width=

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.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Springfield Armory Saint Victor

Springfield Armory Saint Victor

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

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

David Fortier talks with Jeff Hoffman of Black Hills Ammunition about the evolution of the .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match bullet.

All About .300 Blackout

All About .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout is here to stay, and we take some time to look at new technology surrounding this cartridge. Next, we pit subsonic rivals against each other before stretching the legs of this CQB round out to 600 yards from a short 9-inch barrel.

Delta 5 - Daniel Defense

Delta 5 - Daniel Defense's New Precision Bolt Action Rifle

Those looking to explore precision rifle shooting without going broke will be well served by Daniel Defense's new Delta 5.

Trending Articles

A simple test of sorting ammo and a shooting session at the range will show how bullet runout can affect the accuracy of your rifles. Shooting Tips

Bullet Runout - How It Affects Accuracy

Joseph von Benedikt - May 13, 2019

A simple test of sorting ammo and a shooting session at the range will show how bullet runout...

The Federal Berger Hybrid Hunter Ammo combines high BCs with a forgiving bullet profile and promises versatile performance. Ammo

Federal Berger Hybrid Hunter Ammo

Brad Fitzpatrick - April 30, 2019

The Federal Berger Hybrid Hunter Ammo combines high BCs with a forgiving bullet profile and...

Winchester Repeating Arms releases the new autoloading Wildcat 22 LR rimfire rifle. Rimfire

Winchester Releases Wildcat 22 LR Rimfire Rifle

Rifle Shooter Digital Staff - April 11, 2019

Winchester Repeating Arms releases the new autoloading Wildcat 22 LR rimfire rifle.

Big game hunters in search of an accurate, long-range rifle need look no further than Browning and the new X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan. Bolt-Action

New Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Long Range McMillan Rifles

RifleShooter Online Staff - November 07, 2018

Big game hunters in search of an accurate, long-range rifle need look no further than Browning...

See More Trending Articles

More Ammo

Looking for an AR-15 cartridge to shoot rather than the 5.56 NATO? If so, the .300 AAC Blackout is a viable option, especially for hunting medium size game. Ammo

.300 AAC Blackout Cartridge: Perfect for AR-15s

David Fortier - March 18, 2020

Looking for an AR-15 cartridge to shoot rather than the 5.56 NATO? If so, the .300 AAC...

The well-known bullet maker, Berger Bullets, is now loading some terrific deer ammunition. Ammo

Berger Bullets Classic Hunter Ammo

J. Scott Rupp - December 13, 2019

The well-known bullet maker, Berger Bullets, is now loading some terrific deer ammunition.

For decades, things were quiet on the .22 centerfire front. Starting in 2017, shooters were offered not one but two hot new centerfire .22 cartridges. First out of the gate was the .22 Nosler, followed by the Federal .224 Valkrie. Ammo

.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...

Craig Boddington explains why he will go along with the crowd and have a 6.5 Creedmoor before he gives up his .264 Win. Mag. Ammo

Craig Boddington on the 6.5 Creedmoor

Craig Boddington - February 27, 2019

Craig Boddington explains why he will go along with the crowd and have a 6.5 Creedmoor before...

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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