6.5PRC vs 280AI

  • 6.5PRC

    Votes: 3 33.3%
  • 280AI

    Votes: 6 66.7%

  • Total voters
    9
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A tiny blip appeared on my new gun radar, disappears, then keeps coming back haunting me. This doesn't happen often as I'm pretty frugal and content with what I have.

The application is a dedicated elk rifle. I'm curious what others think of these two choices in terms of reloading, recoil, accuracy, barrel life, twist, bbl length, factory ammo... and anything else you can think of in these calibers.



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some quick notes for reference using factory Hornady ammo:
6.5PRC: 143eldx; Muzzle: 2960fps, Energy 2782; 500yds 2248fps/1604ftlbs/-36.2" drop
280AI: 162g ELDX; muzzle:2850fps, Energy 2921ft lbs; 500yds 2162fps/1681/-39.3" drop
 
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I’ve got a 6.5x284 Norma (kinda similar to 6.5PRC). I run it with a 143gn ELD-X at ~2900fps for deer and it’s my favorite rifle I’ve ever owned. That said, for an Elk rifle I go to my 300 Win Mag. and load a 212gn ELD-X.

I don’t love the available bullet weights in 6.5 for elk so I’d go with the 280AI between your two choices.
 
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Pretty much a toss up. Doubt you'd be disappointed with either. My friend out here uses 6.5 PRC for everything out to ranges in excess of 500 yds.
 
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I don’t love the available bullet weights in 6.5 for elk so I’d go with the 280AI between your two choices.
seems like they are close but only a few more heavier options with the 280. Thinking about this I see now the 6.5PRC would be a more versatile caliber for medium and small game while the 280 stays squarely in the big game category.
 
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Pretty much a toss up.
It really is, like most caliber debates. These two are fairly newer calibers I dont know much about so Im just hoping to learn the pros and cons. Im just really impressed with their velocities over other more traditional calibers...
 
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It really is, like most caliber debates. These two are fairly newer calibers I dont know much about so Im just hoping to learn the pros and cons. Im just really impressed with their velocities over other more traditional calibers...
@No_Regerts has experience with the ,280, maybe he can chime in. I am partial to the 7mm myself, but it is really splitting hairs.
 
@No_Regerts has experience with the ,280, maybe he can chime in. I am partial to the 7mm myself, but it is really splitting hairs.
I shoot the standard 280 Remington and it’s quite versatile, especially when loaded to the same pressure as 270. 7mm hunting bullets are second only to 30 caliber in variety and construction.

The 280 AI is “new” as a SAAMI cartridge, but has been a popular wildcat since the 60s. It comes close to a 7mm Rem Mag while using a standard bolt face, allowing for an extra round in the magazine. It’s also beltless and has a 40 degree shoulder that minimizes case stretch.

I like the 280 AI because it fits in a standard long action with room to spare if you want to load close to the lands. You get an extra round in the box. Brass can be formed from 30-06 brass and the other cartridges in that family. I don’t see why a reloader couldn’t safely exceed 2900 fps with a 160gr bullet, especially with Reloader 26. I’ve seen published loads in the 3000-3050 fps range.

The 6.5 PRC is cramped in some short actions and you lose a round because of the fatter case. Components have been more difficult to source and ammo is priced sky-high. Maybe it won’t be in the future.
 
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Of those two loadings, I'd give the edge to the higher sectional density 6.5mm bullet for elk. I do have soft spot for the 7mm cartridges though. That 280ai is what I really wanted when I settled on my current .30-06

Honestly though, it really doesn't matter, they will drop anything dead and both have great factory loads available for any task. A metric bubblegum-ton of reloading data is out there too if you handload.

I'd break it down to which particular rifle you like better. If you plan on shooting the ultra-long 7mm bullets, check the twist rate of the rifle. Most factory 7's are a 1:9.5
 
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I shoot the standard 280 Remington and it’s quite versatile, especially when loaded to the same pressure as 270. 7mm hunting bullets are second only to 30 caliber in variety and construction.

The 280 AI is “new” as a SAAMI cartridge, but has been a popular wildcat since the 60s. It comes close to a 7mm Rem Mag while using a standard bolt face, allowing for an extra round in the magazine. It’s also beltless and has a 40 degree shoulder that minimizes case stretch.

I like the 280 AI because it fits in a standard long action with room to spare if you want to load close to the lands. You get an extra round in the box. Brass can be formed from 30-06 brass and the other cartridges in that family. I don’t see why a reloader couldn’t safely exceed 2900 fps with a 160gr bullet, especially with Reloader 26. I’ve seen published loads in the 3000-3050 fps range.

The 6.5 PRC is cramped in some short actions and you lose a round because of the fatter case. Components have been more difficult to source and ammo is priced sky-high. Maybe it won’t be in the future.
Super helpful info I was looking for. Both rounds are splitting hairs but I like the nod towards the 280AI for reloading purposes.
 
Super helpful info I was looking for. Both rounds are splitting hairs but I like the nod towards the 280AI for reloading purposes.
I’ve seen a bunch of new 280 AI brass at Sportsmans lately. Unfortunately, it’s all been Nosler brass. Kinda spendy usually.

Oddly enough, can’t find regular 280 brass anywhere. May have to punch it AI and join the club.
 
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I’ve seen a bunch of new 280 AI brass at Sportsmans lately. Unfortunately, it’s all been Nosler brass. Kinda spendy usually.

Oddly enough, can’t find regular 280 brass anywhere. May have to punch it AI and join the club.
Theres that Nosler brass question that keeps haunting me. I bought a bunch of it for my only bolt rifle but have had issues with it in 2 calibers now. New virgin brass.
anyways, this new rifle idea is pending on if I get my bolt action back from the smith, if I dont have it back by next spring Im probably going to buy a new hunting rifle because Im not going to be without an elk rifle anymore.
How is the recoil on the 280? Ive fired a 7mm Rem Mag and a 300 Mag and I hated the 300 recoil.

I havent purchased a bolt rifle in forever and open to hearing recommendations. Probably in the $1000 range.
 
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How is the recoil on the 280? Ive fired a 7mm Rem Mag and a 300 Mag and I hated the 300 recoil.
About the same ballpark as a 30-06/270. Nowhere near as much as a 300WM and less than a 7mm mag. A lot of that simply depends on the weight of the rifle and design of the stock. I find my 30-06 Tikka T3x ultralight with a Manners carbon fiber stock and Trijicon 3-9x40 to be a pussycat!

Peterson makes 289AI brass as well.
 
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About the same ballpark as a 30-06/270. Nowhere near as much as a 300WM and less than a 7mm mag. A lot of that simply depends on the weight of the rifle and design of the stock. I find my 30-06 Tikka T3x ultralight with a Manners carbon fiber stock and Trijicon 3-9x40 to be a pussycat!

Peterson makes 289AI brass as well.
Perfect.
Years ago I spent a day at the range helping zero in a 300WM and hated shooting it by the end of the day. And that was just like 20 rounds or so.
 
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Perfect.
Years ago I spent a day at the range helping zero in a 300WM and hated shooting it by the end of the day. And that was just like 20 rounds or so.
Yeah, many moons ago I helped a buddy sight in his 300 Weatherby Mag. One shot and I said 'eff this, do it yourself'.

I never considered myself recoil sensitive, having been behind some stout 45-70 loads, etc, but that thing was just ridiculous.

FWIW, I'm 5'9", 175lbs, so not a corn-fed country boy, but not a soy-boy either!

I think the -06 based loads are the best balance of recoil and performance in hunting rifles. For typical ranges, I don't think you'd be wanting for any magnum.
 
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As an a-side, I think this thread has helped me work through a recent itch of mine to add a bigger-caliber, dedicated elk rifle to my stable. I was consdering a 300PRC, 28Nosler, 6.5-whatever-big-bubblegum-cased-magnum.

But, being that the longest shot I've ever taken at an elk was 288 yards, it walked 25 feet and dropped dead from my 30-06. It didn't beat me up, is super easy to carry in the woods and I know exactly where that bullet is going to go within 350 yards, why change it? Why spend the extra 2-grand-ish to get something that's not going to do anything different for me?

I'm not knocking those that like the big magnums, but it seems like they just don't fit into my personal needs.

Just a bloviating thought that has nothing to do with your thread. Carry on.
 
I wouldn’t even worry about twist if you don’t plan on shooting the real high BC stuff at weights above180gr. Standard twist is 1 in 9 to 1 in 9.5 for most factory 7mm bore rifles. The Berger 180gr Hybrid only calls for a 1 in 9”.

My do-it-all weight for 7mm rifles has been 160gr for cup/core or bonded core, and 140/145gr for monolithics. However, I don’t stretch shots much more than 400 yards. They seem to do great over the velocity ranges in which I’ve used them (7mm-08, 7x57, 280, 7mm RM).
 

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