Which cartridge will best fit these criteria?

  • I'm contemplating running a different cartridge/caliber next year for PRS matches. The rules allow any cartridge from .22 to .30 cal, under 3200fps, and club matches are no magnums. My personal criteria are, recoil less than my current 308 with 168gr bullets at 2700fps, shoot flatter & less wind drift then current setup, and velocity as close to 3200fps as possible safely. I am fine with 1000-1500 rnds barrel life if that's what I can expect with this criteria.
    I would like to keep bullet weight up around highest for caliber especially if going 6mm because it is incredibly hard to spot hits and misses with the guys shooting 6 dashers with 107 ish gr bullets. I want to be able to move a target and see the splash. 4 matches and the same issue at all of them at extended ranges for the dasher guys!
    Initially I was thinking a 243win with 115 dtac bullet or 110 hornady a tip, but looks like it might start dropping fast for those 700-1200yd targets. There are very few stages with targets further than 800yds at the matches I attended so maybe that's not a deal breaker? I don't have any experience with 6mm cartridges and only minimal with 6.5cm. So if you guys can point me in the right direction or give a recommendation, I'm all ears.
    Summary of criteria are, recoil less than 308win, as close to 3200fps as possible, less elevation and wind drift than 308 win to 800yds or further, heavy for caliber bullets, must feed out of short action mag reliably.

  • 6.5 PRC?

  • @orkan what's recoil like on 6.5prc? Also, what are your thoughts on 243 AI?

  • @donnie Recoil on the 6.5PRC is pretty mild. I wouldn't necessarily rate it "less" than a 308. Significant performance increase though.

    243AI is too long when running heavy bullets seated correctly. They don't like to fit in a mag nicely. If big 6mm performance is what you're after, I'd stop at the 6mm creedmoor. Unlikely you'll have any better luck spotting hits/misses though. Not really much practical difference between the 6 Dasher and 6mm creedmoor. 6.5 creedmoor is significantly easier to see splash, and less recoil than the 308's.

    You can't really have it both ways. You are either going to have good performance, be able to spot hits, and some recoil... or good performance with not much recoil and not be able to spot hits. 6mm's just bleed energy too fast to have consistent splash at distance. 6.5's and upward are going to beat on the plates a lot more and you'll just see hits/misses easier. A LOT of people shooting smaller 6mm's get cheated by RO's that don't know what to look for.

  • @orkan Thanks for that info on the 243 ai. I was running some simulations, and if I can get a 115gr 6mm bullet up around 3100fps, it would have around 23 moa of drop at 1000 and around 8.5 moa at 550yds. That is what I'm after. Think a 6cm could do that with a 30" barrel?

  • @donnie With a 30" barrel you might be able to get it to 3100. Most guys with 26" seem to be in the 3000fps category. Not unreasonable that you'd pick up 25fps per inch, give or take.

  • @donnie said in Which cartridge will best fit these criteria?:

    @orkan Thanks for that info on the 243 ai. I was running some simulations, and if I can get a 115gr 6mm bullet up around 3100fps, it would have around 23 moa of drop at 1000 and around 8.5 moa at 550yds. That is what I'm after. Think a 6cm could do that with a 30" barrel?

    This kind of thing has been tried a lot. Going bigger, and faster, and more bc, and some faster, and maybe bigger yet hoping for more bullets landing on steel, when at the same time the guys who are consistently winning are going smaller and slower for more stability and consistent accuracy.
    You can cheat some wind with bigger and faster, but somewhere the recoil or lack of consistency in will cause you misses.
    The bigger cartridges in 6mm like the 243AI or 6SLR or 6CompMatch can't compete with the inherently tight vertical and ease of tuning that the BR variants provide. They just never behave well enough long enough.

    If you want to see more splash and make plates move more I'd look at 6.5 Creed or 6.5x47. They'll be significantly easier to keep in tune than a 6.5PRC or a big 6mm. You'll pay a little recoil premium over a BR but have similar ballistics and easy load tuning that will maintain its behavior over long strings of fire and high round count weekends.

  • @donnie, don't disregard that post @tscustoms just wrote. Real world experience and he's right on about everything stated.

    If this is a "match only" rifle you're setting up, I wouldn't even consider anything larger than a 6.5 Creedmoor. 6BR, 6BRA, 6BRX, 6Dasher. A 105 hybrid in front of a charge of H4350.

    If you're not looking to win all the time, and the rifle will pull double duty as a hunting rig... then perhaps the 6.5PRC should still be on the table.

  • You know, the two posts above this one are the reason this is the only gun-related sight I go to any more. Greg and Travis both give unbelievably well-informed advice, thoroughly thought out, and from extensive personal experience. You can always tell the true experts on a given subject because before they respond, they have thought about not only the answer to what you asked, but also the relevant answers to questions you didn't ask. Their depth of knowledge on the subject takes them to a place to see the whole picture, well beyond what lesser-experienced people think about when they asked the question in the first place. And they return a truly valuable answer, usually with relevant information going far beyond what was originally asked or considered.

    As an engineer, I deal with a lot of people in technical fields every day, so from experience I have learned to quickly figure out who thinks they know what they are talking about,
    and who actually knows what they are talking about. I met both Greg and Travis last year at Greg's seminar, and these guys are the real deal. If they tell me something about a gun, I am going to 100% listen to them. Probably about 99.9% of the gun community would be well-served to do the same. But then this is the internet........

  • This post is deleted!

  • I definitely did not disregard that post from Travis. It just gave me some more thinking to do. I can see the dasher guys are the ones winning the PRS matches most of the time, so I see what he is talking about. To be completely honest, we have more club matches around here than sanctioned PRS matches, and usually only go to 550yds. So I was wanting something that has minimal hold over and windage so in variable winds, I could just hold elevation and edge of plate and send it. Even at the southern Alberta matches that might go to 1200yds, typical ranges are usually within 800yds. If a 243 AI or 6 creedmoor wont behave over 10-12 round strings, and maybe a 200 rnd match, I will look into something else.
    Just to clarify in my las post, by 6cm I meant 6 creedmoor not the Comp Match. How does 6 creedmoor behave over 10-12rnd strings and maybe 200rnds over a 2 day match?

  • @donnie said in Which cartridge will best fit these criteria?:

    if a 243 AI or 6 creedmoor wont behave over 10-12 round strings, and maybe a 200 rnd match,

    It's not that they don't behave during strings of fire, it's that they will just all of a sudden, change POI mid-match, for no other reason. Their nodes are significantly narrower and more finicky than the smaller 6mm's. They only go about 1100-1300rnds before they are about done for.

    So it's not that they won't stay tight during a 12rnd string... its that they just wander POI every 50, 100, 150, or who knows how many rounds. They are just more unpredictable.