This article was written by Travis Fox
Winter planning time is here and I need to choose a cartridge to shoot in PRS style matches! In this article we discuss the choices of rifle cartridges we have at Ultimate Reloader and which one to use in competition.
I have competed in several PRS/NRL style matches in the past, both centerfire and .22LR along with a few F-Class matches. I want to step into the competition ring this year and move my way up the pack. Let’s figure this out!
My Candidate Cartridges
Above: left to right, 223 Remington, 224 Valkyrie, 6 Dasher, 6mm Creedmoor, 25 Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 308 Winchester
Below is an example of the rifles we have here at Ultimate Reloader that could be used for a PRS/NRL match: (Ultimate Reloader story links)
In addition I have both a .223 and .308 both in bolt action that I could also choose from!
Criteria: Drop Data
Here’s some drop data for the candidate cartridges we’ve gathered during our shooting here at Ultimate Reloader:
Examination of data above shows the drop observed with our obtained data. Note the difference of the largest drop to the least, the 1000 yard difference between the 223 and the 6 Dasher is 172.4 inches! Why am I concerned with this? Flatter trajectories allow room for error with drop data or range estimation.
This graph shows the trajectories in an overlap view:
Note the big drop of the 223 77gr OTM. Significantly more than the others.
Other Factors Compared
This chart has some of the most important combinations of factors in my opinion:
The lack of recoil is important in the ability to spot the trace or impacts. PRS/NRL positional shooting can challenge your body mechanics on recoil management. Low recoil is forgiving in these situations. This is better for seeing the impacts or misses and for follow up corrections. The negative to the small bullets with the lower recoil is now bullet trace or impacts are harder to see. Corrections can be harder to see and the RO can miss the target impact (rare problem).
The velocity/drop chart from above will be a big factor with the wind effect column. Slower velocity bullets will have a longer time of flight, rainbow trajectory resulting in more wind drift. Good wind reading is a must for the 223 Rem and the 224 Valkyrie. Don’t forget the light and fast bullets of the 6mm cartridges are also more affected by wind than the 25 and 6.5 calibers. The heavier calibers the 25 and 6.5 Creedmoor will have higher BC and SD bullets. They will push efficiently through the wind much better. The cost will be significantly more recoil. Nothing like a 308 or magnum though! My thought is the less stress on the shooter for wind reading and perfect data allows for more success in hitting targets.
Final Considerations and Overall Summary
To put all of the above factors together, and including some additional considerations, we have the following for my thought process related to these cartridges:
Pros and Cons, again lots of information to consider. Do you reload or buy factory produced ammo? That will impact your decision. Are you recoil sensitive? Do you have access to a good Gunsmith to rebarrel your rifle in a timely manner when needed? Some of these cartridges are hard on barrel life!
What does all of this info lead me to choose? I would pair this down to the 6 Dasher and the 25 Creedmoor. These two cartridges have the best combo to me for beating the wind and making my competition successful. I would consider the 224 Valkyrie for a shorter “square range” competition venue.
What are your thoughts? If you are competing, what are you shooting? Thanks for taking the time to give input on this subject.
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