If you’re talking about long-range shooting cartridges, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Today, we’ll be talking about two of them, the .300 PRC and .338 Lapua. The 300 PRC and 338 Lapua are two of the most popular cartridges for long-range shooting. Both cartridges have a long history of success in competition, hunting, and military applications.
Both of them offer heavy firepower, amazing ranges (over 1000 yards), and solid ballistic performance.
The 300 PRC is the newcomer in the game, competing against one of the most widely used military long-range shooting rounds. We’re comparing them against each other to see which one comes out on top.
Join us as we explore the agelong debate on “300 PRC vs 338 Lapua” and find the best one for you.
Let’s get started!
300 PRC: An Introduction
300 Precision Rifle Cartridge (PRC) rounds are designed for big game hunting and extra long range shooting purposes.
The rounds pack a mean punch and are enough to handle heavy games from a long distance with ease.
These long, aerodynamic bullets came into the market in 2018 and have been widely accepted and praised for their remarkable firepower and precision at long range ever since.
Let’s Meet The .338 Lapua
The .338 Lapua was invented in 1987 specifically for long-range shooting in the military.
These high ballistic coefficient bullets have the ability to pierce through military-grade armor within 1000 yards. These rounders were developed to bridge the gap between the 300 Winchester Magnum and the 50 BMG.
These large caliber bullets have fantastic accuracy, a flat trajectory and are able to travel at supersonic speeds of up to 2100 feet per second.
300 Prc vs 338 Lapua: What’s the Difference?
The 300 PRC comes with a base diameter of 0.532” and its overall length is 3.7”. These bullets require a long bolt throw, and a magnum action rifle to reach their potential.
The manufacturer gave the bullets a long “head height”(1.12”) to achieve better aerodynamic projectiles and a high ballistic coefficient (BC).
The .338 Lapua mag has a smaller overall length and larger bullet diameter.
These powerful bullets pack a mean punch despite being smaller in overall size. They have a massive case capacity (114 gr) compared to the 300 PRC(77 gr).
The 300 PRC were designed for ELR precision rifle shooting and have an amazing trajectory.
For those who aren’t familiar, Trajectory is the bullet’s flight path as it travels downrange and this is measured in inches of bullet drop.
The 300 PRC has a slightly flatter trajectory, which is very much desirable for all the long range shooters out there.
The trajectory of the .338 Lapua is slightly more curved and has a bit more bullet drop than the 300 PRC, meaning it will drop into the ground before the 300 PRC if shot side by side.
In our tests, the 338 had a -804” bullet drop whereas the 300 PRC had -776” bullet drop at 1500 yards, meaning that the .338 Lapua lags behind a little in terms of battling wind drift.
However, both cartridges are similar in terms of accuracy.
This is where the 300 PRC really shines. Even if the recoil changes depending on the weight of the rifle and bullet weight when you fire it at a specific muzzle velocity, the 300 PRC offers significantly less recoil (up to 70% less).
This results in better accuracy downrange. When it comes to lower recoil, the 300 PRC can go toe-to-toe with some of the renowned long range cartridges, like the 6.5 Creedmoor. You can use a muzzle brake to lower the recoil of these heavier bullets even further
This might be true that the .338 packs a mean punch, but all that power comes at a price. The higher amount of recoil makes it difficult to use .338 for long-range shooting.
Using muzzle brakes may help solve the problem but the 300 PRC is the winner here, by a long shot (pun intended)!
Accuracy is another tricky aspect to measure since it depends on factors like the rifle, barrel life, ammo consistency, the shooter’s skill, and environmental conditions; none of which can be measured easily.
Both .300 PRC and .338 Lapua are incredibly accurate within their effective shooting range.
However, the crown goes to the 300 PRC for high accuracy, and long-range shooting.
The .338 Lapua is no joke either. These magnum cartridges are incredibly accurate within their effective shooting range.
However, the .338 Laupa falls behind in the competition in long range due to its higher recoil and the 300 PRC’s flatter trajectory.
The bullet is incredibly accurate but needs additional support to hit the bullseye if the distance is long.
Both the 300 PRC and the .338 Lapua cartridges can be reloaded with loads of your choice.
Reloading might take a larger payment upfront from you, but this will reduce the cost up to 20-40% per bullet down the line. The most common bullet weights for the 300 PRC are 212, 220, 225, and 250 grains.
Although 300 PRC can also shoot lighter 30-caliber bullets, they will not be as effective as some of the other bullets like the 30 Nosler, 300 WSM, and 300 Win Mag. You’ll have to reserve your cases until you find bigger, heavier cartridges like the 300 Norma Magnum and 300 Rem Ultra Mag.
Reloading gives you the freedom to create your own load specifically for your hunting/shooting purposes.
Finding grains for the .338 Lapua isn’t somewhat easy. All the major bullet manufacturers, including Nosler, Hornady, and Berger, have options in both 30 caliber and 338 caliber bullets.
The grains that are the most widely available for the .338 Lapua are the 250, 270, and 300 grains.
Sectional Density (SD) is the measurement of how much a bullet can penetrate a target.
The measurement is calculated by comparing the bullet weight and the bullet diameter. The 300 PRC offers a higher SD than the .338 Lapua, providing a greater penetration power.
A bullet with a higher SD count will be able to penetrate its target better than its counterparts.
The SD count of the .338 Lapua cartridges is a bit low so it won’t be able to go deeper than the 300 PRC and punch through thick hide, bone, and sinew as effectively.
300 PRC (H4)
Long-range target shooting isn’t cheap. With a smaller selection of bullet weights to choose from, the 300 PRC is a bit cheaper than the .338 Lapua.
There aren’t many long-range rifles available that can shoot the 300 PRC. You’ll have to spend around $5-7 for each round. Most tactical rifles for the 300 PRC will cost around $2000 or more.
The high power and long distance of .338 Lapua come at a high cost.
Each round typically costs $8-10 or more. Additionally, the rifles designed to shoot the .338 Lapua bullets are also expensive. You’ll need to spend around $4,000 to get a decent bolt action rifle for these heavy, powerful bullets.
The .338 Lapua has been around for longer and that’s why it has considerably more manufacturers and bullet-weight options available.
The Ballistic Coefficient of a bullet measures the bullet’s drag and how it is affected by air resistance. The 300 PRC offers a higher BC as compared to the .338 Lapua, making it a better choice for longer range shots.
The higher BC bullets will give you better downrange accuracy and lower wind drift. Additionally, the 300 PRC has a flat trajectory and can build up more velocity than the .338 Lapua.
Surprisingly, the .338 Lapua also has a higher ballistic coefficient, but not as high as the 300 PRC which gives it an edge in long range accuracy. The bullets of this cartridge are more aerodynamic and offer better stability in flight. This makes them great for shooting at extended ranges where wind drift becomes an issue.
For example, A 250 gr A-tip Hornady Match (300 PRC) provided 0.878 BC whereas 300 gr A-tip match (.338 Lapua) provided 0.863 BC.
300 PRC or 338 Lapua: Which One to Choose
So, who ultimately wins the “338 Lapua Magnum vs 300 PRC” debate?
The 300 PRC and .338 Lapua are both powerful cartridges designed to offer superior accuracy over long distances. Before deciding which one is right for you, consider the features and capabilities of each cartridge to make the best choice.
The 300 PRC offers a higher ballistic coefficient and better accuracy for long range shots, but the .338 Lapua provides more bullet-weight options and is typically more pocket-friendly.
If you just need to shoot at shorter distances (750 yards or less), the .338 Lapua should suit your needs perfectly. However, if you plan on shooting at extended ranges of 1000 yards or more, the 300 PRC will be a better choice.
Ultimately, the best long-range cartridge for you will depend on the type of shooting you plan on doing and the budget that you have. With careful consideration, you can pick the best cartridge for your needs and put an end to this “338 vs 300 PRC” fight once and for all.
And that’s it for today. This guide provided all the information you need to know for choosing your own version of the winner in this “338 Lapua vs 300 PRC” debate. Hopefully, the information will come in handy and help you choose the right cartridge for your next adventure.
Thanks for reading this far. It’s imperative that you maintain safe gun practices to avoid unfortunate accidents. I wish you a great weekend ahead, and happy shooting!
1. How far can I shoot a 300 PRC?
Ans. The 300 PRC is designed for ELR precision rifle shooting.
You may have factory ammo calibrated for match shooting and still shoot out to 1,500 yards with this cartridge.
2. Which is bigger? 300 Win Mag or 300 PRC?
Ans. The cases for both 300 are similarly long but the PRC has a significantly longer cartridge. The 300 PRC is nearly a half-inch longer compared to the 300 Win.
3. Is 300 PRC a belted magnum?
Ans. The 300 PRC is based on the 375 Ruger cartridge case.
This is a non-belted cartridge that uses headspaces off the 30-degree shoulder and the standard .532” magnum bolt face.
The result is better camber alignment and improved stacking and feeding from your fixed magazine.
4. Is there a semi auto 338 Lapua?
Ans. The Kivaari is a semi-automatic .338 Lapua mag rifle.
This firearm weighs 13.6 pounds empty and operates on gas. The Kivaari provides quick follow-up shots which help in hunting.
5. What are the ballistics of a 338 Lapua?
Ans. The ballistics performance of 338 Lapua based off 5 different grain types:
|Grain Type||Ballistic Performance|
|300 gr Lapua Scenar||2,750 feet/second|
|300 gr Sierra HPBT||2,750 feet/second|
|250 gr Partition||2,940 feet/second|
|250 gr Lapua Scena||3,000 feet/second|
|200 gr||3,340 feet/second|