30 Nosler vs 300 PRC: Differences & Which You Should Choose

30 Nosler vs 300 PRC

The 30 Nosler and 300 PRC are both exceptional long-range cartridges. Both Nosler and Hornady introduced these two cartridges in 2018, creating quite a stir in the rifle and gun community.

They fulfill the same role, but when comparing the six main differences between these cartridges, it’s evident that each has a specific use case, be it precision shooting or hunting elk.

In this guide, we’ll compare these two cartridges in-depth to help you decide which one to choose.

What Is The 30 Nosler?

The 30 Nosler is a 30-caliber (.308/7.62 mm) rebated centerfire rifle cartridge.

It’s a modern, high-velocity cartridge designed for long-range shooting and big-game hunting. Launched in 2016 by Nosler, it’s designed to be the best-performing 30-caliber cartridge fitting in a standard-length long action.

With a 35-degree shoulder and a modified rim diameter for a better fit in standard bolt faces, the 30 Nosler is optimized for speed and performance.

It can push a 180-grain bullet to a muzzle velocity of around 3100 fps, making it comparable to the .300 Weatherby Magnum and 300 Win Mag in terms of velocity, albeit slightly behind the .300 PRC​​.

What’s The History Of The 30 Nosler Cartridge?

Nosler, a company renowned for its premium bullets, entered the cartridge market in 2014 with the introduction of the 26 Nosler.

The 30 Nosler, introduced two years later (2018), followed this trend but with a focus on .30-caliber performance, which has long been a favorite in America.

The design intent behind the 30 Nosler was to create a cartridge that delivers Magnum performance in a standard action, with velocity and power on par with the .300 Weatherby Magnum and 300 Win Mag but in a more compact and affordable form.

This new cartridge design reflected a shift away from the older, belted magnum cases to a more modern, beltless design offering enhanced accuracy and case life​​.

It can take down elk, grizzly, and other big game at longer ranges and is considered one of the best all-around cartridges for hunting non-dangerous game.

What Is The 300 PRC?

The 300 Precision Rifle Cartridge (PRC), developed by Hornady, is a non-belted, 30-caliber, magnum rifle cartridge.

It is designed for long-range shooting and hunting. The cartridge is based on the .375 Ruger case, necked down to .30-caliber.

It’s a beltless cartridge, featuring a steep 30-degree shoulder for precise headspacing and chamber concentricity, which enhances accuracy. The design allows for a large powder capacity and efficient use of long, high ballistic coefficient bullets.

The 300 PRC, designed around a heavy 225-grain bullet, caters to both hunters and competitive shooters, offering a blend of speed, precision, and effective ballistics at extended ranges​​.

What’s The History Of The 300 PRC Cartridge?

Hornady’s 300 PRC was introduced in 2018.

It is a product of their extensive experience in engineering high-performance cartridges, such as the 6.5 Creedmoor and .375 Ruger.

The 300 PRC was developed in response to the growing popularity of long-range shooting. The cartridge is designed to optimize the performance of long-range bullets, offering minimal taper in the case body to maximize powder capacity and accommodate heavy, aerodynamic projectiles.

The 300 PRC was intended to provide superior performance at the longest ranges, and it stands apart from other .300 Magnum cartridges due to its unique case design and the ability to efficiently drive very long and heavy .30 caliber bullets.

This design and capability make it particularly well-suited for long-range hunting and precision shooting​​.

What Are The Differences Between 30 Nosler vs. 300 PRC Cartridges?

There are six differences between the 30 Nosler and 300 PRC cartridges, including the following.

  1. Ballistic Comparison
  2. Use Case Comparison
  3. Size & Design Comparison
  4. Recoil Comparison
  5. Shooting Range
  6. Cost & Availability

1. Ballistic Comparison

30 Nosler: When using 190-grain factory ammo, the 30 Nosler boasts a whopping muzzle velocity of 3,110 fps and 2,902 fps for the 210-grain. It retains a high velocity of 2,100 fps out to 500 yards, which is essential for long-range shooting effectiveness.

Using a 210-grain bullet, the 30 Nosler achieves a 3,928 ft-lbs muzzle energy – 500 ft-lbs higher than the 300 PRC.

300 PRC: I typically use a 212gr bullet for the 300 PRC. The 212gr bullet clocks a muzzle velocity of 2,860 fps, which is +- 50 fps less than the Nosler. However, when using a 190gr bullet, you achieve a similar velocity of 3,000 fps to the 30 Nosler.

Furthermore, it achieves a muzzle velocity above 3,700 ft-lbs. Even at 500 yards, it still has a velocity of 2,500 ft-lbs – perfect for any large-sized game.

Overall, even though the 30 Nosler achieves better muzzle velocity and energy, it appears the Hornody retains its velocity better.

2. Use Case Comparison

Both cartridges are designed for long-range shooting, but they have different primary uses.

The 30 Nosler, a popular choice among long-range hunters, offers high-velocity shots essential for downing large game like elk, moose, and grizzlies.

The 300 PRC, while also suitable for hunting, was developed with long-range precision shooting in mind, filling a niche for shooters seeking exceptional accuracy and performance at extended distances​.

Still, the 300 PRC can take down the toughest moose and elk on any given day.

3. Size & Design Comparison

Here is a detailed comparison of the size difference between these two cartridges.

300 PRC Specs:

  • Bullet Diameter: 0.308 in
  • Case Length: 2.58 in
  • Overall Cartridge Length: 3.7 in
  • Shoulder Angle: 30 degrees

.30 Nosler Specs:

  • Bullet Diameter: 0.308 in
  • Case Length: 2.556 in
  • Overall Cartridge Length: 3.340 in
  • Shoulder Diameter: .528 in

As you can see, the 300 PRC is the bigger cartridge with an overall cartridge length of 3.7 vs 3.34 inches.

4. Recoil Comparison

Recoil is a crucial factor for many shooters as it affects shooting accuracy and overall shooting experience.

The 300 PRC has a higher free recoil energy (32.42 ft-lbs) compared to the 30 Nosler (31.58 ft-lbs), which is slightly softer.

However, a 1 ft-lbs recoil energy difference should hardly be a deciding factor when choosing which cartridge to opt for.

5. Shooting Range

In terms of effective shooting range, both cartridges are capable of exceeding 1,500 yards on the range and hunting large animals beyond 500 yards.

However, the 300 PRC has a better long-range capability for precision shooting. But the 30 Nosler is better for hunting at long ranges as it retains its energy better.

6. Cost & Availability

The 300 PRC, though gaining popularity, still trails behind more established cartridges in terms of availability and variety of factory ammunition and hunting rifles​​. You can expect to pay anywhere between $2.8 and $6.5 per round.

In contrast, the 30 Nosler, while also not as common as some other .30 caliber cartridges, is readily available in various loadings and rifle options​​​​. But it’s quite expensive, ranging between $4 and $6.5 per round.

Which Cartridge Should You Choose: 30 Nosler or 300 PRC?

When deciding which cartridge to choose, I always tell people your choice should be based on your specific needs.

If you prioritize energy, a bit more versatility in bullet weights, and more standard long-action compatibility, the 30 Nosler is an excellent choice.

For those focusing on precision shooting, particularly at extreme ranges, and who prefer the use of very long, high BC bullets, the 300 PRC is more suitable.

Which Is Better For Hunting: 300 PRC or 30 Nosler?

For general hunting purposes, both cartridges are highly effective, but the 30 Nosler is the better cartridge for hunting.

Its higher velocity and energy offer a slight advantage in flatness of trajectory and stopping power, which is crucial for taking down that trophy elk.

However, the 300 PRC’s design for long, aerodynamic bullets provides excellent long-range accuracy, making it a strong contender, especially for hunters who engage in long-range shots like hunting in mountainous regions.

Should You Use 300 PRC or 30 Nosler For Deer Hunting?

For deer hunting, the 300 PRC is the better option. Both cartridges are more than capable, but the 300 PRC won’t damage the meat as much as the high-energy 30 Nosler.

Should You Use 300 PRC or 30 Nosler For Elk Hunting?

For elk hunting, go with the 30 Nosler. The extra energy and stopping power always come in handy when your shot placement isn’t precisely where it needs to be.

Should You Use 30 Nosler or 300 PRC For Hog Hunting?

For hog hunting, where shots can range from close to medium distances, I would go with the 300 PRC.

The only reason I would choose the 300 PRC is because it will have a longer barrel life even when using the same bullet weight as the 30 Nosler and the ammo is much cheaper, allowing you to shoot more hogs for the same price.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Is More Popular: 30 Nosler or 300 PRC?

It’s hard to say, as both cartridges were introduced in the same year (2018), but I would go for the 30 Nosler to be more popular. People love powerful cartridges, and that’s exactly what the 30 Nosler offers.

Can The 30 Nosler or 300 PRC Cartridges Be Used Interchangeably?

No, the 30 Nosler and 300 PRC cartridges cannot be used interchangeably. They are different in design, size, and ballistic performance, and require rifles chambered specifically for each cartridge.

The Bottom Line

Both these cartridges were introduced in the same year (2018) and fulfill the same role – providing exceptional long-range performance.

However, when comparing the differences between these two cartridges, it’s evident that they appeal to different user preferences. One has more consistent accuracy and is cheaper (300 PRC), while the other is more powerful and has a higher velocity (30 Nosler).

In the end, choose the cartridge that best caters to your needs.

About the author

Charles Neser

I'm a life long hunter & gun lover. Currently pursuing my Master's Degree (M.Sc.) in Animal Nutrition at University of the Free State.

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