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Austin Orgain Precision Rifle Shooter Bio

Austin Orgain – Top Shooter Spotlight & His Experiment With 25-Calibers

This is part of a series of articles doing a deep dive with 6 of the best precision rifle shooters in the world. Each shooter has consistently been at the very pinnacle of precision rifle competitions for several years. I am sharing exhaustive details about their competition rifle, what they carry in their pack at a match, ammo load data, and some shooting and strategy tips. I’ll not just share what they are using, but on much of it, I will also share their thought process behind why they believe it gives them the best chance to win.

Meet Austin Orgain

Austin Orgain is a two-time Precision Rifle Series (PRS) champion and has the highest total accumulated PRS points over the past 7 years. The PRS is the major league of competitive long-range shooting. Austin was the PRS Overall Season Champion in both 2020 and 2021. He was the 2017 National Rifle League (NRL) Season Champion and won the 2020 Armageddon Gear Cup (AG Cup), the annual rifle match with the biggest cash payout that always attracts the best talent. Frankly, if you had to name one guy that has consistently dominated precision rifle shooting over the past 5-7 years – that has to be Austin Orgain!

Austin Orgain 2 Time PRS Champion

That’s why Austin Orgain was an obvious choice when I chose the top shooters to do a “What The Pros Use” spotlight article on. The other shooters that I plan to do spotlight articles on are below. I’ll publish these in alphabetical order (left to right below). I’ve already posted the spotlight on Austin Buschman, so my deep dive with Austin Orgain will be the 2nd in this series.

Top Shooter Spotlights
Austin Orgain's Son with His PRS Golden Bullet Trophy

Austin Orgain was raised in western Oklahoma in a small town called Hammon and lives there today with his wife and 3-year-old son (making a cameo on the right). Austin was interested in competitive shooting from a young age. In elementary, he shot BB guns competitively and later pellet guns and a shotgun. He’s been an active hunter for years. Austin primarily focused his competitive spirit on rodeo through college. He earned an engineering degree, and his day job today is as an engineer in the iodine extraction business. He seems to be another example of long-range shooting attracting us analytical, left-brain people.

After college, Austin moved to Woodward, Oklahoma, for a job. Woodward is home to Butch’s Guns, a great gun store that stocks more rifles and products for precision shooting than I’ve seen elsewhere. Austin had always been interested in long-range shooting but didn’t have the time or money up to that point. He bought his first custom rifle in 6×47 Lapua from Butch in 2015 and started shooting Butch’s local rifle matches, which were mostly “belly matches” that shot long-range from a prone position in what has become known as “Oklahoma troop lines.” Basically, all the shooters in a squad lay down at one time, and each takes a turn firing at target #1, and then they’d all move to target #2, and so on. First-round impacts would count for 2 points, and second-round hits would only count for 1 point. Austin said those matches were great for his development because they rewarded having good dope for your rifle and making a good first shot wind call.

Austin Orgain Shooting PRS Rifle Match

Austin quickly got up to speed on precision shooting because, by the end of his first year, he finished 2nd at the Oklahoma Practical Precision Shooters (OPPS) 2015 finale. That is a feat because the OPPS is one of the oldest precision rifle clubs, and I’d bet it’s home to more of the top shooters than any other club in the country.

Austin: “I kind of took to competing in long-range matches like a duck to water. I seem to have a knack for it, and I really wanted to learn about it. I researched a lot of different stuff, I talked to a lot of really good shooters, and I just observed how everybody else did things.”

Austin started shooting major, two-day PRS matches in 2016 and won his first national-level PRS match in April 2017. Since that first win, Austin has competed in 54 national-level, two-day PRS matches, and here is how he placed in those:

  • 14 Wins (26%)
  • 32 Top 5 Finishes (59%)
  • 47 Top 10 Finishes (87%)

That means Austin wins 1 out of every 4 matches he attends – and he’s done that for over 6 years in a row! Over the past 24 months, he’s only finished outside the top 10 once! Talk about consistency! Austin has already won two major PRS matches this year and is currently less than 1 point behind Austin Buschman and Morgun King in the 2023 season rankings. (View Austin Orgain’s latest match results)

I had an in-depth interview with Mr. Orgain, and here is how I currently plan to organize the content into several articles, each with a different focus:

  1. Meet Austin + His Experiment with the 25×47 and 25 GT (this article)
  2. Complete Rifle Setup
  3. How Austin Calculates & Trues His Ballistics
  4. Everything He Carries at a Match
  5. Ammo Load Data & Reloading Process
  6. Shooting Tips & Strategy (Practice, stage strategy, mental management, etc.)

Austin Orgain’s Experiment with the 25×47 & 25 GT

Austin has almost exclusively used a 6mm Dasher in competitions for the past several years. He used the 6 Dasher to win his back-to-back PRS championships and AG Cup – but this year, he’s been experimenting with some new 25-caliber cartridges.

Austin began the 2023 PRS season with a rifle chambered in 25×47 Lapua, which is simply a 6.5×47 Lapua case that was necked down to accept a 25-caliber bullet. Over the past several years, the overwhelming majority of top shooters were using a 6 Dasher or some variation of the 6BR, so it was interesting to hear Austin was competing with a new caliber.

Caliber Trends in the PRS

When the PRS started in 2012, 6.5mm cartridges were very popular. The first few years were evenly split between 6mm and 6.5mm calibers. But, in 2018, we saw the rise of the 6 Dasher and other 6BR-based cartridges (see the data), and the caliber choice among the top shooters seemed to solidify – and frankly, hasn’t changed much over the past 5 years. Around 80-90% of the top-ranked shooters have used 6mm cartridges for several years in a row.

Most Popular PRS Calibers

Honestly, one reason I didn’t do my annual “What The Pros Use” survey the past few years is that there didn’t seem to be much change year-to-year compared to the first several years of the PRS. As most competitive sports mature, you typically see a convergence to more uniformity. The path to success becomes “well established.” For example, in 100 or 200-yard Benchrest competitions, virtually everyone shoots a 6 PPC. It is “well established” that the 6 PPC is optimal for that particular application. I suspected maybe we were seeing that kind of convergence in the PRS on the 6 Dasher/BR cartridges. (Note: I do plan to do a survey of top shooters and publish my “What The Pros Use” series later this year.)

6 Dasher vs 6.5 Creedmoor

But, over the past two years, Morgun King has been using a 6.5 Creedmoor to become one of the top shooters in contention for the golden bullet (the trophy for the overall PRS season winner), which seems to have shaken things up a bit. A larger caliber with heavier bullets has more energy at the target and makes it easier to spot exactly where the bullet hit, which is a critical part of this game, so you can correct your next shot to center and get more hits. If you miss a target, it can be tough to determine where a small bullet hits – or it can even be tough to identify exactly where a small bullet hit on a plate. One of the biggest things that separates the top shooters from the mid-pack guys is they are straining to see every single bullet impact down range, so they can see if they were slightly left or right of center and then fine-tune their wind hold and try to perfectly center their next shot. But even the top shooters don’t see 100% of their impacts. It’s tough to see them all! All things being equal, a larger, heavier bullet that carries more energy downrange will make it easier to see your impact – so it can be a big advantage in this game.

Larger cartridges typically also have slightly better ballistics and less wind drift, which can potentially convert a miss just off the edge of the target into an edge hit. But if it were all about optimizing for ballistics and energy at the target, these guys would be using 28 Noslers or CheyTacs! The downside of a larger case and heavier bullet is recoil. The more recoil increases, the better your fundamentals need to be to shoot the rifle well, and increased recoil makes it harder to keep your scope on target and see exactly where your bullet impacted at distances of 400 yards or less.

Austin Orgain tried a 6.5 Creedmoor in competitions last year, and here were his thoughts:

“I had tried the 6.5 Creedmoor a little bit last year and didn’t really like it. I didn’t like the recoil of it, and I didn’t like that it was a lot more difficult to stay on target and see where you’re hitting on the plate with a 6.5 Creedmoor compared to a 6 Dasher, which is what I have run the most by far. I did like the big signature the heavier bullet left if you missed or the bigger signature on the plate when you did hit. So I thought this 25-caliber might be a nice balance between that recoil and the heavy bullet.” – Austin Orgain

Everyone is searching for that “Goldilocks” balance between these competing characteristics:

  • Good ballistics/low wind drift
  • Low recoil so you can stay on target and be in a position to see where the bullet hit
  • Ability to spot the bullet signature when it impacts down range (so you can correct and center the next shot)

It’s impossible to optimize for all 3 at one time, so we’re all trying to strike the “right” balance between those competing characteristics, which is very subjective. There is certainly no one-size-fits-all “right” answer, but it’s interesting to hear how one of the very best shooters in the world thinks about it.

So Why the 25-Caliber? And Why Now?

Austin still thought there was merit to using a slightly heavier bullet than the 110 gr. A-Tip that he’d be shooting from his 6mm Dasher for the past few years. While he’d concluded the 6.5 Creedmoor had a little too much recoil for his preference, the 25-caliber is between the 6mm and 6.5mm. Here is a comparison for the 6mm vs 25 cal vs 6.5mm:

6mm vs 25 cal vs 6.5mm

The 25 caliber is between the 6mm and 6.5mm but slightly closer to the 6.5mm in terms of bullet diameter and weight. The 25 cal is almost exactly 2 parts 6.5mm and 1 part 6mm.

While Austin was already thinking about heavier calibers, what tipped him over the edge to try the 25 cal was the release of the new Hornady 25-caliber 134 gr. ELD-M bullet earlier this year.

Here is a video where Hornady Ballistician, Jayden Quinlan, gives a brief overview of this new bullet:

Hornady reached out to Austin to see if he would do some testing with their new 25-cal 134 gr. ELDM bullet and give them feedback on it. Austin told me he already had an old 25×47 barrel on-hand that he’d chambered years prior when 25-caliber Blackjack 131 gr. bullets came out (no longer available today). He also already had dies and brass for the 25×47 from back when he experimented with the Blackjack, so he thought it’d be fun to dust those off and see how they worked with the new Hornady bullets. He wasn’t even sure if the freebore that old barrel was chambered with would work for the new Hornady bullets, but he gave it a shot.

6 Dasher vs 6.5x47 vs 6.5 Creedmoor

“When I tried out the new Hornady bullets in my 25×47, I was like, ‘Man, that thing actually shoots really good!’ I had tried the 6.5 Creedmoor a little bit last year and didn’t really like the recoil, but I did like how the bigger signature from the heavier bullets. So I thought this 25-caliber might be a nice balance between that recoil and the heavy bullet – and it really is. It’s quite a bit less recoil than that 6.5 Creedmoor, and obviously, it’s more recoil than a Dasher – but it’s a good balance between the recoil and the energy of the bullet downrange and on the plate. I don’t know that it really gives you a huge advantage over anything else, other than carrying a little bit more energy – but it has shot well for me.” – Austin Orgain

Austin has now won two major PRS matches using the 25-caliber, which has caught the attention of other top shooters. The first major, two-day PRS match Austin used the 25×47 in was Clay’s Cartridge Company Classic in March, which is known to be one of the most challenging PRS matches – and Austin won it with a 7-point lead over 2nd place and a 15-point lead over 3rd place! Then just a couple of weeks later, he took it to the Box Canyon Showdown in Kansas, where he finished 1 point behind Morgun King, but those two were 10 points ahead of 3rd place! “After that sequence of events, the 25-caliber really started catching some traction, and it seemed like a lot of people started ordering 25-caliber components,” Austin said.

I had already heard a few conversations among top shooters about the 25-caliber at the Okie Shootout PRS match I attended back in May, and I know other top shooters who have already spun up 25-caliber barrels to try it for themselves.

The End of Life for Austin’s 25×47 Lapua

When Austin first spun on the 25×47 barrel to test the new Hornady bullets, he wasn’t sure if he’d actually compete with it – but it clearly served him well.

Austin: “You know, I was kind of on a roll with that 25×47 barrel. I won Clay’s with it, I shot 2nd at Box Canyon, and that’s what I took to the Hornady PRC match. But at the Hornady match, I started dumping velocity on the first day. I noticed some shots started dropping low on some long range targets, and I kept having to adjust my velocity down. I actually pulled out a chronograph after day 1, and when I started the match I was running about 2740 fps and I was down to 2715 after day 1, and by the end of the day 2 I was down to 2680 fps. So I knew that barrel was pretty well done, and I had to pull it off the rifle. For not knowing how well it was going to shoot, that turned out to be a pretty special barrel. Apparently, I put more rounds on it a few years ago than I thought I had, because looking at the throat its been shot quite a bit.”

Austin still took 1st place at that Hornady Precision Rifle Challenge in June, despite his barrel going out and losing 60 fps from the start of the match to the end! In fact, he finished with a 6-point lead over the entire field! If you have competed in this sport, you know how crazy it is that he managed that kind of velocity change through the match and not only stayed in the hunt – but ran away with it! Austin, you’re ridiculous!

Austin Orgain Wins Hornady Precision Rifle Challenge June 2023

The 25 GT

Austin started with the 25×47 only because he happened to have a chambered barrel, dies, and brass on hand from a few years prior. He said the 25×47 had more case capacity than he needed because his goal wasn’t to push those 25-caliber bullets fast. Today top shooters are always more concerned with consistency than speed. The 25×47 was simply a choice based on convenience, but Austin wanted to find a case that was optimal for running 25-caliber bullets. His goal was to find something as consistent as the 6 Dasher in 6mm and 6.5×47 Lapua in 6.5mm, which is a tall order!

“I think the 6.5×47 Lapua is the epitome of a cartridge that is easy to load for. You can feed it Varget or H4350, and it’ll just shoot. You could probably put mud in that 6.5×47 case, and it would shoot great! And the same thing goes for the 6 Dasher. So I tried to find a cartridge between those two in terms of bore diameter and case capacity – and that’s the 25 GT.” – Austin Orgain

Last month, Austin began using a 25 GT cartridge in competitions, starting with the Hogdgon Punisher Positional PRS match in July 2023. For the 25 GT, he starts with Alpha Munition’s 6 GT brass and expands the neck of that case to 25 caliber.

Design Goals of the 6 GT:

George Gardner GA Precison GAP #6

Released around 2019, the 6mm GT cartridge was designed by Geoge Gardner of GA Precision and his friend, Tom Jacobs of Vapor Trail Bullets, with the goal of making the perfect cartridge for competitive rifle shooting. The 6 GT can easily push a 105-115 gr. 6mm bullet at 3,000 fps with a  modest 34-35 gr. of Varget powder. The case length and 35-degree shoulder of the 6 GT helps it feed from a standard AICS magazine without needing a spacer kit like the 6 Dasher or other 6 BR cases. The 6 GT case has a small primer pocket, which many believe creates a stronger case head, extending the life of your brass. Some also think a small rifle primer produces more consistent velocities, too. Many of these design features translate to the 25 GT, too.

Austin’s 25 GT is pushing the Hornady 134 gr. bullets at 2700-2715 fps. He told me he’s using 37.0 gr of H4350 in his 25 GT, with Alpha 6 GT brass and Federal 205 primers. (View Austin’s complete load details for his 6 Dasher, 25 GT and 25×47)

Bullet & Cartridge Choice: The Chicken or the Egg?

Does a new cartridge design drive bullet selection or do new bullet designs drive cartridge choice? It’s kind of like asking, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”

Bryan Litz

I remember a conversation with Bryan Litz where he told me, “Cartridge popularity always follows bullet design.” I’ve seen that proven true multiple times since he’s said that. You’ll usually see a shake-up in cartridge selection when a novel, high-performing bullet is released. For example, have you noticed how popular the 300 Norma Mag has become? Well, the rise in popularity of the 300 Norma started after Berger released the 215 and 230 gr. Hybrid bullets. Before that, there weren’t any heavy, match-grade, high-BC, 30-caliber bullets – but those new bullets were an optimal match for the 300 Norma and really let you get the full potential from that case design. Once they were available, it made a clear and compelling case for extended long-range use, and we saw a massive increase in 300 Normas. In fact, why did Austin have that 25×47 barrel on hand? Because he’d chambered it back when that high-performance, 25 cal Blackjack bullet came out!

Previously, there simply weren’t many good options in terms of match-grade, high-BC bullets in 25-caliber. There have been many great choices in 6mm and 6.5mm for years – which is why they’ve been so popular. There was never something intrinsically superior about the metric calibers. Both the 25-caliber and 27-caliber have some good hunting bullets to pick from, but they never seem to get much R&D in terms of match-grade, high-performance bullets. But Hornady now has a great offering in the 134 gr. ELD-M bullet and Berger also released a 135 gr. LR Hybrid bullet in 2021 (although the availability of that Berger bullet has been scarce to this point). With the new match-grade, high-performance bullet offerings, it shouldn’t be shocking to see some experimenting with that caliber.

Hornady A-Tip Bullets

If Hornady releases new A-Tip bullets in 25-caliber, I’d suspect 25-caliber cartridges might become even more compelling! Austin has been running the 6mm 110 gr. A-Tip bullet out of his 6 Dasher for the past 3 years, and it was extremely consistent for him. “Before I switched to the A-Tips, I was using the Berger 105 Hybrids, which is a great bullet – but in my experience, they just didn’t quite hold together as well at distance. When using the Berger 105 in switchy winds, you would play the left-edge/right-edge game. The 110 gr. A-Tips are slightly heavier and have a higher ballistic coefficient, so with the 110s, you wouldn’t have to play that left-edge/right-edge game as often. Instead, the 110 A-Tips would be more left of center and right of center, instead of edge of plate or off plate. I also felt like I gained a little bit of an advantage by having slightly more weight to see the bullet signature on a longer-distance target. The A-Tips were also just so consistent lot-to-lot, and the BC was so consistent shot-to-shot that I could print these super tiny groups at 900 yards. That’s how far the range is at my house, and I could just print these tiny, tiny groups with the A-Tips every time. When I realized how consistent the A-Tips were, I knew that was what it was going to take to win from now on.

It will be fun to watch the trend of 25-caliber cartridges in the PRS over the next few years. I have a feeling that as the new bullets become more available, we may see it become a more widespread choice in the PRS.

Other Articles From Austin Orgain’s Shooter Spotlight

This is part of a series that is taking a deep dive with 6 of the most dominant precision rifle competitors in the world over the past several years. I’m calling it “What The Pros Use: Top Shooter Spotlights.” We’ll learn what gear they run and why they feel those things give them the best chance of winning. They also share lots of shooting tips and strategies along the way! (View which 6 shooters and what all will be covered.)

You also might be interested in checking out the shooter spotlight I recently published on Austin Buschman.

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About Cal

Cal Zant is the shooter/author behind PrecisionRifleBlog.com. Cal is a life-long learner, and loves to help others get into this sport he's so passionate about. Cal has an engineering background, unique data-driven approach, and the ability to present technical information in an unbiased and straight-forward fashion. For more info, check out PrecisionRifleBlog.com/About.

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  1. Dear Cal,

    Thank you very much for these articles, your time and effort to interview the shooters and write these. It is well appreciated.

    It is interesting to see the interest in the 250. calibers, again…. Under correction, Dustin Scoruppa shot a 25 x 47 (I have seen some of his videos) and in an interview, Chad eckler and Francis Colon mentioned that “it is neither of either” relating to that it is not a 6 or a 6,5mm option. I would assume that both these experienced shooters have their reasons as to why. I suppose it had to win something against the winningest calibers out there to be noted again. In any case, we might just have to “watch this space” .

    Keep well and kind regards,


    • Thanks for sharing your thought, Maré. Glad to hear you’ve enjoyed the content in this series. It’s been fun to hear more of “the why” behind some of the choices these guys make and how they think about things.

      I’m not sure who Dustin Scoruppa is, but I can say none of the top-ranked shooters that I’ve ever surveyed over the years ever said they used a 25 caliber. I’m sure some shooters were using them over the past few years, but just didn’t use them to become one of the top ranked people in the nation. Honestly, until these new heavy-for-caliber, high-BC bullets came out you would have been at a disadvantage using a 25 caliber. The 131 gr Blackjack bullets were available for a little while, and they were competitive … but the rest of the 25-cal bullets were mostly lighter bullets mostly intended for hunting applications.

      I do agree it is neither the 6mm or 6.5mm. It has some of the pros and cons of each, but also the strength of a particular caliber often lies in the bullet selection that is available for it … and the 25 caliber is drastically more limited than 6mm or 6.5mm. Now you don’t need there to be several great bullets to choose from … most people only use one bullet, so as long as there is a good one that performs well from your rifle, that’s all you need.

      I agree it’ll be interesting to watch if/how cartridge selection of the top-ranked shooters changes based on this. Based on the conversations I’ve been part of with a few of the top shooters, I would bet $1 it shakes things up and you see more of them try a 25 caliber. But, I admit that is a smooth guess! As Austin said, he’s not claiming the 25 caliber is a huge advantage over 6mm or 6.5mm. Everyone is just trying to strike that “Goldilocks” balance between those competing characteristics that I mentioned. When the winner of a match is often decided by 1 point, even a very slight difference could decide if you win or not. 1 shot out of 200, that could be enough to put one of these guys in first – or drop them to 2nd! Now, for most people, the difference is completely negligible – but for those at the very top of the sport, even a 0.5% difference (1 in 200) could be what tips them over the top and helps them achieve the golden bullet.


  2. In my minds eye think I’m good as these guys but not delusional. However, I’ve had two precision rifles w/ NightForce scopes built from information on your site.
    As a lefty enjoy reading their details for no other purpose than too support the sport.
    Thanks Again…

    • Ha! I’m 100% with you. I’m certainly not as good as these guys, either! But, I also look at what these guys use when deciding what I use too. It doesn’t always mean it’s “the best” … but it does mean it’s absolutely capable of performing at the highest level. That means I’m the weakest link! But a lot of this is based on personal preferences or what they believe gives them personally a slight edge.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and letting me know you found this interesting!


  3. Thank you for the great information!

  4. Hi Cal

    Well I found this article very interesting.

    A few articles back you told me information on the 6.5 creedmoor would be coming. What I didn’t expect was an article about dumping the 6.5 for the 25-caliber. LOL

    First off I have never before read anything about someone not liking the recoil of the 6.5 creedmoor. But as most of these articles do, you got me thinking about it now. I may be shopping for a 25-caliber GT soon if I can secure steady supplies of the ELD 134 gr bullets here in Canada.

    Got a couple questions:

    1/ On your comparison chart of the 3 different calibers it states the Common Match Bullet Weight for 6.5 mm to be 150. I was under the impression that the most Common Match Bullet Weight for 6.5 mm to be 140.

    2/ Austin talks about the how consistent the A-Tips were. In fact he stated that was what it’s going to take to win. In your experience, are the A-Tips that much better than standard Hornady ELD Match bullets?

    3/ You advised to stay tuned for more details about Austin’s exhaustive load details. I am wondering if Austin has different loads for different distances. To be clear, does he shoot the same bullet load at 500 meters and he does 1000?

    Thanks for the great article.


    • Hey, Paul. For the 6.5 Creedmoor, I was actually referencing the spotlight articles on Morgun King, which is planned as the final shooter spotlight in this article (he’s last alphabetically). Morgun is using a 6.5 Creedmoor and is currently tied for 1st in the 2023 PRS season standings with a perfect 300 point score (meaning he’s taken 1st place in at least 3 major PRS matches this year). So there are absolutely guys using a 6.5CM at the highest levels. Austin thought the Creedmoor had a little too much recoil for him, but he also said he might be more recoil sensitive than most shooters. So I was certainly not trying to crap on the 6.5 Creedmoor in this article. It’s still a great cartridge, and if I personally could only own one rifle … it’d be chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. Luckily I don’t have to own just one! 😉

      Recoil is all relative. While I wouldn’t call the 6.5 Creedmoor a hard-hitting rifle with a bunch of recoil, it does have dramatically more than the 6 Dasher. I think if you shot a 6 Dasher rifle that weighed 20-25 lbs. like most of these guys are using, after the first shot you would turn and look at me and say, “Okay, now I get it.” They basically have no recoil. Your sights stay on the target the whole time (i.e. the target never leaves your scope’s field of view). With a 6.5 Creedmoor, it’s pretty hard to keep the target in your scope through recoil. The recoil isn’t violent, but it doesn’t allow you to see the flight of the bullet or see an impact at short range or from an improvised/unsteady position as easily as the 6 Dasher or another 6BR based cartridge.

      To answer your questions:

      1) I said 150 as kind of an average. For the 6.5mm, there are guys using a wider range of bullet weights. I’m sure many competitors still use a 140 gr, but I’d bet more of the top shooters use one of these bullets: Hornady 153 gr. A-Tip, Berger 144 gr. LR Hybrid, Berger 153.5 gr. LR Hybrid, or Berger 156 gr. EOL bullet. If you take all those bullets + the 140, the average weight of all of them is right around 150 gr … which is why I had that in the chart. But, I’d suspect more of the top shooters are using those heavier bullet than a 140 gr., but that’s just me guessing based on what I hear guys say at matches … so it’s all anecdotal. I guess we’ll have to wait to see the hard data when I actually survey all of the top-ranked shooters later this year.

      2) Yes. Very much so, in my opinion. I personally switched to A-Tips after seeing how consistent they were. I’m not sponsored by Hornady (or anyone else, so that I can publish a 100% independent view and my readers trust that). I 100% agree with Austin’s statements, and it matches my experience. I first tried the A-Tips in a 300 Norma I used for shooting out to around 2,000 yards, and I printed a 9-shot group at 1,622 yards with 8 bullets landing +/- 4″ from my water line for elevation. 1 of the 9 drifted about 12″ high (which could have been my shooting), but even with all 9 rounds that is very impressive BC consistency for that distance. I used them in the 2020 Nightforce ELR Steel Challenge in Wyoming, which had shots out to 2100 yards but mostly 700-1500 yards and I can honestly say that I didn’t miss a single target over 2 days because of vertical. I never went over or under a target, but only missed left and right because of wind (we measured wind gusts us to 60 mph onsite). That is very impressive, and it’s one of the big reasons I placed 4th overall that year. After that I tried the 110 A-Tips in my 6mm PRS competition rifle and have used them in every competition I’ve been in since. Based on my experience, I think the Hornady A-Tips are the best bullets out there. I haven’t tested that definitively, and would be very interested to know what the Applied Ballistics Doppler data shows that they’ve collected. I’m not sure they are better than the Berger LR Hybrids, but I feel like I can say with some confidence that the A-Tips are measurably better than the ELD-M bullets.

      3) Good question. I’m 99.9% sure that Austin doesn’t take out different ammo based on the distance of the targets on a stage. For example, he wouldn’t load some ammo for a stage with targets 1,000 yards and other ammo for 500 yards. I don’t think that would be against any PRS rules, but I’ve never seen anyone do that. I think that might be hard to manage, but not impossible. When Austin told me his load data, he didn’t mention any differences and just presented that as the load he’s currently loading his ammo at for PRS matches. I’ve heard him talk about his prior loads before, and he was never running multiple loads then, either.

      Great questions! I sincerely appreciate the follow-up questions about the content!


  5. Here in Europe lack of flashers on PRS targets in comps is keeping 6.5mm front and center folks that went down in caliber, kinda soured to miscalled points on big comps .
    Hope market for target flashers gets some competition

    • That’s a great point that I didn’t mention in terms of caliber trends. It did seem like when the 6 Dasher and 6 BR variants became dominant in the PRS, it was around the time that most big matches put the flashing target hit indicators on targets beyond about 800 yards. It can be pretty easy for an inexperienced RO to miss an impact with a slower 6mm bullet. That can be a pretty frustrating situation, but wouldn’t be as likely with a heavier bullet. I will say that even with a larger caliber, those target flashers are pretty nice. They don’t work 100% of the time, but they sure help the shooter collect all the points they earn.

      Thanks for adding that element to the conversation. That certainly can/should influence caliber and cartridge choice.


      • It seems 30$ Caldwell Flash Bang target hit indicators that appeared lately might change that ,fingers crossed

      • Cal, Mr T,

        To shed some light on why we still mainly use 6,5 mm’s in Europe..

        Here in Europe we are limited to the range of calibers offered by rifle manufacturers. Most of them that produce PRS styled rifles, produces mainly in 6,5 CM and .308 Win. (lots of good factory ammunition). I would further guess that the 6,5 x 55 Swede is up there in terms of a caliber option.

        I know of two companies who offers rifles in 6 XC, 6,5 x 47 Lapua, 260 Rem and 6 CM. (Victrix and Sabatti). Then to further complicate matters, ammunition options for the “exotic calibers” are rather scarce and limited. Norma and Lapua produce ammunition in these calibers.

        Interesting enough, both these companies also produces 6mm BR ammo, but nobody produces PRS rifles for these. The 6mm BR is mainly used for 300m target shooting and a new target rifle (if it is Swiss manufactured) will set you at least 6000 – 8000 back….


      • Wow! Very interesting. I’ve traveled some internationally, and it always surprises me how much the cost of rifles and ammo can vary by region. In some places a certain bipod might cost double what we pay in the US (or more), and in other places the cost of a really well made precision rifle suppressor is half of what’d pay! On the whole, it does seem like the cost of rifles, ammo, and other accessories are typically lower in the states.

        We are fortunate to have a few more selections for match-grade, factory ammo in Berger and Hornady. However, I’m not aware of any factory ammo options in 6 Dasher, which I’d bet is still the most popular cartridge in the PRS by a pretty wide margin. I also can’t think of any factory rifles that are chambered in that cartridge or the 6 BR. So we’re also limited to custom or at least semi-custom rifles if you want to shoot that cartridge (or any wildcat like a 6 BRA, 6 GT, 25×47, etc.), and you have to handload your own ammo and even wildcat your own brass in some cases. Alpha Munitions is certainly helping out the shooting community in the states significantly by producing brass in a wide variety of competitive cartridges so we don’t have to wildcat, and based on my personal experience I would say its in the same class as Lapua brass in terms of quality/consistency.

        Thanks for sharing the insight on different constraints there! I think you’re right. I bet that does drastically play into cartridge selection in Europe. At the end of the day, a 6.5 Creedmoor is still a great choice for precision rifle shooting (as is the 6.5×55 Swede). I think if you gave any of the top 10 shooters in the PRS a 6.5 Creedmoor, they would very likely still land in the top 10. In fact, at least one of them already chooses to compete with a 6.5 Creedmoor (Morgun King) and does extremely well with it. If I could only own 1 rifle personally, it’d absolutely be chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. It’s just a great all-around cartridge. So you shouldn’t feel like you are giving up much in terms of “optimizing” for this kind of shooting. At least you guys have that one great option – and Lapua has outstanding ammo, too!


  6. Cal

    Great article! Any thoughts / discussion on the 25 Creedmoor?

    • Hey, Jim. I haven’t seen anyone running a 25 Creedmoor in PRS matches, but honestly this is the first year any of the top shooters have run a 25-caliber that I’m aware of. I think Austin’s view in this article probably represents the thoughts of many of the top shooters. The Creedmoor may have slightly more recoil than is optimal for this game in terms of your ability to stay on target through recoil. Obviously Morgun King is using a 6.5 Creedmoor to win a lot of matches, so that doesn’t represent everyone … but I talk to a lot of these guys and I do think it represents the thoughts of most of the top shooters at this point.

      Now, you put a slightly lighter 25-caliber bullet in a Creedmoor (compared to 6.5 bullet weights), and you already reduced the recoil slightly. So I’m not saying it’s not a great option. But, I think most of these guys are wanting to run bullets at 2700-2900 fps. It seems like when you run in that window you can get really good consistency, and don’t have as tough of a time managing a load or your velocity. It just works match after match. That is what Austin was saying about the x47 Lapua case having more capacity than he really needed. He wasn’t filling it all the way up with powder because he didn’t want to push those bullets fast. A lot of guys say “low and slow” these days, because that is where you find the best consistency in terms of steady and reliable muzzle velocity match-after-match. It also keeps recoil down a little more when you aren’t running 3000-3200 fps, and that helps you spot shots and stay on the target through recoil too.

      So I would expect that more people trend towards the 25 GT and 25×47 than the 25 Creedmoor for PRS use, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if you see one or two guys trying the 25 Creedmoor. Lots of guys have tried the 6.5 Creedmoor over the past 2 years after the success that Morgun has had with it, and the 25 Creedmoor would have less recoil than that but still give you some benefit of the heavier bullet.

      Honestly, I would suspect that Hornady is working on an A-Tip bullet and when that comes out I bet you see A LOT of guys trying 25-calibers. Now, I don’t know that they’re doing that or have any insider information about that. I would just say they were dumb if they weren’t – and Hornady isn’t a dumb company.

      It’ll be interesting to see how all of this shapes up over the next 6 months or year!


  7. Cal,

    I have no doubt there is a growing interest in .25 cal chamberings and this article shown light on it perfectly. I shot a local match and a local shooter was doing very well with a .25×47. This conversation got me wondering, couldn’t a competitor use a .264 135gr ATIP to create the same energy and style load from a 6.5 creedmoor? Or is .25 gt/cm/dasher more efficient?

    One of the things newer shooters like me struggle with is spotting misses, bullet trace, adjusting for miss and missing things as a result of blinking after firing. Could you do an article with one of these pros about how to get better at this in the context of positional shooting?

    -John B Smythe

    • Hey, John. That’s a great question. You could mimic the energy with that bullet, but the BC wouldn’t be the same. I didn’t look it up, but I’d expect that if you had 2 bullets of the same weight but different calibers, the smaller caliber bullet should always have a higher BC (meaning it’d be more aerodynamic and better retain its velocity as it moves downrange). So they wouldn’t have identical ballistics. That means if you matched the muzzle velocity, the energy would be the same at the muzzle … but the 6.5mm bullet would slow down slightly faster, so you wouldn’t have the same energy at the target. If you tried to match the energy at the target, the 6.5mm version would need to have more energy at the muzzle (meaning more recoil). So it wouldn’t be exactly the same, but they would likely be very similar since there is such a slight difference in 0.257 and 0.264 bullet diameters.

      And, John, to your other comment about struggling to spot shots … you are absolutely on the right track. That is the key to this game. Most people get distracted by other aspects, but if you focus on improving there, that is where you’ll see the biggest change in your scores. Last week I placed 21st at a big two-day PRS match, and I feel like for the first time I know with absolute clarity what I need to focus on improving, and it is exactly what you said. I’ve tightened up a lot of loose ends, and I know with certainty that is what is holding me back the most.

      I personally have signed up for a JTAC class that is about 2 weeks away, and that is specifically what I hope to get better at during that training. The JTAC training is basically Austin Orgain, Clay Blackketter, Austin Buschman, and Justin Watts doing a little classroom time and then a lot of range time coaching specifically on precision rifle shooting. That group represents the last FOUR consecutive Golden Bullet winners (i.e. PRS Season Champs)! It’s a small class (max size of 16). I would say that’s the best practical advice I can give you for spotting shots. Live coaching and you actually saying what you saw after each shot and where you think the bullet was, and then those guys giving you tips on how to interpret how the plat rocked or why you saw the dust do whatever it did or why you most likely went high or low in a particular situation if you didn’t see any signature … those are the kind of practical things that are hard to learn by reading something. There are even some tricks they can teach on magnification and staying on target through recoil.


      I was also in a squad with Clay Blackketter this past weekend (2019 PRS Champion), and I shared an idea with him that I think could be the most efficient way to learn this – and the beauty of it is you could do it through an online course. He seemed like he was interested in creating it and making it available, so I’d like to give him some time to work on that before I share it. If he decides not to pursue it, I’ll do a blog post to share the idea so that hopefully someone would put the time into it so we could all benefit from it. I really feel like it is at least a $10,000 idea (meaning if someone made it, I bet they could sell 1,000 people on a $10 online course to take it) – and it might be a lot better idea than even that. Honestly, if I had the time I’d do it … but I don’t. I just hope someone else will do it and I can pay to take the online course once its done! 😉

      I did ask Clay this past weekend specifically if there was anything I could do to train on what you were asking. The one way he shared with me was to shoot at long range, and try to guess at exactly where you think the bullet hit. You might not have a ton of confidence in it, but lets say you think you saw the plate swing a certain way that makes you think you hit 2″ left of the center of the target. Let’s say you are firing at a 10″ circle. So if your bullet hit 2″ to the left of the center, you’d be 3″ from the left edge of the target. For your second shot, adjust your sights so that you try to send the next shot 3.5″ further left. He said the goal would be for the bullet to barely slip off the left edge, and if it does … you know you saw it correctly. If it hits in the center of the target, then you misread the movement on the plate.

      Clay also said that in their JTAC class they’ve seen thousands of rounds sent downrange and they are almost always being a spotting scope watching. After a student sends a shot, they’ll ask them where they think they hit. Clay said, “In our experience, 85% of shooters are wrong 85% of the time.” He said its really easy for a guy to see a plate move a certain way and think the bullet hit on the exact opposite side that it really did. He told me most people would be better served by asking themselves: “Where do I think it hit? Right side. Okay, I’m going to assume it must have been on the left side then.”

      That’s a funny thing, isn’t it?! I think because most plate are hung with the T-post hangers these days instead of chains or straps, being able to tell what side the bullet hit has become exponentially more difficult. I think when a plate that is hung from a rigid hook is hit, it rocks back on the side it was hit and rebounds so quickly that it is hard to see the first movement and we are seeing the subsequent rebound on the opposite side. It’s kind of hard to explain that in just words, but I hope that makes sense.

      Honestly, I think that idea that I shared with Clay this weekend would be crazy awesome and possibly the fastest way you could improve in reading both misses and hits. But, I want to give him a little while to work on it so hopefully he can benefit from it, and all of us can too.

      Join us for the JTAC class in September, if you can!


  8. I wonder what the barrel life of 25GT is like, compared to 6Dasher?
    Thank you

    • Hey, David. I asked Austin directly what he thought the accurate barrel life would be, and he said, “I still am not sure what the accurate barrel life will be on the 25 caliber barrels yet.” That is part of the downside of a brand new cartridge or wildcat … there isn’t much info out there on them, and there is still a lot to learn!

      I was at a big PRS match this past weekend, and a few of the top shooters were running 25 calibers … so I bet we learn a lot over the next 6 months.


  9. Thanks for your inputs and I am so looking forward to your other articles, always a great read and very informative.

    On a tangent, once you do have the time, can you update us wrt your shooting tunnel?


    • Thanks, Mare. I plan to do an update on the tunnel after I finish the last part on Austin Orgain’s spotlight series. So I’d bet that would be in around 6 weeks.


    • You bet, Mare. I plan to work on a detailed update on the underground tunnel project right after the last part of this series of posts spotlighting Austin Orgain, so stay tuned!