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Franchi Momentum Elite Bolt-Action Repeater in 6.5 PRC

The Franchi Momentum Elite bolt-action repeater rifle in 6.5 PRC includes different features than the Varmint. Here are the details.

Franchi Momentum Elite Bolt-Action Repeater in 6.5 PRC

(Michael Anschuetz photo)

As my colleague Joseph von Benedikt aptly points out in his article on the 6.5 PRC cartridge elsewhere in this magazine, the round is gaining in popularity. He makes a good case for calling it “the trendiest hunting cartridge on the scene.” Franchi also must see the value of the 6.5 PRC because the company recently added it to the available chamberings in the fine Momentum Elite bolt-action rifle. I know I probably sound a little corny, but I like to say the 6.5 PRC has momentum—literally. (I also say that I don’t mind a little cornball in my house from time to time.)

Franchi Momentum Elite True Timber Strata camo stock
The 6.5 PRC Momentum Elite features a True Timber Strata camo stock. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The Excellent Momentum Elite

Editor in Chief Joel J. Hutchcroft reviewed the Franchi Momentum Elite Varmint rifle several months ago, so avid readers already may be familiar with the platform. The version that’s being chambered for the 6.5 PRC has some different features than the Varmint, but it’s built on the same action. Here are the details.

The Momentum Elite is built in Italy, and it features the unique one-piece chrome-plated RELIA BOLT. Up front, the bolt has three locking lugs with a recessed boltface. The bolt’s body is 0.86 inch in diameter. The extractor is a sliding-plate type, and the ejector is a plunger style. Bolt lift is 60 degrees, and the bolt knob has a sleek cone shape. On this sample, the bolt handle and knob are finished in Midnight Bronze Cerakote to match the finish on the receiver and the barrel. The bolt-release lever is located at the left rear of the receiver.

The Momentum Elite’s barrel is cold-hammer-forged steel, and it comes with a removable muzzle brake that has 36 holes. The barrel’s length is 24 inches, and the muzzle brake adds about 2 inches to that. (Other Momentum versions have 22-inch or 24-inch barrels depending on the caliber.) Overall length of the sample I used for this report is 46 inches with the muzzle brake installed. The barrel’s diameter at the receiver end is 1.07 inches, and it tapers down to 0.67 inch where the muzzle brake is attached.

Franchi Momentum Elite 24-inch barrel with muzzle brake
The Franchi Momentum Elite has a 24-inch barrel, complete with a removable muzzle brake. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The Momentum Elite features a detachable box magazine that holds three rounds of 6.5 PRC ammunition. Magazines for Momentum Elite rifles chambered in “standard” cartridges hold four rounds, and magazines for Momentum Elites chambered in Magnum cartridges hold three rounds. When inserted into the rifle, the magazine extends out of the bottom of the stock by about half an inch. The magazine release button is located inside the trigger guard at the front.

Franchi’s website says the Momentum Elite’s single-stage RELIA TRIGGER is “adjustable from 2 to 4 pounds.” My rifle’s trigger pull averaged 2 pounds, 14 ounces, according to five measurements with my RCBS trigger pull scale. That is light enough for me, especially since it’s a hunting rifle, so I didn’t think it needed any adjusting and left it just as it came from the factory. The trigger break was crisp and clean, with barely any noticeable take-up.

The rifle’s two-position safety is a toggle type located at the rear of the action on the right-hand side. “Safe” and “Fire” positions are indicated by white and red dots. The safety does not lock the bolt, so the chamber can be unloaded with the safety engaged.

Franchi Momentum Elite three-lug bolt
The Momentum Elite’s one-piece, chrome-plated, spiraled bolt has three large locking lugs, a plunger-type ejector, and a sliding-plate extractor. The bolt handle and knob on this version are finished in Midnight Bronze Cerakote. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The synthetic stock is what Franchi calls the “Evolved ERGONOM-X.” According to company statements, Franchi’s designers researched the five most common shooting positions and then created an ergonomic stock that offers comfort and efficiency in each position. The company also says the raised curves and crisp checkering on the fore-end and the grip areas work together to deliver a firm grip and steady aim in any weather.

The stock on my rifle has the True Timber Strata camouflage finish, which I think looks very nice with the Midnight Bronze Cerakote finish on the receiver, barrel, and bolt handle and knob. The bolt shroud, bolt release, safety toggle, trigger, trigger guard, and magazine are black. The stock also has two sling-swivel attachment points in the usual places, and both are recessed. The proprietary “Twin Shock Absorption” recoil pad reduces felt recoil by up to 50 percent, according to the company.




The Momentum Elite rifle comes with a one-piece Picatinny-style optics rail that is secured to the receiver with four screws (it is also finished in Midnight Bronze Cerakote), and we selected a new-for-2022 Sightron SVIII 5-40X 56mm ED riflescope with the company’s LRM reticle for this report. It’s a high-performance optic, and I have detailed its fine features in a Quick Shot starting on page 64. It’s an excellent optic, but I have to say I could really notice how unsteady my hold was when the scope was set on its highest magnification. On the other hand, being able to see the target downrange with so much clarity was a great boon to being able to place shots so precisely.

Franchi Momentum Elite detachable 6.5 PRC magazine
The detachable 6.5 PRC magazine holds three rounds. Standard-caliber magazines hold four rounds. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The scope is quite big. Unloaded and with no scope installed, the 6.5 PRC Momentum Elite rifle weighs 7 pounds, 2 ounces. With the big Sightron SVIII 5-40X 56mm ED scope installed, the rig tips my digital scale at 10 pounds, 15 ounces. And one more thing about the scope, the rings needed for the scope’s 40mm tube position it pretty high on the rifle’s receiver, and if I were to keep it permanently installed on the Momentum Elite, I would opt for a cheekrest riser of some sort so as to provide a consistent cheekweld. The Momentum Elite 6.5 PRC’s MSRP is $899.

A Joy to Shoot

With the rig’s 10-plus-pound weight, along with the multi-hole muzzle brake, the felt recoil was minimal. The 6.5 PRC typically generates between 16 ft-lbs and 20 ft-lbs of recoil depending on the bullet weight, powder charge, and muzzle velocity, which is not uncomfortable anyway, and with the weight of the rifle/scope combo, I hardly noticed it. For comparison, a typical loading of the .30-06 with a 150-grain bullet in an eight-pound rifle has about 18 ft-lbs of recoil, and a typical 143-grain bullet loaded in the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge and fired in an eight-pound rifle has about 13 ft-lbs of recoil.

Recommended


Due to the ammo shortage we’ve all been experiencing for way too long, I had some difficulty getting a variety of 6.5 PRC factory ammo to shoot for this report. I was able to secure four boxes with four different bullet weights. Two were Nosler brand, and two were Hornady brand.

Franchi Momentum Elite two-position safety
The rifle’s two-position toggle-type safety does not lock the bolt, so the chamber can be unloaded when the safety is “On.” (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The Hornady loads were the Precision Hunter 143-grain ELD-X and the Match 147-grain ELD-Match. Both loads feature Hornady’s proprietary Heat Shield polymer tips, AMP bullet jackets, streamlined secant ogive designs, and precisely balanced lead cores. Their ballistic coefficients are Doppler-radar-verified, and their factory-rated muzzle velocities are 2,960 fps and 2,910 fps respectively. As the accompanying chart shows, they averaged 2,914 fps and 2,855 fps respectively from the Momentum Elite’s 24-inch barrel. My averages are for five rounds each measured 12 feet from the gun’s muzzle.

The Nosler loads were the Trophy Grade 140-grain AccuBond and the Trophy Grade 142-grain AccuBond Long Range. Those two loads are factory-rated at muzzle velocities of 2,900 fps. When I chronographed them out of the Momentum Elite rifle, they averaged 2,747 fps and 2,765 fps respectively.

All four loads fired produced double-digit extreme spreads and standard deviations, indicating that they are manufactured to high quality standards with excellent consistency.

Franchi Momentum Elite closeup of action
The author found the new 6.5 PRC Momentum Elite to be easy to shoot accurately; the recoil was very easy on his shoulder. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

As for accuracy, I was impressed that all four loads averaged less than an inch for three, three-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest at 100 yards. At a very tight 0.50 inch, my best average accuracy was achieved with the Hornady 147-grain ELD-Match load. The Nosler Trophy Grade 140-grain AccuBond load averaged 0.77 inch. The Nosler Trophy Grade 142-grain AccuBond Long Range averaged 0.66 inch. And the Hornady Precision Hunter 143-grain ELD-X averaged 0.88. Again, each figure is the average of three, three-shot groups.

The 6.5 PRC was designed by George Gardner of G.A. Precision and Hornady, and it was released in 2018. “PRC” stands for Precision Rifle Cartridge, and I agree with what other writers have said in that it’s a pretty apt description. Since its introduction, the cartridge has been used with success in many shooting applications.

Franchi Momentum Elite two-position safety
The rifle’s two-position toggle-type safety does not lock the bolt, so the chamber can be unloaded when the safety is “On.” (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The PRC case is based on the .300 RCM (Ruger Compact Magnum) and .375 RCM, shortened to 2.030 inches, but with the same 30-degree shoulder angle. The PRC has the 0.532-inch rim diameter of most belted magnum cartridges, so it’s easily adaptable to many rifles with “Magnum” boltfaces. The PRC case size is optimal for long and heavy-for-caliber bullets. And the cartridge provides a fine balance of terminal ballistics, accuracy, and flat trajectory, and it’s suitable for hunting game up to and including elk and moose.

And the new Franchi Momentum Elite chambered for the 6.5 PRC with the True Timber Strata camouflage stock and 24-inch barrel puts the cartridge’s excellent attributes to good use. The rifle is accurate, it balances well, and it has a pretty reasonable MSRP by today’s standards.

MOMENTUM ELITE SPECIFICATIONS

  • MANUFACTURER: Franchi, franchiusa.com
  • TYPE: Bolt-action repeater
  • CALIBER: 6.5 PRC
  • MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 3 rounds
  • BARREL: 24 in.
  • OVERALL LENGTH: 46 in. (including brake)
  • WEIGHT, EMPTY: 7.1 lbs.
  • STOCK: Synthetic
  • LENGTH OF PULL: 14 in.
  • FINISH: Midnight Bronze Cerakote barrel and receiver, True Timber Strata camo stock
  • SIGHTS: None; Picatinny optics rail is included
  • TRIGGER: 2.88-lb. pull (as tested)
  • SAFETY: Two-position
  • MSRP: $899
Franchi Momentum Elite 6.5 PRC Accuracy and Velocity Chart

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