Dec 21, 2021
I am looking at having a custom rifle built and am trying to decide on a caliber and barrel length to go with. I am wanting to build a lightweight rifle and also want to run a suppressor. I am between 2 calibers right now but am open to suggestions. I also plan on reloading for whichever cartridge I chose so any cartridge is an option. I plan to use this rifle for deer hunting in the West and also elk hunting out West and other animals here and there. So, I would like a capable cartridge for bigger game and long distance.

The 2 rounds I am between are the 7 SAUM and Hornady's new 7 PRC. What I like about the 7 SAUM is that it is a short action round but ill probably put it into a medium action. It's also lighter on recoil. It also can handle heavy for caliber bullets. Then for the 7 PRC is that it will have factory ammo support. But it will be a long action.

The barrel length I am looking around is 20-22 inches. My question is how do long action cartridges handle out of short barrels vs short actions? Also, is recoil increased with shorter barrels or will it be the same?
Welcome to the forum and good luck making your decision. Either would do what you want them to do, but I think the 7 PRC might take longer since it's very new.
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With that barrel length, I would go with the 7 SAUM. Shoot it and by the time you burn the barrel out you will know if the 7 mm PRC has a strong following. If the seven PRC was going to be on a 300 PRC case I was going to build one. But since it is not I decided to build another 7 mm practical.
7SAUM in an XM 3.200" action.
I have loaded for a couple 20" 7 SAUMs and .280AI (ballistic twins).

To me, they are a decent mid-range rifle for deer and elk. The loss of velocity does them no justice. It does however make them a little more handy in thick stuff when you add a suppressor.

Expect 2750-2800 in a 175gr bullet weight range getting close to the top. Which is plenty for out to 600-700.
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7 SAUM, 22"bbl, unless you want to run a supressor.

Shorter barrel = lighter gun = more recoil

Shorter barrel = less velocity = less recoil

In my mind, the two pretty much cancel out.

Long actions tend to end up 1/2"-1" longer overall than a short action with the same length barrel.
I like the SAUM case in 6.5mm caliber, but that case doesn't have quite enough capacity for a long-range 7mm hunting rifle in my opinion. As Hand Skills points out, you don't actually save much length or weight with a short action, even less if you choose an XM action. So until 7 prc brass is more widely available, a long action and 7 RM chambering might be best for larger animals at longer distances.
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What is more important? Weight or length? The 7prc is an extra medium length action case at minimum so it will probably be like the wsm case's and do better in a long action. But this is all hypothetical because nobody outside of hornady has touched the 7prc.

I'd pick the SAUM out of the 2 that you mentioned but I'd also look at the Sherman magnums.
My elk rifle is a 7 saum. Gunwerks Magnus stock and 20” proof barrel. I run a suppressor 99% of the time. I have two loads for it. One is a 168 Berger and the other is a 143 hammer hunter. The 143 hammer load anchored an elk last year from a short 200 yards but I would feel confident out to 500 with that setup. I am getting close to 2900 fps with the 168 berger and h1000 and 3100+ with the 143 hammer hunter and h4350. (Disclaimer is fine brass now bc it takes a while. I was on the backorder list for 9 months from creedmoor sports before I got my last 200 pieces of ADG). I also just finished a 6.5 saum which is pretty awesome too. They are fun cartridges that are a great balance of recoil and energy on target. By the way my 13 year old son handles the 7 saum well and calls it “his gun” to give you an idea how easy it is to shoot.
I love .284 bullets. I’ve had a 7RM in different forms for decades. If your going to run it suppressed, it is hard to beat SAUM. I’m going 280AI on a build after doing a great deal of soul searching. It seems to be an efficient cartridge and hits a sweet spot for me. I’m not on the 7PRC train yet. If it is as difficult as the 6.5PRC to find components and ammo, I’ll pass. Sounds like you have a fun project in your future. Welcome to the forum.
I just finished a new custom rifle. It's a Zermatt origin long action with Magnum bolt face, proof research 300 win mag pre-fit barrel triggerTech trigger and peak 44 stock. With this setup bought an action wrench from Southern precision and a PMA barrel vice I can order whatever barrels I want as far as prefits and change out my bolt face to match the caliber. So you can have both calibers by swapping out barrels
How soon will you use the rifle? Between the 2, I’d go with the SAUM. More components readily available than the new PRC - in case the factory load doesn’t like your rifle.
I plan to try and start on it either at the end of this year or the beginning of next year.