Browsing through the CIP cartridge standards while doing a research, I noticed several cartridges named PICRA. The name was unknown to me and apparently, it is unknown to many others too. So I thought why don’t I do a little research to find out who has designed these cartridges? It was a matter of simple web search to find that company’s website. It turns out, that there is more than a couple of cartridges developed by them. In this article, we’ll learn about the PICRA company and take a brief look at their cartridges.
PICRA is a Czech company founded by a gentleman named Ivo Picek in 1990 in Rakovnik, Czech Republic. The company name is an acronym made of the first syllables of the founder’s surname and the town the company is located in – PICek RAkovnik.
Ivo Picek was a long time competition shooter in the metallic silhouette shooting sport. He was a 90-time champion of Czech Republic, 17-time European champion and 7-time world champion. His experience in this field eventually led him to found a company and start designing and manufacturing firearms and ammunition for the metallic silhouette shooting sport and not only. Particularly, the company makes a single shot pistol and a revolver for the mentioned competition discipline as well as hunting guns and some unusual ones like a net gun for catching animals alive and an acoustic gun for gunfire imitation used in film industry and recreations. To learn more about this company’s firearms, visit their website. We’ll skip the in-depth discussion of the guns and jump to the ammunition.
There is about a dozen of cartridges designed in PICRA. Some of them are wildcats and others are officially standardized in CIP. The company states that they are using modern technologies when designing the cartridges to achieve the most efficient results for any particular task. Let’s take a look at each of these cartridges.
This cartridge is made by necking down the 7.62x25mm Tokarev to .224 caliber. According to the company, a 2.9gram (45 grain) projectile fired from an 8″ barrel achieves a muzzle velocity of about 2,300fps (700 m/s) and muzzle energy of 524 ft*lb (710 J). They also point out that this cartridge has an increased penetration power of ballistic protection.
This cartridge is developed in 1999 for one of the metallic silhouette shooting divisions. It is based on an improved .22 Hornet case with less case taper and shorter neck. It is pretty reminiscent of .22 K Hornet. This is also one of their CIP standardized cartridges which drawing you can download by clicking here.
There are two versions of the .308 PICRA cartridge with the only difference being the overall length. The one pictured on the image is designed to be chambered in their SP-96 single shot pistol. It is based on the .308 Winchester case shortened to 46mm (1.811″).
The second version is loaded with shorter bullets (or deeper set ones) to fit the cylinder length of the SR-97 revolver. The overall length of the revolver version of this cartridge is 59mm (2.323″). It is a bit longer than the .460 S&W which means the SR-97 revolver must be comparable in frame size to S&W X-frame revolvers.
This cartridge is also designed for metallic silhouette shooting. It is based on an improved 7.62x39mm case necked down to .264 caliber (6.5mm). The result is a .264 caliber cartridge with much larger case capacity than the parent case. The .260 PICRA is another CIP standardized cartridge which drawing is available via this link.
.260 R PICRA
This cartridge is based on the 5.6x50mmR Magnum case. It is ballistically similar to the .260 PICRA with the difference of having a smaller diameter, but higher pressure rimmed case.
The .30 PICRA cartridge is based on the .357 Magnum case necked down to .30 caliber. It is also designed for the metallic silhouette shooting. The CIP standard of this cartridge can be downloaded by clicking here.
This one is the 7.62x39mm slightly necked down to accept .308 caliber projectiles. At first, it seems to be a useless wildcat cartridge, however, they actually solved two problems by designing it. With this cartridge, the shooters can use the huge variety of commercially available .308 bullets as opposed to the poor selection of .311/.312 projectiles that the 7.62x39mm is originally loaded with. However, that was probably a side effect/advantage. Originally the purpose of making the 30×39 PICRA cartridge was that some European countries banned the use of military cartridges in competition shooting sports. Such conversion allows to copy the 7.62x39mm ballistics and comply with the law.
The designation of 30×39 indicates that it is a .30 caliber cartridge with a 39mm case length. This is perhaps one of the most unusual and confusing cartridge names representing a mix of imperial and metric cartridge designation systems.
Designed for the metallic silhouette shooting, this cartridge is based on the 7.5x55mm Swiss (a.k.a. GP11, a.k.a. Schmidt-Rubin). The parent case was shortened to 46mm (1.811″) and the neck/shoulder area was redesigned. It was developed in cooperation with Swiss ballistician G. J. Wasser. The designation of the cartridge (WP) stands for Wasser-Picek.
This revolver cartridge is based on the .375 Holland&Holland case which was shortened to 46mm (1.811″) case length and loaded with .458 caliber projectiles. Although initially designed for the competition use, PICRA also recommends it as a hunting cartridge.
Dimensionally, it is something in-between the .458×1.5″ and .458×2″ American cartridges designed by Frank Barnes, the author of famous “Cartridges of the World” book.
The .260 WP is also the result of the collaboration of Ivo Picek and G.J. Wasser. Just like the .300 WP, it is also based on the 7.5x55mm Swiss case.
The .360 PICRA was designed for the hunting use. Judging by the designation, case appearance, and case dimensions in relation to the bullet, I assume it is a .358 caliber cartridge based on the .375 H&H case.
.300 PICRA Magnum
This cartridge is based on the .416 Rigby case and it is designed for long-range shooting. Since the .338 Lapua Magnum is also based on the .416 Rigby case, it would be interesting to see how the two compare.
That’s the brief description of Czech PICRA family of cartridges. Unfortunately, we don’t have detailed ballistical data or description available on these cartridges.
Please share your thoughts on these cartridges in the comments section.