Can You Hunt Elk With A 350 Legend?

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Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter, and Outdoorsman.

For many hunters, elk is considered a true challenge. You will need to hit in the right place, where thick bones don’t protect them. You’ll also need to use the right equipment, getting a bullet that is powerful enough to deliver a kill shot. So, is the .350 Legend a good choice when hunting for elk?

A .350 Legend will be powerful enough to kill an elk as long as you meet a few conditions. First, you will need to be relatively close. This cartridge has a range of 100 yards. You’ll also need to make sure that you are hitting the elk accurately.

The .350 has a lot of fans in the hunting world, delivering more than enough power to kill an elk. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about using the cartridge in a hunt.

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What to Expect When Shooting a .350 Legend

The .350 Legend is a more niche cartridge, lacking the mass appeal of something like the .30-30, and doesn’t have the brand name of Accubond. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t an effective weapon. Here is how the performance of the .350 Legend stacks up.

Why Was the .350 Legend Made?

Before we look at how the .350 Legend performs, it’s a good idea to take a quick look back at its history. This will give us more insight into the purpose of the cartridge and how it is used.

It stemmed from a curious mind at Winchester. They discovered that demand for the .450 Bushmaster was higher than expected. Interested, they decided to get to the bottom of this curiosity. They found that this was only being seen in some parts of the country. More specifically, it was being seen in:

  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Iowa
  • Ohio

This demand was being driven by the laws in these states. They required that hunters use a straight-walled cartridge. This was to try and protect the citizens in these states. These cartridges will have reduced range, so there is less chance of hitting a target by accident.

At the time, there weren’t a lot of manufacturers that were producing these types of cartridges. Because of this, the team at Winchester set about developing their own type of cartridge which would be suitable for use in these states.

The .350 Legend was the result. In many parts of the country, it remains a relative niche cartridge. But, where the law requires the use of a straight-walled cartridge, it has become a popular choice. It should be noted, though, that there are other legal requirements you need to consider. For example, it’s common for there to be rules about how long the bullet can be. Double-check these requirements before you start shooting with this cartridge.

It might also be a good choice for people in other states with strict limits on the type of cartridge they can use. For example, it can be a good option for use in California, as it doesn’t contain any lead.

If you are in parts of the country where these rules don’t apply, there are probably better cartridges for you to explore. This will give you more power, which is essential when you are hunting for elk.

Type of .350 Legend

There are currently five versions of the .350 Legend. The right one for you will depend on the type of hunt you plan on conducting. Here are some of the options that you can explore:

  • Deer Season XP. This is a 150gr bullet, which travels at 2,325 ft/s
  • Power Max Bonded. This is 160gr moving at 2,225 ft/s
  • Power-Point. This is the 180gr option, which moves at 2,100 ft/s

If you are planning on using the gun for elk hunting, you should pick something that has a higher grain. The heavier bullets will do more damage when they hit their targets.

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Recoil

Now that we know a little more about the history of the cartridge, we can turn our attention to how it performs when hunting for elk. In this area, one of the most important areas to consider is how much recoil you will experience.

For a relatively powerful bullet, it doesn’t pack a lot of punch when fired. For comparison, you will get 20 percent less recoil than you would from a .243 Remington. Even better, this gun doesn’t have a lot of muzzle blast. This makes it one of the lowest-recoil guns on the market.

Because of these elements, the .350 Legend is often touted as a good choice for beginners. It might also be a good pick for an older hunter. This is one of the biggest selling points for this cartridge.

Penetration

This is one of the most important statistics for any hunter. It tells you how much damage you will be able to do to your target species. In this case, the .350 Legend will be able to penetrate about 11.7 inches when fired from over 200 yards away.

This is a decent amount. If you hit in the right place, this will be enough to kill an elk. Even if you don’t make the initial kill, it should open up a deep enough wound to create a strong blood trail. This will allow you to track the wounded elk and deliver a kill shot.

It should be noted that this bullet will perform closer to a .30-30 when you are shooting. So, you shouldn’t expect anything that will be able to put down a bull from a long distance. But, at closer ranges, it can prove to be a lethal choice.

Accuracy

One of the most important elements to consider when choosing a cartridge is how accurate it will be. The longer the bullet is flying, the more it will drop. Here are some general outlines of what you can expect:

  • At 200 yards it will drop by 7.6 inches
  • By 300 yards it has dropped 28 inches

The good news is that most hunters will be shooting for elk from a fairly close distance. Because of this, you won’t have to worry about the bullet dropping too much.

From 100 yards, you should be able to get a grouping of around one inch. This is better than other bullets on the market. When combined with the low recoil, you should be reasonably confident about your ability to hit your target.

Cost

As we mentioned, this cartridge was developed in competition with existing bullets, most notably the .450 Bushmaster. Because of this, the cost of the cartridge was an important factor to Winchester.

It can vary a little, based on where you are getting it from. But you will generally be able to pick up a box for between $19 to $22. This is much cheaper than the other ammunition on the market, partly because of Winchester’s ability to mass-manufacture the cartridge. An average box of ammunition can cost up to $32.

What is the Range of a .350 Legend?

When you are hunting with a .350 Legend, you will need to be under 100 yards away from the elk. This ensures that you will be able to kill the animal.

The effective range will depend on the type of animal you are targeting. Some hunters report being able to use these cartridges to kill whitetail deer from around 200 yards away. From this distance, it will have around 900 pounds of force.

While this is more than you could expect from a .30-30 rifle, it won’t be enough to kill a large animal like an elk. You will need to get at least 1,500 pounds of force to do this. Usually, it’s best to make sure that you are under 100 yards from the elk. This ensures that you will be able to do enough damage to land a kill shot. You should also be patient, waiting until you are presented with a clean shot at the target.

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Is the .350 Legend Powerful Enough to Kill an Elk?

You should be able to use the .350 Legend to kill an elk. You just need to adapt your hunting style accordingly. It has a limited range, so you will need to get closer to the animal before you take the shot. It’s also important to accurately target weak spots, giving you the best chance of landing a kill shot.

This is the most important question to address. After all, the worst thing you can do is hunt with a cartridge that is too weak. You won’t have enough power to kill the animal. But you will be able to hurt them.

The .350 isn’t designed for larger prey, like the elk. It is largely a deer hunting cartridge. Though this doesn’t mean that it is impossible to kill an elk with the .350 Legend, it does mean that you will need to be more selective about the type of shots that you are taking.

Here are some guidelines you should consider before deciding whether or not you should take the shot:

  • Distance to the elk. As we’ll discuss later, there are a few elements that can affect the range of the bullet. But it’s generally best to limit to a distance of under 100 yards. This will ensure that you will get a kill shot.
  • Position of the elk. Without the raw power offered by other hunting cartridges, you’ll need to make sure that you are hitting the elk in the right place. So, it’s worth waiting until they are standing in the right place.
  • Accuracy. Before you go on the hunt, you should do a few practice shots. This gives you a better idea of how accurate you will be. It also gives you a better idea of the effective range. If you aren’t confident in your ability to land a kill shot, don’t squeeze the trigger.

As long as you wait until you have a high probability shot, the .350 Legend will be enough to kill an elk. But if you like hunting from a distance, it might be best to consider getting a more powerful option.

As we mentioned earlier, it’s best to approach them like you would a .30-30. So, you will need to be a more active hunter, stalking the animals and getting into the right position before you decide to take the shot.

What Can You Hunt With a .350 Legend?

While it can kill an elk, this isn’t what the .350 Legend was designed for hunting. Here are some of the species that it was designed to target:

  • Deer. When Winchester developed the .350 Legend, this is the species that they had in mind. Many deer hunters report being satisfied with the performance of this cartridge, as it offers little recoil, with plenty of force to kill one of these animals.
  • Hogs. Another popular species is the hog. Like a deer, it will offer the power needed to take down one of these animals.
  • Bears. In some circumstances, hunters report being able to kill bears using one of these guns. However, this can be a difficult shot to make, as you will need to make sure that you are hitting them in the right place. Because of this, it’s best to wait until the bear has been baited, so you can get more control over its position.
  • Coyotes. This is a species that requires both accuracy and power to kill. The .350 Legend has both.
  • Varmint. Some hunters use this gun when hunting for smaller varmint species.

Other Hunting Cartridges to Consider

If you like to hunt up close, you might love using the .350 Legend. It is an easy cartridge to use without too much recoil to knock you back. But if you like to hunt from a distance, this isn’t the right choice for you. You might be able to hit the elk, but it’s doubtful that you will have enough force to kill one.

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The good news is that there are plenty of other options that you can explore, including:

  • Nosler 160-grain Partition. Nosler has become synonymous with some of the most powerful hunting cartridges on the market. They offer deep penetration. If they don’t kill the elk instantly, this will provide a large blood trail that you can follow. A good alternative to explore is the Nosler Accubond.
  • Berger Bullets. These are made from copper. So, they will be able to break apart when they impact the target. This does a lot of damage, providing a strong blood trail. If you are interested, you can read more about these bullets in this post.
  • 170-grain Core-Lokt. This is one of the most popular hunting bullets in the world. It’s been used for over 75 years, so it has a long track record of putting down elk.

It should be noted that this is just a small selection of the type of cartridges available on the market. It’s best to be selective about the options that you are using. This will allow you to find something that suits your hunting style.

Some people prefer to stalk, getting close and into a good position before taking the shot. Others like to work over a distance, killing elk from over 200 yards away.

Tips for Hunting With the .350 Legend

It’s common to adapt your hunting style to suit the type of cartridge you are using. The .350 Legend is no exception. Here are some of the ways you can ensure you have a good hunt:

  • Try stalking. The .350 Legend has a limited range. So, you will need to get closer to the elk before you take your shot. This means placing a greater focus on things like your clothes, reducing your scent, and avoiding making too much noise.
  • Use a tree stand or blind. This is an alternative to stalking the animal, allowing them to move close to you. If you can predict where the elk will be and position yourself accordingly, this can prove to be a lucrative opportunity.
  • Shoot in the right position. You won’t have as much power as the larger cartridges, so you will need to be a little more selective about the type of shots you are taking. Wait until the elk move into the right position, so you have the best chance of making a kill shot.
  • Practice. This is an important step for any cartridge. You need to get used to shooting it before you take it hunting. This ensures that you will know its limitations and get the best performance from it.

As long as you keep these elements in mind, you shouldn’t have too many problems killing an elk using the .350 Legend.

Final Thoughts

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Killing an elk is difficult at the best of times. To have any chance of success, you will need to make sure that you have the right tools. Most importantly, you’ll need to make sure that you are using the right cartridge. The .350 Legend will do the job. But with less power, you will need to make sure that you are sticking to a more limited range. It’s best to wait until the elk is less than 100 yards away and you have a clear view of the vitals. If you have the patience to do this, you should see success when employing this cartridge.

Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. Since he was a child, he has been hunting and fishing and has over 20 years of outdoor experience. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channel dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.

Sources

  • https://www.gunsandammo.com/editorial/winchester-350-legend-cartridge/359189
  • https://www.rifleshootermag.com/editorial/winchester-350-legend-review/364217
  • https://www.fieldandstream.com/12-best-rifle-cartridges-for-elk-hunting/
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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>