The Straight Wall Cartridge Revolution

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Video new straight wall rifle cartridge 2024

Several years ago, game agencies in many “shotgun-only” states let deer hunters also use straight-walled cartridges like the .450 Bushmaster and the .45-70 Gov’t. These straight walls (so-called because the brass goes straight from the base to the bullet) don’t have the reach of their higher-velocity counterparts and the agencies deemed them safe for hunting in more populated areas.

More modern versions of straight-wall rounds are now available, accurate and dependable hunting options that won’t dislocate your shoulder. This year both Remington and Winchester debuted two new options. And you don’t have to hunt in a straight wall state to use these very effective rounds!

Remington 360 Buckhammer

Straight Wall Cartridge

Optimized for lever actions, the new Remington 360 Buckhammer is available in two new Core-Lokt loads featuring 180-grain and 200-grain bullets, with more options to follow. Remington rates the new round as accurate and deadly on deer out to 200 yards, with muzzle velocities and downrange energies better than the workhorse .30-30 Win.

In its testing, Remington found that the 360 Buckhammer bullet left the muzzle of a 20-inch barrel at approximately 2,400 feet per second (fps), dropping 7.8 inches at 200 yards. Meanwhile a .30-30 projectile fired from a 24-inch barrel clocked in at 2,200 fps at the muzzle and was 8.4 inches low at 200 yards. The mighty 450 Bushmaster? Also with a 24-inch barrel, the round scored a muzzle velocity of 2,040 fps and dropped a one whole foot at 200 yards.

In all cases, the 360 bullet also retained more energy.

The 360 Buckhammer recoils like a light load from a .30-30 Win. lever action. Both the 180 grain and the 200 grain Core-Lokt loads recoil at roughly 14.1 foot-pounds (ft-lbs.) of energy, putting them under the .30-30 Win. at 16.3 ft-lbs. and considerably less than the shoulder-crunching 22.2 ft-lbs. courtesy of the 450 Bushmaster.

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Launch partner Henry Repeating Arms was first out with rifles chambered in 360 Buckhammer this past Spring, offering three lever actions and a single shot rifle. Remington worked closely with Henry to ensure that the 360 chambered, fed, and functioned admirably in lever actions.

Expect more rifle makers to debut new guns in 360 Buckhammer this fall and beyond, including bolt actions. Magnum Research, maker of the iconic Desert Eagle pistol, recently announced it was introducing the 360 Buckhammer to its BFR (Biggest Finest Revolver) line.

A 20-round box of both Core-Lokt options should retail for right around $37.00.

Winchester 400 Legend

Straight Wall Cartridge

Winchester debuted its 350 Legend in 2019, and the straight wall was an immediate hit with hunters in and out of states requiring deer hunters to such cartridge types. Now, Winchester stepped up the power factor by launching the 400 Legend, an even better choice for big bucks, hogzilla, and black bears. The 400 Legend offers excellent terminal performance with moderate recoil in a round rated as very effective at 300 yards and under.

Winchester ballistics testing found that the 400 Legend had 25-percent more energy than its 350 Legend “little brother.” This heavy-hitting cartridge boasts energy similar to the 450 Bushmaster but with 20-percent less recoil. The round also delivers 20-percent greater energy than the .30-30 Win. All Winchester’s ballistics testing was done with 20-inch barrels, using PowerPoint bullets.

For hunters who use 12-gauge slugs, but their state also allows straight walls? You might want to consider a changeup. Compared to slugs, the 400 Legend offers 100-percent more energy at 100 yards, greater penetration and half the recoil of that 12-gauge shoulder pounder.

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Right now, the 400 Legend loaded with Winchester’s 215-grain Power-Point bullet is the one option. The PowerPoint bullet has been a deer hunting fixture for decades, featuring gilding metal secured around a lead core and an exposed lead tip. Translation: exceptional expansion and massive energy transfer.

The round began shipping to stores in July. Winchester, though, promises many more 400 Legend loads for 2024 and beyond.

Savage Arms has promised over a dozen firearms chambered in 400 Legend in time for the fall hunt. CMMG, Mossberg, Mos-Tek, and Ruger will offer bolt-action and AR-style rifles, too. Winchester Repeating Arms promises 400 Legend rifles next year.

A 20-round box of the 400 Legend with the PowerPoint load should retail in the $30 to $35 range.

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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 >>