I’m the kind of hunter who gets jacked when a new Wildcat cartridge is released, and with the 350 Legend, it was the name that got me. I hear “legend” and think of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Mike Tyson, and so on, and I was in from the get-go.
As a Western hunter, I didn’t see the immediate value in the 350 Legend. I thought the name was excellent, and I wanted to purchase a lever action model and use it on the range and, possibly one day, harvest an elk with it, but I wasn’t sure of its immediate purpose.
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The 350 Legend is a rifle cartridge developed by Winchester Repeating Arms Company and introduced in 2019. The development of the cartridge began in 2017, the goal being to create a cartridge that would be legal for hunting in states with restrictions on using high-powered rifles. The cartridge was designed to deliver a moderate amount of power while still meeting the straight-wall cartridge requirements.
Winchester developed the cartridge using their extensive experience in designing hunting ammunition. The cartridge uses a .357-inch-diameter bullet and has a case length of 1.71 inches. The cartridge is designed to be used in rifles with a maximum pressure of 55,000 psi.
The 350 Legend has a maximum effective range of about 200 yards and is suitable for hunting various game, including deer, hogs, and coyotes. The caliber has caught fire with the predator-hunting crowd. It has gained popularity among hunters and shooting enthusiasts who appreciate its low recoil and high accuracy.
In its infancy, the 350 Legend is a relatively new cartridge developed to meet the needs of hunters in states with straight-wall cartridge requirements. Its popularity is growing, and it will likely remain a popular choice for hunting and shooting enthusiasts in the future.
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Why the 350 Legend?
Many states that make the weekly highlights reel for producing gagger whitetail deer recently made legislative changes that allow rifle hunting, but laws still limited hunters to using only a straight-wall cartridges. Enter the 350 Legend.
Launched by Winchester at the 2019 SHOT Show, many immediately compared the cartridge, though it was a straight-wall, to the .223 Remington. However, Winchester chose a new case design with a more extensive base than the .223 Remington. The rim was rebated to .378-inch diameter, so the 350 Legend could be used in bolt action rifles, lever guns, and what many modern-day straight-wall deer hunters are going to — a standard AR-15 caliber. The versatility of the cartridge has been a huge selling point.
A smaller cartridge ideal for hog and whitetail pursuits, most 350 Legend rounds (depending on the style and weight of the firearm) produce minimal recoil and muzzle blast. This makes them great for young shooters getting into deer hunting and small-framed shooters who despise shoulder abuse. Lack of recoil, combined with a muzzle blast that doesn’t look like a bomb went off, helps shooters build confidence.
Another area in which the 350 Legend shines is in the whitetail woods. Most ballistic fanatics dub it as a 200-yard-and-under caliber. Take a load like Federal’s famous Power-Shok Rifle 350 Legend 180 Grain, which has a solid muzzle velocity of 2,100 fps, but if the shooter is sighted-in dead-on at 100 yards, the typical bullet drop is 9.4 inches at 200 yards and 34.1 inches at 300 yards.
It was these ballistics that lawmakers loved. The excellent news for whitetail hunters is that in most whitetail-heavy areas, the cover is thick, and most shots are between 75 and 150 yards. At this range, the 350 Legend hits with a wallop and does a number on medium-sized game.
How big of a wallop? According to testing performed by Winchester, the 350 Legend produces more downrange energy than the .30-30 Win and .300 Blackout — both well-respected deer calibers.
A Multipurpose Round and Rifle
Another attractive feature is its versatility. This is a very user-adjustable hunting rifle. I went on an aoudad hunt in Texas with a buddy toting an AR-15 platform chambered in 350 Legend. He packed a trio of detachable magazines and made a brilliant shot at just a tick over 200 yards on an aoudad.
The next day, when a sounder of hogs came boiling out of some brush, he went to work on his trigger and put four hogs down to my one. Seconds later, as we rounded another bend in the creek, four more hogs sprinted uphill, trying to find cover in the rocky bluffs. My buddy dumped his detachable mag, slammed in a fresh one, and ate up all four pigs in a matter of seconds.
The reduced recoil of the 350 Legend and increased penetration from his 150-grain Winchester Deer Season XP bullets allowed him to stay in his Leupold scope and move from target to target. The devastation caused by the large-diameter polymer-tip bullet meant one-shot kills.
I like the caliber for lever action lovers like me, and Henry’s 350 Legend Single Shot Rifle has my heart. Henry also makes a single-shot .450 Bushmaster that has been tempting my credit card to come out of my wallet. I love the simplicity and the challenge of a single-shot rifle. This is another feature that makes the straight-wall design appealing — it can give that nostalgic feel of a classic .45-70, but it also cycles like a dream from popular bolt guns and AR-style rifles.
Ammo Costs Won’t Kill You
The cost of ammunition is another win. I noted at the beginning of this article that I purchased my 350 Legend primarily for recreational shooting. The beautiful thing is that the round is cost-effective for large-scale ammunition manufacturers, so the cost to the consumer (in a time of ultra-high ammo prices) is greatly reduced.
The brass used to make 350 Legend ammo starts in the same machines as those used to mass-produce .223 Rem, and the Legend also gets produced on the same machines used to create 9mm Luger ammo — which as you know, if you’ve done your homework, is one of the most popular ammunition types in history.
Winchester makes a 145-grain 350 Legend Full Metal Jacket round that, depending on which box store your purchase it at, is going to run you around $16 for 20 rounds. A box of .223 Rem and FMJs will set you back roughly $13 per box of 20.
If you’re in the market for a versatile caliber offered in any style of long gun you want, look no further than the 350 Legend. The caliber will serve your needs in the field and on the range.
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350 Legend Rifle FAQs
What is a 350 Legend comparable to?It is very close in size and felt recoil to a 5.56. And while some compare it to the .450 Bushmaster, which is also a straight-wall caliber, the 350 Legend produces more than half the felt recoil of the .450 Bushmaster.
What is a 350 Legend rifle good for?Because of its lack of recoil and muzzle blast, this is a tremendous recreational caliber for those looking to bang steel, but it is also a fantastic choice for medium-sized game such as whitetail deer and feral hogs.
How far will the 350 Legend shoot accurately?This is a 200-yard-and-under rifle. Shooters who want to punch paper or lungs past 200 yards should look to a bottleneck rifle caliber.
What is the most accurate 350 Legend?That is difficult to say, as different shooters find different platforms more accurate than others. Just know it’s tough to beat a bolt gun with a free-floated barrel regarding pinpoint accuracy.
5 Best Ammo Choices for the 350 Legend
- Winchester Deer Season XP 150-Grain
- Federal Power-Shok Rifle 180-Grain
- Hornady American Whitetail 170-Grain
- Winchester 255-Grain Super Suppressed
- Winchester Copper Impact 150-Grain Extreme Point
5 Best 350 Legend Rifles
- Winchester XPR Stealth
- Henry Single Shot Rifle
- Bushmaster Bravo Zulu
- Ruger American Ranch Rifle
- Mossberg Patriot
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