Jerry Miculeck calls the Winchester .350 Legend a 'versatile round with legendary power.'
That's a ringing endorsement from an industry legend, but some shooters may still be wondering, 'Why do we need it in the first place?'
WHAT IS 350 LEGEND?
In short, the Winchester 350 Legend is a rifle cartridge designed to help hunters in states with strict regulations on the types of ammo they are allowed to use on the hunt.
Normally the restrictions limit hunters to using straight-walled ammunition only. If you are asking, 'What is straight wall ammunition?', straight wall ammunition is loaded into a case that has no shoulder (taper, if you will) at the point where the projectile rests in the case. The case is straight minus the bevel at the rim of the cartridge (the portion where you would find the primer in a centerfire round).
The idea is that straight-walled ammo allows an ethical kill during the hunt while preventing over-travel of the projectile in high-population areas. In short: keep the hunt effective and safe.
But don't allow yourself to limit the .350 Legend round to a hunting round only. That would be an injustice to the accuracy and power of this cartridge and its capabilities as a sporting round.
Within 300 yards, this round offers great power with minimal recoil.
That's an idea every shooter of every discipline should celebrate.
When it comes to hunting in restrictive states like Michigan, Iowa, Ohio or Pennsylvania, the .450 Bushmaster has become one of the premiere calibers for staying compliant to the government's restrictions that mandate only straight-wall cartridges be used.
So, where does .350 Legend fit in? And does it do more or less than its straight-walled peers?
Winchester describes its 350 Legend as 'a hunting bullet far-better suited to deer than many of the choices available for handgun cartridges: streamlined for flatter trajectory, large polymer tip for accelerated expansion, and a precision jacket and core for accuracy, penetration, and energy transfer'combined with mild recoil'
Here are the basics of the .350 Legend:
Bullet Diameter: .357 inch
Shellcase Length: 1.71 inches
Overall Cartridge length: 2.26 inches
The .350 Legend cartridge carries twenty percent more penetration with twenty percent less recoil than the .243 while pushing out more energy than a 30-30, 300AAC or the .223 Remington.
Those stats alone give the shooter a reason to pause and consider the round's attributes. There's something to be said about carrying that much power in a round that brags about its reduction in recoil.
More specifically, shooters in restrictive states like Michigan, Indiana and Ohio (where firearms hunting is heavily regulated) have begun to take note as the heavy-handed .450 Bushmaster is not as easy on the shoulder as many hunters would prefer.
Hunters also prefer rounds that help keep the hunt ethical as well as safe. The ballistics on the .350 Legend make it worthy of hog and deer hunting, but also allow it to drop off around the 250 yard mark making it less likely to travel beyond the hunting zone and into other areas.
NorthAmericanWhitetail says the straight-wall restrictions help make the hunt effective and ethical:
'The fact that straight-wall weapons will allow hunters to execute accurate shots at greater distances is a huge positive and hopefully will result in a higher percentage of recovered animals.'
Winchester highlights why some states deem the straight-walled cartridges necessary:
'DNRs in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio have taken into consideration that the flat topography of excellent Midwestern hunting areas does not lend itself to a well-suited backstop when the land lies near occupied houses and buildings. For that reason, it was decided that certain straight-walled cartridges provided added opportunity for gun hunters, while reducing the risk of overshooting a target'
And as Guns And Ammo notes, hunters in these restrictive states began a love affair with the .450 Bushmaster because it fit within the parameters outlined in these regulations.
'Winchester took note of the increased interest in the .450 Bushmaster, and decided that it was time to develop a cartridge that was more shooter-'friendly, less expensive and more appropriate for deer hunting. Shooting deer with a .450 is like swatting flies with a sledgehammer.
Winchester figured out that using the .223 Remington as the parent case for its new .350 Legend was the way to go, but taking .223 Rem. cases and transforming them into Legends would require three draw steps and some additional forming on a hydraulic press.'
WHAT DO I NEED TO SHOOT .350 LEGEND?
In short: a new upper and new mags. Everything else (including the BCG, buffer and spring) can remain the same.
Though it's built around the .223REM case, the .350 Legend case is modified to such a degree that the round requires its own magazines.
The .350 Legend will not feed out of a standard .223/5.56 magazine. However, it does work within the AR-15 platform's parameters - even using a .223/5.5 Bolt Carrier Group.
A standard AR-15, your favorite AR-15 trigger group and standard AR-15 furniture (and lower) will work with a .350 Legend upper to add a versatile hunting rifle to your collection.
WHAT IS THE .350 LEGEND BALLISTIC ADVANTAGE?
As designed by Winchester the .350 Legend is a .35 inch projectile built into a modified .223 Remington case.
The .350 Legend is a .35 caliber bullet in a .223 case that has had its shoulder removed.
It is the fastest straight-walled cartridge in existence.
Here's a comparative breakdown courtesy of GunDigest:
This opens up a variety of options to hunters and sport shooters alike in states that restrict hunters to straight wall cartridges.
HOW MUCH DOES .350 LEGEND AMMO COST?
350 Legend Ammunition is pretty competitively priced when compared to other striaght-wall cartridges, coming in around one dollar per round.
Using AmmoSeek.com, users can get a price comparison of different ammunition and its cost at several competing online retailers.
Ammo Seek shows .350 Legend with an average price around $0.43 per round.
.450 Bushmaster shows an average around $1.08 per round.
30-30WIN comes in around $0.55 per round
45-70 comes to you with an average price tag of about $1.18 per round.
Given the fact that .350 Legend outperforms each of these calibers in certain areas, and still offers effectiveness, legal compliance and added benefits to hunters, it's easy to put .350 Legend at the top of your list of contenders for straight-walled cartridge hunting.
350 LEGEND FAQs
Can you shoot it in a .223/5.56 rifle since it is based on the .223 case?
No. Though it's built around the .223REM case, the .350 Legend utilizes a projectile that is .357 inches in diameter. The barrel has a .350 bore and a .357 groove. For perspective, a .223 barrel would have a .219 bore with a .224 groove.
Can I use my mil-spec BCG with 350 legend?
Yes! The .350 Legend works with the AR-15 platform with only a few differences. To run a .350 Legend in your current AR-15 setup, you will need a new upper and new mags. Everything else (including the BCG, buffer and spring) can remain the same.
Can you use standard AR mags with them?
No. Though it's built around the .223REM case, the .350 Legend case is modified to such a degree that the round requires its own magazines. You can find them here.
Can I use my AR15 lower with your 350 legend upper?
Yes, you can use your AR-15 lower with your .350 Legend Upper. The magazines will be different.
Can I reload 350 using casings from a .223/5.56?
No. From Winchester: 'The 350 Legend was designed to maximize effectiveness of a .357 diameter bullet loaded into a straight-walled shellcase with an overall cartridge length of 2.26 inches. In doing so, an entirely new shellcase was designed.'
What are its benefits over 450 bushmaster?
The .350 Legend Caliber offers a higher velocity and less recoil than the .450 Bushmaster. It also costs significantly less per round.
My state only allows for straight wall cartridges while hunting, can I use the 350 legend?
Most likely, yes. We would encourage you to check with your local DNR, but Winchester did its homework while developing the .350 Legend and proudly suggests that the caliber is compliant with straight-wall restrictions in most states.