Winchester 350 Legend: Low Recoil, Straight Walls, and Deadly


Winchester 350 Legend: Low Recoil, Straight Walls, and Deadly

In some states in the USA, deer hunting is limited to shotguns and muzzleloaders — and sometimes, those states also allow rifle hunting, as long as the cartridge case has straight walls. The belief apparently being that necked-down cartridges like the 308, 30-06, and dozens of others are somehow more dangerous than cartridges that are not necked down.

I know — it doesn’t make sense to me, either. But laws are laws, and such laws have led to a rise in the popularity of cartridges that would otherwise have probably faded away, including the 450 Bushmaster.

Winchester looked at this in 2017 and set about developing a hunting cartridge that would better fill that need — and along the way, they may have created the perfect low-recoil deer hunting cartridge.

The 350 Legend was introduced about a year ago, and has been turning heads ever since. It produces clean, consistent kills on whitetail deer and is quite accurate by all accounts — all while producing less recoil than a 223 Rem and using a larger, heavier bullet that will be much more effective than any 223 for big game.

Imagine a 223 Rem/5.56 NATO round with a straight case instead of one that’s necked down, and you have a pretty good mental picture of the 350 Legend.

7.62x39 (L), 350 Legend (C), and 5.56 NATO (R) (Image: Wideners)
7.62×39 (L), 350 Legend (C), and 5.56 NATO (R)
(Image: Wideners)

Caliber is .357″ and typical bullet weight is 180 grains.

In addition to appealing to folks in states that don’t allow the use of necked-down cartridges, the 350 Legend is likely to be favored by folks who prefer the MSM (modern sporting rifle) format, popularly known as AR style. It is certainly the best big game cartridge you can use in an MSM with the standard-size bolt face — and it can do a fine job at home defense as well.

For deer hunting, it is likely to excel out to 200-250 yards, but I wouldn’t expect too much beyond that.

As with any new cartridge, the jury is still out on its overall staying power, but the 350 Legend offers wide appeal to today’s hunters and shooters, and that certainly helps.

For more info on this interesting new round, check out this recent Shooting Illustrated review.


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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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