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350 Legend Caliber Breakdown: What You Need to Know [Comparison]

350 Legend Guide
April 13, 2021 Edited March 14, 2023 45949 view(s)
350 Legend Caliber Breakdown: What You Need to Know [Comparison]

350 Legend might as well have been the theme of the 2020 SHOT Show. Everywhere I looked, I saw banners, articles, and guns chambered in the new wonder cartridge from Winchester. Winchester's ad campaign clearly worked because my curiosity was piqued. The AR 15 proves itself modular once more, with the 350 Legend making a seamless transition into the platform. In this day and age, it seems almost sacrilege to create a new caliber without thinking about the AR 15 or AR 10 platform.


5.56 vs 350 Legend


.350 Legend vs. 5.56

The 350 Legend is a fascinating cartridge. If you sit the 350 Legend side by side with a 5.56 round, you'll notice they are roughly the same length. The nominal rim diameter is identical as well, but the 350 Legend does not use the 5.56 as its parent case like the 300 Blackout. Winchester designed the cartridge from the ground up.

The case length is 1.71 inches and has a case capacity of 36.5 grains. The projectile measures out at .357 inches or 9mm in countries that have never gone to the moon. The cartridge is a straight-walled design, which is critical to why it actually exists and what the cartridge's intent is.


So Why Does It Exist?

Hunting Laws

Hunting laws vary across the United States. They vary greatly, and some regulate what you can and cannot hunt with. Some states regulate cartridges and cartridge design. Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, and likely some states I'm missing regulate cartridges down to their designs. [See our directory of hunting laws by state.]


Bottleneck vs. Straight Walled Cartridges

These states prohibit bottleneck cartridges, which make up the vast majority of rifle calibers. 5.56, 308, 6.5 Creedmoor, 30-06, and more. You’re limited to shotgun slugs or straight walled cartridges. The reason these cartridges are restricted is due to the proximity of homes near hunting areas. Bottleneck cartridges travel and travel and can create some risk.

Straight walled cartridges like the 350 Legend are not made for a substantial distance and are considered safer and legal for these states. The 350 Legend is perfect for 200 to 250 yards. Beyond that, velocity drops quickly.

As many of you know, this isn't the only straight-walled cartridge on the market, so why would you choose the 350 Legend over other straight-walled cartridges?


350 Legend Rifle


Benefits of the .350 Legend

.350 Legend in the AR-15 Platform

To me, the biggest advantage is the use of AR 15 type rifles. The 350 Legend was made with these rifles in mind for a reason. They are not only extremely popular but easy to shoot, modular, lightweight, and easy to accessorize. The AR 15 platform is popular for a reason, and it's becoming a mainstream hunting rifle these days.

That being said, you can find 350 Legend rifles in a wide variety of rifle types. Bolt guns, single shots, etc., are being produced in the new cartridge.


Low Recoil

Another major strength of the 350 Legend is mild recoil. Who wants a bruised shoulder to take a deer? The 350 Legend generates recoil akin to a 5.56, maybe a little sharper than 5.56, but not by much. Outside of pure comfort, the lower recoil makes fast follow-up shots possible. When picking off hogs or coyotes, you might have the ability to take more than one.


Muzzle Blast

Another big difference between the 350 Legend and other straight-walled cartridges is the minimal muzzle blast. Have you ever fired 5.56 from a 20-inch barrel? It's that level of comfort. If you have never experienced that, then the best way to describe it is basically no muzzle blast: no real concussion or violent explosion at the end of the barrel.


Barrel Length

You don't need a 20-inch barrel to achieve this level of comfort. A standard 16-inch rifle does it quite well. If you ever go shorter with an SBR or AR pistol, the ballistics hold up rather well with short barrels.


350 Legend Ballistics 200 Yards

(Winchester Ammunition Graphic)


Hunting with .350 Legend

The 350 Legend hits like a hammer at close range. It strikes a target with a big heavy bullet that penetrates deeply and expands significantly. It's a real animal stopper, and you can hunt deer, hogs, coyotes, and even black bears. Obviously, you'll need to pick the appropriate projectile weight to accomplish this task. [See our Hunt with the Perfect Caliber Infographic]


350 Legend Bullet Weights

The 350 Legend has a wide variety of projectile weights available to it. You can go light with a 125 grain projectile for deer and coyotes and go up to super heavy subsonic 255 grain cartridges for suppressed hunting. For bigger game like hogs and bears, 180-grain cartridges will often do the job.

Since the 350 Legend is smaller in diameter than other cartridges, the entrance wound is often smaller and helps preserve the hide for trophy use.


350 Legend vs 450 Bushmaster Bullet


.350 Legend Vs. 450 Bushmaster

Prior to 350 Legend, the 450 Bushmaster was the straight-walled cartridge of choice for AR hunters. 450 Bushmaster is a great cartridge with a long history of success, so why would you choose the 350 Legend over the 450 Bushmaster?


Flatter Trajectory

350 Legend flies flatter over longer ranges. A flatter trajectory simplifies taking a long-range shot. There is less elevation to compensate for and often makes you a more accurate hunter. As hunters, we have a responsibility to be humane and humane shots are accurate shots.


Lower Recoil

350 Legend provides much less recoil than 450 Bushmaster. 450 Bushmaster won't dislocate your shoulder or anything crazy, but the difference between 350 Legend recoil and 450 Bushmaster recoil is substantial. Kids could shoot 350 Legend and be comfortable.

450 Bushmaster works best with experienced shooters, and 350 Legend is more welcoming to all shooters. Additionally, less recoil and less muzzle rise make it easy to obtain fast follow-up shots. As you'd imagine, the 350 Legend also produces less muzzle blast and a more comfortable experience.


Lighter Weight

350 Legend rifles are also lighter on average. The lighter weight is a big deal when stalking and hunting for long periods of time. You'd be surprised the difference a pound or two makes over a 12-hour hunt.


Lower Ammo Price

Another major advantage comes down to the dollars. 350 Legend might be the new cartridge on the block, but it's substantially cheaper than 450 Bushmaster when you price per round. 450 Bushmaster goes for a buck a round when it's cheap, and 350 Legend can be had for half that. [Check out our infographic to see current ammo prices by caliber].


450 Bushmaster Advantages

450 Bushmaster does provide more oomph per shot and is better suited for bigger game. You can take Elk and big bear with a 450 Bushmaster. Also, the 450 Bushmaster has been around for a good bit longer, so finding rifles, barrels, muzzle devices, and more is a little easier at the moment.


350 Legend vs 300 AAC Blackout Case


.350 Legend Vs. .300 Blackout

AR 15 calibers come and go rather often. Few stick around for a long period of time, but one that has become mainstream and stayed mainstream is the 300 Blackout. The 300 Blackout has been around for over a decade now and has more than proven itself successful in the AR platform.


Hunting and Distance Shooting

The biggest difference between 300 Blackout and 350 Legend is the cartridge design differences. The 300 Blackout is a bottleneck cartridge. Right off the bat, that limits its ability to be a hunting cartridge in certain states. The bottleneck design also helps give the 300 Blackout the edge for long-range performance. With supersonic 300 Blackout rounds, the rifle can reach out to 400 yards with ease.

350 Legend packs more power at close range with larger projectiles that tend to penetrate deeper and expand wider. This makes the round a bit more appropriate for hunting. While the 300 Blackout works perfectly for deer and coyotes, anything larger than those animals should be taken with a different caliber.


Ammo Availability

Both the 350 Legend and 300 Blackout come in a wide variety of projectile weights and can come as both supersonic and subsonic varieties. 350 Legend is a growing cartridge with a growing fanbase. 300 Blackout already has a massive fan base and a monstrous logistics machine behind the gun.

300 Blackout certainly gives you more options for ammo, suppressors, optics, guns, muzzle devices, barrels, and beyond. It's such an established cartridge that 300 Blackout's biggest advantage is its established logistical machine.



300 Blackout offers you a higher capacity and more compatibility among 5.56 rifles. 300 Blackout can use 5.56 magazines, bolts, and almost everything other than the barrel.

Both rounds have a lot in common, but it's important to remember it's tough to judge the rounds against each other. 300 Blackout was designed for suppressed tactical operations, and 350 Legend was designed for hunting animals. These are two big differences, and the design of each cartridge shows this.


350 Legend Rifle and Magazine


.350 Legend Vs. the World

The 350 Legend cartridge has made a big splash in a very big pond. In a short period of time, the 350 Legend has become one of the more dominant straight-walled hunting cartridges. This big boy's mix of impressive ballistics and the comfortable shooting design make it a fantastic cartridge.

It's not going anywhere anytime soon and seems to have hooked the industry rather well. If 350 Legend is for you, check out our uppers, complete rifles, barrels, and more to start your own legend.

[We would like to extend a huge thank you to Travis Pike for his work on this article! Check out our other helpful guides like 300 Blackout vs 308, 50 Beowulf, and AR Pistols.]



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November 21, 2021
I was wondering if I could shoot the 350 super out of my AR?
November 22, 2021
We do not recommend using anything other than the specified caliber of the AR.
January 12, 2022
Certainly. All you need to do is change the barrel and the magazine. Or to make it easier, just switch uppers.
January 30, 2022
350 legend works great as a rifle or pistol/sbr platform I run both with this round and they perform great.
Steven Rush
May 14, 2022
What is your recommended buffer weight for the 350 Legend 20” upper ? I put it on a DPMS lower that has an M-16 style stock with a 5 oz rifle buffer weight. I am wondering about the 5 oz buffer weight vs a 3 oz carbine buffer???
June 6, 2022
We recommend a standard 3oz buffer for 350 Legend
July 31, 2022
Does this apply to a 350 legend upper with a 16" barrel and the carbine gas block?
Larry Bauer
August 6, 2022
First I heard of the .350 it tickled a memory. Sure enough, once I did a bit of research on the specifications I realized that this new cartridge is an almost dead ringer for a rimless .357 Maximum which came and mostly went due to a lack of firearms that could handle it, basically Ruger Blackhawks, Dan Wesson revolvers, and a few single shot handguns and rifles. Always thought it would have been a wicked lever gun cartridge, but that was never pursued by a major gun maker.
August 15, 2022
I bought my 350 L from BCA a few years ago and am still using it. Great little rifle. I use it mainly for home defense but do take it out to the range when I can, I had standard sights on it from Troy until my eyes decided I needed something else. I found it is extremely accurate with the 300 yard sight but when I flipped it over to the long range sight I was very pleasantly surprised to see me putting rounds on our 18 inch target at 520 yards. They didn't group, the round wasn't made for even consistently hitting a target at that range, but I put all 10 rounds on that steel target. I'm an old Marine, I learned over 50 years ago in a far off land that a peep sight won't let you down. Also, after you have had a couple shoulder replacements, the recoil will prove to be a bit much. But a good muzzle brake tames it down to about what you get from a .22 long rifle.
Jason Martin
August 15, 2022
I love the 350legend for deer& hogs out to 250yds! I have 2 BCA G2 350LEGEND uppers- 16" m4 cut& 18" heavy, both have aero adjustable gas blocks,PSA lower with giessiele super42 spring & h2 buffer & KVP linear comp & Hawke 2.5x10x50& 4x16x50 both with l4a retical, very accurate! Shooting 145fmj&180gr sp- able to shoot 1.5" groups @150yds! Recoil is about same as 7.62x39- less than grendel- very comfortable for women & children to shoot! Keep up the great work BCA! Capt J
Ronald Ramsay
April 8, 2023
Did you find that the H2 works best?
Thomas lino Deconcini
August 15, 2022
WOW !! Great video, I had learned about all those rounds , but this video gave me a mental picture of all of them at one time and exactly how they compare, especially the pictures of them side by side , thanks,
William Henderson
August 21, 2022
I have an interesting observation as a hand loader and reloader. I bought a Mossberg Patriot in a 350 legend and had to wait for over a year before ammo became available. In the mean time, I bought the reloading kit with the complete case and crimp dies and a few months later I added a Lyman ammo checker in a 350 legend. I have noticed a slight difference in some of the case sizes in the factory loaded rounds and will write to the company making these rounds even tho they fit in the case checker just fine. I got all of my supplies for loading my own rounds and I ran all 100 cases through the first die that will also eject a spent primer as well as adjusting the case size the full length of the case. What I did not realize at the time is that when I used the powder through die that insert would also enlarge the end of the case and cause this round to not fit the case checker or the rifle. After 10 rounds of making ammo, and was able to force them into my rifle. I examined this die and reworked the adjustment so that the insert would sit directly on top of the empty case instead of penetrating the case itself. This still allows me to seat the bullets without enlarging the case and the new rounds fit both the case checker and the rifle very well. Keep this in mind when loading or reloading these rounds. I also have some belief that the problems with the loading issues could also be caused by this same case size issue I just wrote about.
John Patrick
September 12, 2022
I had the same thing happen. The powder through die is also designed to flare open the case mouth so the bullet will seat securely and evenly. I adjusted to minimum distortion and the addition of a crimping die solved that problem and turned out a superior load. Try one...
Don Hall
August 27, 2022
Do you offer a fluted 350 legend barrel?
Michael W Cuber
November 4, 2022
What twist rate is optimum for shooting 220-250 gr supers (not subsonic) and what twist options does Bear Creek offer to optimize the cartridge for close range elk and black bear?
Kevin James
January 10, 2023
I realize this is a sales pitch for .350 Legend, but the energy comparison graph is meaningless without details of the ammunition. There are wide ranges of bullet weights and types for all of the calibers shown, and the graph shows the best .350 Legend, an average .300 Blackout and .30-30, and the weakest .223 Remington. The 903 ft-lb at 200 yards is specifically the Winchester Deer Season XP. An average .350 Legend FMJ is about 750 lb-ft at 200 yards, and a 75gr .223 Remington will still be around 900 ft-lb at 200 yards.
January 13, 2023
During the component dearth one of my friends picked up 1000 88 gn. ELD bullets for .223. To get them short enough I had to trim off the plastic tips. They shoot great in a 1-7 twist but I'm not sure how many foot pounds they are generating. They really slap the steels hard.
Good article
January 27, 2023
If you are in the know about all ammo offered for all calibers mentioned and obviously you are well then this article was not for you. However it was meant for the normal shooter/hunter who has better things to do with there time to give a little history and general comparison
Janelle Painter
January 28, 2023
Great firearm for taking down Side Hill Gougers.
Brian Marsh
June 18, 2023
Can pistol bullets be used in hand loads as subsonic defense rounds? Say, like, 158 grain soft points?
Brian Roe
September 21, 2023
I use my firearms for hunting - not for the "coolness" factor at the gun range. I also live in one of those states that allow/ require a certain size straight wall cartridge in order to use a rifle to hunt deer. I have the BCA right side charging; .350 Legend; 20" non fluted, parkerized, heavy barrel - complete upper for this purpose. It is great for blind hunting. No so much for stalk hunting (too heavy, too long). I am not a fan of the M4 barrel profile. I am a fan of the heavy barrel profile. I do not care either way about fluting. I DO care about the "flash" from an uncoated stainless steel barrel -or- the "flash" from a coated barrel that has uncoated fluting. Again, I am a hunter. I do not want to "flash" my presents to wildlife. My request - Please produce a right side charging; .350 Legend; 16" fluted or not fluted, 100% parkerized or black nitride coated, heavy barrel - complete upper. Thank you for your consideration.
Steven Foster
December 3, 2023
This is a very good comparison article. Straight to the point and hit on alot of different calibers, and why. When I found myself asking a question, there was my answer. As far as the caliber I choose the 300blk just because of availability, and affordability. Ive taken many different animals with it and it is good for children learning or the seasoned pro. I am in Georgia and most of my shots are within 100yards in these pines and hickory hollers.
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