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While my photography of Winchester’s 350 Legend cartridge is limited, my initial analysis of it here will not be. Advertised as the world’s fastest straight-walled hunting cartridge, the 350 Legend is sure to make a splash in the Midwest and beyond.

As I write this, I am in the process of getting my hands on tooling and ammunition to build some custom rifles in the cartridge. There is a very limited number of guns currently chambered for this innovative new round, but I hope that will change in the near future. My plan is to have a completely custom-built rifle from my friends at Precision Rifle Company, a truly amazing Michigan company, in the hunting field this fall.

I have written a ton of articles on the .450 Bushmaster and am widely known in the Midwestern states for my work with the cartridge. I normally disparage and occasionally laugh at fad cartridges, as I see them as poor attempts to ‘innovate’ or ‘improve’ a given platform. If you are wondering why I think the .300 HAMR is a stupid idea and the 350 Legend is a good one, all you have to do is look at the niches they fill.

The .300 HAMR is a joke of a round, as it fits into an AR, but is only marginally more powerful than .300 Blackout. The .300 BLK offers the versatility of 78gr Lehigh bullets at 2,800fps and 240gr subsonics at 900fps, but the .300 HAMR is… like a .30-30 or something. If you are wanting a lightweight .30 caliber rifle, the POF Revolution is a substantially more powerful gun in .308 Win but weighs the same as a normal .223 AR-15 and is the same overall size. Sure, some will sell, but there was no real target audience for .300 HAMR or the earlier 7.62×40 WT.

Now, here is the important part: the 350 Legend has a huge potential consumer base. If I were a company that made crossover hunting rifles like Ruger, Michigan’s Brenton USA, SIG SAUER, and others, I would be knocking the door down to get reamers. Every Midwestern state that is worth deer hunting in has straight-walled case laws and the 350 Legend was literally made for these areas. I know that because I spoke directly in person to the developers of this round and they know just how successful this will be in these states.

The .450 Bushmaster is an extremely popular round in the Midwest and is increasing in popularity nationwide. The round has some problems, with many being addressed now. The first was reliable magazines. I have two companies that I can recommend for .450 mags: Brenton USA for complete mags and Tromix for adaptors for your existing mags. The magazine issue is a huge problem for the .450, and I sincerely hope that people make a good, reliable mag for the 350 Legend quickly and in quantity.

The 350 Legend has another massive advantage in that it is being offered inexpensively. The .450 BM is a very expensive round, with virtually all ammo made as top-shelf hunting sort. The 350 Legend will be initially offered in several types to include: Power Point, Power MAX Bonded, Win USA, and Super Suppressed. I was told in person that the practice load from Win USA’s brand will be about $10/box, which means it will probably be less on the street.

The brass is proprietary and, for safety reasons, cannot be made from .223 brass. Although they share the same case head, the body is slightly wider and has a mild taper. I will be experimenting with this round over the next year and will be looking at its properties in this respect.

The ability to practice cheaply with low recoil, high velocity .35 caliber rounds legal for deer hunting opens the door for so many new shooters that can’t or won’t shoot .450 Bushmaster or 12 gauge slug guns. What I see here was not Winchester doing a willy-nilly new cartridge introduction to flex on the competition.

They did this because there is a real need to introduce new hunters to the tradition and spirit of hunting. These hunters are in the AR-15 age, where weatherproof composites, lightweight rifles, and modular components are the norm. The 350 Legend is a round that has the ability to interface with the hunting center of the world, the American Midwest, and do so in a way that integrates generations of shooters. Tomorrow’s hunters will be young and their rifles modern, but will be hunting with ammo that is similar in appearance to the great hunters of yesteryear.

I can proudly say that Michigan has the best beer makers, the best hunting, and the most beautiful mix of water and land on Earth. Making new hunters and sportsmen will keep it that way and other states green with envy. Say what you will about the 350 Legend, but it is not a fad round or a fly-by-night marketing scheme. This will be something great that will have a lasting impact on hunting.

Keep your eye on my articles going forward as I will be working with this round and reporting back. Hunting season is only seven months away in my great state and there will be much to cover in that time.

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    • About 25% more energy at the muzzle, according to Winchester’s published data. Also, seen .351 WSL (or a rifle chambered for it) on the shelf lately?

  1. Is there a good reason for straight wall cartridge rules or has the reason been lost to time?

    It’s stupid for an industry to bend over backwards to accommodate such a rule.

    • Probably the intent was to slow down the velocity of the bullet and reduce the range, versus bottlenecked cartridges. The midwest doesn’t have the wide open spaces of the west and longer range cartridges might be more dangerous. That’s my guess on the “logic” Don’t really know.

      Lots of restrictive gun laws don’t make a lot of real sense or have been superseded by technology.

    • Not so. I don’t normally respond to my own article comments, but this one deserves a reply.
      I need to know if there was a change in laws, there is a change in a niche that can be exploited by a given group of sellers. When Michigan changed their laws for brewing beer, we became the craft beer center of the entire world. There is literally no one who does it better than us. I will challenge any company to rival what is available in Michigan currently.
      The same thing goes for ammunition and cartridges. We don’t necessarily control the laws or what the DNR thinks is suitable for maintaining a healthy herd of deer. We put these people in positions to manage our resources and they do so to the best of their ability. I have many contacts in the DNR and they are all good responsible people. Straight walled case laws have brought about companies, business ventures, and have revitalized hunting with modern rifles. It is because of the straight walled case laws that we have an excellent renaissance in Michigan craft manufacturing.
      this is not an overreach by the government. This is making us about there is fair chase. Hunting is not about killing at all. Hunting is a culture of the Midwest and we need to preserve that culture for future generations. Introducing a generation of hunters that can still use their modern weapons like the AR-15, but with hunting specific cartridges, enables them to enjoy a crossover that previous generations have never been able to experience.

      • So there is no necessary, compelling reason for the cartridge limits, is what I hear you saying. It really is either completely arbitrary or based on obsolete opinions.

        I think you’re inventing rationalizations for why these restrictions are a good thing. Fair chase ethics have nothing at all to do with cartridges and everything to do with hunters and hunting culture.

        If the hunting cartridge restrictions actually do help transfer hunting culture to younger generations and spur some creativity in manufacturing (I doubt it does much of either, but it’s possible), then that’s a good thing… But I’d still argue that government interference is a bad way to achieve it.

        • oal restrictions limit the projectiles distance.
          i’m surprised that that brew challenge didn’t rankle more cankles.
          if josh supplies suds i’ll gladly offer my most brutally honest assessment.
          just please, no larry bell product. (or at least put tape over the third coast old ale label. i can’t deny a barleywine).

      • You’re high if you think Michigan is a leader in anything related to craft brewing (though I did like Bell’s quite a bit when I lived back east 10+ years ago), but I won’t let that obvious locationally biased opinion sully my perception of your review of a cartridge that makes rifles more accessible to Midwest deer hunters.

        • There must be dozens of craft breweries within a hundred miles of my rural northern California home, and the beer culture has spread all the way to Washington State. These beers compete nationally and win medals, so they must be good. (My drinking days are over, so I have no personal experience in the matter.) But I know more than one or two aficionados, including a couple of brewers whose taste I trust. The big thing these days are IPAs, and there are more than a dozen varieties just at the grocery store. Certainly the author is entitled to his opinion, but he should really visit California or Oregon, since much of the best brews are of limited distribution. It will be a taste bud opening experience.

      • I don’t care about craft beer or the need for innovation. Is there a genuine reason for straight wall cartridges? A 450 BM packs as big a wallop as most necked loads and travels really far.

      • apologize in advance if this comment seems rude, but that rationalization for needless government intervention – in both beer brewing and in “straight wall” carridges – is just plain irrational.

        Capricious government dictats do NOT spur innovation. Craft beer is all over the place and there is no magic in Michigan’s “craft brew culture” that every other place doesn’t also have. And capricious government dictats artificially limiting the flat trajectories of hunting rifles is just stupid.

    • GS650G,

      Multiple Midwestern states that have relatively high population densities created laws to limit how far a projectile would travel. And limiting the distance that a projectile can travel reduces the chances of those projectiles hitting a person or a home.

      Historically, those laws only allowed shotguns, muzzleloaders, and handguns. All three of those platforms limit you to about 100 yards maximum range for deer hunting. (Yes, some sabot loads in muzzleloaders and shotguns are effective up to 200 yards. Those developments did not exist when the lawmakers made the laws and that is still a fairly limited range.)

      Recently (in the last few years) multiple Midwestern states realized that several calibers could be effective for deer hunting, still be limited to 200 yards, would be more accurate, and would be more likely to retain existing hunters and attract new hunters. So, multiple Midwestern states changed their deer hunting laws to allow these rifles in these limited calibers/platforms. And the wording of those laws specify that these additional calibers/platforms must have straight-walled cases and an overall maximum length of about 1.8 inches — which ensures limited range (to about 200 yards).

      In other words you can now shoot rifles chambered in .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .454 Casull, and .450 Bushmaster in multiple Midwestern states. For several reasons, rifles in those chamberings are much more desirable than shotguns, muzzleloaders, and handguns for deer hunting.

      • Muzzle loading rifles are in no way limited to 200 yards kill range. Sept, 2012: “An Ohio Amish man will serve 30 days in jail for firing a bullet into the air that inadvertently killed a 15-year-old girl driving a horse-drawn buggy more than a mile away, a prosecutor said Wednesday.” Snipers in the Civil War consistently hit targets at more than 500 yards. On Dec. 5, 1861 an unidentified Confederate soldier in Fort Sumter saw a Union soldier moving in Battery Gregg, 1390 yards away. The Southerner was likely using a Whitworth Rifle when he lined up his sights on the Union soldier and fired, killing him. Union General Sedgwick was killed by a shot measured by the National Park Service at 550 yards, but estimated in the day at over 800 yards.

        • Let’s remember that 45-70 was a black powder cartridge. There is no reason why a muzzleloader with a comparable powder charge and modern projectile couldn’t fly far and hit like a brick.

        • Mark N.,

          Of course projectiles will go considerably farther than 200 yards if you aim up into the sky and use your firearm like a mortar. I was referring to situations where someone is aiming at a deer at ground level and misses. The projectile that sails past will be in the dirt within several yards.

          Furthermore, projectiles are dropping so fast at 200 yards that you will miss your deer entirely if your range estimation is off by something like 35 yards. For that reason, very few people try to push their shotguns and muzzleloaders to 200 yards or beyond. And that was the point of laws limiting deer hunters to shotguns, muzzleloaders, and handguns. Expanding allowable firearm platforms to rifles chambered in straight-walled cartridges with cases less than 1.8 inches is in line with that.

    • Like I said in the other article, it’s a backwards and arcane law written by anti gun legislators. The “population density” argument is pure myth. Florida has a higher population density then all of the midwestern states, and Florida has no straight walled cartridge law. It also has little no instances ever of a hunters fired round traveling into a neighborhood and killing someone. Those are made up horror stories by anti gunners to ruin access and experience to civilian law abiding gun owners who have a batter track record on safety then most government orgs.

  2. so, it’s still straight walled if it’s a tapered case, as far as midwest hunting legality goes?
    not gonna replace any levers, but a reasonably priced upper should start selling well.

    • If I’m not mistaken, the .45-70 is straight walled and has a maximum effective range of 1000 yards according to some sources, so is it a legitimate deer cartridge in the Midwest ?

      • By memory, a 45-70 is longer than the ~1.8” overall length requirement.

        Basically: if it has balistics similar to or less than a 12g hornaday slug and the case doesn’t have a neck it’s good to go.

        This is a bit of a pain in the arse, but the law does make some sense: I hunt between Detroit and Ann Arbor in Michigan and it can be seriously tight confines with many guys hunting on adjoining 5-10 acre lots—most of which have houses on them somewhere.

        Opening day- in all honestly—is a bit nerve racking. Especially after being peppered by unsuspecting duck hunters during bow season last year.

        • you are correct on the oal bit. however, iowa for sure, maybe others, allow exceptions for .375whatever, .444marlin and .45-70.

    • just finished reading elsewhere this round being compared to .357max, .351 and .35rem pretty closely.
      and that cmmg already offers an ar chambered for legend…

    • Perhaps much more relevant: this new .350 Legend load only gives you about a 75 feet-per-second advantage over full-power .357 Magnum loads with 158 grain bullets.

      In my opinion the appeal of having common ammunition for a rifle and a revolver far outweighs that 75 feet-per-second advantage of .350 Legend.

      And in the previous article a couple days ago about this new caliber, I asked if it is possible that an optimized propellant formulation — specifically designed to maximize muzzle velocity in a rifle-length barrel — could close that muzzle velocity gap. If that turns out to be true, I see no reason at all for this new cartridge.

      • The thing that’ll push this over the edge from surviving as a semi-niche hunting cartridge and into a proper success will be when they load it up with some super-heavy subsonic loads. .300 blackout is by all measures a success, but it has an Achilles heel that this can exploit: the .223 chamber compatibility problem. If they make this a viable alternative to the .300 in ballistics but it can’t be chambered in a .223 gun, it’ll have a lot going for it. I’m personally never buying a .300 because I know my forgetful ass would mix up the mags sooner or later and at best I’ll end up needing a new pair of shorts. I seriously doubt I’m alone in that assessment.

        Combined with the straight wall and loads of existing .357 bullets this would take, it also makes it probably one of the easiest rounds to get into rifle reloading, both for cost and complexity.

        The only thing I could see possibly jamming up their success is that basically all the rifle cans on the market these days are .22 or .30 caliber cans. Don’t know if there’s enough wiggle room in those .30s to still stuff the .350 Legend down the pipe. If you can’t shoot it suppressed without a custom suppressor, that’ll definitely take wind out of the sails.

  3. ‘I normally disparage and occasionally laugh at fad cartridges, as I see them as poor attempts to ‘innovate’ or ‘improve’ a given platform.’

    This is known as the ‘Creedmoor effect’.

  4. Yawn. There are more than enough cartridges that fill this role. AR platform? Yawn again. Someone suggested shooting pigs with a 145 gr. bullet. We’ve got them on the farm that go 300+ lbs. I’ll stand a little to the rear. Look around before you shoot. Pick out an easy tree to climb.

  5. $10 for a box…of how many cartridges? 10? 20? If they’re less than 75 cents per round, I’d be willing to invest in a rifle that shoots them.

  6. This cartridge, like the 6.5 Creedmoore. Will be found on the ash heap of cartridges that didn’t make it.

  7. I’ll give you the cartridge…it looks very interesting. But Michigan the center ofthe craft beer industry? Oh Josh…I live in Colorado and can spit to a dozen masterful microbreweries…not the mention I’ve been to Oregon.You need to get out more! LOL!

    Michael B

    • Is Michigan craft beer made from water from Flint Michigan?
      I bet the lead in that water gives it a distinctive taste.
      With lead in the water, it certainly can’t be “light beer”, more like extra-heavy beer.

  8. You have got to be joking or smoking dope if you think Michigan is the craft beer center of the world. As a Colorado Native I absolutely hate what has happened to this state with the influx of Californicators, east coast statists, and other assorted riff raff. Colorado’s independent western traditions (and our rights) are being trampled. That being said Colorado is the best beer state in this country hands down. There is a reason the great American beer festival is in Denver. There is also the fact that Colorado’s beer is made with cleaner water. Everyone else drinks what we put into the toilet. Have fun with that thought.
    That being said I completely agree with your thoughts on the new Winchester round. Looks like fun to me.

    • Colorado puts out some really good beers. Michigan is better. Our mass-market stuff isn’t even our best product…we have some local places that can brew circles around anybody. Also, 9mm is better than .45, and backpack carry works.

    • Possum,

      THAT (available hunting lands) is the biggest problem going forward for hunting. I have managed to acquire permission to hunt on four different private properties and have been able to take deer from all four of them. That was only possible, in my opinion, because all four private property owners were neighbors — or close enough to effectively be neighbors in my somewhat rural area — and I developed positive relationships with them.

      I don’t see how an urban dweller or suburbanite has any realistic chance of doing that.

  9. Proprietary cartridges suck. If this round could make use of all the thousands of once fired 223 brass at the range along with cast or pistol bullets for practice, I would buy a gun just for the economics. Otherwise I don’t live in such a Fudd state that requires modern guns that shoot antique cartridges for hunting. I’d just break out Grandad’s old blackpowder Damascus side by and use a real antique.

  10. just what we need, another invented round. because the thousands already available just aren’t good enough :eyeroll:
    this is the equivalent of the Cosmo mag telling you 10 awesome cake recipes then tells you, you are fat and need to lose weight.
    so many sheep.

  11. Mr. Wayner:
    Since you are in MI., have you been in touch with Dave Manson Precision Reamers in
    Grand Blanc, MI? If not, he makes custom firearms tooling to your specs in about 6-8 weeks, and at a good price point too. He’s at 810-953-0732 or http://www.mansonreamersDOTcom

  12. I like the possibility as an alternative to .300 Blackout for an AR-15/M-16 platform. A heavier bullet at the same speed is better. The subsonic .458 SOCOM beats them both, but it has 1/3 the magazine capacity of the BO or Legend. The Legend also has a unique shape that can’t accidentally be chambered in a 5.56. Needs a 9mm suppressors, and there hasn’t been as much development in making a rifle one as .30, but handgun one without a booster should be good enough to start. Has the downsides of competing against the already established BO, so it’ll probably be more expensive.

  13. We all set criteria for calibers we buy, I’d like an AR-15, I’d like a round that is cheap for Hogs.

    350 Legend looks like it will hammer hogs!! I haven’t tried it yet.

    My Bro in Law farms in TX and has hog issues that I love to help him with. Many years we used 125gr Ballistic tips(Blems) in 300 BLK. It’s so so Hog medicene. Now he reloads the same 125 BT blems in 300 HAMR ~300 FPS faster, and wow it does hit harder(but not like 308 150 BT’s, of Ole, lol)

    He converts 5.56 brass, which is usually lost at night, so the HAMR isn’t stupid for him(or a Joke), but PERFECT(He has 30 cal cans). More than likely he will have a Legend soon.

    Will be watching the Legend, I think it will be a HAMR or legend in my future. I’d go 6.8 or Grendel, but I’m cheap, and don’t want to loose thousands of expensive brass, 5.56 cases are CHEAP.

  14. Balistically, it’s a rimless .357 Maximum. Many have adopted the Max following the midwest states opening rules to include straight wall cartridges. Some have case length restrictions and some don’t. The .357 Maximum has a few major shortcomings in the field though as a deer cartridge, and the .350 Legend has the potential to correct all 3 of them. #1 The Max has no commercial ammo source and must be hand loaded. Obviously this is it’s biggest issue as only a small percentage of deer hunters are willing to invest in an expensive hobby for one gun.#2 The cartridge is a rimmed cartridge that only plays well Revolvers and Single Shots. WIth the Legend’s rimless case, the Semi auto and Bolt guns are injected into the mix including the ever popular AR and it’s modular components. #3 The current offering of compatible bullets are mostly low BC pistol bullets. This is the achilles heal of the Max’s performance by limiting it’s effective max range to about 200yds on deer. With the attention of the Legend hopefully more 180gr spitzers are introduced along with some of the Hornady SSP(single shot pistol).

    IMHO the key to this cartridge’s survival among the 450 BM is it’s low recoil, not it’s range. Most are fine with an honest 200yd rifle, but the cartridge has to be offered in budget friendly platforms such as the Ruger American/Savage Axis(especially in compact/youth models) etc, as well as the AR platform.

    I’m excited about this cartridge and will definitely buy one for my 12 year old this fall. The ONLY way I see this cartridge failing is if Winchester pulls the same thing they did with the .17 WSM where no ammo was available for only 2 rifles sold in the caliber(Savage/Browning)…It eventually sold a few and is still hanging on, but due to poor marketing planning, it never became what it should have…

  15. Gun Manufacturers tool up! This is good thing another round to play with. F*** your craft beer, I like a good red wine with my backstrap! (Michigander).

  16. This will be a huge hit in the states that are restricted from using bottleneck rifle rounds. Sort of like the saboted 20gauge slugs have become in IL, yeah sure the 12 is bigger and so on but the 20 has been the overwhelming favorite here for wt season. I for one would be all for this cartridge in a bolt action rifle if it would be allowed in IL as its priced well and looks like its gonna be offered in the XPR which isnt gonna cost a fortune . I’d be willing to give it a shot, low recoil would be great for new shooters…hopefully IL will get its head out of its rear and loosen up our cartridge restrictions

  17. The 300 HAMR is not a joke of a round. It solves a major problem with the 300 Blackout. The 300 Blackout was originally designed with a very narrow purpose in mind — to shoot subsonic rounds, suppressed, nice and quiet. That meant heavy bullets, because otherwise they go too fast. Heavy bullets for a fixed caliber means long bullets, which means you need a very long throat in your barrel or else the cartridge won’t chamber. But then they pressed this cartridge into service to fire supersonic rounds, which is what most people want to use it for, because then you don’t have the trajectory of an anvil toss, and can think about hitting things farther out. Faster bullets means shorter bullets, which in a long-throated rifle translates to a very long jump for the bullet to reach the lands/rifling.

    This long jump to lands is the main reason for the 300 Blackout’s well-deserved reputation for poor accuracy with supersonic rounds, which are much more commonly used than subsonic rounds. Yes you can shoot subsonic and then turn around and shoot supersonic, which is great if you don’t mind spraying your supersonic rounds all over an 8″ pie plate at 100 yards, except for the oddball “scary accurate” round that shoots 4″ groups in the right rifle. Yeah I know, 8″ at 100 yards is “good enough for…[fill in the blank].” Whatever. Speaking for myself and many others, accuracy like you typically get from a 300 blackout makes owning and shooting such a gun utterly boring and uninspiring. Worse yet, the inaccuracy was designed into the cartridge — a predictable result of trying to achieve too much “versatility” in the naïve belief there wouldn’t be a heavy price to pay.

    I’m sure there are some 300 blackout devotees out there who will tell me they get 0.75″ groups “all day long” at 100. Assuming, arguendo, that this is true, it is anecdotal. If I’m going to shell out $1,000 to $1,500 on an AR, I have to look at the averages, and I’m not going to gamble just because I might get lucky and find that oddball accurate 300 Blackout. But I digress…

    Along comes the 300 HAMR. It is designed to shoot what most people want to shoot in their 300 Blackout — supersonic rounds. It has a throat that is designed for 30 cal bullets in the 110-150g weight range, and shoots these bullets far more accurately than the 300 Blackout. That’s reason enough. But there’s a bonus. It also shoots these bullets at least100-200 fps faster than the 300 Blackout. That’s not only a nice icing on the cake, but all the more so when you consider that the 300 Blackout exhibits borderline velocities, and this little boost puts the 300 HAMR just on the right side of the line.

    The 7.62 x 40 was a good effort along the way of fixing the 300 Blackout mess, improving on the accuracy of the latter with supersonic rounds, and providing a slight increase in velocity. However, there were issues with magazine compatibility, and the 300 HAMR solved that problem, adding a yet a little more velocity to boot. What’s not to like about that?

    To suggest that the extra velocity is the supposed reason for the 300 HAMR misses the point The reason is accuracy. Velocity is the bonus — marketing aside. Even if the velocity increase were the only difference, to suggest that a cartridge is undesirable, let alone a joke, just because the increase is velocity over some other cartridge of the same caliber is “only marginal,” as opposed to massive, is shallow. That kind of reasoning would disqualify 80% of all cartridges as “jokes.”

    You don’t need a .308 Win, blasting all that wasted powder/energy out your 16 or whatever inch barrel, to reasonably improve on the 300 blackout, even from the standpoint of power as opposed to accuracy. The 300 HAMR gives you a reasonable increase without doubling your powder charge and getting into proprietary 308-compatible hardware. The 300 HAMR probably won’t catch on. There are too many people out there spouting the kind of nonsense I attempted to refute here. Regardless, it’s a much better cartridge than the 300 Blackout.

    I’m not here to opine on the 35 Legend. From 30,000 ft, a 35 cal for an AR seems kinda cool. But looking at ballistics I see some potential issues. Light for caliber bullets to achieve high energy figures that don’t translate well down range because your flying ash trays don’t hold onto their velocity very well. I question whether the case has sufficient capacity to do justice to 35 caliber, allowing for decent sectional densities. I’ll keep an open mind and take a closer look, however. Meantime, I’ll continue to use my 35 Remington lever, and shoot 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 SPC, and 556 in my ARs. Yeah, I don’t have a 300 HAMR, but’s that’s not because it isn’t good. If I want a 30 cal AR, I’ll get the 300 HAMR over the 300 Blackout any day, if it’s still around. I wouldn’t take a 300 Blackout if you gave me one, unless I had an itch to shoot subsonic all the time, which I don’t.


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