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.