Winchester 350 Legend

Winchester surprised this year at SHOT Show by dropping a handful of new products, including a 10/22 magazine-compatible rifle and the 350 Legend cartridge. They’re billing the latter as “The World’s Fastest Straight-Walled Hunting Cartridge.”

Indeed, 2,350 feet per second is pretty quick for a 145 grain projectile. And I suppose it’s the world’s fastest if we aren’t going to count .375 Winchester, .444 Marlin, .458 Lott (slightly tapered, to be fair), and various .460 and .500 S&W loads out of long guns. Maybe others?

Sorry, I don’t mean to rain on Winchester’s parade here. There are plenty of states with hunting seasons restricted to straight-walled cartridges, and this .35-cal offering looks solid and should be a ton of fun out of a lever gun for sure. It isn’t rimmed, though, so it’s semi-auto ready.

In fact, it’s effectively a straightened out .223 Remington case loaded with a .357 diameter projectile. Which is cool. Depending on overall length it should be ready-to-run in a variety of platforms. And 265 grain subsonic loads (1,060 fps) offer more punch than 300 Blackout subs.

Sounds pretty good on paper! I know our man Josh is looking to dive deep on this one.

66 COMMENTS

  1. What’s the deal with restricting hunting to straight-walled cartridges (aside from the general need to restrict legal gun uses so ingrained in government bureaucrats)?

    • There are states like Ohio that have been Slug gun only that have just recently passed laws that allow straight walled cartridges. Its a matter of them worrying about how the the bullet is going to go when you miss. If a guy misses with a 12ga slug it isn’t go nearly as far as if he missed with a 30-06. Not saying I agree with it, but there are plenty of places where its the law.

      • It’s not an absurdly stupid law. For hunting in areas where your longest line of sight is typically a hundred yards at most, it goes to preventing accidental violations of Rule 4.

        • It wouldn’t be absurd if they made allowances for cartridges like .30-30. As it is, it’s at least silly if not absurd.

        • Sounds to me like it’s decision best left up to the individual hunting. Or are we know ok with letting out betters decide what’s best for us? Are gun owners too stupid to know what round is appropriate for terrain and need democrats to dictate it to them?

        • Yes. And I’ve observed nothing on a public range that haven’t also seen on an army or police range. In fact, I’ve seen more red flag violations on the latter, and the former has been pretty decent. The biggest issue I’ve seen on civilian public ranges is a simple lack of uniformity in rules. If you want to go down the path of government telling you what you can and can’t hunt with, then have it.

      • So… making sure I get it.

        – A .30-30 Win pushing a 150 grain bullet @ 2390 fps is bad.
        – A 350 Legend pushing a 145 grain bullet @ 2350 fps is OK.

        The difference is only 5 grains and 40 fps!

        Seems like it might make more sense to put limits on bullet weight and speed, rather than the geometry of the case???

        • Don’t give them ideas.

          This silliness does illustrate how hard it is to make a rule that gets what you want. Mix in agenda-mongers in interpretation n enfor cement, and it’s harder still.

          Worse, people still.want what they want. So, in Ny State, which has had a “shotgun only” mre or less forever, rifled, no choke “shotguns” throwing solid slugs are common. I knew about those. I didn’t know about aerodynamic, sub-diameter “slugs” with sabot being common.

          By some bizarre set of rulse this is not a “rifle”, and is ” safe.”

      • The funny thing in Ohio is that Coyote season is all year round and there are no caliber restrictions at all, so I can safely hunt a Coyote with a .30-06 if I want, but not a deer.

      • Served with a guy from Ohio. He hunted varmints with a custom 25-06. Deer with a slug gun. I asked him to explain. He said Ohio thought it was too dangerous to hunt deer with a rifle but not with a shotgun. And groundhogs with a rifle? He shrugged.

      • If Ohio is anything like Iowa* there’s not much public land for hunting and there’s usually an orange vest every 50′ during slug/straight-wall-rifle season. Perhaps these silly restrictions should apply to public land but not private. The state has an obligation to keep people ‘safe’ on state land, but individuals should be trusted on their own property. The only restriction on private land should be the cartridge should hit hard enough for a humane kill and of course the bag limit.

        • * People who can’t differentiate between Iowa, Ohio and Idaho should be taken out into a corn (or potato) field and shot and left for the buzzards.

        • In truth, most of those tiny states that lurk in the middle of the country pretty much all run together unless you live there. Iowa, Idaho, Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, Illinois, Nebraska, Arkansas. . . Pittsburgh? Pittsburgh is one of them, right? Besides, the only way to tell them apart is by their pretty colors–Iowa is green, I think, and Ohio is sort of a beige.
          And Alaska is an island, next to Hawaii, surrounded by a red-outlined square somewhere in the Pacific Ocean off to the bottom right.
          To be honest, I’ve never even met somebody who claimed to have been born in Iowa. Or Ohio. Or Nebraska.
          Do they ever leave? Are they ALLOWED to leave? For that matter, does anyone really LIVE there?

        • John, I’m pretty sure this is Ohio. The soil’s too sandy to be Iowa. And if it were Idaho it would be a potato field…

        • I don’t know about soil composition, but I’m pretty sure I saw that in the sequel to ‘Field of Dreams’, where we actually find out what happens out there in the corn when the players leave the field for the night. That was definitely filmed in Iowa–or Idaho (those plants are High-Bush Potatoes, from which shoestring and French-fried potatoes are made).
          Or maybe Indiana.

        • You said that people who can’t differentiate between those three states should be shot, but shot with what? A straight-walled cartridge…. ? Or a bottle-neck??

        • The State will tell you they have NO obligation to keep anyone safe when their intended policies fail to do so.

    • Depends where you hunt. A .300WM bullet will be lethal even through foliage for over a mile. Not exactly something you want buzzing around east of the Mississippi. (Due to the density of population.) Out in the Rockies, sure go for it.

      • That is absurd. Any bullet, regardless of caliber, is deflected by any obstruction, usually resulting in it hitting the ground after a short distance. The obstruction usually causes the bullet to loose it’s stability causing it to spin out of its flight path. Ballistics 101.

    • They are stupid laws that are entirely designed to curtail gun ownership and hunting. Their whole argument relies on “population density.” And it’s bullshit. Florida has an extremely high population density and no laws regarding straight wall cartridges, and hardly anyone ever gets accidentally shot during hunting season. Trust me, if Florida can do it without issue, so can every state east of the Mississippi.

  2. I was looking at this on their website yesterday. My conclusion was it’s fine for straight-walled deer hunting states if you don’t want the recoil of the .450 Bushmaster and should work fine in an AR15 platform, so it might do well. But if you’re looking for a lever gun and don’t have to worry about your local game laws, the .30-30 is better. These bullets are pointy, but they’re lower SDs than .30-30 and they move slower. The BCs are about on par with the less aerodynamic rounds in .30-30.

    • I’m kinda interested about how it would shake out vs .300AAC. It seems like you have a lot more room in the case to add a whole pile more powder safely.

      • They advertise ME a little on the short side of .30-30 but they don’t list barrel length. Should be a significant boost over .300AAC.

    • Well if it’s really using yhe old 357 mag bullets then the skies kind of the limit on what you have at the end of the cartidge really

      • It might be my new top choice for a home defense AR. Probably wouldn’t cycle SJHPs in an AR though.

        • Why would you use SJHPs in a modern cartridge?
          SJHP = Old and busted
          Polymer Ballistic Tip = New Hotness

        • SJHPs expand more reliably and even if the hollow point gets plugged up they’ll still mushroom like a SJSP. That and you can use the same bullets you load in your .357 revolver.

          However, in a rifle, you might be right, polymer tips might be the best way to go.

  3. nope. the thing to beat with 300 blk is all the projectile options you have, not to mention its suppressed performance.

    • BCB,

      I have no reservations shooting my .44 Magnum rifle to 150 yards with full power loads. If I am using typical watered-down loads, then I would probably limit myself to 100 yards as you say.

      The real question is accuracy: my .44 Magnum rifle struggles to maintain 3-inch groups at 100 yards which means those groups would open up to at least 4.5 inches at 150 yards. I wonder how this .350 Legend round would group at 200 yards?

  4. These rules regarding straight walled and shotgun slug are ridiculous. In Illinois which is a slug state for whitetail I can use a 338WM for squirrels. Explain that logic to me. They can’t.

  5. That’s an interesting cartridge, and it’s compatible with an AR…

    … but I don’t want to add yet another caliber to the stable at the moment.

  6. I would imagine 2350 fps with a 145gr. Projectile would work just fine for Serial deer. Might be a little on the light side for BigFoots though

  7. Something that I think hasn’t been touched on much is the case proportions relative to .223 and .300 blackout. The one thing that’s kept me from buying a .300 upper despite its neat ballistics and suppression characteristics is how easily it can be inadvertently chambered in a .223 gun. I know my forgetful dumbass self and I’ve seen a few too many KBs from that scenario for me to ever own both .223 and .300. But this .350 Winchester looks like it should fit in standard AR mag without chambering in either .300 or .223 barrels. So that’s a definite win in my book. Combined with all manner of affordable .357 bullets and the straight walled case, it looks like prime reloading and plinking fodder, too.

  8. So they say the case is slightly different than 223 at base, so I assume full bore loads 223 cases couldn’t be used, but for lighter target loads I wonder if you could use 223 cases….

  9. First of all, I find myself getting sleepy reading the ballistics about this cartridge. Who cares? Fits an AR platform? I’m wetting my pants. Compared it to 300 Blackout? Fodder for ballistics nerds.

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  10. This cartridge was made to fit the rule books. No rule books and this would not exist. That being said-I think they did a pretty good job. This cartridge checks the right boxes (.357 cal and straight walled), fixes the two problems people have with the 450 Bushmaster (too much recoil and too expensive), works in an AR rifle or bolt action.

    Now if the manufacturers can put out rifles and Winchester can put out enough ammo it will take 5 years to really take off.

  11. So, Winchester released a new cartridge with .357 caliber bullets that provides an extra 75 fps over full-power .357 Magnum handgun cartridges shot out of a rifle-length barrel. And I have to wonder if there is a propellant option that would optimize .357 Magnum for rifle-length barrels that would come even closer to the same muzzle velocity.

    I would much rather purchase a rifle in .357 Magnum: ammunition would be relatively inexpensive and widely available. And if I purchase a .357 Magnum revolver, I would have ammunition commonality between the revolver and rifle.

    Rather than developing a new cartridge, I really wish Winchester would have optimized propellant on existing .357 Magnum cartridges for rifle-length barrels — if that is possible. (I have extremely limited knowledge with respect to hand-loading cartridges.) And if there is no method to optimize a .357 Magnum load for rifle-length barrels, I would still opt for .357 Magnum anyhow: I would not spend money on a new platform to gain 75 feet-per-second at the muzzle.

    • The hottest loads from Hodgdon for an 18.5″ barrel in .357 rate at just under 2K FPS in a .357 in a comparable 140gr bullet. If barrel length is comparable this seems to be likely way hotter. Cor-Bon from an 18″ barrel by ballistics by the inch is just under 2K as well in the 140gr variety and 158gr is at 1720fps or so. If Winchester’s data is accurate this is significantly hotter.

      This could be a fun round in a revolver with moon clips or headspaced off the neck ala a 30 carbine Blackhawk paired with an AR of some kind. I’m wondering what the pressure would be and if an N-frame would be required or if you could get away with a stretched 686 or similar. 7 or 8 in the cylinder of a round like this would make me giggle like a little girl paired with an AR.

  12. This cartridge makes no sense, only matters to ballistic nerds. Real world a .357 magnum will do anything the 350 cartridge will do with much more simplicity and proven reliability. .357 can be found anywhere at acceptable costs, with the bonus of being able to use .38 special.

  13. There is already a better straight-walled caliber that does everything the .350 Legend can do, and more, because rifles chambered in this other caliber can also fire .357 Magnum and .38 Special! It’s called the .357 Remington Maximum, a SAAMI-approved cartridge designed in 1983 by Remington & Ruger. The .357 Maximum has a SAAMI pressure of 40,000 compared to the .357 Magnum’s 35,000 psi. The .357 Maximum is a rimmed cartridge, so it’s great for revolvers, lever-action rifles, and single-shot rifles (MGM makes TC Encore barrels chambered in .357 Maximum), as well as bolt-action rifles. Best of all, any rifle or revolver chambered in .357 Maximum can also fire .357 Magnum and .38 Special!

    The only problem is that nobody seems to be making .357 Maximum ammo anymore, so if Winchester would just get off their a** and make some .357 Maximum ammo, there would be no need for the new and INFERIOR .350 Legend. But I get it, .357 Magnum was designed by their competitor, Remington, and Winchester wanted to put their own name on a new cartridge, so we all have to suffer for Winchester’s vanity.

    I wanted to get a TC Encore barrel chambered in .357 Maximum, but I can’t find ammo in that caliber (not even at Midway), and I’m not a handloader.

    Wikipedia says, ” It is a .357 Magnum case lengthened 0.300 inches (7.6 mm).[3] Based on the .357 Magnum cartridge, a revolver or single-shot pistol designed for the .357 Max can fire .357 Magnum, .38 Special, .38 Long Colt, and .38 Short Colt rounds. Intended primarily as a silhouette cartridge, such high velocity and energy levels have hunting applications.[2] SAAMI pressure level for this cartridge is set at 40,000 pounds per square inch (280 MPa). [4] [5][6] Despite good performance, the high pressure and velocity of the cartridge caused flame cutting of revolver top straps (due to the use of light 110 and 125 grains (7.1 and 8.1 g) bullets), and the cartridge has since been dropped by all manufacturers who so chambered their revolvers.[7] Single shot pistols and rifles (e.g., Thompson/Center Contender) are still available in this caliber, and remain popular among handloaders.[2] Unprimed brass is still produced every few years by Remington, and is also a stock item from Starline.[8]”

    • Correct me if Im wrong, but didnt the maximum have a terrible habit of burning up the forcing cone in revolvers? Im only 32 but i seem to remember a couple old timers my dad used to hang around talking about that.

      • I thought it would erosion of the top strap at the cylinder gap that was the problem. .460 would seem to be as bad or worse, but more modern tech might make up for it.

  14. Looks like a straight walled 223 but what hasn’t anyone actually measured it?

    357AR’s have been around for many years and give 35 Remington power in a light carbine.

    Great deal.

  15. I cant believe I read all of this. I think the bottom line is that people who make laws have no idea what they’re talking about. We all know that. Has this new round been found to cause cancer in California, that’s what we need to know.

  16. Apparently this was SAAMI approved this week. Good on Winchester for reading the writing on the wall. People want cartridges that do a lot and this checks a lot of boxes. .

    Affordable? Check.
    Legal in a wide range of areas to hunt with? Check. Good suppressed? Check.
    AR Platform? Check.
    Bolt gun? Check.

    Yes there’s probably something that does each job better. But the average consumer doesn’t care about that they want versatility. It’s why SUVs are so popular. I wonder how this would go with a revolver. It’d be kinda…Legendary…to have a revolver and lever gun running this

  17. More accurately, this seems to be the old 9mm Winchester Magnum case, lengthened as far as reasonably possible and still allow AR-type lowers to accommodate it. A “straight” case needs a bit of taper to facilitate extraction, and .223 basic brass doesn’t provide it. The slightly wider web diameter of the 9mm Winchester Magnum does. What remains to be seen is magazine compatibility. Winchester’s website says it requires a different magazine, but time will tell.

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