Another new development from the other Winchester — Winchester Ammunition — is the 350 Legend, a straight-walled .357 caliber cartridge that is said to duplicate the trajectory of the .30-30! At first I was a bit puzzled, but after a little ruminating I came to understand the rationale behind it. For one, there are several states that for safety considerations, limit deer hunting to the use of straight-walled cartridges, and the Legend provides more power and range than any existing straight-walled cartridge heretofore available.
This newest offspring from Winchester is based on what is essentially, but not identical to, the.223 Rem. case slightly shortened to 1.71”. Winchester claims it’s the “fastest straight-walled cartridge in the world.” They also claim it has approximately 20 percent less recoil than the .243 Win., 20 percent more penetration and less recoil than the .450 Bushmaster.
What that essentially says is that if your typical shooting opportunities are always under 200 yards, this can be a highly effective deer and hog cartridge.
The Winchester folks have really gone all out with the Legend by offering six loads right out of the chute; that’s highly unusual for a brand-new cartridge. There’s a 145-grain FMJ flat nose, a 150-grain Deer Season Extreme Point, a 160-grain Power Max Bonded, two 180-grain Power Points in Super X and Hog Special and a 265-grain Open Tip Super Suppressed.
At this writing there is a paucity of internal and exterior ballistics, but SAAMI has stated that the 145-grain FMJ Flat Nose exits a 16” barrel at 2,250 fps.
Back to Winchester Repeating Arms, they are offering the Legend in all seven models of their XPR bolt-action rifle line, but it’s pretty obvious that this cartridge was really designed to fit the AR-15 platform; it’s just that WRA doesn’t make ARs! Whatever popularity the .450 Bushmaster has garnered among AR hunters, this 350 Legend is going to provide some very stiff competition indeed. As a limited-range deer cartridge in Winchester’s XPR line (or anyone else’s bolt-action) I don’t think the Legend is going to set any sales records, but in AR platform guns I think it’s going to do very well indeed. And that just might be what Winchester had in mind from the very start!–Jon R. Sundra