350 Legend and Reloading (SHOT Show)
This afternoon as I was wandering around SHOT Show I received a message from James Pollard on Slack stating, “Please see what you can find out about the new 350 Legend cartridge and if anyone is making it available for the AR platform.” I had not yet heard of the 350 Legend, but I quickly found myself in the Winchester booth. By the number and sizes of their displays I could tell that they are very proud of their new cartridge.
Winchester claims that this is the World’s fastest straight-walled hunting cartridge. There are a couple that come to mind for me that may challenge that claim, but either way, this is certainly an intriguing new round.
There are several states that have specific requirements and restrictions for hunting that I bet the 350 Legend will comply with. They currently feature it in a bolt action rifle, but I asked about when we can expect to see this in an AR-15. I found out later that CMMG just revealed their new 350 Legend AR-15 here at SHOT Show.
They claim that it has more energy than a 30-30 Win, 300 Blk, and 223 Rem, but with less recoil than a 450 Bushmaster. They also claim that it has 20% less recoil than 243 Win but 20% more penetration.
One of the guys I talked to in the booth turned out to be a handloader. He had opportunity to shoot these and said it was extremely accurate and a real pleasure to shoot. He planned to dissect a couple of these right after the show to try and figure out what they have in it. He was guessing that it may work well with H110. I told him no; this is a Winchester cartridge, so it would be W296.
Immediately I had a number of thoughts come to mind. First, I wonder just how different this is than the 357 Max AR rounds guys have been making for a few years now. One of the differences is that 350 Legend has official SAAMI specs as of two days ago. Second, I wonder if this is a .223 case that was never necked down. It does take a small rifle primer. I asked one of the ladies in the booth, and she assured me it was close, but not quite the same. I’m not convinced that she was correct. I also asked if this headspaces off of the case mouth and I was told yes. Finally I asked when we could expect to start seeing this ammo available on the shelf, and she estimated June time frame.
I also began wondering about about the reloading aspects. I made a trip down to the Redding booth and had a good conversation with Robin Sharpless of Redding.
From there I stopped at the Hodgdon/IMR/Winchester Powders booth to see when we might expect some load data. No one that was at the booth at that time had heard of the 350 yet. I then went to the RCBS and Alliant booth. They had not heard of it yet either. I checked with Lyman as well, and the folks at their booth hadn’t heard of it yet either.
Knowing that Redding is going to produce dies, and eventually someone will publish some load data, I headed downstairs to speak with Starline about brass. They were aware of the 350 and their initial assumption is that people will be able to use their .223 Basic brass, but it will likely need to be trimmed just a hair. That is just an assumption at this point.
So, there you have it. Winchester has a new straight-walled cartridge called the 350 Legend, and a bolt action rifle to go with it, CMMG has an AR-15 chambered for it, Redding will be working on dies for it, and over the next few months you’ll likely hear it mentioned quite a bit. Guys in certain states are going to love hunting with it, and a few of us will wonder about cast bullet performance in it.
Update: For a closer look at the specifications see this post: 350 Legend Specifications
Loads of Bacon enjoys bullet casting, reloading, hunting, and most other outdoors activities. He began creating YouTube videos in 2017, and built The Reloaders Network in 2018. You can find more information, links to all of his online content, and opportunities to support him if so desired on his Author Page.
Everything is better with bacon!