Ammo

350 Legend vs 450 Bushmaster – Which Should You Choose?

Straight-walled cartridges are a rising trend in the hunting community. These two cartridges were designed as an alternative to hunting deer with bottleneck cartridge rifles, which have become increasingly regulated lately. The 350 legend vs 450 bushmaster are the best straight walled cartridges available. But what exactly are straight wall cartridges, where do they fit into your rifle collection, and how do they compare with each other? In this article, all these questions are answered and explained extensively.


What Is The 350 Legend?

picture of 350 legend ammo

Developed in 2019 by Winchester Repeating arms, the .350 Legend is a straight-walled intermediate rifle cartridge. Designed specifically as a solution for the American States who regulate hunting with straight-walled rounds. The .350 legend is, in its essence, a simple straight cylinder without the normal characteristics of a traditional cartridge, such as shoulders or bottlenecks.

Incorporating engineering innovation, the engineers at Winchester based the 350 legend on the classic .223 Remington bottleneck cartridge. In fact, we already compared the 223 vs 350 Legend cartridges! They modified it into a straight walled cartridge. The engineers made the .350 legend’s mouth to be loaded with 0.357″ diameter bullets using three draw steps. They also spent additional time on the tapering process to maximize reduced friction when the cartridge is unchambered. The tapering will give your hunting rifle’s chambering action an enhanced smooth feeling.

Designed specifically for hunting deer or hog, this cartridge will easily deliver a lethal force to an animal at an effective range of 200 yards. At 200 yards, the .350 Legend beats a .223 Remington and 30-30 Winchester with force on target.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Budget Friendly – Because the .223 Remington is mass-produced by Winchester for the US Army, it allows for cheap production of the .350 Legend. Leading to ammo cost that suits the consumer.
  • Recoil – With just 8.52 pounds of force, the .350 Legend has 20 percent less recoil than a .243 Winchester cartridge.
  • Accessibility – Several rifles, both bolt action rifles, and ar style rifles have welcomed this straight wall cartridge with open arms.
  • Efficacy – Using the .243 Winchester cartridge again as a reference, the .350 legend has 20% better penetration when hitting its target. This might mean the difference between a successful knockdown and a deer running away. Also, the bullet has an oversized diameter leading to much better impact trauma.
  • Reloading – This cartridge is a dream come true when it comes to reloading, as it is much easier to reload than its bottleneck counterparts.

Cons:

  • Range – Although most hunters don’t take a shot above 200 yards, the opportunity always presents itself when deer hunting. The .350 legend is very effective up until 200 yards, for further shots, this straight wall cartridge is not advised as the chances of wounding a deer are much higher. Just like we saw with our comparison of 32 special vs 30 30, the range & trajectory makes a big difference.
  • Ammo availability – Because this straight walled cartridge is still relatively new in the hunting world, the ammo is not as abundantly found as other hunting rifle cartridges. Although supply is beginning to increase to everyone’s joy.
  • Versatility – The 350 legend is recommended but not limited to hunting smaller deer and hogs. If you want to see more versatility, check out our 30-30 ammo comparison as well.

What Is The 450 Bushmaster?

picture of 450 bushmaster ammo

Similar to the 350 Legend, the 450 bushmaster is also a straight wall cartridge. Designed by LeMag Firearms and licensed by Bushmaster Firearms International, the 450 bushmaster is primarily used for hunting deer, hogs, elk, and bears when needed.

The 450 bushmaster is also legal in states where hunting with bottleneck cartridges is prohibited. Why was it created? As the 223 Remington became a nationwide semi-auto AR rifle sensation for hunting all things varmint, it was not allowed for the hunting of whitetail deer or any deer for that matter. The solution, the 450 Bushmaster.

Characterized by a 0.452″ diameter bullet, it has a much bigger bullet than the 0.224″ diameter 223 Remington bullet. The 450 bushmaster uses a 284 Winchester as the parent case and is extremely effective for hunting medium sized game. Other rounds like the 300 blackout vs 6.5 grendel are also effective for hunting medium game!

Pros & Cons

PROS:

  • Range – The 450 bushmaster has a maximum effective range of 250 yards for hunting larger game.
  • Versatility – Because the 450 bushmaster is a bigger cartridge, it can be used to hunt almost any deer you are likely to find in the US.
  • Reloading – Resizing this cartridge is much easier than with a bottleneck cartridge.
  • Accessibility – Several rifles now have made the 450 bushmaster part of its catalog for a rifle cartridge combination, including the price-approachable Ruger American ranch rifle.

Cons:

  • Cost – Unfortunately, the 450 bushmaster’s ammo cost is considerable. Practise rounds can cost up to $1.50 per round, and hunting rounds can cost you $2.5 per round.
  • Availability – Obtaining ammo can be difficult as the number of manufacturers producing this cartridge is not a lot.

450 Bushmaster vs 350 Legend Recoil

Recoil is a crucial part of any deer hunter’s experience as it contributes to ease of shooting. Two factors primarily determine the recoil of a rifle, including the rifle cartridge combination and the cartridge.

Both are chambered in similar weighing rifles, so the difference in recoil is primarily determined by the cartridge itself. Comparing the 350 legend vs 450 bushmaster, it is evident that the 350 legend has significantly less recoil. As we saw in our breakdown of the 223 vs 17 WSM, there are rounds that produce significantly less recoil!

The 350 legend has a light recoil force of 8.52 foot-pounds in a seven-pound rifle for a 150-grain bullet. Compared to the 450 bushmaster, which has 23 foot-pounds worth of recoil force for a 250-grain bullet. However, muzzle devices such as muzzle brakes can be fitted onto the weapon to reduce the recoil.


Ballistics Comparison of 350 Legend vs 450 Bushmaster

When looking at the ballistics between these two cartridges, they are not as far away from each other on comparable hunting distances. For this ballistics comparison, we will be discussing velocity, trajectory, knockdown power, and maximum point blank range. Just like we saw in our comparison of the 450 Bushmaster vs 458 SOCOM, ballistics are very import to consider when deciding between two cartridges.

Velocity

Influencing the trajectory and kinetic energy of the bullet, velocity is used to determine how effective a cartridge can be at a given range.

The 350 legend is characterized by having a much lighter bullet, leaving the barrel with 2300-fps muzzle velocity and 1599 foot-pounds muzzle energy. However, the bullet drop is more than with the 450 bushmaster’s 250- grain bullet, dropping between 5-6 inches between 100 and 200 yards. The amount of muzzle velocity lost when reaching the 200-yard mark is 29 percent (652 fps).

The 450 bushmaster cartridge is usually accompanied by a 250-grain bullet, producing an estimated 2200-fps muzzle velocity with a muzzle energy of 2448 foot-pounds. The bullet drop is between 4-5 inches from 100 yards up until 200 yards. It loses 31 percent (685 fps) worth of velocity when reaching 200 yards.

Both these cartridges lose a considerable amount of velocity when reaching the 200-yard mark. I found similar things when I compared the
350 legend vs 357 magnum ammo rounds. However, the difference between them appears minuscule in terms of Velocity.

Trajectory

Trajectory is a prime determinant of accuracy, defined as the path the bullet travels when leaving the rifle. A Flatter trajectory is desired because it aims to help with bullet placement – the bullet landing where you aimed it.

  • The 350 legend has a trajectory of +3 inches at the 100-yard mark and -13.7 inches at 250 yards.
  • The 450 bushmaster has a trajectory of +2.9 inches when reaching 100 yards and an astounding -15.7 inches at 250 yards.

The trajectory of these two straight wall cartridges reveals that their effective range lies between 100 and 200 yards. Beyond 200 yards, the trajectory of the 350 legend is flatter but is compromised by the reduced velocity to make an ethical kill.

Knockdown power

Both bullets pack a punch, but overall, the 450 bushmaster leads the charge regarding sheer knockdown power as opposed to his younger brother, the 350 legend. The 450 bushmaster’s use of a heavier bullet combined with higher muzzle energy makes this cartridge an exceptional choice for deer hunters hunting medium-sized game. We saw in our breakdown of the best .450 bushmaster scopes that they are great for hunting! Still, the 350 legend is highly on smaller sized game at a closer range.

Maximum point blank range

Maximum point blank range is defined as the range or distance a bullet travels without deviating in height from its aim point.

  • The 350 legend has a MPBR of 185 yards compared to the 450 bushmaster, which has a MPBR of 191 yards. Also not much difference between the two.

Determined by velocity, the caliber of the rifle, bullet weight, and the ballistic coefficient, the MPBR can be the difference between hitting your target accurately or missing it altogether. It is thus advised not to shoot beyond the MPBR.


Which Is More Expensive?

Price is always a critical ranking factor for ammunition. In fact, it was the deciding factor in my comparison of the 380 vs 9mm ammunition.

When looking at the cost comparison of 350 legend vs 450 bushmaster then, take note that the manufacturing site plays an important role for the 350 legend in determining ammo cost. The 350 legend is produced by the same factory ammo that mass produces an already established cartridge, the .223 Remington cartridge for the US Army.

  • The 350 legend has prices between $0.80 and $1.10 for deer season xp ammo and is a cheaper option.
  • The 450 bushmaster rounds, with prices ranging between $1.50 and $2.75.

The cartridges are available in similar rifle models, only rifles chambered differ, thus resulting in rifle prices that are more or less the same.


FAQs – 350 legend vs 450 bushmaster

Is 450 Bushmaster overkill for deer hunting?

No, the 450 bushmaster is an excellent choice for hunting whitetails and other larger game as well, including the black bear.

What caliber is a 350 Legend comparable to?

The 350 legend is often compared to the .223 Remington and 5.56 mm NATO, also used in modern sporting rifles on the ar platform. When compared to the 6.5 Creedmoor, its ballistic performance is lacking, but it is cheaper and has considerably less recoil. If the .243 Winchester is brought into the equation, the 350 legend outperforms in terms of penetration by 20 percent. Overall, making this an extremely popular rifle for hunting deer.

How far will a 350 Legend shoot accurately?

The 350 legend is expected to shoot bullets accurately up to 250 yards, although a drop of 28 inches can will be evident at a range of 300 yards.

Is a 350 Legend big enough for elk?

Yes, depending on where you shoot the elk and the range. Shot placement is crucial when taking on larger game, targeting areas that are less protected by thick bones. Before shooting, make sure of the distance, you will need to be close, within 100 yards.

Can you use a 350 Legend for bear?

Yes, you can although not advised. When dealing with dangerous game, a larger rifle can make a big difference in delivering an effective, easy kill. Possibly wounding the animal will make it dangerous, and you can put yourself at risk of being attacked. Make sure your shot placement is accurate, and the range should be less than 100 yards.

The Bottom Line

Both these straight walled cartridges are excellent choices for deer. Although the recoil is almost three times higher for the 450 bushmaster it can be tamed by using a muzzle brake. The muzzle blast is also considerably higher for the 450 bushmaster vs 350 legend.

When you want a cheaper option in terms of rounds, the 350 legend is the choice for you. Then again, the 450 bushmaster has that added insurance of a shot leading to a killed deer with that almost 900 foot-pounds of added kinetic energy.

Being exempted from bottleneck cartridge regulation, both these two cartridges will make a fine addition to your rifle collection.

About the author

Charles Neser

I'm a life long hunter & gun lover. Currently pursuing my Master's Degree (M.Sc.) in Animal Nutrition at University of the Free State.

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