The devil, as we know, is in the details.Natural resources departments have been looking for ways to increase participation in licensed hunting, especially for white-tailed deer where populations continue at unprecedented levels while hunter numbers have overall declined. Which is why several prime Midwestern deer states have established regulations that permit the use of nominal handgun cartridges where all centerfire rifle cartridges may not be ideally suited.
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DNRs in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio have taken into consideration that the flat topography of excellent Midwestern hunting areas does not lend itself to a well-suited backstop when the land lies near occupied houses and buildings. For that reason, it was decided that certain straight-walled cartridges provided added opportunity for gun hunters, while reducing the risk of overshooting a target. However, many of the existing straight-walled cartridges lacked modern elements such as a rimless design to enable their use in a variety of firearms.
So Winchester set its sights on developing a cartridge that would embody the qualities of straight-walled ballistics while being better suited to long guns. The result is the 350 Legend. Just in regard to its projectile, the 350 delivers a hunting bullet far-better suited to deer than many of the choices available for handgun cartridges: streamlined for flatter trajectory, large polymer tip for accelerated expansion, and a precision jacket and core for accuracy, penetration, and energy transfer. All that is combined with mild recoil and a range compatible with the intent of trajectories desired by the DNRs.
So what’s not to like?
The 350 Legend meets the minimums for straight-walled deer cartridges. Some states restrict shellcase length to 1.80 inches, and there is no question about the 350 Legend with a length of 1.71 inches. Certain states also highlight a bullet diameter range from .357 to .50 inches.
Facts are stubborn things, and the fact is that the 350 Legend meets all the requirements for straight-walled cartridges. And here’s why
The bullet diameters for every cartridge in existence include manufacturing tolerances, which is acknowledged in the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) specs. It is virtually impossible to manufacture every bullet to an exact designated diameter, which is also reflected by SAAMI. For example, the 357 Magnum can be loaded with a .355 diameter bullet and still be considered a 357 Magnum cartridge.
“350 Legend” is a name, not a specification, just as a “38 Special” bullet actually measures around .357 inches, or a “308 Winchester” can measure .309, within its own tolerances.
Much like 357 Magnum, the 350 Legend is loadedwith a .357-inch-diameter bullet, within the SAAMI tolerances. (Rifled barrels, whether in handguns or long guns chambered for the 357 Magnum, 357 Maximum, or 350 Legend all have groove diameters of approximately .355 inches. That translates to a bullet exiting the muzzle with the same approximate diameter of every bullet when fired from all of these cartridges.)
In addition to providing specific details on the diameter of its bullet in the 350 Legend, Winchester has gone farther and spoken with the effected DNRs about bullet tolerances in order for their officers in the field to be aware that the 350 Legend is perfectly legal for straight-walled hunting. So a hunter can use it with confidence in that regard.
Beyond that, the 350 Legend, chambered in a rifle, is an ideal cartridge for a young hunter or one who is more conscious of recoil. It could also prove to be a fine choice for hunting in deep woods with limited shot distances.
The new 350 Legend is a cartridge that hunters can use it with confidence. It is a fine new cartridge choice for hunters who may be required to use a straight-walled cartridge in the field and an excellent choice in other parts of the country. If you have any further questions about the use of the 350 Legend in your state, contact your DNR and get the straight talk on straight walls.
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