350 Legend vs 450 Bushmaster: Which is the Best Hunting Cartridge?

350 legend vs 450 bushmaster

Since 2014-15, straight-wall cartridges have seen significant use in several states such as Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana.

In the past, hunters in these states were only allowed to use shotguns and muzzleloaders during deer season. 

However, the use of straight-wall cartridge rifles has opened up new opportunities for hunters to take longer-range shots without the inconvenience muzzleloaders presented.

Many hunters have expressed their excitement about being able to use these two straight-wall cartridges, citing their improved accuracy and power. 

The 350 Legend and 450 Bushmaster have become a hot topic among hunting enthusiasts and for good reason; the straight-wall cartridge’s superior range and accuracy is a game-changer for hunters in the Midwest.

In this blog, we’ll take a detailed look at 350 Legend and 450 Bushmaster straight-wall cartridges. 

What is 350 Legend

Winchester introduced “The Legend” to the firearms industry in 2019 as a direct answer to the growing interest in straight-walled cartridges. 

It was designed specifically for hunting deer up to 250 yards away. 

Winchester’s engineers recognized that many people appreciated the 450 cartridge but disliked its recoil, so they developed a new round that addresses some of the 450’s limitations.

The size of the 350 Legend cartridge is similar to that of the 450. Its case measures 1.71 inches, meeting the regulations in most states, and has an overall length of about 2.25 inches, similar to the 450. 

However, the main difference lies in the bullet diameter. While a .450 Bushmaster has a diameter of .452 inches, The 350 Legend only measures about .3570 inches, making it more akin to a .223 Remington. 

Despite this, the 350 Legend provides sufficient energy for hunting medium-sized game.


The .350 Legend cartridge offers a range of bullet sizes, with 145 to 180 grains being the most popular. 

When fired, this cartridge produces around 1,600 to 1,900 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. At 100 yards, the energy drops to roughly 700 to 1,300 foot-pounds, which is still sufficient for hunting. 

Due to its smaller diameter, the .350 Legend can achieve more consistent and faster speeds at a distance. The muzzle velocity of this cartridge typically ranges between 2,100 and 2,300 fps. 

The HOP Munitions 170-grain Soft Point bullets, for example, travel at 2,450 fps at the muzzle and 2,069 fps at 100 yards. 

For a 180-grain federal bullet, the speed drops to about 1,800 fps at 100 yards. Overall, the .350 Legend outperforms other cartridges in terms of velocity.

In terms of trajectory, “The Legend” is also the clear winner. When fired with our 170-grain Soft Point bullets, the bullet drop is 0.01 at 100 yards. Even at 200 yards, the drop is a mere 6.71 inches.

350 Legend Ballistics Chart

Range(yards)Elevation(inches)Windage(inches)Time of Flight(seconds)Energy(foot-pounds)Velocity(feet-per-sec)
  • Drag Function: G1
  • Ballistic Coefficient: 0.215
  • Bullet Weight: 170 grain
  • Initial Velocity: 2,450 FPS
  • Sight Height: 1.5 inches
  • Zero Range: 100 yards
  • Chart Range: 500 yards


One of the most notable features of “The Legend” cartridge is its reduced recoil, which makes it more enjoyable to shoot. 

Its recoil is similar to that of a .243 Winchester or a .410 shotgun, which makes it a great choice for youth hunters or anyone who is recoil sensitive. 

This also makes the cartridge well-suited for use with shorter-barreled carbines or semi-automatic sporting rifles. Shooters can take follow-up shots more quickly and efficiently with “The Legend” cartridges without sacrificing too much in terms of power and speed.

Cost and Availability

One advantage that “The Legend” has over the 450 cartridge is its lower cost. 

A 20-round box of 180-grain Federal Non-Typical or 170-grain Hornady American Whitetail typically costs only $25 to $30, or around $1.50 per round.

Even the Winchester Super X bullets that were mentioned earlier cost only $30 per box. 

The 170-grain Soft Point from HOP Munitions is $24.99 for a box of 20, which breaks down to a very affordable $1.24 per round.

This makes the 350 Legend a great choice for anyone who wants to enjoy shooting the cartridge at the range without spending too much money.

What is 450 Bushmaster

The 450 Bushmaster is a .45 caliber bullet that utilizes the .284 Winchester as its parent case. 

Following a slight modification that Bushmaster and LeGendre made at Hornady Ammunition’s request, this resulted in a case length of 1.700 inches and an overall length of just over two inches. 

This detail is significant since several Midwestern states, such as Michigan, have regulations that specify the allowable cartridge lengths for hunting whitetails.


The round was initially known as the .45 Professional, and it can achieve a muzzle velocity of 2,100 to 2,200 fps, even with heavy 250 and 260-grain bullets. 

In terms of power, it delivers approximately 2,700-foot pounds of energy on target. At a distance of 100 yards, the 300-grain Federal ammunition produces around 1,500-foot pounds of energy. 

The HOP Munitions 300-grain JHP bullets travel at 1,760 fps at the muzzle and 1,437 fps at 100 yards. The energy on target is equally impressive, delivering 2,064 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle and 1,377 foot-pounds of energy at 100 yards.

This round is incredibly potent and can dispatch most deer immediately upon impact.

450 Bushmaster Ballistics Chart

Range(yards)Elevation(inches)Windage(inches)Time of Flight(seconds)Energy(foot-pounds)Velocity(feet-per-sec)
  • Drag Function: G1
  • Ballistic Coefficient: 0.200
  • Bullet Weight: 300 grain
  • Initial Velocity: 1,760 FPS
  • Sight Height: 1.5 inches
  • Zero Range: 100 yards
  • Chart Range: 500 yards


Although the 450 has some advantages, there are also some drawbacks. One major issue is its strong recoil, which can be quite unpleasant. The recoil of a 450 Bushmaster is similar to that of a 12-gauge shotgun. 

In Michigan and Ohio, the Ruger American Ranch and Mossberg Patriot bolt guns are popular choices, and with shorter 16-inch barrels, I would assume that they also have significant recoil.

Some people compare the 450’s recoil to that of a lever-action .45-70 Government. 

Cost and Availability

Prior to the current inflation and ammunition shortages, you could purchase multiple 20-round boxes of Hornady Custom 250-grain FTX polymer tips for around $30 to $40 per box, depending on promotional offers. 

Likewise, Federal 300-grain hollow points and Remington Premier AccuTips weighing 260 grains were in a similar price range. 

Therefore, the minimum cost per round was around $2 at the higher end. Reloading the ammunition yourself may result in slightly lower costs, but it is still a costly round to shoot.

The 300-grain JHP from HOP Munitions is $29.99 for a box of 20 which breaks down to a more affordable $1.49 per round.

350 Legend vs 450 Bushmaster: Which One is Right for You?

The 450 is the best option if you place a high priority on raw stopping power and do not mind recoil. 

On the other hand, if you value accuracy and want to experience less recoil, then the 350 Legend is a better choice. Both rounds are practical and excel at their respective purposes. 

The key is to evaluate the hunting scenarios in which you will be utilizing the rifle and choose the round that best matches your requirements. 

Either way, you can’t go wrong and can anticipate successfully hunting deer that you would have previously had to let go of.


When comparing the 350 Legend vs 450 Bushmaster, is there a clear-cut winner? If you are on a tight budget or dislike experiencing significant recoil, then there might be. The .350 Legend is considerably easier on both fronts.

However, regarding performance, the difference is subtle, making it challenging to sway those who are undecided. 

Nonetheless, the hunting community is vast enough to accommodate both the .450 Bushmaster and the .350 Legend.

Either round is capable of harvesting game and putting meat on the table, which is ultimately what matters the most.

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