I’ve been hunting and shooting for a long time and have been fairly traditional with my choices, but every now and then something new and truly awesome comes along.
The 350 Legend has a very mild recoil that is easy for small shooters to handle. It has about 7 pounds of recoil, which is about 30 percent less than a .243 and 30/30. In an AR, it is especially manageable. While it has low recoil, it’s still an effective rifle for game up to 400 pounds at up to 200 yards. It’s great for deer, black bears, and hogs.
The 350 Leged has been out for a few years, but it’s still a pretty new cartridge. If you’re considering getting one, it’s a good idea to know what you can really expect out of it and what it can do. I’ve been testing and trying everything I can get my hands on and definitely have some recommendations.
How Much Recoil Does the 350 Legend Have?
Recoil is a combination of two forces. first is generated recoil, second is recoil speed. It’s similar to a punch. Generated recoil is how much weight is behind the punch, and recoil velocity is how fast the punch is going. In this chart, I’ll tell you the approximate generated recoil, and how it feels to shoot.
|Cartridge||Average recoil generated||What it feels like|
|350 Legend||7 pounds of recoil||A dull push. Not harsh at all.|
|7.62×39||7 pounds of recoil||A slightly sharper push, not harsh.|
|.243||10 pounds of recoil||Not harsh, but a fast whop.|
|30/30||10.5 pounds of recoil||A more substantial kick with more behind it|
|.223||5 pounds of recoil||What recoil?|
|450 Bushmaster||22 pounds of recoil||A heavy punch, way too much for kids.|
Is the 350 Legend a Good Hunting Rifle?
The 350 Legend is a great hunting rifle in many situations. It is ballistically similar to the traditional 30/30, but with less recoil. It has a Max Point Blank Range of 200 yards and has proven very effective as a general hunting rifle. It is commonly used to hunt deer, hogs, and black bears across the country.
I have a few calibers that I just like a lot and the 350 Legend is one of them. I’m impressed at what the round can do with such little recoil. It’s a hard-hitting, low-recoil gun that’s easy for basically anyone to handle. The trajectory is a lot like a 30/30 but it’s got less recoil and works well in lighter guns.
The most common hunting bullets hit with an expected energy of 1250 ft/lbs. at 100-yards. That’s technically enough to take an elk with a 35 caliber bullet. I know of one guy who has taken elk with it at 100-yards. When hunting in any thick terrain, the 350 Legend is a perfect option for most animals in North America.
It’s not a long-range rifle by any means. It wasn’t supposed to be. It was supposed to throw a big bullet with low recoil and fit into the small action of an AR-15. The 350 Legend is the first cartridge in the big-bore AR calibers. it’s the smallest and the fastest. Well, the 450 Bushmaster has an equal velocity. The 450 is the king of big-bore AR calibers.
By the way, if you want to read more about the 450 Bushmaster, I wrote a great article about it. Here’s the link.
I highly recommend the 350 Legend to my friends and acquaintances. It’s a handy rifle that will take most big game without a problem. Ammo is fairly common, and most manufacturers are coming rifles in 350 Legend now too. You can get a great rifle in the $300-$500 range too.
Is the 350 Legend Good for Kids?
The 350 Legend is a perfect youth gun for mid-range hunting. It’s more effective than the .223 and 300 Blackout and has far less recoil than 6.5 Creedmoor. The average 12-year old can shoot a 350 legend without worrying about recoil. The 35 caliber bullet makes a big wound that bleeds a lot, making tracking easy. It’s great for youth hunters.
Most youth hunters shouldn’t have to deal with more than 10 pounds of recoil in a rifle. depending on the load, the 30/30 and .243 can be higher than that. They’re both right on the edge. Small-framed kids may not like more than 6 or 7 pounds of recoil. I consider the 350 Legend the most powerful rifle that even small kids can handle fine.
I’ve asked a lot of youth hunters and their parents how it has worked for them. no one has had any issues with recoil, even the smaller ones. And, everyone seems to get their deer. Most of the time, the deer didn’t go more than 30 or 40-yards. Plus, kids enjoy practicing with it.
Oftentimes, they will shoot a whole box of ammo at the rage without ever thinking about recoil. If you think about recoil, you will flinch and make a bad shot. that’s the issue with kids shooting heavier recoiling rifles. About 1 in 3 shooters have a significant flinch.
I will get a rifle in 350 Legend for my kids when they are old enough. Here in Michigan, it will handle anything they may want to hunt. I think the 350 Legend is one of the top hunting cartridges for kids. If you want to read more about it, I wrote an in-depth article about the 350 as a youth rifle. Here’s the link.
How Much Drop Does a 350 Legend Have?
The 350 legend has about an inch drop at 150-yards and 7 inches at 200-yards. When sighted in at 157-yards, it has a Max Point Blank Range of 200-yards, meaning the bullet will be within 3 inches of your aiming point up to that distance. The 350 Legend can make shots at 200-yards without compensating for bullet drop.
Here’s a chart of bullet drop for the 180-grain Winchester Power Point 350 Legend ammo.
(zeroed at 175 Yards)
|100 yards||+3.5 Inches||1241 ft/lbs.|
|150 yards||+2 inches||1032 ft/lbs|
|175 yards||0||944 ft/lbs.|
|200 yards||-2.8 inches||861 ft/lbs.|
|225 yards||-6.7 inches||786 ft/lbs.|
|250 yards||11.7 inches||718 ft/lbs.|
The chart above shows you the trajectory with the 175-yard zero and a 200-yard Point Blank Zero. In other words, with in about 3 inches of the actuall aiming point all the way to 200-yards. That’s accaptable for any meduim or large game animal.
The 175 Yard zero actually has two zeros in it’s 200-yard path. The first zero is at 18 yards, the second at 175. Remember, the crosshairs in a scope is usually about 1.5 inches above the center of the bore. so, the bullet has to start out traveling up to get to the crosshairs to be zeroed.
As it goes up, it reaches the crosshairs at 18-yards, keeps going up to about 74-yards, where is’t almost 4-inches above point of aim, then the bullet starts dropping down, coming back to the line of the sight at 175-yards.
Here’s a chart for zeroing at 100-yards.
|Distance||Bullet Drop (100 yared zero)||Bullet Energy|
|100 yards||00||1241 ft/lbs.|
|150 yards||3.2 inches||1032 ft/lbs.|
|175 yards||6 inches||944 ft/lbs|
|200 yards||9 inches||861 ft/lbs.|
|225 yards||14.5 inches||786 ft/lbs.|
|250 yards||20.4 inches||718 ft/lbs.|
As you can see, the 350 legend starts to have a lot of drop past 200 yards. By 250-yards, it pretty much hits a wall. But, for up to 200-yards, it’s a great option with not much drop and plenty of energy to take a deer or antelope.
Effective Range of 350 Legend
The max effective range of the 350 Legend is 250-yards, but it starts to drop fast past 200-yards. It has enough energy to kill a deer at 300-yards, but the bullet is dropping too much to reasonably account for. For animals larger than deer, the max effective range is between 100 and 150-yards.\
My Recomended 350 Legend Rifle
There are two rifles in 350 Legend that I recomend. For a bolt-action rifle, I hightly recomend the Ruger American Rif;e in eithetr the Predator series or the Ranch Series. there is no better bolt action rifle for the money. They usually go for around $500 or so. theuy are super accurate and have a great trigger.
THe AR I reccomend, and the one I have, is from Bear Creek Arsenal. I bought a complete upper from them and slapped swapped it with the .223 upper on my AR. I paid around $250 including shipping to my door. it’s not an overly fancy upper, but it will do it’s job. It’s a side-charging upper instead of the standard rear-charging AR.
I consider Bear Creek to be a utillity company, not a preformance or luxury manufacturer. I’ve bought 4 rifles from them and they all work great. My friends bought the 350 legend uppoer too, and he loves it.
I give that recomendation to my friends and family, and several of them have followed that advice to happy results. Generally, Bear Creek uppers shoot 1moa from a shooting rest. for a 200-yard max shot, that’s plenty accurate.
Best 350 Legend Ammo
The Ammo I recommend is Winchester’s 180-grain Power Point. It’s cheaper than most, and the weight gives it a ballistic advantage in keeping its bullet energy. Most bullets are a bit lighter. I really like the performance of the 180 grain. If they don’t shoot well out of your barrel, I suggest trying Federal’s 180-grain load.
If you liked this article, you might be interested in this one I wrote about Best Barrel Length for 350 Legend.