I really love my 350 Legend. I’m not as big a fan of the 300 Blackout, but it’s still functional round. My first concern is usually more about hunting, but I definitely have an eye on home defense too. well, I’ve been testing and researching both of these for a while now, and here is what I’ve found.
The 350 Legend is more powerful and shoots heavier bullets than the 300 Blackout. The 300 Blackout has an effective range of about 150-yards. The 350 Legend has an effective range of 250-yards. Both are very quiet suppressed with subsonic ammo. Both will defeat level 3A armor. The 350 Legend tends to do significantly more damage than the 300.
Well, that’s the start of the discussion. There’s a whole lot more than that. I’ll go deeper and cover each one’s strengths and weaknesses and why you might choose one over the other. In the end, it’s your choice. I’m just here to give you the information.
The 350 Legend is Better Than 300 Blackout for Hunting
The 350 legend has 10 percent more bullet energy and has 66 percent more effective range than the 300 Blackout. It creates a wider wound channel and expands to a much wider diameter than a 300 Blackout. The bullet has a much wider surface area and performs well at lower velocities than 300 Blackout does.
Let’s first cover firearm type. The 350 Legend is available in Both bolt-actions and in the AR-15 platform. In fact, it was designed from the ground up to maximize the hunting potential of a low-recoil AR cartridge. Being a mid-length straight-wall cartridge, it’s also allowed in states with certain cartridge restrictions.
In Michigan, we have rules like that in the southern part f the state. This cartridge has exploded in popularity over here, even in the non-restricted part of the state. We commonly use it for Whitetail Deer and Black Bear at 200 to 250-yards.
I’m going to say that the 350 Legend is a bit better for hunting than the 300 Blackout. Mainly because it usually has a bit further effective range, and because the wider, heavier bullet tends to create a significantly wider wound channel. The effective range of the 300 Blackout can be longer depending on ammo type, but it can be risky at 200+ yards.
Why the 300 Blackout May be a Better Tactical Cartridge
The 300 Blackout has a higher magazine capacity. Most magazines for the 300 Blackout are 30 rounds, but the largest magazine for the 350 Legend holds 20 rounds. With subsonic ammo, it tends to be more accurate than 350 Legend. Subsonics often use small amounts of pistol powder which can burn inconsistently in the larger 350 Legend case.
So, that is the advantage of the 300 Blackout. Basically, its biggest advantage is that it was designed from the ground up for good performance as a subsonic round and to function well with subsonic in shorter barreled AR pistols. Then there’s the 30 percent more magazine capacity. That’s a pretty big point too if you want a tactical firearm.
Plus, it’s got less recoil. The 300 Blackout has noticeably less recoil than a 350 Legend. The 350 Legend isn’t bad on recoil, coming in at less than half the recoil of a .308, but the 300 Blackout is a bit less means the gun is somewhat more easily controlled and will have an easier time getting follow-up shots on target.
Those are some pretty big tactical advantages and if you’re looking for a home-defense gun, this might be an option to consider. Also, it does still work in very short barrels, as short as 6-inches. The shorter barrels are often limited to subsonic loads in order to operate reliably.
The 350 Legend does much better at penetrating armor and vehicles than the 300 Blackout. It’s just got the power to punch through. You need a good level 3 armor to stop 350 Legend.
More about short barrels, It’s a common statement that 300 Blackout has no ballistic advantage after 9-inches of barrel because it’s burned up all its powder. That’s not entirely true. That’s often true for subsonic loads, but not for supersonic loads.
Subsonic loads are usually loaded with a fast-burning pistol powder so there is very little real difference in firing one out of a 9-inch barrel and a 16-inch barrel. That goes for both the 300 Blackout and the 350 Legend. But, with supersonic ammo, there is a substantial difference from a 9 to a 16-inch barrel.
Although, it’s usually only a couple hundred feet per second. The 350 Legend runs at about 80 percent velocity out of a 10-inch barrel with standard, supersonic ammo, which is pretty impressive for such a long cartridge. It’s about the same with the 300 Blackout.
Here’s an article I wrote with a nice chart on 350 Legend barrel length vs velocity.
300 Blackout vs 350 Legend Trajectory and Ballistics (Full length barrel)
|300 Blackout 220-grain fmj
|+3.76 in/984 fps
|0.0 in/970 fps
|-35.4 in/943 fps
|-109.9 in/919 fps
|350 Legend 255-grain hp
|+3.62 in/ 964
|0.0 in/938 fps
|-37.9 in/888 fps
|-120 in/845 fps
|300 Blackout: 110-Grain TTSX
|+.24 in/2098 fps
|0.0 in/1952 fps
|-7.7 /1680 fps
|-27.8 in/1441 fps
|350 Legend 124-grain fmj
|0.0 in/2330 fps
|0.0 in/2166 fps
|-5.9 in/1860 fps
|-22.1 in/1585 fps
The Most Common Hunting rounds
|300 Blackout 150-grain Deer Season XP
|+.5 in/1850 fps
|0.0 in/1801 fps
|9.2 in/1705 fps
|30.4 in/1614 fps
|350 Legend 180-grain Power Point
|+.4 in/2012 fps
|-0.0 in/1762 fps
|-9.8 in/1467 fps
|-35.9 in/1230 fps
The two have a similar trajectory when compared side-by-side with similar bullet weights, but the 300 Blackout has an edge in flat-shooting because it tends to have a significantly better ballistic coefficient, (is more aerodynamic). The 350 Legend has significantly more power for the first 100-yards, but it slows down quickly and loses its energy after that.
It may sound like a good argument for the 300 Blackout, and it is sort of. But there’s is another part to the equation that you need to have a brief idea of. All hunting bullets have a bottom limit of velocity needed to operate. It differs greatly with bullet design and plays a huge role in choosing between these two options.
Velocity Threshold, something you need to know.
Every bullet that either expands or fragments needs a certain velocity for that to happen. That threshold is usually between 1600 fps and 1900 fps for most centerfire rifle bullets. the issue is, both the 350 and the 300 are slow.
Now, the hunting ammo for the 350 Legend has all been designed especially for that cartridge. The result is a bullet that works very well at lower velocities. In my own tests, most 350 legend ammo expands well at pistol velocities of around 1110 fps. It also holds together fine at 2200 fps.
The 300 Blackout is another story. It, for the most part, uses bullets that were already in use in other calibers. It’s a .308-inch, which is a common 30-caliber rifle bullet. Most of the bullets used in the 300 Blackout will not expand below 1700 fps, and a lot of them need more like 1800 fps. The 150-grain Deer Season XP is good to 1,700 fps, or about 200-yards.
But, there are some that need a lot less. There are several that were made specifically to work with the lower velocities of the 300 Blackout. Some of the best bullets come from Barnes and from Lehigh Defense. These are quality bullet makers. Lehigh is more of a specialty bullet maker. They have a lot of unique and good quality stuff.
The velocity threshold of 300 Blackout ammo tends to put a max effective distance somewhere between 150 and 300-yards. Most bullets will get to about the 200-yard mark before they fail to expand. Some closer, some farther. You have to check the velocity threshold of a bullet, and that usually means calling the manufacturer.
There is a great resource posted a while back on a 300 Blackout forum. It lists velocity thresholds and approximate max-distance for a lot of bullets on the market. Here’s a link to it.
The 350 Legend, in a rifle, is good to a bit past 300-yards with every name-brand factory hunting load. So, if you don’t want to get too much into technical stuff, or if you want to be able to use any ammo and not think about it, consider the 350 Legend.
Some of the 300 Blackout loads will function very well past 300-yards, but you have to know the velocity threshold of the bullet, and you really should know the actual velocity you are getting in your gun with it. When you have the muzzle velocity from your gun, you can use ShootersCalculator.com to find your downrange velocity.
Max Hunting Distance vs. Max Tactical Distance
There is a notion that in a tactical situation, you can get away with far less bullet energy than when hunting. Because of that, it’s often said that the tactical effective range is further than the hunting effective range. The idea is that since just maiming a person is often enough to end a situation, you don’t need bullet expansion.
Basically, If you’re not planning on engaging in a firefight at 2000-yards, none of that matters. I just thought I’d mention it here.
300 Blackout vs 350 Legend Ammo Cost
The is both cheap and expensive ammo for both 350 Legend and 300 Blackout. Both vary between $25 and $40 for good hunting ammo. Steel-cased WOLF ammo is available in 300 Blackout, and there is a somewhat inexpensive 350 Legend fmj sold by Winchester.
The 300 Blackout can get a lot more expensive because there is more specialty ammo available for it. But, that’s often just a novelty. Expect to pay around 50m cents a round for really cheap stuff, and a buck and a half per round for good stuff.
As far as availability, it can be hard to find either at times. Both are somewhat less common cartridges. Which one is more readily available depends on your region. In the Midwest, the 350 Legend is more common due to its popularity as a hunting cartridge, so it’s easier to find 350 ammo here in Michigan.
It’s also pretty popular in Texas with the pig hunters. you can find almost anything online, but it’s a good idea to go check your local stores and see what they often stock. Maybe ask them what they tend to stock more of.