Over the last few years, there have been a number of straight-walled cartridges to hit the market. The 450 Bushmaster was one of the first mainstream straight-walled cartridges to become popular for bolt actions and AR-style rifles. It opened up possibilities for hunters where shotguns and straight-walled cartridges are allowed for hunting. At SHOT Show last year we saw the 350 Legend hit the market with lots of buzz about its potential as another straight-walled round. The 350 Legend has been out for almost a year and the round is fairly accessible to buy so what round is best? Let’s dive into these straight-walled cartridges and see what they’re all about.
The 450 Bushmaster
The 450 Bushmaster has really proven itself to be a short-range beast in the hunting world. There have been a number of different manufacturers who make both bolt action and semi-auto rifles for the 450 Bushmaster. There’s no denying, the 450 Bushmaster is a devastating hard hitter when it comes to deer and medium-sized game. One of the disadvantages of the 450 Bushmaster is the amount of recoil associated with the round. It’s not impossible to manage the recoil and often times something like a muzzle brake will decrease overall recoil.
The market support for the 450 has been relativity strong with companies like Hornady and Federal making some very accurate loads for the hard-hitting 450. My personal favorite ammo to use is the Hornady Black rounds for the 450 Bushmaster. These tend to be the most consistent and accurate rounds I have used out of my 450 rifles. The overall market for the 450 Bushmaster is steady now with ammo fairly available everywhere. Over time, the 450 has become extremely popular since it was one of the first offerings on the market. Typically, the maximum range typically is between 425-450 yards. If you’re looking for a hard-hitting short-medium range round, the 450 Bushmaster might be a perfect choice.
The 350 Legend
The 350 Legend is definitely the new kid on the block, but it has already proven itself as a great straight-walled cartridge option. Depending on bullet grain weight, the velocity is typically 2,000-2,250 fps out of the muzzle. Between the 145gr and 185gr, I’ve had much better luck with performance and reliability out of the heavier grained bullets. The best part of the 350 Legend is how enjoyable it is to shoot. Unlike the 450 Bushmaster, the 350 Legend is much less abusive with recoil so you can have a rifle that has a good amount of stopping power but is also really nice to shoot.
I would say the 350 Legend is a gun you could easily shoot recreationally as well as hunting. The 450 Bushmaster is great for knockdown power but I don’t see myself going to the range to shoot four of five boxes for fun. That’s what makes the 350 Legend the best of both worlds. If you want something to take out and shoot for fun or during deer season, the 350 Legend really shines at being an enjoyable gun to shoot and hunt with.
Both The 450 Bushmaster and 350 Legend have become popular straight-walled cartridges in the market today. The 450 Bushmaster is a hard-hitting beast with plenty of knockdown power and recoil to match. It’s extremely effective for Whitetail deer and other medium-sized animals, but it’s not something I would take out to shoot for fun. The 350 Legend solves this issue by having fairly impressive velocity while being enjoyable to shoot.
If I was looking for a straight-walled cartridge to get into right now, I would have to pick the 350 Legend over the larger 450 Bushmaster. The 350 is just enjoyable to shoot and ammo is typically cheaper which makes it easier to shoot recreationally as well. Let me know your favorite or what seems more interesting to you in the comments below. I always like hearing your guys’ thoughts in the comment section so keep it up. If you have any questions feel free to message me on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!
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