[SHOT 2021] Winchester Expands Defender Ammo Line Adding .350 Legend, 5.56×45 and Buckshot Loads

    [SHOT 2021] New Winchester DEFENDER Loads - .223 Rem, 12 Ga, 20 Ga and .350 Legend

    Winchester has expanded their Defender line of ammunition by introducing a new 5.56x45mm load, 20 and 12 gauge buckshot loads and by adding the .350 Legend cartridge to this defensive ammo family. Let’s take a quick look at each of the new Winchester Defender ammunition offerings.

    Winchester Defender .350 Legend

    Winchester Defender 350 Legend (4)

    Although it has always been marketed as a hunting cartridge, there is no reason why .350 Legend can’t be used as a seld/home defense cartridge. For those who do consider using the firearms chambered in this cartridge both as hunting and home-defense guns, Winchester has released this dedicated defensive .350 Legend load. The new Winchester Defender 350 Legend cartridge is loaded with a 160-grain hollow point bullet that travels at an advertised muzzle velocity of 2225 fps and has a muzzle energy of 1759 ft-lb. The projectile features a bonded core to prevent jacket separation and ensure maximum weight retention. The cases are nickel-plated.

    Winchester Defender 350 Legend (1)

    Winchester Defender 350 Legend cartridge cutaway.

    Winchester Defender 5.56x45mm

    Winchester Defender 5 (5)

    Added to Winchester’s 60-grain and 77-grain 5.56/223 Defender ammunition offerings is this new option loaded with a 64-grain bullet. The bullet features a protected soft point, high solid base and bonded core. These features together provide rapid controlled expansion, maximum weight retention and sufficient penetration. The muzzle velocity of this load is 2800 fps and the muzzle energy is 1115 ft-lb.

    Winchester Defender 5 (1)

    Winchester Defender 5.56x45mm cartridge cutaway.

    Winchester Defender 12 Gauge Buckshot

    Winchester Defender 12 ga (3)

    This new 12 gauge 2-3/4″ buckshot load further diversifies the Winchester 12 ga Defender ammunition line that also includes segmenting rifled slug and slug/buckshot combination loads. The nine copper-plated 00 buckshot pellets of the new 12 ga Defender ammo are loaded in a dedicated buckshot wad that ensures proper stacking of the pellets. The voids between the pellets are filled with buffer media. The muzzle velocity is 1,145 fps.

    Winchester Defender 12 ga (1)

    3D rendering of the special buckshot wad releasing the copper-plated buffered pellets.

    Winchester Defender 20 Gauge Buckshot

    Winchester Defender 20 ga (3)

    Prior to the introduction of this 20 gauge 2-3/4″ buckshot load, the Winchester Defender ammunition line had only one 20 gauge option loaded with a segmenting rifled slug. The new 20 ga Defender buckshot ammo is loaded with 20 copper-plated #3 buckshot pellets traveling at a muzzle velocity of 1,145 fps. This load also contains buffering media to improve the patterns.

    Winchester Defender 20 ga (1)

    Cutaway of Defender 20 gauge buckshot shell.


    Pictures by Winchester Ammunition, www.winchester.com

    Hrachya H

    Managing Editor

    Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying the history and design of guns and ammunition. He also writes for OvertDefense.com and SilahReport.com
    Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at [email protected]


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