Both 450 Bushmaster and 350 Legend are straight-walled cartridges. A straight-walled cartridge is the one in which the whole cartridge has the same diameter across its length. In comparison to this, the bottleneck cartridge is the one in which the bullet’s diameter is smaller than the diameter of the case.
In 2017, many midwestern states in the United States legalized the use of straight-walled cartridges. The news amazed the hunters as now they could use their straight wall cartridge for the deer season. Before this legislation, hunters could only use either shotgun slugs or a muzzleloader. But now, they can use a long-range firearm during gun season. Also, before the legislation, AR-15 lovers were stuck with marginal deer cartridges. Now they can use straight wall cartridges for their hunting season.
Straight wall cartridges are legalized because they are considered safer for shooting. This change in legislation has made deer hunting much more enjoyable.
While comparing a 450 Bushmaster to a 350 Legend, there are several factors that matter. The first thing that matters is the priorities of the shooter. Both the rifle cartridges have their pros and cons.
The following article is a comparison of 45o Bushmaster vs. 350 Legend. It will not suggest which one to buy over the other or explain which is better. Still, it will give you enough information about both the cartridges to choose from according to your priority. It is to remember that a lot depends on the rifle that you use. So it is essential to use the same rifle when comparing the two cartridges.
350 legend is Winchester’s new cartridge. It is a suitable hunting cartridge. It was developed in 2019 following the relaxation of the state regulations. In this short time, it has been able to prove its worth. There is a lot of ammunition available for use with this cartridge. Winchester offers much ammunition for this cartridge. Deer Season XP and Power Max Bonded are two of such ammos. Along with Winchester, Hornady and Federal also produce ammos for this cartridge.
Not just ammunition, but Winchester has also chambered its XPR line of bolt action rifles. XPR is a hunter’s rifle. Apart from Winchester, many other companies are also developing rifles for 350 Legend. Furthermore, the design of the 350 Legend also makes it suitable for working with AR-15 style rifles.
The 450 Bushmaster was an already established straight-walled cartridge. Following the relaxation in state regulations, Bushmaster saw a rise in its popularity. Similar to the Legend, the 450 Bushmaster works well with AR-15 style rifles. It is also chambered in bolt action rifles from Ruger, Mossberg, and other such brands. Its ammo availability is also good; Winchester, Hornady, and Remington offer ammo for this cartridge. The idea of the 450 Bushmaster was conceived by Jeff Cooper, who was discontent with the small diameter of the .223/5.56 cartridge. He envisioned a cartridge with a bigger diameter, one that would take down targets in one shot at 250 yards.
Later, Tim LeGendre of Lemag picked up this idea and produced a .45 cartridge. Bushmaster also wanted cartridges in a similar pattern and went to Hornady with this purpose. With the modifications in the length of the cartridge 450 Bushmaster was produced.
Also Read: 450 bushmaster vs 45-70
350 Legend vs 450 Bushmaster Ballistics Comparison
Comparing the ballistics of 450 Bushmaster vs. 350 Legend involves comparing the velocity, energy, trajectory, sectional density, and maximum point-blank range. For this particular comparison, the following two ammunitions are used:
- 350 Legend uses a Winchester Super-X 180 grain PowerPoint. It has a ballistic coefficient of .221 and a 16-inch barrel length.
- 450 Bushmaster uses a Hornady Black 250 grain FTX. It has a Ballistic coefficient of .210 and a 16-inch barrel length.
Velocity and Energy:
Velocity is an important factor as it affects the trajectory and the kinetic energy of the bullet. A flattened trajectory makes it easier to hit the target at a more extensive range. Energy is crucial as it allows the bullets to penetrate deeply. The bullets with more kinetic energy have more bullet penetration and kill cleanly. Here is a comparison of the muzzle velocity and energy of the two rifle cartridges and the velocity and energy at 100 and 190 yards.
- 450 Bushmaster has a muzzle velocity of 2100 fps and muzzle energy of 2448 ft. lbs. Its velocity at 100 yards is 1745 fps with a kinetic energy of 1691 ft. lbs. Furthermore, at 190 yards, it has a velocity of 1467 fps and kinetic energy of 1196 ft. lbs.
- 350 Legend has a muzzle velocity of 2000 fps and muzzle energy of 1599 ft. lbs. Its velocity at 100 yards is 1673 fps, and energy is 1119 ft. lbs. Moreover, it has a velocity of 1432 fps at 185 yards with a kinetic energy of 819 ft. lbs.
As you can make out from the above figures, there is no considerable difference between the muzzle velocity of the two cartridges. Also, both Legend and Bushmaster shed significant velocity at 190 yards.
It indicates that as you move forward at 200 to 250 yards, both will shed more velocity. So, there is no clear winner between the two when comparing the velocities.
Maximum point-blank range and far zero:
The maximum point-blank range or MPBR is the distance a bullet can travel without going up or below the aim point. MPBR is affected by the velocity, bullet’s weight, rifle caliber, and ballistic coefficient. It is essential to sight in your hunting rifle and its ammunition according to its MPBR.
The appropriate MPBR for sighting in both the rifle cartridges here is +/- 3-inch. It is always suggested not to shoot the animal beyond its MPBR. The MPBR yardage and its associated far zero yardage of the 350 legends vs. 450 bushmasters are mentioned below.
- The MPBR yardage of the 450 Bushmaster is 191 with a far zero of 164
- The MPBR of 350 Legend is 185 with a far zero of 158
Before comparing the trajectory of 350 Legend vs. 450 Bushmaster, it is essential to know why trajectory matters. Bullet trajectory is the path that the bullet that leaves the rifle follows. If the trajectory of a bullet is flat, then it becomes easier to hit the target. It helps to place the bullet at the right spot on the target. Below are the trajectory figures in inches for 100 and 250 yards. Also, each ammunition is sighted-in for a +/- 3 inch MPBR.
- The 450 Bushmaster has a +3.0″ trajectory at 100 yards, a -2.8″ at 190 yards (190), and -13.7″ at 250 yards.
- The 350 Legend has a +2.9″ trajectory at 100 yards, a -3.0″ trajectory at 185 yards, and a -15.7″ at 250 yards.
These figures show that the trajectory of both the rifle cartridges decreases quickly at ranges beyond 200 yards. It means that the accurate shooting range for both these rifles is between 150- 165 yards.
While comparing the two, 350 legend does have a fraction of flatter trajectory than the 450 Bushmaster, but it doesn’t give it an outright advantage. So, similar to the velocity, there is no clear winner in trajectory also.
Technically speaking, a bullet’s sectional density is the ratio of its cross-sectional area divided by its mass. It is vital in predicting the bullet’s ability to penetrate inside a target. Bullets with high sectional densities allow easy penetration.
For this reason, it is simple to predict that if there is a pile of bullets with all other equal factors, then the bullet with the highest sectional density will penetrate deepest and kill cleanly. This factor makes the hunting bullet SD a critical consideration.
For medium-range rifle cartridges like 450 Bushmaster and 350 Legend, the minimum acceptable sectional density is .200. Below mentioned is the comparison of SD numbers of the two rifle cartridges in contrast here.
- The SD number of the 350 Legend with a diameter of .357 inches is .200
- The SD number of the 450 Bushmaster with a diameter.452 inches is .175
If you keep the bullet construction and weight the same, the longer, smaller diameter projectile penetrates better than the shorter and fatter projectile. One persistent problem with the medium and large bore bullets is that they are too heavy to have high sectional densities. As you can see in the above figures, the 180-grain bullet of the 350 Legend barely meets the .200 standard, whereas the 250-grain Bushmaster falls short. It doesn’t go well with the bullets penetrating deeply on heavy animals. But for deer hunting, it is not a big concern. The shock energy that these large diameter bullets deliver to thin-skinned targets compensate for their less penetration ability.
.350 Legend vs .450 Bushmaster Features Comparison
Both 450 Bushmaster and 350 Legend have the same length. Both have a 1.71-inch long case, and if the bullet is included, the overall length becomes 2.25 inches. When it comes to the diameter, there is a big difference between the two. The diameter of a 450 Bushmaster is .452 inches, while that of a 350 Legend is about .3570. In diameter, a 350 Legend is more comparable to a .233 Remington.
A 450 bushmaster uses a 250-grain bullet. It has a muzzle velocity of 2100 fps with a muzzle energy of 2448 ft. lbs. In comparison, a 350 legend uses a lighter bullet and has less muzzle energy. Due to all these factors, the knockdown factor of a 450 bushmaster is much more than that of a 350. 450 is considered to be devastating when it comes to deer killing and medium-sized game.
Firstly, recoil doesn’t depend on the cartridge only; it also depends on the rifle-cartridge combination. As both 350 and 450 are chambered in somewhat similar weight rifles, the 350 legend produces much less recoil than the 450 Bushmaster and thus is easier to shoot. It also gives more accuracy.
To quote an example, if we take a Deer Season XP that is a 150 grain Winchester bullet, that will cause a recoil of 8.52 foot-pounds. In comparison to this, a 250 grain 450 Bushmaster will generate a recoil of 22.99 foot-pounds.
There is not much difference in the rifles chambered in 350 Legend and 450 Bushmaster. For example, one of the leading rifle brands, Ruger, chambers both these cartridges into its American Ranch rifle.
Although the chambered rifle is similar, there are differences in the two’s muzzle devices and barrel contour. The 450 bushmaster uses medium to heavy barrel contours, whereas the 350 legend uses thinner contour barrels.
Taking into consideration the muzzle devices, Bushmaster often comes with muzzle brakes. The 350 comes equipped with a flash hider but not of muzzle device standard.
The muzzle blast of the 350 Legend is negligible. Compared to a 350 Legend, the muzzle blast of a 450 Bushmaster is more. The muzzle blast, along with recoil, is another feature that gives an advantage to Legend over the 450 Bushmaster.
450 Bushmaster is usually priced between $1.50 to $2.75, while a 350 Legend is priced between $0.80 to $1.10. If price is a consideration for you, then Legend is the winner.
What should I choose?
Both .450 and .350 are effective straight-walled cartridges. When it comes to the velocity and trajectory of the two cartridges, there is no clear winner. Also, it isn’t easy to pick one when it comes to rifle and ammunition availability. But some factors can make us choose better.
When it comes to knockdown power, the 450 Bushmaster is the king. For advanced shooters who need to shoot big animals with the power to take them down in one shot, 450 Bushmasters give the power required to do that. You can add to the efficiency of your 450 bushmaster by adding the right scope for 450 bushmaster.
Compared to a 450 Bushmaster, a 350 Legend is a smaller diameter bullet and has much less recoil. It is more affordable and has minimal muzzle blast. It is most suitable for young shooters.
To conclude, both .450 Bushmaster and .350 Legend are considered effective range straight-walled cartridges. Both have their fan following. It depends on the choice of the shooter which one to pick.
Also Read: 450 bushmaster vs 458 socom
Which is bigger, 350 Legend or 450 Bushmaster?
The 450 bushmaster has a diameter of .452 inches, whereas the diameter of a 350 legend is .3570. If we consider the diameter, 350 Legend is more comparable to a .233 Remington.
Is 450 Bushmaster too much for deer?
450 bushmaster is the perfect option for deer hunting. It uses a 250-grain bullet and has 2100 fps of muzzle velocity. It can quickly drop a deer.
With what cartridge can we compare a 450 Bushmaster?
It is fair to compare 450 Bushmaster with a .223 Remington as it is used in AR-style rifles.
With what cartridge can we compare a 350 Legend?
The 350 legend uses a slightly smaller diameter bullet, so it is compared to a 357 Magnum. But the whole cartridge is comparable to a .223 Remington.
What is the effective range of a 450 Bushmaster and 350 Legend?
450 Bushmaster and 350 Legend are not considered ideal cartridges for long distances; their effective range is between 150-165 yards.
What are some alternative straight-wall cartridges for deer hunting?