In-Depth Comparison: 350 Legend vs. 450 Bushmaster Rifles

When it comes to choosing a rifle for hunting or target shooting, the decision often boils down to specific needs and preferences. Two popular choices among firearm enthusiasts are the 350 Legend and the 450 Bushmaster rifles. Each rifle boasts unique capabilities suited for different scenarios, making a detailed comparison essential for prospective buyers.

Historical Background

350 Legend

The 350 Legend, introduced by Winchester in 2019, aimed to offer a versatile cartridge suitable for both hunting and sport shooting. It was designed to comply with various state hunting regulations that require straight-walled cartridges. The caliber gained popularity quickly due to its efficient design and moderate recoil, appealing to hunters looking for a lightweight and effective firearm.

450 Bushmaster

In contrast, the 450 Bushmaster has a longer history, originating from a collaboration between Bushmaster Firearms International and Hornady in 2007. Initially developed for large-game hunting, the cartridge gained recognition for its powerful performance, particularly in states where straight-walled cartridges are mandated for hunting. Its robust design and substantial stopping power have made it a favorite among hunters pursuing big game in dense cover.

Technical Specifications

350 Legend

The 350 Legend features a .357 caliber bullet with varying grain weights, typically ranging from 145 to 180 grains. It achieves velocities around 2,200 feet per second (fps) and delivers reliable energy up to 1,800 foot-pounds (ft-lbs). This caliber is known for its flat trajectory and moderate recoil, making it suitable for both short and medium-range shooting.

450 Bushmaster

On the other hand, the 450 Bushmaster fires a .452 caliber bullet with weights typically between 250 to 300 grains. It achieves velocities around 2,200 fps as well but delivers significantly higher energy, often exceeding 2,800 ft-lbs. This gives it exceptional stopping power, making it effective for hunting large game such as deer and hogs at moderate distances.

Ballistic Performance

350 Legend

The 350 Legend is celebrated for its accuracy and minimal recoil, which contributes to better shot placement and follow-up shots. Its ballistic coefficient allows for consistent performance over varying distances, making it suitable for both hunting and competitive shooting.

450 Bushmaster

In terms of ballistic performance, the 450 Bushmaster’s heavier bullet and higher energy retention provide superior terminal ballistics, especially at longer distances. Its ability to penetrate dense foliage and deliver decisive impacts on game has solidified its reputation among serious hunters.



350 Legend

The 350 Legend is ideal for hunting medium-sized game such as deer and coyotes. Its versatility and manageable recoil make it suitable for hunting in diverse environments, from open fields to wooded areas.

450 Bushmaster

The 450 Bushmaster excels in hunting scenarios requiring significant stopping power and penetration. It is particularly effective in dense cover where shots may be taken at shorter distances, ensuring ethical kills with minimal suffering.

Target Shooting

350 Legend

For target shooters, the 350 Legend offers an enjoyable shooting experience with its accuracy and affordability. It is favored in competitions that emphasize precision and consistency at mid-range distances.

450 Bushmaster

While less common in target shooting circles, the 450 Bushmaster can be used for recreational shooting and long-distance target practice due to its powerful performance and ballistic capabilities.


350 Legend

  • Lightweight and maneuverable
  • Ammunition is widely available and affordable
  • Legal for hunting in states with straight-walled cartridge requirements

450 Bushmaster

  • Superior stopping power for large game
  • Effective in dense vegetation and brush
  • Compatible with AR-15 platform rifles for customization


350 Legend

  • Limited to lighter bullet weights compared to the 450 Bushmaster
  • Some states have restrictions on its use for hunting larger game

450 Bushmaster

  • Higher recoil may be challenging for some shooters
  • Ammunition can be more expensive and less readily available

User Experience

350 Legend

Hunters and shooters appreciate the 350 Legend for its ease of handling and consistent performance across different hunting environments. It is favored for its reliability and affordability in ammunition.

450 Bushmaster

Users of the 450 Bushmaster highlight its effectiveness in delivering clean kills and its capability to handle tough hunting conditions. While the recoil is stout, many find the trade-off worth it for the rifle’s power.

Expert Insights

Industry experts recommend the 350 Legend for hunters seeking a versatile cartridge that balances power with manageable recoil. It is praised for its suitability in states with specific hunting regulations.

Conversely, professionals recommend the 450 Bushmaster for hunters pursuing large game where maximum stopping power and penetration are crucial. Its robust design and performance make it a preferred choice in challenging hunting scenarios.

Comparative Analysis

Comparing the 350 Legend and 450 Bushmaster involves evaluating their performance metrics, including accuracy, recoil, and ballistic characteristics. Both rifles excel in different aspects, catering to distinct preferences and hunting requirements.

Future Prospects

As firearm technology continues to advance, both the 350 Legend and 450 Bushmaster are expected to benefit from improvements in ammunition design and rifle manufacturing. Future developments may enhance their performance and appeal to a broader audience of hunters and shooters.


In conclusion, choosing between the 350 Legend and 450 Bushmaster rifles depends largely on individual preferences, intended use, and hunting regulations. Each rifle offers unique advantages in terms of ballistic performance, recoil management, and suitability for different game types. By understanding these distinctions, prospective buyers can make informed decisions that align with their specific needs and hunting preferences.

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