350 Legend vs. 450 Bushmaster: A Comprehensive Comparison for Hunting


In the realm of hunting, choosing the right ammunition is crucial for a successful and ethical hunt. Among the various options available, two popular cartridges that have gained significant attention are the 350 Legend and the 450 Bushmaster. Both cartridges offer distinct features and performance characteristics that cater to different hunting scenarios. In this comprehensive comparison, we delve into the strengths and weaknesses of each cartridge, providing valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

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Overview of the 350 Legend

The 350 Legend is a versatile cartridge that has gained immense popularity among hunters in recent years. Designed by Winchester, this straight-walled cartridge offers impressive performance and adheres to legal hunting regulations in many states where straight-walled ammunition is required. The 350 Legend is renowned for its exceptional accuracy, low recoil, and flat trajectory, making it an ideal choice for hunting medium-sized game.

Ballistics and Performance

With its balanced ballistics, the 350 Legend delivers excellent downrange energy, providing adequate stopping power for deer, hogs, and other similar game. The cartridge’s muzzle velocity, typically around 2,200 feet per second (fps), allows for effective penetration and expansion, resulting in clean and ethical kills.

Ammunition Availability

The popularity of the 350 Legend has led to a wide availability of ammunition options from various manufacturers. Whether you prefer soft-point bullets for controlled expansion or polymer-tipped bullets for long-range accuracy, you’ll find a diverse selection to suit your specific hunting needs.

Recoil and Shootability

One of the standout features of the 350 Legend is its significantly reduced recoil compared to other high-powered cartridges. This characteristic translates to improved shootability, enabling hunters to maintain better accuracy and follow-up shot capabilities, ultimately enhancing the overall hunting experience.

Exploring the 450 Bushmaster

The 450 Bushmaster, introduced by Bushmaster Firearms International, is a potent cartridge designed for big-game hunting, particularly in areas with restrictions on caliber size. Its large-diameter bullet and impressive stopping power have made it a favorite among hunters pursuing larger game species.

Ballistics and Performance

The 450 Bushmaster stands out for its exceptional knockdown power, capable of taking down game such as elk, black bear, and feral hogs. With muzzle velocities averaging around 2,200 fps, the cartridge ensures deep penetration and significant tissue damage, leading to quick and humane kills.

Ammunition Availability

While not as widely available as the 350 Legend, the 450 Bushmaster still offers a reasonable selection of ammunition options. Many manufacturers produce purpose-built cartridges, including those specifically designed for hunting large game, with various bullet types and weights.

Recoil and Shootability

Given its larger caliber and increased powder charge, the 450 Bushmaster generates more recoil compared to the 350 Legend. This factor may affect shot accuracy, especially for less experienced or recoil-sensitive shooters. However, with proper firearm handling and recoil management techniques, hunters can still achieve accurate and effective shots.

Key Differences and Considerations

When deciding between the 350 Legend and the 450 Bushmaster, several factors should be taken into account. Below, we outline some key differences and considerations that can help you choose the cartridge that best suits your hunting needs.

Range and Versatility

The 350 Legend offers a flatter trajectory and extended effective range compared to the 450 Bushmaster, making it more suitable for medium-range engagements. It excels in open fields and brushy environments, where shots are typically taken at moderate distances.

Stopping Power and Game Size

The 450 Bushmaster surpasses the 350 Legend in terms of raw stopping power and is better suited for taking down larger game at close to moderate distances. If you’re targeting big game species such as elk or bear, the 450 Bushmaster’s heavier bullet and increased energy transfer make it a formidable choice.

Recoil Management

As mentioned earlier, the 350 Legend has significantly reduced recoil compared to the 450 Bushmaster. This characteristic makes it more manageable for shooters of all experience levels and allows for faster follow-up shots. However, if you are comfortable with handling stronger recoil and prioritize maximum stopping power, the 450 Bushmaster can deliver the punch you need.

Legal Considerations

It’s important to be aware of local hunting regulations that may dictate which cartridge you can use. Some states or areas have specific caliber requirements for hunting certain game species. Make sure to check the laws and regulations in your hunting area to ensure compliance and choose the appropriate cartridge accordingly.

Ammo Availability and Cost

Both the 350 Legend and the 450 Bushmaster have seen an increase in ammunition availability as their popularity has grown. However, the 350 Legend tends to have a wider selection and may be more readily available at local sporting goods stores. In terms of cost, the 350 Legend cartridges are often more affordable compared to the 450 Bushmaster, which may be a factor to consider for budget-conscious hunters.

Summary and Conclusion

In summary, the 350 Legend and the 450 Bushmaster are both excellent choices for hunting, but they excel in different scenarios. The 350 Legend offers versatility, low recoil, and impressive accuracy, making it ideal for medium-sized game at moderate distances. On the other hand, the 450 Bushmaster shines in situations that demand maximum stopping power for larger game at close to moderate ranges.

Ultimately, the decision between the two cartridges depends on your specific hunting needs, game size, shooting preferences, and local regulations. Consider factors such as range, game size, recoil management, and ammunition availability when making your choice.

Remember to always prioritize safety, ethical hunting practices, and respect for the environment while enjoying your hunting adventures. Happy hunting!