The .350 Legend is one of Winchester’s latest releases, a new cartridge boasting new numbers in one of the oldest markets. Years ago, my brother suggested somebody ought to make a .223 wildcat opened up to .357 to run in AR 15s. Well, that’s almost exactly what Winchester did.
My Legend pairs the .350 with the MDRX. It’s one of the many caliber conversions I have for the Desert Tech bullpup and it’s a perfect candidate for the .350 Legend.
What is the .350 Legend?
The .350 Legend is a .35 caliber rifle cartridge, that looks like a rimless modern version of the .357 Maximum. The Legend shares the same case head as the .223 Remington but with straight walls all the way to the case-mouth. It uses .357 bullets so you can run most loads from 125-grain up to 180-grain.
The Legend was specifically built as a sport/hunting cartridge, a straight-walled design with a specific purpose – to accommodate hunters whose state agencies only allow straight-walled cartridges for hunting game. Winchester markets the Legend as the fastest straight-walled cartridge available, and there are several factory loads with muzzle velocities over 2,400 feet-per-second. Winchester claims the .350 Legend features more speed than a .450 Bushmaster, more penetration than a .243, and all the while carrying more energy than common rounds like the .30-30 or .300 BLK.
Hitting the Range with the MDRX .350 Legend
The Desert Tech MDRX is a multi-caliber, short-stroke piston operated, semi-automatic bullpup. The bullpup features completely ambidextrous controls and a reversible forward or side eject configurations allowing shooters to customize the rifle to their specific need. Available in black or flat dark earth, the MDRX offers barrel lengths of either 18-inches or 20-inches. Conversion kits are also available for the bullpup, allowing it to swap from a small-frame caliber, like 5.56 NATO, to a large-frame caliber, like .308 Win or 6.5 Creedmoor.
The barrel I used for this pairing was a 1:16 twist X-Caliber, threaded at the muzzle so a suppressor could be tossed on it. At the range, I ran the .350 Legend MDRX with a couple of different loads from both Winchester and Federal. Winchester’s white box 145-grain FMJ “went bang” every time but failed to impress as far accuracy and function. It popped one primer out of a case. Federal Premium’s 180-grain Power Shock, on the other hand, performed much better -- both in function as well as accuracy.
The .350 Legend MDRX proved to be what a hunter needs inside the suggested 250-yards it is recommended for. I found myself hitting jug-sized targets boringly easy from the standing position, even at the 250-yard line. This is likely due to the MDRX’s bullpup balance, and the quality of barrel and trigger.
The accuracy of the .350 Legend is suitable for hunting with most groups averaging around 1 MOA at 100-yards with good ammunition. I found heavier loads shot more accurately than lighter loads. In my opinion, the Legend doesn’t have the energy to take down a big-game animal beyond 250- to 300-yards, so the likelihood that its accuracy degrades much beyond that distance has little relevance.
Being a straight-wall cartridge, the Legend will not work in standard 5.56 magazines. It requires a mag with no bottle-neck rib at the front. The magazine I used was a 10-round from CMMG, stamped for .350 Legend. While this is the only mag I have been able to test at the time of publication, it has worked flawlessly and I would have no concern relying on it for a hunt.
Since so many of us play with the adult version of Legos that is the AR-15, it is worth noting that the Legend can be a little touchy when it comes to feeding out of just any upper/barrel extension/feed-ramp. It’s likely due to the blunter front end of the cartridge as compared to the tapered and pointy 5.56. Keep that in mind if you intend on putting together your own Legend, as I did with the MDRX, it could require a touch of customization.
As usual, I did most of my shooting suppressed with a SilencerCo Hybrid .46. The .350 Legend is an excellent candidate for suppression, in my opinion, due to its relatively slow velocity compared to bottleneck cartridges. The only downside is most 9mm suppressors aren’t rated for that kind of pressure. That means you’ll need a tough can for the job.
The .350 Legend provides a great new cartridge for those looking for another shooting option. Paired with guns like the MDRX, it brings a modern touch to the straight-walled cartridge world.
The MDRX from Desert Tech retails for $1,889 while the 18-inch .350 legend barrel starts at around $300.